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By Bob Hegamin    January 30, 2000

Who's running Seattle, anyway? One can only wonder, considering the following exchange reported in an article headlined A new disappearing act? The Seattle Times, January 28, 2000,

... Joan Galvin, spokeswoman for Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: ….."When we come to Seattle, local animal control is there the whole time. They have to inspect every animal. We are under a great deal of scrutiny."

…Not enough, animal-rights groups say. They say laws are inadequate, written at a time when even at zoos, a small cage was considered a good place to keep a lion.

Animal-rights groups are just a few of the many special interest groups which call on City Hall to further their agenda. In this case, animal-rights groups have presented a proposal to ban or make illegal -- within the City of Seattle -- any circus performance utilizing exotic animals. Unfortunately for Seattleites and their many other concerns, Mayor Schell along with several members of the City Council, have been satisfying special interests first. Policies governing the City of Seattle have essentially been placed at the mercy of the whims of elected officials controlled only by their emotions and self-interests. Two council members give classic examples of this unusual mental process in the following quotes:

…..(Council member Heidi Wills) said shipping the animals around the country and making them perform in "pink tutus" is cruel. Schell's exotic animal ban is a 3-ring circus Seattle Post-Intelligencer January 28, 2000.

…(Council member Judy) Nicastro's decision to push for the ban springs from her experience at the circus as a child. Even as a young girl, she said, she suspected something wasn't right with an elephant that performed a head stand and tigers that leapt through rings of fire. A new disappearing act? The Seattle Times January 28, 2000.

The result of such a ban ordinance is still unclear because, at best, any consideration would be premature. Or, is it? (1). Will the proposal make it illegal to use exotic animals for entertainment within City limits? Or, (2). Will the proposal ban the performance of circus animals on city property only? Or, (3). Will the philanthropic Shriners' Circus be affected by this ordinance? Or, (4). Is the City trying to send a message to private ventures and businesses that they can be shut down if they aren't what the City deems -- politically correct?

Several council members are pressing the Mayor to go forward with the proposal, although they haven't given any legal reason for a ban. This only gives additional weight to the argument that the Mayor and members of the City Council are using their elective offices for personal social agenda and not necessarily on behalf of the people of Seattle. The following is quite telling.

So what will people who enjoy the animal circus do if the ordinance passes? (Council member) Nicastro has an idea: "They can go to Tacoma." A new disappearing act? The Seattle Times January 28, 2000.

(Mayor) Schell has told council members he won't oppose his own proposal, but he will not take the lead in pushing it. "It's kind of like he's the general drawing up the battle plan, but he doesn't want to be on the battlefield," said Councilman Nick Licata, chairman of the council's Parks Committee. Schell's exotic animal ban is a 3-ring circus Seattle Post-Intelligencer January 28, 2000.

Their comments are insulting and arrogant, made without regard for the feelings of those Seattleites who would disagree with them on this issue. Just what are they trying to prove?