Danny Westneat reads HA

…and he’s not excited about paying for a ferry in Kirkland either:

Cook is a South Park computer geek who, through her front window, has a commanding view of what ought to command the attention of King County: the South Park Bridge.

It’s a drawbridge over the Duwamish. It’s 77 years old and feels twice that. With a safety rating of 4 out of 100, it’s the most dangerous road around (the Alaskan Way Viaduct is a 9). Twenty thousand cars and trucks cross it daily.

King County owns this bridge. Engineers say they will shut it in a few years if nothing is done. Money to fix it was in the Roads and Transit plan that failed last week. Now the county has no plan for what to do.

“We aren’t going to be able to come up with the money for that by ourselves,” says Dow Constantine, the councilman who represents South Park.

So it rankles Cook that there the council was Tuesday, approving new taxes for ferries. For flood levees. For mental-health services. Worthy causes all, she said. But what could be more basic, more utilitarian than a neighborhood bridge?

“I don’t understand their priorities,” she said. “How can they just abandon a bridge?”

You know, it’s not like the county hasn’t seen this coming for years. It’s all a matter of setting funding priorities. King County should shelve the ferry to Ballard/Kirkland/Des Moines, cancel plans to remodel Seattle Center (which isn’t their’s to remodel in the first place) and focus on the South Park bridge.


  1. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    For once I agree with you, Will. The county council is either arrogant or nuts. Maybe they think they’re safe because none of them has to stand for election for another two years. Maybe they reckon that’s long enough for voters to forget what they did to taxpayers a week after the voters said “no” to taxes at the ballot box. Maybe 225 years is too long for them to remember what the Colonists did to the King’s tax collectors.

  2. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Personally, I’ll go along with the 1/10th cent sales tax for mental health services, although I’d rather see the federal government fulfill its responsibilities to homeless veterans than have this responsibility get shoved onto local tax roles, and I’ll also go along with the flood control tax. But the foot ferries, it seems to me, duplicate ferries and bridges we’re already paying taxes for. As for the port of Seattle, I want them to figure out how to make our port self-supporting like every other West Coast port is, so we can get rid of that damned port tax. If they can’t do that, then we should get rid of the damned port commission and the damned port along with it.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stefan reads HA too. So how about it, Stefan? Are you going to share the proceeds of your lawsuit against Dean Logan and King County Elections with the generous donors to your “legal action fund” who helped pay for the lawsuit? If not, why not? Maybe because there’s no proceeds to share? It’s been a couple years since you filed that lawsuit. Has it survived summary judgment yet? Is it still pending? Why are you so quiet about this? You sure were crowing loudly about this lawsuit a while back, but now we never hear a peep from you on this subject. Did your crass attempt to raid the public till and line your own pocket with taxpayers’ money get laughed out of court? Did the judge snicker when you told him that, although the county gave you 600,000 documents and free use of a county employee and a room for six weeks, they forgot to give you a dozen or so documents they didn’t know they had and therefore the taxpayers owe you a lot of money? How about it, Stefan? The world wants to know!!! What’s the status of your lawsuit against the taxpayers of our fair county?

  4. 8


    Nobody is excited about foot ferries…

    And the mental health KC Council vote? That it lines the pockets of the SEIU through extortion is disgusting! Requiring as a condition of receipt of funds that a mental health provider have an “understanding,” or whatever word was used in the Times, with a union (read SEIU) violates the democratic rights of workers to decide the issue via a secret ballot election. But very typically SEIU, which also does the same unethical crap in Olympia.

    All I can say to the KC Council is, “Smooth move, Ex Lax…You’ve succeeded in pissing off the taxpayers more than they are now!”

    The Piper

  5. 9

    delbert spews:

    Damn, when the hard left _and_ the hard right are both criticizing your tax moves, you know you’ve augered in.

    I tried to leave feedback on BobF’s webpage, but it’s a bit busy apparently…

  6. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “That it lines the pockets of the SEIU through extortion is disgusting!”

    Spoken like a true CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVE. If you don’t want care providers to make a living wage, maybe China will see you some of their slaves. Better yet, why don’t YOU try doing the work they do, for what YOU want to pay them …

  7. 12

    GUEST FAG spews:

    Quite expert on the issue of faeries, but not ferries, Kenmore or Vashon. (Kirkland is quite another matter)

    Dow is catering to the West Seattle voters, pork barrel and Ron Sims has just lost his mind.

    Bad move, and will be costly in the long run. REMEMBER, they all lie to the public. Stock and trade.

    There is a reason the American public holds political leaders in such low regard, they are money grubbing scum – even the nice ones.

    Richard Pope, sue the county to repair the bridge, class action.

    And Dow will shed tears when the bridge falls and kills. Oh, so sad that day ….. Sims will preach at the funerals.

  8. 13

    FricknFrack spews:

    Unbelievable sense of priorities!!!

    Didn’t take a psychic to see they, King County & Port, were salivating at a chance to raise some more taxes – even if Prop 1 HAD passed. They’ve just gotta run the rest of the fixed income or low income folks out of town, fast as possible.

    Do you suppose the Council NEVER read about the recent: ?
    “I-35W bridge collapse: Shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 1, the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed.”

    Instead of focusing on basic and essential needs, they would rather fund Foot Ferries for a few HUNDRED people? Think I will email video sites of that 35W bridge collapse to the council members and Sims to get them some education. At that time, Minneapolis WAS able to fund the new Twins ballpark while ignoring their unsafe bridge. Granted, “Thursday’s Twins-Royals afternoon game was postponed in light of the tragic I-35W bridge collapse”, showing respect for all those innocent victims. Big of them for sure.

    Do you suppose we might expect the King County Council to vote tomorrow to supply the much needed new Sonics Stadium? Because unsafe bridges are just such a NON-ISSUE?

    Maybe the ones in need of the Mental Health services are the Council Members themselves! Beyond Shock & Awe.

  9. 14



    The point is that once again the SEIU seeks to get through legislative muscle what it can’t get at the bargaining table.

    And, with his provision in the KC funding ordinance, the SEIU is stripping workers of their right to a secret ballot election. It should be up to workers to determine whether they wish to be represented by a union, not the KC Council legislating at the direction of the SEIU.

    If workers choose, in a secret ballot election, to be represented by a union, then that’s their right under federal law…But it should be the WORKER’S right to decide.

    Speaking as an old SEIU organizer/business agent, I know whereof I speak.

    The Piper

  10. 15

    please pay attention spews:

    The reality is that all three of the taxes passed by the Council were a direct result of the federal and state governments passing on the cost of services to county and city governments. Over the past thirty years of the Reagan Revolution and the Bush years we have seen government cut taxes for the rich and systematically stop investing in our infrastructure.

    The state has cut funding for mental health and human services drastically over the past few years. That is why seven counties adopted the same mental health tax recently.

    The federal Corps of Engineers has cut budgets severely under Bush. The levees in the Kent Valley and elsewhere are in danger of failure with no help from the feds. They built many of these levees and have walked away from this region. That is why the flood control district was set up.

    The state announced it was eliminating passenger ferry service and invited counties to take it over with specific legislation and they decided what tax could be used. King County stepped up to save the Vashon passenger ferry. They also wanted to find a dedicated funding source for the West Seattle to Downtown water taxi. Last year it carried over 161,000 people. There is reason to believe that with better boats and frequency it could carry more. The other routes around the county will be tried and if they succeed they will be kept and expanded. If they fail, the tax can be lowered at any time.

    The Sierra Club just made global warming a key part of their opposition to Prop. 1. And now we have an option that will cost homeowners $1.83 a month for the owner of a $400,000 home and has the potential to take many cars off the roads. The annual cost is the cost of lunch for two.

    We have to have a mix of solutions to solve our transportation problems in this region. Light rail, buses, and yes, ferries can play a role. The Sea Bus in our neighbor, Vancouver B.C., carries over five million people a year. Passenger ferries in New York carried over 20 million people last year. The Bay Area carries millions more with plans for more routes. Development has happened around ferry terminals providing an option for car-free living.

    The right of way is free. We have ignored our water as an option to carry commuters for too long. These are important things to do. If the state and the federal governments won’t do the things they are supposed to do, local governments will have to.

  11. 16

    Marcel spews:

    yes but what are we getting with these ferries? How often will they go? How long will they take? Are the boats contributing to climate changes more than, or less than, cars or busses? Will the ferry be quicker than driving, or taking a bus?

    What is the capital cost per new rider? The operating subsidy per new rider? What will the ridership be?

    161,000 a year sounds like a lot but it is only less than 500 per day. Perhaps the same as three busloads?
    A rapid transit station will give you 3000-6000 riders per day. Maybe all this money for ferries would be better spent adding one station to the light rail? The Sounder train is close to Shilshole, maybe just adding one Sounder station in Ballard is cheaper than running a ferry from Shilshole to downtown? Or perhaps instead of ferries, ad buses to existing routes that are overcrowded or acquire that BNSF right of way on the East side, to tie it in to the light rail going to Bellevue?

    Who knows? The County Council members? The Metro bus? Sound Transit? did they compare their figures?

    It seems there is no integration and no real comparative analysis.

  12. 17

    please pay attention spews:

    Actually, the 161,000 figure for the Water Taxi was just for April to September with a few dates in October thrown in. For a full year it could easily carry many more. During the I-5 closures, thousands rode the boat. We folks in West Seattle won’t have too many options during viaduct deconstruction. The water taxi is one of our few options.

    This is $200 million over 10 years to operate seven routes. The plan is to have half-hour boats most of the day from West Seattle. King County’s plan stresses a interchangeable fleet of fuel-efficient, low-emission boats.

    I strongly supported building 50 miles of rail, but the cost to even build a few miles of track and a station far exceeds the cost of this ten year plan. King County has been looking at this since the state got out of the business. Read the briefing paper on the King County Ferry District Website:


  13. 18

    J.R. spews:

    Guys, the three taxes the County Council approved were special purpose funding authorized by the state for, well, special purposes. Can a dime of the money authorized to run ferries or treat mental health be legally diverted to completely different purposes, such as building a new South Park Bridge? Nope. So what does any of this have to do with the South Park Bridge? Nothing.

  14. 19

    John425 spews:

    “You know, it’s not like the county hasn’t seen this coming for years…”

    Ah, Regressives- you just gotta love these guys! Bass-Ackward thinkers.

  15. 20

    ridovem spews:

    @4 Sure- there are bridges, and car ferries that also haul buses, gas tankers, etc.- but if you want people out of their cars, a passenger boat looks pretty good… water is more efficient than rail… maybe not quite as fast, but cheap… and flexible. Those old Boeing hydrofoils should be running from Seattle to Tacoma & back for the last 25 years. Besides, it’s emotionally healthy to ride a ferry… broad horizons are good for the soul.
    Re the Port, Amen- let ‘em pay their way. Tacoma is a more efficient port (& has a lower tonnage subsidy)- and if they had McChord for a freight runway, could be cheaper still- And Sea-Tac wouldn’t have needed a 3rd runway… ^..^