Swans Commentary » swans.com February 8, 2010  



Is Seattle Of Two Minds? Well, Yes And No


by Steve Shay





(Swans - February 8, 2010)   Seattle elected a new mayor and city attorney on November 3, 2009. Low-key Mayor Mike McGinn ran on a "green" platform and endeared himself to carbon footprint-conscious voters by leaving his car in the garage and peddling his environmental message on bicycle whenever possible. But wait. There's more.

The days of driving aren't grinding to a halt in Seattle, so we should not trade in our red Prius for a powder blue Raleigh 10-speed quite yet. The mayor backs a $3 billion highway underneath downtown Seattle called the "Deep Bore Tunnel." At first he campaigned against it and pointed to Boston's Big Dig tunnel's $12 billion cost overrun.

Then McGinn backpedaled just before Election Day and now joins the cast of councilmembers chomping at the bit to break ground any day now. There will be no bicycle lanes in the mile-and-a-half tube.

So bicyclists be damned as Seattle opts to pave its way into prosperity at $325,000 per foot. And funding for this cement snake is as open and transparent as a black hole. The dazed Seattle citizens who are against the project seem to have finally given in, and given up all attempts to cut the snake off at the head.

High-minded City Attorney Pete Holmes, who won by a two-to-one margin, immediately announced his push to decriminalize marijuana statewide. It seems all things green pass here in Washington State with flying colors, as long as they are the color green.

At the same time, our state legislators may soon pass a candy and gum "sin tax" as California, Illinois, and other states have done. A state congressman, on Seattle's public radio affiliate, proclaimed that taxing our sugar-addicted populous would benefit both the financial and physical health of the state. Callers-in overwhelmingly voiced approval with statements like, "My kids eat too much candy. This tax will encourage us to keep the stuff out of our house. Taxing candy sends the right message."

And so the cheer here on Main Street goes, "In with the cannabis! Out with the Cadbury! Malign the M&M's. Stigmatize the Snickers. Put down that Baby Ruth, baby, and pass me the bong."

No, marijuana will not be taxed like candy because it will be decriminalized, not legalized. Some speculate this could all be a government-and-Hershey plot to collect more taxes and sell more Kisses. Exhale pot. Inhale chocolate.

Speaking of denuding sweeties, Washington lawmakers' latest obsession appears to be clamping down on the drive-up coffee hut. Well, not the hut exactly, but rather its lovely latte ladies. About a year ago babes in bikinis appeared in coffee kiosks serving overpriced cups to mostly gentlemen drivers who pulled up for a perky peek.

Many wanted in on the action, so as more huts appeared in busy parking lots, the servers' skimpy swimwear dwindled down to almost nothing to keep product percolating. In some hot spots you could get cappuccino for half off, so to speak, but that's been mostly in slightly seedy Tacoma.

Like mouth-watering chocolates, eye candy has gotten a bad rap with legislators who echo residents' decrees that a bite of candy, and a bit of nudity, is an affront to family values in otherwise progressive, over-paved, pro-pot Puget Sound.


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About the Author

Steve Shay was born in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1959. He is a full time photographer and reporter for Robinson News, Seattle, Washington. He lives in West Seattle with his girlfriend, Laura Wold, and their 9-year-old golden retriever Alice. Steve is the son of Swans contributor Art Shay and the rare-book dealer Florence Shay.   (back)


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art16/sshay05.html
Published February 8, 2010