Archive for November, 2009

The Darth Vader Of Fridays

[ Hanjin container ships unloading at Terminal 46 in Seattle ] Even Adbustsers couldn’t have come up with a better name for today’s national frenzy of consumerism.  Last I checked, the common connotation of the word “black” hasn’t changed since the dawn of human consciousness. The term Black Friday originated with Philadelphia police in reference […]

Thank You Seattle

“The city in its complete sense, then, is a geographic plexus, an economic organization, an institutional process, a theater of social action, and an esthetic symbol of collective unity.  The city fosters art and is art; the city creates theater and is the theater.  It is in the city, the city as theater, that man’s […]

The Goal Thing

[ Mike McGinn at an ambassador meeting, clearly enjoying the outreach process: It’s a good sign. ] Seattle Mayor-elect Mike McGinn kicked off his transition with a call for input from the public on three questions: How do we build the strongest possible team to achieve the policy objectives and values set forth by the […]

Opposite Ends of I-90 Vol. 2: Parking Garage Edition

Usually they’re contemptible scars on the urban fabric, like the eye-popping piece of work in the photo above at 2nd and Union in Seattle.  But they don’t have to be.  The garage shown below is in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, and isn’t it the most adorable thing? Here’s another in Boston’s downtown office core: Excited […]

Rule #1: Don’t Site A Light Rail Station Next To A Freeway

[ Rendering of the Wallace Vision Line by J. Craig Thorpe ] Getting the highest return on transit investments hinges on the creation of high-performing transit-oriented communities (TOC) around the stations.   And the easiest way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to site stations next to large freeways. Yet this is exactly what newly […]

The Best Thing I’ve Read In The Stranger In Many Moons…

…is Grant Cogswell’s piece in this week’s issue.  Election optimism infused with soul, e.g. look out the window today and consider this:  You can’t talk about Seattle without talking about the weather, and you can’t go away and then come back without noting that it makes everyone here a little crazy. Harsh words: I understand my […]

Two Years Old

Even with the handicap of a blog name that’s embarrassing to say in polite company—whatever that is—it only took two years of blogging—whatever that is—for me to go from being a complete loser nobody, to being a guy with the Seattle Mayor-elect in his back pocket.  You need something from the new Mayor, come talk […]

Don’t Lose Your Head Tax

The story of the so called “head tax” must wind up being about accountability.  How will the Seattle City Council be held accountable for repealing the tax in the face of so many rational reasons to keep it?  First, let’s go back to the beginning. Over the summer some of us learned that the “head […]

From Ethiopia To A Stripmall Starbucks Drive-Thru

[ The fruit of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, spiced with rue ] At the opening night party for the new Ethiopian exhibit at the Northwest African American Museum there was a demonstration of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The energizing effect of coffee was first discovered by Ethiopians, and it is deeply embedded in their traditional […]

“We can’t serve you. You need to be in a car.”

Starbucks. I like you. But we’ve got to talk. Listen, ‘Bucks. (You don’t mind if I call you ‘Bucks do you? Cool.) You’re good. You’re a meeting place. You’re local (2-0-6 in the coffee house!). You’re a gathering hall, a “third place” as Bertolet would say. You’re chill. And you’re a reliable source for the […]

The Shadows Are Growing Longer

Questions That Lead To More Questions

Though I’m not one of the official McGinn transition ambassadors, how could I not post the three questions? How do we build the strongest possible team to achieve the policy objectives and values set forth by the campaign (grass roots community involvement, transparency and neighborhood focus)? How do we build public trust in the new administration? […]

What Now, Mayor McGinn?

Well Michael, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the road ahead, worry not, because the Seattle Times editorial board has got your back. You see, the Seattle Times editorial board, they’ve been around, they know how the world really works, and they’re both bemused and concerned about the success of  you and your rag-tag band of […]

Who Is This Alex Steffen Dude, Anyway?

[ Alex Steffen presenting at IDSA/ICSID Connecting Congress 2007 ] Just some guy from Seattle who was invited to give the closing plenary talk at the upcoming Copenhagen Mayoral Climate Summit. And who also happens to be the executive director of Worldchanging, a non-profit that runs the second largest sustainability site on the web, and […]

Enough Already About The Next Seattle Mayor — What About Dow?

All that newly elected King County Executive Dow Constantine has to worry about is this: King County’s 2009 estimated population is 1,909,300—that’s about three and a half Seattle’s, and 29 percent of the State’s total population.  The County produces just under half of the State’s total industry earnings. It covers nearly twice the land area […]

The Election According To My Facebook Page

Brice Maryman Mcginn again! (11 hours ago) Rebecca Deehr McGinn leads by 2384!!!! 50.31% to Mallahans 48.91%.(11 hours ago) Sol Villarreal Hear that? That’s the sound of victory :) (11 hours ago) Bill LaBorde > Michael McGinn: Dude!!! I mean, Mr. Mayor Dude!!! Congratulations!!! (11 hours ago) Chris Bushnell victory! (11 hours ago) Ben Schiendelman […]

Retail Therapy

>>> Instead of staring at the screen all day waiting for the next King County ballot drop, why not do a little online shopping?  Especially since the fine folks at Noisetank have just launched a highly anticipated new line of designer t-shirts for the discerning urbanist. Don’t believe it?  CLICK HERE and be amazed at […]

Who Will Be Drinking At 4:30pm Today?

[ Mike McGinn arriving at the election party in his favorite personal vehicle. ] It was a good night for hope and the Party of the Future.  Every one of my WTFs has gone the right way.  Assuming McGinn hangs on.  Hurry up and wait until 4:30pm. The anti-WTF results so far: CITY OF SEATTLE   […]

Halloween, Election Day, And Hope

[ Memorial for Officer Timothy Brenton where he was murdered at the corner of 29th and Yesler ] Last year while out trick-or-treating with my two small children in the Central District we all heard the gunshots that killed 15-year old Quincy Coleman.  This year I was out of town on Halloween but my wife was home […]

Opposite Ends Of I-90

Which mayor’s race does the following describe? [Both candidates] want the same things: better schools, improved public safety, sustainable economic development, accessible parks, affordable housing, livable neighborhoods. To win the November 3 election, both candidates may go so far as to endorse motherhood — perhaps, if the polls get really close, apple pie. Seattle’s, perhaps?  […]