Times buries Drago over tunnel claims

Wow. The Seattle Times editorial board really sticks it to Jan Drago this morning. I wonder what this telegraphs?

Few Seattleites doubt Nickels deserves a stiff challenge for a third term. Fewer dispute the idea that politicians take credit for a variety of things they didn’t do.

But Drago’s pitch that she will improve relations with state government is diminished when she hypes her own impact.

Good communication relies on offering accurate descriptions. Take credit for what you really accomplished and don’t pretend your role was larger than it was.

Huh. I guess Drago shouldn’t count on getting the Times’ endorsement.

Kinda funny though to see candidates fighting over who deserves more credit for pushing through an unpopular and expensive tunnel.


  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    Have they decided what to call the tunnel yet? I can’t come up with anything fun like the SLUT…

  2. 2

    Our Lady of Fatass spews:

    Ya know something David – you’d really do yourself a favor if you’d just admit what everyone involved in crafting this tunnel package knows: the WSDOT cost overruns now can be paid by LID assessments and the Port of Seattle is going to set up the LID to do that.

    That’s what the Clibborn amendment says, and that’s how it was designed to work.

    It’s ESSB 5768, and the Clibborn amendment was added right at the end.

    You KNOW that’s reality – why don’t you just admit it?

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2, 4 — Yeah, if POS* is given discretion to draw the LID boundaries you can take it for granted that homeowners will get stuck with the bills and Bigg Bidness won’t.

    * Stands for Port of Seattle or Piece of Shit, your choice.

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If Clibborn wants to do something constructive with her time in the legislature, she can start with a bill to abolish the Port of Seattle and merge its operations with King County. Would that produce better port management? I don’t know, but it couldn’t possibly be worse.

  5. 7


    Ok, just so I have this right; the Seattle Times is chastising mayoral candidate Councilwoman Jan Drago for claiming too much credit for a viaduct replacement project the majority of Seattle did not vote for, that the state legislature chose to saddle Seattle for all of the cost overruns on. Umm, ok.

    Last Spring she did testify in Olympia for the Tunnel project. I watched most of that on TVW.

    Months before she stood next to Greg Nickels when the deal for the tunnel was announced, her contribution was committing Seattle to another Streetcar line to run from Alaskan Way on up the the empty KeyArena with no funding source to make it happen.

    She stood next to Ron Sims, Sims’ added bus service to add one million ridership hours was depending on car tab tax that never happened.

    She stood with Governor Chris Gregoire who stripped away support for the added bus service hours after Ron Sims announced that he was leaving his position as King County Executive to become the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    This Tunnel is, even by its supporters, a negative experience, 7 years in the making, following the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.

    Why anybody would think exaggerating their involvement in that mess is nuts. It says more about the fantasy one must live in to think this is an issue to campaign on than it does about mayoral attributes. She is a better communicator than Greg Nickels, and this pile of manure is her claim to fame, really?

    It is no wonder a guy that looked to be a long shot, James Donaldson, is polling almost on par with Drago. Between Nickels and Drago’s shared history, I guess James Donaldson should be seen as a potential mayor, and not as an “also ran”.

  6. 8

    Deb Eddy spews:

    The language in ESSB 5768 is ineffective to permit, allow or authorize the imposition of any fees, taxes, tolls or IOUs on anyone or anything on account of any state project — even the tunnel — going over budget. It’s theater, guys. Pure theater.

    If someone can make a cogent argument that the Port is somehow authorized to do something here, please cite the statutory language. Otherwise, this is just made-up nuttiness.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 Oh c’mon, Deb. I know you’re a legislator and all that, but you guys in the Leg don’t really know what the legislation you wrote and passed means before you’ve seen the lawyers’ briefs interpreting it. And of course I know you’re a lawyer, too, but even we in the profession can’t say for sure what will come out the other end of the Legal Sausage Machine.

  8. 10

    mukasey is a tyrant spews:

    Rep. Eddy:

    I sincerely hope you respond to this message, and ignore the condescending and untrue posting from “Roger Rabbit.”

    Rep. Eddy, with all due respect you are wrong about this:

    The language in ESSB 5768 is ineffective to permit, allow or authorize the imposition of any fees, taxes, tolls or IOUs on anyone or anything on account of any state project — even the tunnel — going over budget. It’s theater, guys. Pure theater.

    Here is the Clibborn amendment:


    It is now part of the new AWV replacement tunnel financing statute.

    The legal effect of the reference in it to “benefited” Seattle property owners is that the legislature thereby determined LID assessment revenues may be used to cover WSDOT tunneling costs in excess of $2.8 billion.

    A Local Improvement District can be set up by local governments to impose assessments to raise revenue to cover capital costs of projects IF the local government has statutory authority to create the LID. The property owners subject to LID assessments are those benefiting from the project (that is, the county assessor determines their properties’ values increased due to the project).

    The Port of Seattle has the existing statutory authority to create a LID that could be used here. RCW 53.08.050. No public vote would be required. The Port’s operations in central Seattle gain efficiencies from the AWV replacement tunnel project, so it is the kind of project the Port commissioners would be justified in creating a “RCW 53.08.050″ LID to help finance.

    Now that the legislature (via the Clibborn amendment) has determined benefited Seattle property owners are to pay cost overruns, the Port has the existing statutory authority to create the LID and begin the assessments once it gets the word from WSDOT the anticipated costs will exceed $2.8 billion.

    That is why the Clibborn amendment says what it does: now the Port can use its RCW 53.08.050 LID authority to impose annual assessments on thousands Seattle property owners whose properties’ assessed values will increase due to the project.

    Did someone actually tell you it was “theater?” It was drawn up by the public finance lawyers at the two firms who do all the public finance work around here. They gave this language to Frank Chopp, and he gave it to Judy Clibborn.

    Roger – so you’re a lawyer? Rather than throwing insults at Rep. Eddy, let’s see you critique that analysis.

    You understand full well the Clibborn amendment language gives a green light to the Port to use its existing LID authority to assess some Seattle property owners to cover WSDOT costs in excess of $2.8 billion, correct?