Kristi Nebel of UFPPC reports on her experiences with the Pants-on-Fire-Mobile last Monday, which included a visit to a military recruiting center near the Tacoma Mall....

By Kristi Nebel

United for Peace of Pierce County
August 16, 2004

Note: Presumably with the aid of photos and more photos the reader understands the principle here of the car, trailer, and effigy; if not, please visit for the full story of this touring event.

August 16th

Our fearless leader Marilyn took the wheel with three others: me, Steve Nebel and one more member of our group, Marty. We rolled through the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma (known as the heart of economic and social trouble in town) stopping first at the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. We parked in front of the main entrance, prompting a warning from a gentle supporter monitoring security for the complex. But before then we managed to register several voters, and accrue plenty of smiles and admiration. Marty got a birthday hug from an Estonian immigrant, just as we headed for legal public parking.

Not coincidentally the Tacoma News Tribune found us across the street from their offices, sending a reporter. He took our incidental information and a photo, promising nothing as we were a bit close for comfort from their location.

Then we slowly cruised through the back streets in the neighborhood, engendering various expressions from the confused, enthused, and bemused. When the message sank in I passed out stickers to the delighted.

Marilyn recklessly headed to what she termed the "belly of the beast," our great shopping mall (Tacoma Mall), and rolled right up to the paved strip in front of the Marine and Navy Recruitment Center. The reflective window was irresistible for a long spell of self-admiration and photo-shooting.

George's face posed suggestively under the Marine sign and eventually of course we attracted some attention from within. A Marine politely emerged and asked the identity of George, incredulously wondering if we really were representing "our commander in chief"? We soberly replied yes and rolled on, noticing a cadre of Navy men watching us leave from the other side of the building.

Apparently these brave soldiers called mall security to chase us out because in no time they appeared with flashing lights and loudspeaker, instructing us to get out immediately. We then fled with bubbles blowing out the window gently as we passed through traffic lights (thus succeeding in cleaning the leather interior of the car).

We landed a couple of blocks away in the parking lot between a health food store and a fast food restaurant, which drew a small but appreciative group of admirers, some of whom we registered to vote. More kept flocking in for a souvenir sticker from the health food store.