Interview with Mayor Nickels, first report: Park trash cans

Going to do anything about the “fewer trash cans in parks” policy that the Parks Department is pursuing? That’s the first WSBer-suggested question we asked Mayor Nickels this morning, and the answer is in the :45 video clip above. Backstory: As noted here last night, we were offered a half-hour to interview Mayor Nickels, as he prepares to officially kick off his campaign for a third term by filing paperwork this Monday. This morning, we got about 25 minutes with him at Admiral Starbucks (they chose the location); he appeared with his wife Sharon Nickels and their dog Edgar – saying they walk there every morning – as well as the folks who helped arrange the interview, including campaign spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik. We sat outdoors on the east side of the coffee shop, and we asked some of the many questions WSBers kindly sent in response to our request for suggested questions – many more than we could squeeze in, and we hope to get a chance to ask more later in the campaign. Meantime, we’ll share more from this interview later – just wanted to get out the park/trash answer, for starters.

16 Replies to "Interview with Mayor Nickels, first report: Park trash cans"

  • Diane May 30, 2009 (12:33 pm)

    can you please include a sentence of text summary of his answers; I cannot access any of your videos; thanks

  • WSB May 30, 2009 (12:51 pm)

    no prob, we’ll add that later, I took notes too. we’re out at Delridge Day right now squinting at the screen in the brilliant sunshine so a little reduced capacity … TR

  • JBL May 30, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    This is so stupid. Someone please explain to me the whole logic behind this…
    1) The Mayor says litter is a problem in parks.
    2) We need to find ways to cut costs in the Parks
    3) So we’ll reduce the amount of trash cans in parks to give parkgoers the responsibility of “pack in, pack out” ???
    If there is a trash problem to begin with, when there are trash cans available, how will this help anything except make it worse? This is so passive aggressive. Why is he wasting his time with this when he should be spending it elsewhere?

  • Michael May 30, 2009 (1:24 pm)

    To be clear, this “solution” will not reduce littering in our parks. It will make it WORSE.
    What it will do is reduce the amount of litter placed in cans, and I would imagine cleanup crews earn less than Waste Management employees. But between cleanups, we will have to live with more litter in our parks – especially in neighborhoods like Delridge, where unfortunately there seems to be a “toss it on the ground and let the property owners/City take care of it” culture.
    Perhaps this could even be construed as socioeconomic discrimination – maybe that angry lady who went on the warpath about the wading pools should compare the number of trash cans at Delridge to the number at Kinnear. :)

  • Bob May 30, 2009 (3:32 pm)


    You should be able to watch it the next time you go to In the search box, type West Seattle Blog and a relevant word or two. In this case “trash” does nicely and brings up Hizzoner’s ruddy smiling visage as he gabs in a really engaging, friendly and folksy manner about how even the lowliest dwellers among us will happily take up the Wilderness Backpacker’s Credo re: packing out trash. Our meadows soon will be filled with fresh-faced song! Inspiring stuff.

    To get a preview of this, just hint to your local neighborhood pack of rebellious teenagers that it’s the latest fun cool hip thing to steal the trash cans from the bus stops in all the local down-at-heel areas where a lot of hardy upstanding non-mountain trekking citizens congregate, and watch the result.

  • Diane May 30, 2009 (4:28 pm)

    thanks Bob; but alas, sometime this year my computer was harmed by virus/or just sign of old-age, can no longer access any videos
    s’pose there’s a good side to this; keeps me from getting lost in youtube la-la-land; been there; it’s fun; hard to stop
    but for news stories, I’d like to get the basics of what was said/what happened, without watching video

  • Bob May 30, 2009 (6:43 pm)

    Ask in the forum, e.g. “Help, my evil PC stopped playing videos!” Maybe a nearby neighbor has fixed that already on his/her PC.
    Oh, and lest anyone think I was ragging on bus pasengers, I’m not. Heck, go to some halfway upscale gathering place like Qwest Field where people pay a lot of money to get in. Lock up most of the trash cans there and see what happens. It’ll cost you in increased cleanup costs.
    150 years of municipal experience says it’s cheaper to dump a can than it is to roam around the park with a pointy stick for however long it takes to clean up even part of the litter in a can.
    There is an optimum geographic placement of cans for the least overall cost to gather trash, given some requisite level of cleanliness. I’d guess the Parks Dept. is somewhere near that optimum now. A no-nonsense mayor would have said straight out, “Fellow Americans, we have to let the parks get dirtier to save ourselves money. Do your part and pick stuff up.” Of course that last bit wouldn’t help much.
    The compressor storage can saves money, but it doesn’t extend a can’s geographic reach. Some people just will not walk all the way across a park and back to discard their fast food leavings.
    So you didn’t miss anything by not watching that homespun fireside chat, except some fine Hizzoner-type entertainment as the bluebirds flew out of his mouth warbling in two-part harmony about how all the parks will certainly stay very clean without lots of their trash cans because yes, our hearts are filled with sunshine, every one of us is a truly virtuous backpacker and human nature no longer exists as we know it.
    Will somebody please drag Steinbrueck back here?

  • KBear May 30, 2009 (10:11 pm)

    The mayor has gone completely nuts. There is no way that fewer trash cans will lead to anything but more litter.

  • Christi S May 30, 2009 (10:17 pm)

    TR: dying to hear the rest of this interview! Need help with the bandwidth? Let me know.

  • Andy May 30, 2009 (10:48 pm)

    “This is so passive aggressive.”

    Welcome to Seattle! Passive aggressiveness was invented here.

  • WSB May 30, 2009 (10:48 pm)

    No, more a matter of processing time and not publishing the whole thing in the middle of a sunny summer weekend. There were no particular bombshells and 25 minutes was only enough time for about a fourth of the questions I received – wow! – this one was the most timely/topical so I chugged it out fast. There was one more I might break out later tonight/early tomorrow, then we’ll see how it goes – TR

  • Save Our Streets Seattle May 31, 2009 (12:34 am)

    Mayor McCheese never makes ANY sense. He talks in circles. I look forward to the rest of the interview. I’d rather vote for the Octomom than Nickels at this point.

  • WSB May 31, 2009 (12:54 am)

    I’ve pulled another bite, as the TV parlance goes, coming up next, for the night owls (and those who will of course via the miracle of the Web see it in days to come) – regarding one of the Alki complaints from the recent Community Council meeting, whether anything can be done to make the beach a more “civil” place. Also putting up an annexation answer on White Center Now right after that.

  • Mike May 31, 2009 (1:37 am)

    The mayor wanted to use National Parks as an example of “pack it in, pack it out”. True *some* of the national parks are that way but typically you’ll find those also require a registration and/or fee to access them according to rules and regulations that the national parks impose on visitors. This helps track who is coming and going and ensures the safety and cleanliness of the national parks.

    Alki beach is open to public and requires no fee nor registration to access. It’s easily the most heavily visited recreation area in Seattle. I’m amazed the mayor would even think to remove trash cans since it’s HIS term that has provided the $4,000 solar trash compactor bin… really, $4k to compact trash… it’s not a compost bin, it just crushes trash. Hell, pay me $4k and I’ll go stomp on it when I walk my dog each day.

  • 3dogslater May 31, 2009 (9:35 am)

    Do you really think this will work? What about pet waste? Environmentally is it worth the risk? considering the high volumes of folks on Alki? Yes- we are responsible for our trash, in a perfect world. Everyone would have to be on board with the “pack it in pack it out” theory…Using the National Park as an example is unrealistic.City trash volumes are higher.
    I see a big problem with Nickels’ “It’s worth a try” approach. How much is it going to cost the taxpayers to clean it up when his theory fails? Trash- trash everywhere

  • anon May 31, 2009 (10:19 am)

    Let’s think about the health concerns first.

    If one child gets stuck by a dirty needle that was not thrown into a non-existent trash can, can the Mayor really live with the guilt?

    Will someone or some group please stand for common sense in our lovely city?

    Please Mr. Mayor, put inject some logic into your political content.

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