Saturday, August 08, 2009

It’s Time To Put Nick Licata Out To Pasture

He maybe the sweetheart of the fussy, knee jerk echo chamber occupying artsy-fartsy lefties and to the hipster writers at the SLOG who cream their jeans all over their computers at the thought of their champion. Apparently they support Licata’s feeling groovy ideology rather then for any known major civic accomplishment over the last 11 years. Most of Nick's accomplishment tend to be a subtraction rather then a addition to the vitality of the city I think.

He’s well meaning and probably a real nice guy, but its time to put Nick Licata’s parochial, vision less obstructionism and phony political posturing on the Seattle City Council to an end. 12 years of keeping Seattle from being visionary or obstructing meaningful progress and projects whenever he can should be enough.

Change is good people! Especially in a city known for taking as much time as possible to get anything meaningful done, also known as the Seattle process. At the center of that process stands one Nick Licata, chief civic bullshitter and mouse milker.

Licata said it himself in 1989 when he pushed for a two-term limit for City Council members. Believing at the time that allowing 3 terms would produce bored, lazy and unimaginative lawmakers. Well I don’t know about the bored or lazy part, but Licata has nailed the unimaginative part almost every time some big challenge or issue faces the city. It's just say no Nick. That’s fine if you want to live in Hicksville, but it doesn’t pay the rent if you want to act and be a metropolitan worldly world-class city.

Let’s look at some of the record. Licata fought light rail in favor of buses. He favored the reconstruction of a new even bigger monstrosity of a viaduct. He opposed the Mariners and Seahawks stadiums, now both successes. While president of the Council he opposed the Olympic Games 2012 bid, effectively helping to kill it. Meanwhile Vancouver, BC will welcome millions in tourist dollars next year by staging the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Much of the money Vancouver is getting to underwrite and build for their games will be Canadian federal funds that will leave long term civic infrastructure improvements once the games leave. As it was in Salt Lake City when they hosted the winter Olympics. But Licata didn't see that opportunity when Seattle wanted to step up to the plate. Instead, he wanted to ban circus animals from the city limits in a classic snobby, condescending, example of social engineering and overreach of his role. He led the charge that drove the Sonics to Oklahoma City. Hey basketball and NCAA tournament fans remember that? I only hope you remember to vote on August 18th.

Licata has done some good things. He been a advocate for the homeless, housing and supporting the arts. But I just don't think his record warrants making him practically a Seattle City Council member for life.

Many think driving the Sonics out was a good thing. The effect of their loss on the city will be “next to zero” Licata told Sports Illustrated at the time of the debate. Well tell that to the merchants, nightclub operators or their former employees on lower Queen Anne, or to basketball fans. Not to mention the potential lost tax revenue and the harm it did to the city in the way of our image as a city that could get and keep it’s shit together enough to save the franchise.

He opposed the SLUT streetcar saying it only benefited Paul Allen. He is often anti-business in favor of elements of the community that are consumers rather then those that produce jobs and business tax revenue. There has to be a balance for a city to be viable folks. We don’t need a Council full of members who are forever caught up only in their own tired mostly anti-business ideology, a Licata specialty, because you won't have a place to freaking work and earn a living people.

But, the most annoying thing about Licata is his penchant for posturing and obstructing on an issue up until he sees that it’s politically advantages to flip flop. Usually after irreparable damage has been done. This was especially evident on the viaduct replacement and transit issues. Licata often supports the status quo or is seldom for something, just mostly against. His positions and policies seemed like they are aimed at returning Seattle permanently to Podunkville. It’s time we had some different and hopefully visionary leadership on the council. Seattle could be a player not a city known for not being able to get big things done as it has become with Licata muddling up the works.

My endorsement goes to Jessie Israel because I think she's the best of the two candidates running for his seat, and I think the effect of loss of Licata will be as he himself put it, “next to zero”.

Note: Licata is opposed in the August 18th primary for City Council position 6 by King County Parks Manager Jessie Israel and Architect Marty Kaplan.

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