Seattle strip-club owners have until Nov. 8 to gather 14,000 signatures on petitions attempting to overturn the city's tough new restrictions...

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Seattle strip-club owners have until Nov. 8 to gather 14,000 signatures on petitions attempting to overturn the city’s tough new restrictions on nude dancing. But first, they need to come up with a stage name.

The clubs’ first choice for a political-committee moniker, the Coalition Against Censorship, ran into trouble last week because it was almost identical to that of an existing group — the Washington Coalition Against Censorship.

That nonprofit organization, which fights efforts to ban books in public schools, has been getting phone calls inquiring about the nude-dance campaign, said Barbara Dority, the group’s executive director.

Dority said she agrees with the strip clubs about Seattle’s new rules. “We do consider it a free-expression issue,” she said, calling it an example of “our sex-phobic culture.”

But Dority said the name similarity was “confusing” and asked the clubs to pick a different one.

On Friday, Gil Levy, an attorney for Rick’s strip club, announced the clubs’ second choice: Free Speech Seattle.

“Hopefully there is nobody else with that name,” Levy said in an e-mail to The Seattle Times.

Actually, that one’s also taken. Free Speech Seattle formed several years ago to fight a city ordinance banning posters on utility poles. That law was ruled unconstitutional, but the group still maintains a Web site, according to treasurer Ben Livingston.

No word yet on what the clubs’ third choice for a name will be.

Boeing and the GOP

Boeing lobbyist Al Ralston created a stir recently at a Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce meeting when he reportedly stood up and told the crowd that Boeing would not be making contributions to the state Republican Party this year.

Several people walked away from the Oct. 7 meeting with the impression that Ralston said Boeing made the decision because of the party’s recent endorsement of Initiative 912, which would repeal a 9.5-cent gas tax passed by the state Legislature in April. Boeing supports the tax increase.

“Ralston got up and said something to the effect that I’m not giving any money to the Republicans anymore. What I’m doing is giving money to the elected officials who had the courage to vote for the gas tax, and not to the [Republican] party,” said Rep. Fred Jarrett, R-Mercer Island, who was at the meeting.

Efforts to reach Ralston were unsuccessful. However, Boeing spokesman Peter Conte said Ralston’s comments were misinterpreted. Boeing will not be giving money to either the state GOP or the Democratic Party because the company is throwing its resources into the campaign opposing I-912, he said. The decision had nothing to do with GOP support for I-912, he said.

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said Ralston called him “out of the blue” after the Chamber of Commerce meeting. “He thought I was going to hear some kind of rumor,” Vance said, and wanted to “let me know that they wouldn’t be giving us any more money this year because they were giving it all to defeating I-912. But he said it was just a budgetary decision and had nothing to do with our decision [to endorse I-912].”

That’s not the impression Kristin Farr got from the meeting.

“Al stood up and said we hope others would do the same, but the Boeing company is not giving any money to the Republican Party in this election cycle” because of the party’s endorsement of I-912, said Farr, legislative director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, a union at Boeing.

Election 2005 notebook appears Mondays. Today’s was written by Seattle Times staff reporters Jim Brunner, Andrew Garber and Bob Young. Got an idea for the column? Write us at

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