Two more years for Seattle Council President Conlin — a fine idea
In January, the Seattle City Council will make it official. Current Council President Richard Conlin will remain in the job two more years. With so much change in the city, it's a fine idea.
IT'S all but a done deal: Richard Conlin, the current Seattle City Council president, will remain in that post two more years through 2011.
Retaining Conlin as leader of the legislative branch would normally set a poor precedent because the council usually rotates this sometimes ceremonial but important post every two years. The changing of the guard brings out different facets of council members' talents. Certainly, some committee chairmanships will switch and achieve some of that.
But this decision at this time makes sense. Conlin has been, by most accounts, a fair-minded administrator, doling out committee assignments with an even hand and keeping the daily machinery of the council moving forward.
A new mayor, two new council members and a new city attorney mean a lot of change. It will not hurt to have an experienced hand ensuring the legislative branch runs smoothly.
Additionally, there is some evidence the council is coalescing and becoming a stronger force as it anticipates its relationship with incoming Mayor Mike McGinn.
Conlin can be an odd duck. He was one of the most ardent supporters of the ill-fated plastic-bag tax and he gets deserved ribbing for legislation permitting pygmy goats as pets in Seattle.
But he also is willing to admit a mistake. He joined Mayor Greg Nickels and Councilmember Tim Burgess in calling for repeal of the employee head tax that nettled so many businesses. Conlin had voted earlier to support it.
The council voted 8-1, with Conlin in the majority, to eliminate the tax — paperwork headaches and all.
The council also voted 9-0 to back the deep-bore tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which sent a message to McGinn that the council is capable of putting together unanimous and near-unanimous votes on controversial issues.
Council members seem to be getting committee assignments they want and are satisfied with Conlin at the helm. The council president fills in for the mayor at times and runs meetings.
Under the circumstances — a time of so much change — the decision to keep Conlin as president works.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.