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Seattle's Rice Ahead

As the Seattle mayor's race winds down, incumbent Norm Rice is poised to win handily over David Stern. But the retired businessman's feisty campaign has drawn support from a sizable minority who feel that Mayor Rice has not done enough to curb crime and revitalize the business climate.

In radio interviews and debates, Mr. Stern made a nice-guys-finish-last critique of Rice's four-year record. ``Seattle Needs a Stern Attitude'' is the headline on the former ad executive's campaign flier. He calls for 200 more police officers and a youth curfew, and blasts Rice for allowing parking costs to soar at quarters-only meters in the city center.

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Rice has his own anti-violence program, stressing gun control and greater youth job and recreation opportunities. He supported City Council initiatives passed a month ago to restore streets by criminalizing ``aggressive'' panhandling.

The mayor scolded the business community for taking too narrow a view of what makes for a good economic climate. ``Long-term economic development is also about education, transportation, lifting up the poorest among us, and protecting our environment,'' he told business leaders last week.

* Mark Trumbull reports from Seattle.