Saying the economic downturn requires tough choices, Seattle mayor Greg Nickels said Pike Place Market municipal ambassador Rachel The Pig would be laid off as part of an effort to cut fat from the city budget. Rachel’s layoff, one of 30, was effective April 19.
“Unfortunately, a projected $24 million falloff in real estate tax collections means the city cannot afford to carry needless pork in the budget,” Nickels explained
“Therefore we have no choice but to cut Rachel’s position, as well as one-week closures of Seattle Public Libraries — which carry DVDs of “Babe” and the book Charlotte’s Web,” he said.
Nickels said that while he regrets the budget cuts, the reductions guarantee full funding for the #1 issue facing Seattle: purchasing a stockpile of road salt for next winter. “I wish we could keep everything, but Seattle doesn’t have a salt pork program. Although that would be delicious,” said the mayor.
Nickels said he is making sacrifices too. “I am postponing $1.4 million in planned seismic upgrades to my Herman Miller office chair,” Nickels said.
Saddened supporters of Rachel gathered today at the now empty spot under the Pike Place Market clock, where Rachel posed for tourist photos for 22 years, and served as a rendezvous point for couples meeting through Seattle Weekly personals ads. Rachel fan Sven Ballard said the bronze pig will be missed, but preferred to think of her departure as a much-deserved retirement.
“Rachel worked so hard for so long. The mayor’s staff has assured us Rachel is now living on a farm somewhere near Stanwood. There she can enjoy the clean country air, has lots of room to run, and is able to play with other pig sculptures,” Ballard said.
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Legislature averts disaster – Almost forgot to f@#k education