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Monday, October 24, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Election 2005

Monorail official says he's sorry

Seattle Monorail Project board member Steve Williamson apologized last week for a Sept. 16 outburst in which he said Chairwoman Kristina Hill should resign.

That was the day the Seattle City Council scrapped SMP's street-use agreement, prompting startled monorail officials to write a last-minute ballot measure removing Ballard from the route, to save $300 million. With their survival campaign now under way, monorail directors are keeping any friction to themselves.

"I spoke out of frustration at the time," Williamson said. "At this point, it's not about the role of chair — it's about what we do."

Mayoral restraint

Former Seattle mayoral candidate Richard Lee has been ordered to keep his distance from Mayor Greg Nickels.

Seattle District Court Judge Barbara Linde this month granted Nickels' request for a restraining order against Lee.

Lee produces a cable-access television show devoted to his theory that rock-star Kurt Cobain was murdered. In pursuit of that theory, he often shows up at public events to harangue elected officials and music-industry insiders.

Nickels requested the restraining order after Lee was arrested in September for allegedly kicking one of Nickels' police bodyguards after a campaign event in Fremont. Lee has pleaded not guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault.

The order, which expires in October 2006, requires Lee to stay at least 500 feet from Nickels' home. In other locations, Lee is required to stay 50 feet from the mayor. The order also prohibits him from trying to contact the mayor, except "in writing or electronically."

Pro-nudity, and we vote

Maybe the third time is a charm.

The campaign to repeal new Seattle strip-club rules, which would effectively ban lap dances, has come up with yet another name.

And this one isn't already taken.

The campaign's first two names — Coalition Against Censorship and Free Speech Seattle — were the same or nearly the same as the names of two existing political groups. So the pro-strip-club effort has settled on "Seattle Citizens for Free Speech," which does not appear to be used by any other organization or cause.

Led by strip-club owners, the repeal campaign has reported paying $50,000 to a California signature-gathering company. The group hopes to gather nearly 14,000 signatures on petitions by Nov. 8 to put the question before voters next year. Gil Levy, the lawyer for Rick's strip club in Lake City, declined to say how much money might be spent on the campaign.

"What we're trying to do is put together a campaign which is as professional and as legally correct as possible. The exact amount we are going to spend in order to achieve that goal is not yet determined," Levy said.

Differences on parade

It wasn't quite Ali-Frazier. But for Seattle City Council candidates it was a slugfest.

In televised debates recorded Friday for the Seattle Channel, four candidates put on the best toe-to-toe performances of this year and gave Seattleites clear, punchy reasons why they are different. Incumbent Jan Drago and challenger Casey Corr went at it first, followed by incumbent Richard McIver and his challenger, Metropolitan King County Councilman Dwight Pelz.

In short, Drago said Corr is too abrasive to be a successful council member, and Corr said Drago is too lax. McIver and Pelz repeated the same basic arguments in a very different way.

The debates, part of the "City Inside/Out" program hosted by C.R. Douglas, can be viewed several ways. They are to air on Channel 21 today at noon and 7 p.m.; tomorrow at noon and 8 p.m.; and Wednesday at 5 and 10 p.m.

For a complete schedule, go to the Seattle Channel Web site: http://www.seattlechannel.org/media/schedule.asp

The debates also can be viewed on computer by going to the page below and clicking on the link for "City Inside/Out" Oct. 21: http://www2.seattlechannel.org/media/videoList.asp?ID=17

Election 2005 Notebook appears Mondays. Today's was written by Seattle Times staff reporters Mike Lindblom, Jim Brunner and Bob Young. Got an idea for the column? Write us at electionnotebook@seattletimes.com.

CORRECTION: Seattle cable-access television host Richard Lee is barred from the seventh floor of City Hall, but does not have to stay 500 feet from Mayor Greg Nickels' office as previously reported. The 500-foot restriction, issued by Seattle District Court Judge Barbara Linde, applies only for the mayor's residence. In other locations, Lee is required to stay 50 feet from the mayor.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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