My Seattle Wish List
To Mayor Mike McGinn:
Congratulations on this, your third week as the new mayor of Seattle! I wanted to get a nice word in before the inevitable comedown of the weeks and years ahead, when it sinks in that one man can’t undo years of governmental tone-deafness, bureaucracy and outright malfeasance. (Hmm, this sounds familiar somehow.) Even the Stranger’s editorial board will say a cross word about you someday, and there’s a chance I may agree with them — but for now, I’m happy and I hope you’re happy too.
And now, as David Bowie would say, here are the sordid details. Mayor McGinn, I have a wish list for my town — a few action items that I’d like to see action’d all to hell. Most of the things on the following list are outside your control (and some you’ve probably no interest in doing), but I’m sending you it to you anyway, because it’s traditional. The new mayor takes charge, and a local crank pings him with a wholly impractical laundry list of complaints that the previous mayor ignored. If I didn’t do this, Mayor McGinn, I’d be a poor citizen, understand? I’d be letting the terrorists win.
These are arranged in no particular order, Mayor McGinn. If you get on yer bike right now, you could maybe have most of these knocked off by the weekend. I believe in you!
Please go to Olympia and slap somebody until the Alaskan Way Viaduct thing is hashed out. Get them to replace that defunct bypass with a surface road, another elevated highway, a Slip ‘n’ Slide, anything. I’m tired of crossing my fingers and toes every damn time I drive to West Seattle. I know the state favors a tunnel, but I think we can still manage a surface road if you slap enough people enough times. I’ll give you bonus points if you pull a Monty Python and use a salmon.
Get Seattle Art Museum some money somehow, so it can acquire some new pieces for Olympic Sculpture Park. No rush on this one; it’s just been a couple of years since this glorious art park opened to the public, and it would be nice if they had the money to get some new works — maybe a Maya Lin or something. They’ve got all that room.
Get rid of those damn red-light cameras. Details here.
Put wireless internet in all the city’s parks. I know that creating a citywide broadband network was one of your campaign platforms, but you’re never going to get it done – not in a a world that Comcast made. Maybe you should concentrate on getting free WiFi into all of Seattle’s public spaces, so I can get out of the coffeehouse every now and again.
Push through a longer operating day for Central Link. I tried to take the train home from the airport after 11 p.m. on a Sunday night and was told that the train had quit running downtown for the night. It’d be one thing if this was just me, but you left Jen Graves hanging, too, and that cat just won’t fight.
Loosen the rules preventing street food stands from proliferating. I’m tired of Portland flaunting its kickass assortment of food carts over us. Besides, I’d kill for a falafel right about now.
Create a mass transit line between Ballard and downtown. Should be easy. There are plans for such a line in City Hall’s basement, underneath a few voter initiatives to build it and an equal number of NIMBY initiatives to kill it.
I have other city wishes, Mayor McGinn, but they’re probably not yours to handle. I wish that the new apartments and condominiums popping up around town weren’t so butt-ugly. I wish EMP/SFM were just plain SFM. I wish this was still a two-newspaper town. I wish there were more than a handful of 24-hour diners around town. And I wish that Tulalip Casino would stop using that muzak version of “Do Ya Wanna Dance” in its television ads. If you do nothing else on this list, Mayor McGinn, please handle that last item. Those damn ads are driving me nuts.