I guess Democrats welcome debate and Republicans don’t. That’s what I come away with from state Rep. Ed Murray’s guest column in the Seattle P-I (”Save First Hill train station“), and our friend Stefan’s snide response over on (un)Sound Politics (”Ed Murray admits: Sound Transit is pointless.”)
If you ever wonder why politicians are so reluctant to publicly stray from the talking points, this is it… because the minute you stupidly attempt to engage in some sort of reasonable debate, some prick twists your words out of context for partisan gain. Dare to examine all sides of an issue, or worse, (gasp) think out loud, and you might as well ask your opponents to call you a “flip-flopper.”
Apart from King County Executive Ron Sims, there are few elected officials who have shown more support for Sound Transit than Rep. Murray, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. So when he publicly voices constructive criticism of Sound Transit’s plans, he deserves to be listened to, not ridiculed. Indeed, the fact that he is such a strong supporter — and that as a savvy politician he surely recognizes the risk of straying off-message in the vicious world of new media — makes his criticism all the more credible.
The point of Rep. Murray’s column is to emphasize the importance of saving the First Hill Station, which would serve one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Seattle. But in closing his column, Rep. Murray reiterates his support for light rail:
I believe in the vision that Sound Transit is trying to realize. People need a better way of getting where they need to go. They need other options aside from hopping in the car and sitting in traffic.
It took creativity and imagination for Sound Transit to find a way to extend the train to Sea-Tac International Airport.
Let’s keep the faith with the citizens who voted for Sound Transit. Let’s use the same creativity that got the train to the airport to save the First Hill station.
Creativity, imagination, and leadership… that’s also what it takes to publicly criticize a project you strongly support.
And what of (u)SP’s latest contribution to the transit debate? Well, posts like that (and I occasionally make them myself) are the blog equivalent of a fart: they’re noisy and smelly… but damn it feels good to let one out. Fortunately, they quickly dissipate.