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December 31, 2006

Governor lacks leadership on viaduct

The Governor made a big mistake by asking for input from Seattle voters on the viaduct.  The whole viaduct debate is a falsely framed debate that will be made even more confusing by a public vote.  Understanding the complexities of how the different proposed replacements will be funded and whose pocket that funding comes out of will not be clear to voters.

The fact that a reduced capacity tunnel or surface expressway, are not on the table also limits the choices presented to voters.  Voters will be asked to choose between the two most auto-oriented proposals, and that simply doesn’t make sense, not for transit, the environment or the future of a livable Seattle.

If a public vote is inevitable, as it now appears, many choices should appear on a ballot. The public should vote using Instant Run Off Voting (IRV).  IRV would allow voters to express their first, second and third choices, and give elected officials the ability to see these results.  Only having two choices is an outmoded voting method, and in this case will really skew what the true public opinion is.

Like most tax issues that reach the ballot, I think the viaduct vote will largely boil down to the typical division in Seattle of home-owners versus renters, a division of young liberal Seattle and old conservative Seattle.  The property owners have their yards, views and most of all semi-annual tax bills, reminding them about their obligations to our schools, parks, state and local governments.   Those are the no-voters.  They have the advantage, because they are the voters who vote in special and primary elections, and they don't see the need for a waterfront for all.

Cross Posted on Urban Transit

Posted by EzraBasom on December 31, 2006 at 07:09 PM in Policy | Permalink


Ezra, you seem like an intelligent guy. Still your headline and opininion do not stem from the reality of the position your mayor and city council put the Gov in by failing over a two year period to divelop a real design and honest cost estimate for this design and a transparent honest detail of how the city would pay for the cost in excess of the states obligation. The vote should bring these things to the forefront.
It is just false to suggest that the Gov by calling for a vote is somehow anti-transit. Preserving funding capacity for transit is exactly why Seattle needs to put up the added funding or shit up. And reducing the capacity on existing right a way is a betrayal of the public trust placed in the state in management of its state highway system.
What is at risk is ST2 funding and light rail to the East side and to the North and south? What is at risk is faith in the system by which we fund both road and transit projects? Your Mayor and city council get this. They are playing poker with the state and the time for this to stop was six months ago.
So where did they force the debate? Well, if the Gov selected anything other than there option then she would find the project delayed in court and the costs would just keep going up. If she yielded without the cash Seattle would be all smiles till they got the bill or the wall of condos that will block everyone's view and span all of the new land created above the tunnel.
So what do people deserve? I'll tell you. They deserve the truth. Not spin but the cold hard facts and the Gov in her turn as dealer did what she could to create an environment for an honest debate over the options that could be afforded in good faith to the boosters of Seattle.

Posted by: Particle Man | Dec 31, 2006 10:41:03 PM

One hour and 25 minutes before the end of the year comes the single most remarkable post of 2006 for Evergreen Politics, in which every single statement and every single assumption therein is either utterly, manifestly, and demonstrably false, or it is the most exquisite satirical skewering of Seattle moonbat "thinking" ever written.

Bravo, sir, bravo! Josh Feit would kill to write something this perfect. A toast, I say!

Posted by: ivan | Dec 31, 2006 10:45:06 PM

Frankly, the Gov has less to say on this issue than you think she does. Voting between a tunnel (an option which is not financially feasable, according to the Gov herself) and another viaduct (which is fraught with all sorts of trouble in other ways).

I'm one of those folks who believes that the AWV ought to be replaced with a surface street, coupled with sizable and signifigant investment in the street grid and in transit. It meets Seattle's commitment to reduce global warming and, like you said, gets us away from auto-dependency and whatnot.

This may be a bit much for some to process, so give them time. If there is to be ANY vote, it should be an up or down vote on the rebuild option. This way, surface option supporters and tunnel supporters can agree that our waterfront is not something to spoil for another 75 years. We'll see what happens.

Posted by: Will | Jan 2, 2007 12:20:32 AM

"We'll see what happens."

Nothing will happen.

Posted by: David Sucher | Jan 4, 2007 12:07:58 PM

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