Seattle-Tacoma's Secret Now Known by World

Just because Seattle-Tacoma is ranked as one of the world's most livable cities, don't expect the locals to crow at the news. In fact, some of them are downright cranky.

"My first reaction was, 'Here we go again,' " said Seattle Times columnist Don Williamson. "Seattle's been one of the best-kept secrets in the country, but what made it so great is that it had been kept a secret."

In the "Cities: Life in the World's 100 Largest Metropolitan Areas" survey, Seattle gets high marks for food costs, living space, housing standards, communications, education, infant mortality and an 8 out of 10 for "peace and quiet."

But, said Williamson, "my real concern is when we ranked against U.S. cities, it was U-Hauls that were coming our way. Now it's going to be boats, planes and all that. But just tell them it's really terrible up here, the survey is all wrong, that the roads and streets and airports are crowded."

Said Seattle Mayor Norm Rice: "Being named one of the world's most livable cities is flattering, but it's no reason to become complacent. . . . From my vantage point, Seattle is a great city, but we've got a number of pressing problems, too."

And Mark Murray, the mayor's press secretary said: "Many of us were under-whelmed. Things like this are a real double-edged sword for Seattle. It's gotten to the point where many Seattle residents wish someone else would win so we wouldn't be the focus of everyone wanting to move."

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