Carol “Kingdome” Keaton: Perhaps no one has ever been more closely associated with a Seattle landmark than Carol Keaton’s connection to the late and lamented (by me) Kingdome. Her obituary in The Seattle Times listed a half dozen titles that she held over the years, related to promoting the concrete edifice that was imploded in 2000. In its 24 years, it had hosted some 73 million visitors. When it was leveled, Carol said it was “like losing an old friend.”
She also gained fame earlier in life as the champion-baton-twirling majorette with the Washington Husky band, including two appearances in the illustrious Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena.
My personal memories include the several times in the ’80s when Carol gave me access to the Mariners’ locker room, when they were playing the Baltimore Orioles and my old high school teammate, Cal Ripken, Sr. Cal always introduced me to the guys—from Jim Palmer to Cal Jr. and Brooks Robinson—and got me box-seat tickets along the first-base line. I have Carol to thank for those special times.
She died at her home on Whidbey Island on July 20 at age 75. A celebration of life will be held at 2pm Nov. 12 at the Rainier Golf & Country Club.
Gary’s Gamble: I asked my good friend Gary Brose to share his thoughts on his courageous run for mayor of Seattle in what had to be considered the longest of shots. It was, but—in true Gary fashion—he remains upbeat about the experience.
“I began most of my speeches with a joke. I’d say, ‘I entered the mayoral race after consulting with multiple doctors. Three out of five agreed I might be ‘sane,’ so I jumped wholeheartedly into the fray as a Republican candidate for Seattle mayor.
“I know. It’s a non-partisan race, but I decided early that, from a marketing perspective, it was better to differentiate from the crowd than to be one of many. And it was truly ‘many’. A total of 21 candidates emerged for mayor and 17 of them were left of center with some being so far left even Lenin would have blushed.
“On the other side of the road there was also a Libertarian, two candidates who identified as independent but generally voted Republican, and me. I was the only one who embraced the R tag.
“Before I paid the $2,000 filing fee, I tried to hire a campaign manager. I’ve run small businesses all my life (Fleetfoot Messenger Service, Seattle Funplex, etc.) and what I knew about political campaigning you could fit into the world’s tiniest thimble and still have room for all I know about Opera, the Ballet, and the Federal Reserve System. So, I had to have a manager!
“The first four turned me down. ‘No viable chance.” “No clear path to victory.’ ‘Thanks anyway, I don’t do Seattle.’ I heard all the excuses. Finally, I connected with Jeff Harvey, a veteran of many of Dave Reichert’s campaigns, and he took me on. He asked me what my strategy was (as if I had one…).
“Actually, the main reason I jumped into the race was math. I’m good at math. I looked at all those lefties running (no offense to lefties out there) and deduced they all would siphon votes off of each other, meaning that if I cornered the vast majority of the conservative/Republican vote, I might be able to pull 18% and that looked like the magic number to me to land the #2 spot in the primary.
“I told Jeff that and then added ‘and combine that with all the stars in the heavens aligning and if pigs fly backward singing the Star Bangled Banner, I could possibly win the Primary.’
“Of course, he asked me how I would win the general election against a highly leveraged candidate and my clever retort was, ‘One battle at a time,’ which is a good thing to say when you don’t have any other answer.
“You see, like almost everything else in life, it all comes down to marketing. So I was the candidate to the right and I spent all my time appealing to those folks; preaching to the choir and urging them to vote.
“I bought about $6,000 worth of 30-second ads on Fox News targeted to Seattle zips only; we planted signs all over the city; I drafted up a brochure and printed it at Staples; we had donation envelopes printed and I bought some cheap handouts. I spoke at all the Republican LD Meetings, multiple forums, retirement homes and did doorbelling.
“In the end, I garnered 3,975 votes, good for about 2% of the total vote. (Pub. Note: That was the best showing of the remaining 15 candidates, after the six who the local media decided had the only opportunity to win and focused all their coverage on).
“While I didn’t win, I learned a lot about the process and I met some incredible people. I shared my views and did my best to get my points across. I doubt I’ll be running again, but I love this city and I don’t think we’re moving in the right direction, so you never know…maybe I’ll give it one more try.
“Perhaps with a different marketing approach, the stars will align and the pigs will learn to fly backwards… I’ll work on their singing lessons later.” —Gary Brose