I know you have a busy schedule of trying to figure out ways to kill Washingtonians for want of basic social services. Still, I can’t believe that you aren’t speaking to the Mayor of the largest city in the state? Really? Because he said the untrustworthy things you did made it tough to trust you?
I mean, the man has said he’s willing to meet you much more than half way on the Viaduct replacement. He has said OK to a deep bore tunnel that he hates. He’s said OK to the loss of downtown exits. He’s said OK to figuring out how to pay for the city’s portion of the costs. He’s said OK to everything except the cost overruns on the state portion of the project. The fact that you can’t meet him there, and refuse to talk to him at all strike a terrible cord.
And look, I understand your disagreements. I certainly didn’t like his opposition to Roads and Transit. Yes, it worked out in the end, but I agreed with you: the risks were too high. But he said he’d be back with a transit only proposal, and by God he was. And that’s the rare thing that I think a lot of people miss about McGinn, he’s shockingly honest. He’s put out what he’d want and what he’s willing to compromise to, and it’s pretty far. He’s told you exactly how you can get this tunnel that you want done, and there’s no reason to believe that if you go along with him on the cost overruns and find ways that it doesn’t clog up city streets, that he’d be right there with you like he says.
And I know you feel like you’ve compromised too. Your favorite position was to replace the Viaduct with another, much larger, viaduct. So you feel that this tunnel and the money you’ve already appropriated to Seattle is enough. But you punted on replacement, called a vote, and lost. So now you’re stuck with a backup that I know you moved to, but it’s not the best way to move people around Seattle.
Maybe I and people like me are a bit to blame here too. After the quake, my main concern was to do something, almost anything, because I don’t want to die in an earthquake. Like McGinn, I preferred a surface/transit/I-5 option, but unlike him, I thought I would have been fine with whatever emerged. It turns out that despite my assumption that y’all in Olympia are out to get Seattle, I didn’t think you would go with whatever Bruce Chapman pulled out of his ass and then demand that we pay for any cost overruns, no matter if they were the state’s fault.
And this plan was so bad for Seattle that the city voters dumped our mayor in the primary and ultimately supported the person who was skeptical of it. There were other reasons Nickels lost, of course: It snowed a lot the year before the election. People didn’t like his support of light rail or opposition to the monorail. But his championing of an unpopular tunnel and saying trust Olympia that it would all work out gave a lot of people a reason to give him the boot. Seattle doesn’t trust the state.
We don’t trust Olympia when you take more money from Seattle than we put into state coffers and then tell us how generous you are. We don’t trust Olympia when you pander to people who hate Seattle by putting in a bullshit cost overrun provision. We don’t trust you when you take away all downtown exits, and tell us how the project is for Seattle drivers. We don’t trust Olympia when you go out of your way to pander to a car culture when many of us take the bus or take light rail or bike.
Perhaps you can earn back Seattle’s trust. I guess the next session is a good place to start. Fix the problems with the tunnel, talk to the mayor who respects the city and its citizens; don’t pretend that Richard Conlin is a reasonable substitute. I’m proud to have voted for you twice, but please stop bashing my city.