Dear Governor Gregoire;

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.

Love,

Carl Ballard

Comments

  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    Carl, great letter. except this part:

    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.

    It worked out because there was really very little risk involved. I went the public meetings, the roads people didn’t even make sense half the time and the public sentiment was heavily in favor of transit and against roads.

    Shooting down Roads and Transit and passing Transit shows what you do when you have a clear vision backed by facts and a spine.

  2. 3

    Richard Pope spews:

    Didn’t something like 80% of the voters in Seattle vote for Gregoire in the last election? Either Gregoire hasn’t lost the trust of Seattle voters, or they perceived her opponent so negatively that any lack of trust by Seattle voters didn’t matter a whole hell of a lot.

  3. 5

    Deathfrogg spews:

    One thing I see is the reality of the basic problem being such things as fuel prices in ten years. Over the last decade, the price of motor fuels has almost tripled. Do that again by 2021 and that puts the price at $12 a gallon.

    In other words, nobody will be able to afford to drive the way they do now. We wont have a choice about mass transit then. It’s either that, or we go back to horses.

    If people are so desperate for a west side freeway along the shoreline, why not design it in such a way as to be pre-engineered for rail, heavy and light. Maybe even so structure could be added later to create park space or even for building on. This city is out of room for new building. The only real place left to go is up.

    This tunnel business, it really doesn’t make any economic sense whatsoever. It cuts downtown out completely. It really doesn’t strike me as being the safest option, considering the soil types in the area, the depth and type of bedrock. Seattle isn’t set up geologically for a tunnel there. It’s gonna end up being a nightmare project.

  4. 6

    Mark Centz spews:

    Richard, Seattle voters aren’t normally single-issue voters, so if we strongly support candidates who are better than their right wing opponents, that doesn’t mean we have to agree with them on every damn thing. We leave that to the other side.

  5. 7

    Michael spews:

    @5

    In other words, nobody will be able to afford to drive the way they do now. We wont have a choice about mass transit then. It’s either that, or we go back to horses.

    Yep!

    Oil production has peaked. 75% of cars are bought on credit, Bankruptcies and foreclosures are running at record levels, so good luck getting that loan.

    We need to figure out a new way of doing things.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m proud to have voted for her twice, too, because the alternative was Dino Rossi — the most underqualified candidate in living memory.

    But Gregoire has been a disappointment as governor. She seems not to understand that the governorship is a political office, not a legal job, and her current job is to lead the state.

    I’m reading Timothy Egan’s “The Big Burn,” which nominally is about a 1910 forest fire, but really is about Teddy Roosevelt’s campaign for progressive principles at a time when robber barons owned Congress and ruled America. Roosevelt changed history by going out in public and campaigning for the ideas he championed, winning the support of the people.

    When has anyone seen Gregoire take the fight to the people for anything we progressives have fought for? We’re losing hard-won public programs right and left because she sits in the governor’s mansion doing nothing except saying it’s too bad we don’t have money to pay for anything anymore.

    If she were a firefighter, the house would burn to the ground because she doesn’t know how to hook up the hose to the hydrant.

    The tunnel cost overrun issue is emblematic of Gregoire’s inability to lead. She only knows how to pontificate. This isn’t really about tunnel vs. viaduct, or city vs. state. It’s about solving a crucial transportation problem in the state’s population and economic heart. The operative phrase is, Get it done.

    But the only thing Gregoire does is say the state doesn’t have any money, and hasn’t done anything to get whatever money is still needed. This is a state highway, damn it. That’s her job, damn it. She needs to stop arguing like a lawyer and start thinking like a governor, for God’s sake.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 Gas isn’t going to triple in the next 10 years, and we already have heavy and light rail through downtown. This project is about moving cars through Seattle, which has only two north-south highways. SR 99 carries a third of the through traffic. Apparently nobody in this state has enough brains to figure out how to move that traffic in a cost-effective manner that preserves the on-off downtown access we have now. Too bad the people who designed the viaduct 60 years ago are all dead. We sure need them now.

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 “We need to figure out a new way of doing things.”

    Don’t worry, the bankers are working on it.

  9. 11

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ 9

    The men that designed the 99 viaduct were also responsible for engineering the viaduct through Oakland CA that came down in the 89 Loma Prieta earthquake. That design was crap. Just as the original design for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was crap.

    If there is such a godawful push for a freeway there, make it useful for other things than just driving cars on. Because in 20 years, Its going to be useless otherwise.

    The tunnel is a joke, and like the Big Dig in Boston, will turn out to cost almost 15 times what was originally bid.

    Ah guarandamntee ya.

  10. 12

    ld spews:

    I can say it no better than this:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?f.....eId=240921

    “The cesspool of Washington and our state capitals, furthered by what is generally a degenerate mainstream media, has had more than a corrosive effect on our Judeo-Christian culture. The people have lost any respect for their so-called “leaders.”

    Last week I was watching an episode of Glenn Beck on Fox News. While I generally agree with Glenn and believe he has served the country well, he went off on blasting Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for releasing hundreds of thousands of allegedly classified government documents into the public domain. Beck called Assange a “traitor!” Then, turning to the studio audience, Glenn asked them, with a confident air that they would agree with him, what they thought of Assange. All but a few in the audience refused to condemn Assange and WikiLeaks, despite the respect and adulation they have for their television mentor. The response of the group was telling and scary. The American people sided with Assange and WikiLeaks and threw cold water into their adored host’s face. And why was this? Because “We the People” have come to see the government as so evil that even if it takes allegedly illegal means to bring it to its knees, to prevent its further oppression, this seems justified.

    There we have it in a nutshell. No matter how hard the conservative and leftist media may try to twist the minds of the American people, they have a mind of their own. And, as of today, that mind is on rebellion against the government, at all costs.”

    The people are speaking out against bigger expanding government. Government BETTER start listening!

  11. 13

    ld spews:

    Roger is going to loose his per 1 pension automatic increases. Less carrots per day and he’ll soon have eye problems. No Basic Health net to catch him. What is a State Wabbit to do.. Om my, Oh My.

    Start by not voting for Obama…

  12. 14

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    I’m proud to have voted for you twice, but please stop bashing my city.

    Love,

    Carl Ballard

    You are “proud” you voted for the person who signed consecutive unsustainable Budgets and put us in this position?
    You are an idiot Carl. Gregoire was the problem. She rolled over for the Union bosses at the detriment of our financial future.

  13. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Seattle voters are by large a bunch of bubbleheaded Progressives who want, want, want more, more, more government…no matter how much it costs. Educated idiots who can’t balance a budget.

  14. 16

    spews:

    Oh my. The (ld)iot reads Birther News Daily.

    Next we’re going to hear about the latest analysis of scraps of paper found in some Kenyan trash dump.

  15. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 I agree with you that the tunnel is a bad idea, but you are wrong about the future of cars. Cars will still be the primary mode of transportation for most people 20 years from now — and 40 years from now. They may run on a different fuel (see, e.g., electricity), but nothing can replace the convenience and flexibility of cars as a mode of individual transportation. And oil as transportation fuel still has a long run ahead of it. It would be the height of foolishness to eliminate a third of Seattle’s north-south automobile capacity on the blind assumption that you can put all those people on trains, light rail, buses, or bicycles. That won’t work, and that kind of thinking is a real disservice to people who need their cars to get to their jobs, to carry on their businesses, to get to doctors and other places they have to go. I just can’t sign on to the “freeways are evil” mentality because I’m a pragmatist and I think in terms of what works and what doesn’t work. When people go that route they lose me. Seattle needs that corridor for cars. Let’s make it work. Let’s make it be the best it can be, for the city, and for the people who use it. What I’ve seen so far is that the city has responded to the inability of people to agree on an option by opting for the most expensive and technically difficult option there is. That, it seems to be, is neither intelligent nor pragmatic. And if they intend to pay for it by unloading the extra expense on me, they can count on my opposition to a tunnel.

  16. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 As always, you’re full of shit. It isn’t unrestrained capitalism that created the middle class, brought us health care (what health care we have), child labor laws, universal education, public parks and libraries, protection for injured or laid-off workers, and so on. Government has been an enormous force for good that has dramatically improved the lives of the vast majority of our people who aren’t among the 1% of the populace constituting the upper class. People like you who diss government as a mindless ideology and try to tear down public services are enemies of the people. Make no mistake, you anti-government ideologues are the traitors, and you are disloyal to 99% of your fellow citizens. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

    As for eroding our “Judeo-Christian culture,” if you’re referring to the 99% of self-described “Christians” who spend one hour in church on Sundays and spend the rest of the week screwing over their fellow humanity, all I can say is, the faster that culture gets eroded to extinction the better off 99% of us will be. There are damn few so-called “Christians” who are Christians. Organized Christianity in America is almost entirely populated by selfish, greedy, tin-plated phonies who pay lip service to a religious ideology they know nothing about and don’t make any attempt to practice in daily life, which is why Christianity has gotten such a bad reputation among thinking people.
    All I can say is, until you personally do a better job of applying Christian principles to how you treat other people, get off your fucking high horse.

  17. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 What automatic increases, you ignorant fuck? I get exactly the same pension payment I did when I retired 8 years ago. There are no increases, automatic or otherwise. As always, you don’t know what you’re talking about and are spewing nonsense.

  18. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 (continued) Obama isn’t God’s gift to liberals, or even to Democrats, but what you guys offer us is so much worse (see, e.g., Raygun; W.; McCain/Palin) he’s the only choice we have.

  19. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I fail to see how Assange can be a “traitor” or can violate American espionage laws when the guy isn’t a U.S. citizen and operates on foreign soil. What part of “jurisdiction” — our government doesn’t have any over him — do you rightwing idiots not understand?

    As I’ve said before in the HA comment threads, I’m not willing to leave it up to government to decide what we, the people, have a right to know about what our government is up to. Helloooo, I thought you rightwing idiots didn’t trust government? So why do you trust government with censorship powers? What, exactly, are you trying to get away with? I’d like to know.

  20. 22

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    I hope we get a lot more out of Wikileaks so we can see what our government is really doing overseas.

  21. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Sure, there’s information that should be kept secret. How to build the firing mechanism for an A-bomb, for example. (Although the government did a damn poor job of protecting that particular piece of information.) But if you believe that government doesn’t abuse its authority to classify information, then you probably also believe that all priests are moral men who don’t molest little boys, and therefore can be trusted with our children without need of supervision. Good God, rightwing thinking is so fucked up you’ve gotta wonder whether they have any brains at all.

  22. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 “She rolled over for the Union bosses at the detriment of our financial future.”

    Yeah yeah, I know you think state employees should still be paid at 1998 wage levels even though they have to buy gas, groceries, and health care at 2010 prices. Go back to fucking goats, Klown, and leave thinking to people who have brains.

  23. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 Show me a King County or City of Seattle budget that wasn’t balanced. Just one. Anytime in the last 100 years.

  24. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    People like Id and Cynical just can’t stand democracy. They just can’t live with the idea of letting the majority of people decide how much to spend and what to spend it on.

  25. 27

    ivan spews:

    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.

    Bull SHIT it “worked out in the end.” The South Park Bridge and light rail from Tacoma to the airport say hello.

  26. 28

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ 26

    Benjamin Franklin described Democracy as being “Two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for supper”. I believe him.

    Representative government is what functions. The problem with the system now is, people are too easily corrupted, and inherently corrupt individuals actively seek positions of power. There is no system in place to prevent this.

    This tunnel is going to be a nightmare construction job. It WILL go over budget. It WILL take at least a year longer than it was scheduled to. The primary pro-tunnel propaganda was not coming from the People of Seattle, or even State interests. The primary lobbyists for pushing the option were the construction companies that are going to be working on the project, just as it was in Boston.

    I don’t know what the solution really is. I don’t pretend to. But the reality is in 15 years the only people able to afford to driver personal vehicles every day to get to work are going to be the wealthiest.

    Watch Saudi Arabia over the next year or so. The King has had two major surgeries in the last week, and may now be in a coma. His family has rented the entire Waldorf-Astoria hotel, and sealed it off. Saudi Arabia is NOT a stable country. There is a lot of animosity and “unfinished business” amongst different factions, even within the Saudi Royal family.

    Being the primary source of our motor fuels, if a coup happens in Saudi Arabia you will see gasoline and diesel double in price in the space of days. We’re already at the breaking point of what we can afford. At that point, all the rest is academic.

  27. 29

    the majority spews:

    @26

    Oh, I have an idea he was perfectly happy when strong majorities voted down 1098 and the candy and soda tax, and supported 1053. Yep, the people spoke, Rabbit. Hope you’re living with that . . .

  28. 30

    spews:

    Being the primary source of our motor fuels, if a coup happens in Saudi Arabia you will see gasoline and diesel double in price in the space of days.

    No argument with the last part but I believe we get most of our oil from Canada, then from Nigeria then Mexico, then Saudi Arabia and then Venezuela.

    I remember Bush doing an extended dog and pony through Africa early in his term and throughout his term met with 30 or so African heads of State. Oil was high on the agenda and I’m sure the stability of Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela was a deep concern motivating the interest.

  29. 31

    Blue John spews:

    Great post.
    It’s going to be an interesting primary season. Lots of discontent in the bases.

    If the republican get their act together and nominate someone is not
    a scary religious social conservative nutcase,
    a tea bagger fanatic or
    a 3 time corporate loser,
    republicans would sweep the election.
    But if the conservatives who comment are any indication, that’s not going to happen.

  30. 32

    Mark1 spews:

    ‘8. Roger Rabbit queefs:
    I’m proud to have voted for her twice, too, because the alternative was Dino Rossi — the most underqualified candidate in living memory.’

    Underqualified? This coming from someone who supported the twice-beaten pubicly exposed liar with an I.Q. of a typical dumb blonde Ditzy Darcy Burner? LMFAO! Thanks for the comedial hypocrisy old timer, we can always count on you for that! How exactly was Rossi underqualified? Being a successful former State legislator who helped to balance a budget in a bi-partisan fashion? Being a successful businessman and understanding how the real world works? Working as a grunt to put himself through college? Those aren’t excellent qualifications and relevant experience? Ah, the funny joys of senility….have another toke off that oxygen tank ya crusty old geez! ;)

    You Libtards voted for Gov. Sea-Hag and her fiscally reckless minions, now flounder in that milk you spilled and quit your crying and whining.

    Good day all, I’m off to this thing called work. (Take note of that word YLB and Goldy)

  31. 33

    Zotz sez: The microchip in Klynical's ass was transmitting 6... 6... 6... spews:

    Roger: Wishful thinking on your part about cars and personal transport. It’s understandable because what’s coming is almost too terrible to contemplate.

    DF and Michael are right.

    Consider this: There is no “capitalist global economy” without cheap fossil fuel. And we aren’t making the investments necessary to have functioning alternatives.

    Oil / gas liquids peaked in 2006. Even the EIA admits this now. 140/barrel oil tipped us into the Great Recession. And we’re approaching 100 dollars again.

    Almost none of the current built environment is sustainable without cheap fossil fuel. It could be better if we do what’s necessary — largely electrify the shit out everything as much as possible as soon as possible.

    But we needed to start back in about 1979 when Carter (and others) warned us this day would come.

    Sorry, Roger, the shit is about to hit the fan.

  32. 34

    Blue John spews:

    @33. Almost none of the current built environment is sustainable without cheap fossil fuel.
    So what do you recommend we do?
    What would you personally do?
    Got any websites links that are good starting points?

  33. 35

    Armstrong spews:

    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.

    Uhm… no.
    We dumped Nickles because he was anti-urban living. Or at leasy *I* dumped him. Nickles was on the wrong side of many issues. I, personally, voted for McGinn in spite of his opposition to the tunnel, not because of it.

  34. 36

    spews:

    34 – This is what we have to do. I’m completely convinced:

    http://energyfromthorium.com/

    Nuclear reactors produce HEAT and with heat you can transform anything carbon-based like corn stover and a lot of municipal wastes into liquid fuels – as well as spin a turbine to produce electricity.

    This would have been a reality now if weren’t for the politics of the late sixties, early seventies. We can make it happen if we really want it and stop being afraid.

  35. 37

    spews:

    Hi Carl.

    Nice letter.

    I don’t care that Gregoire and McGinn are at odds. I care that their dirty laundry is in public.

    Per the Seattle Weekly article last week, it appears the tunnel was a decision by fiat by Gregoire. I’m not even sure I mind that kind of bullying.

    Remember the new monorail?

    I have a buddy from Chicago. He claims they know how to get things done. His theory why the monorail was torpedoed was no one got bought off. Imagine if Nickels, Sims, or Gregoire had used some juice (found some funding, got a lower interest rate, whatever). We’d have that monorail.

    Instead of the silly Westlake trolley.

  36. 38

    spews:

    Also companies like Exxon are touting their natural gas profile.

    You’ll see a huge scramble for gas. And in remote places like Alaska, Siberia and the MacKenzie Delta.

    In this country there’s a lot of gas to be had in coal and shale beds but that kind of gas drilling is on a collision course with HUGE environmental consequences.

  37. 39

    spews:

    Deathfrogg @ 5

    the basic problem being such things as fuel prices in ten years. … nobody will be able to afford to drive the way they do now.

    Roger Rabbit @ 17

    Cars will still be the primary mode of transportation for most people 20 years from now — and 40 years from now.

    You’re both right.

    Cars are here to stay. Travel miles per capita will decrease over time.

    Cars will get lighter, smaller, and smarter. So we’ll use existing road capacity more efficiently.

    Cars may also get fewer. I wrote about Expanding FlexCar a few years ago. We can dramatically reduce the number of cars in use by sharing them.

    Hertz Rental Car just announced they’ll start hourly rentals. There’s a HUGE MARKET potential there. Smart move.

    More Roger Rabbit:

    I just can’t sign on to the “freeways are evil” mentality because I’m a pragmatist and I think in terms of what works and what doesn’t work.

    Sure.

    Note that the all freeways all the time mentality isn’t helping either.

    The Eastside keeps building and expanding roads. Doesn’t seem to be helping. (As the studies show, traffic always fills capacity.)

  38. 40

    spews:

    It’s hard to dissuade people utterly committed to fail.

    Reason, facts, logic, empathy, etc. don’t matter.

    If someone wants to shoot themselves in the face bad enough, it’s often best to stand out of the way.

    The tunnel project may go forward. But it won’t be completed. The engineering challenges are ridiculous.

    I’ll bet anyone $100 right now the tunnel digger gets stuck somehow. Then what do you do?

    A tunnel, under existing structures, along a shore, below sealevel, through soft pack dirt, in an earth quake zone… It’s almost too stupid to criticize. Where do you start?

    Oh yea, and the traffic design (no Seattle access) is stupid too.

  39. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @29 “Yep, the people spoke, Rabbit. Hope you’re living with that . . .”

    The people are idiots. Now, you got a better suggestion? How about government-funded mass brain replacement transplants?

  40. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @29 But I can’t help wondering if the people might have spoken differently if they had, you know, some leadership. As in, our political leaders getting out in front of the herd and explaining why this should pass and that shouldn’t pass. Where the hell was our governor during this last election season?

  41. 43

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @32 “Underqualified? This coming from someone who supported the twice-beaten pubicly exposed liar with an I.Q. of a typical dumb blonde Ditzy Darcy Burner?”

    Sorry, shithead, but Darcy Burner does have a degree in economics from Harvard. A former dean of Harvard said so, and his opinion on that subject carries a lot more weight than yours does. Oh, and speaking of IQs, did you get into Harvard? Did you graduate from Harvard? No, I didn’t think so.

    “How exactly was Rossi underqualified? Being a successful former State legislator who helped to balance a budget in a bi-partisan fashion?”

    Uh, sorry, but cutting and pasting his name to Gary Locke’s budget doesn’t qualify as “writing a budget.” As for the rest of his qualifications, what are they? The guy supervised one part-time janitor for a short time while he was a college student. That’s his sum total of management experience. How does that qualify him to supervise 100,000 state employees? He knowingly associated himself in business with a man who went to prison for fraud. How does that qualify him to manage a $30 billion public budget?

    “Being a successful businessman and understanding how the real world works?”

    Successful businessman? Rossi’s entire “business career,” which consisted of owning one small apartment building, was underwritten by wealthy sponsors who were interested in seeing him get elected to something, anything, in order to further their own interests. Which means he would have been a captive servant of those special interests if he had, in fact, been elected.

    “Working as a grunt to put himself through college?

    Well, whoop-de-doo, so did I, but that doesn’t qualify me to be governor.

    “Those aren’t excellent qualifications and relevant experience?”

    No.

    “Ah, the funny joys of senility….have another toke off that oxygen tank ya crusty old geez! ;)”

    Want some oxygen? Take the whole tank. You need it more than I do.

  42. 44

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Here’s a good one for you City Slicker Pussy’s to chew on–

    MONTANA KID in Marines(NOW AT San Diego MARINE CORPS RECRUIT TRAINING)
    >
    >

    Dear Ma and Pa,
    > I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the
    > Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join
    > up quick before all of the places are filled.
    >
    > I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m.
    > But I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do
    > before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to
    > slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically
    > nothing.
    >
    > Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there’s warm water. Breakfast is
    > strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc, but kind
    > of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other
    > regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city
    > boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon
    > when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys
    > can’t walk much.
    >
    > We go on ‘route marches,’ which the platoon sergeant says are long walks
    > to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A
    > ‘route march’ is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city
    > guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.
    >
    > The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like
    > the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and
    > frown. They don’t bother you none.
    >
    > This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting
    > medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a
    > chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting at you like the
    > Higgett boys at home All you got to do is lie there all
    > comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges They come
    > in boxes.
    >
    > Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to
    > wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break
    > real easy. It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull at home. I’m about
    > the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver
    > Lake . I only beat him once.. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m
    > only 5’6′ and 130 pounds and he’s 6’8′ and near 300 pounds dry.
    >
    > Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get
    > onto this setup and come stampeding in.
    >
    > Your loving daughter,
    > Alice

  43. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @33 “Roger: Wishful thinking on your part about cars and personal transport. It’s understandable because what’s coming is almost too terrible to contemplate. DF and Michael are right.”

    Nope, cars aren’t going away. They’re just too useful. The fault in your thinking is you assume they have to run on oil. Eventually they’ll all run on electricity, and there’s lots of ways to get electricity that don’t depend on hydrocarbons, although we have a vast amount of hydrocarbon fuel available.

    As for the Saudi coup scenario, yeah that could happen, but let’s suppose a bunch of Islamist fundies took over that country — they still need money, right? What good does the oil do them in the ground? It doesn’t matter who runs that country, they’re gonna sell the oil. The only thing a coup would affect is who’s spending the oil money and what they’re spending it on. But even if you take Saudi oil completely out of the global energy mix, yeah, there would be short-term disruptions but over the long term markets would adjust. And it would hit Europe and China harder than us, because very little of our oil consumption comes from the Middle East.

  44. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @36 “This would have been a reality now if weren’t for the politics of the late sixties, early seventies. We can make it happen if we really want it and stop being afraid.”

    I don’t agree with this. It wasn’t just politics. Nuclear power technology of the sixties and seventies was pretty crappy. It may be worth taking a fresh look at nuclear power, but if so, that’s because of new reactor designs and technology that wasn’t available then. Also, Congress needs to remove the liability cap on nuclear power companies — that’s a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned. Shifting the economic risks of a nuclear accident to homeowners and small business owners in host communities means, for me personally, that I would never live in a host community and would do everything I could to stop my community from hosting a nuclear power plant.

  45. 47

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @39 I’ve been saying all along, for quite some time now, that the future of cars is replacing drivers with computers. There’s no technological barrier. This would expand the capacity of existing roads by allowing much higher traffic density and higher speeds, which translates into more cars per hour per mile of arterial or freeway. It also would eliminate accidents, and the money saved by not paying for collision repairs and personal injuries might go a long way toward paying for the needed infrastructure. And drunk driving would be a thing of the past. I think it’s inevitable that cars will become robotic devices that you simply program your destination into, and then the thing drives itself there.

  46. 48

    spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 45

    Eventually they’ll all run on electricity…

    Yup.

    NW Biodiesel had a panel of experts (working in the fields). Super duper informative.

    Contenders were CNG, biofuels from crops, 100% electric, hydrogen, diesel from algae.

    The progress on each front, mainly due to competition, has been astounding.

    CNG is a given. Because we already burn the methane (CO2 is preferrable), so might as well harvest it. Practical for fleets.

    I would have bet against electric a few years ago. But the advances in batteries (using nanotech to increase surface area for storing ions) are coming fast.

    I was also against hydrogen. It’s been a storage medium. You still need electricity (nukes, coal, hydro) to make H2. But some boffins are working on microbes that create H2 organically. Could be a game changer.

    Until we have practical cellulose based sources (fuel from fibers), ethanol is a nonstarter. Once we can do that, we can mow lawns (vs farming) for our fuel. Meanwhile, there are some promising sources of oil for biodiesel (e.g. hemp).

    My previous best bet was on algae. I’m still found of this answer.

    Lastly, the car that I covet is a hybrid with a gas turbine engine. I’m convinced that Toyota (and probably others) have 100 mph car designs sitting on their shelves. But won’t share.

    First, because it’d nuke all their competitors and the backlash would cripple them (they’ve said this publicly).

    Second, because they can get us to pay for each incremental upgrade, maximizing their profits.

  47. 49

    spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 46

    Agreed. Old nuke power sucked.

    YLB is referring to thorium. It’s pretty attractive.

    Another option is traveling wave. It’s also both safe and has no proliferation issues.

    We’ll eventually do traveling wave, regardless, as a non-proliferation step. It’s the only practical way to clean up the tons and tons of stockpiles and waste we have lying around.

  48. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @40 I’m not an engineer, so I really can’t formulate my own independent evaluation of the engineering feasibility of the tunnel. I know that Seattle sits on top of roughly a vertical mile of glacial till consisting of clay and rocks, and in my yard at least, that stuff has a consistency approaching concrete. It’s not like tunneling through sand. We already have several tunnels under downtown Seattle. The real issue with the tunnel is cost. This damn city debates things to death and then chooses the most expensive option, taxpayers be damned, every single time. Just look at our two stadiums, one for baseball and one for football, right next to each other — a total of $1 billion for ballparks. And now this stupid city wants to spend another quarter billion on a third stadium — we not only have to pay for separate stadiums for baseball and football, but we also have to pay for separate stadiums for NFL football and college football, even though they play on different days of the week. My criticism of the tunnel all along has been based on goldplating, not engineering. We may not have corruption in Seattle in the conventional sense, but we all know what’s going to happen, the rich downtown property owners will benefit from the tunnel and powerless homeowners will get stuck with the bill. That’s what always happens in this damn city, and our city government might as well be full of bribetakers, because the result for the citizens is the same.

  49. 52

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Electric-powered, computer-guided cars, running on thorium or traveling wave reactor-produced electricity. It’s tempting to see a huge jobs generator in this. And then I see a news article that says 75% of our high school graduates can’t get into the Army or Marines because they’re either too obese or they can’t pass basic reading and math tests. Those jobs are going to be in India or China because we won’t have any young people with enough skills to work.

  50. 55

    Steve spews:

    @54 Presenting it as real, tying it to Montana, and his calling progressives “pussies” is to imply that the author of the letter is “rugged, like me”. When someone has to resort to lying to bolster their self-image, that tells me that that person is pathetic and weak to the core. When someone lies about the little things, why should anything they have to say be believed? That one comment goes a long ways in revealing that our Klynical is just a pathetic KLOWN.

  51. 56

    spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 52

    …it’s tempting to see a huge jobs generator in this. And then I see a news article that says 75% of our high school graduates can’t get into the Army or Marines…

    Yea. What to do about the decline of public education is a stumper.

    Have you heard of the theory of constraints? The idea is that everyone making their own situation better results in making the overall situation worse. Local optimization vs global optimization.

    The rich get richer is a given. Not a value statement. Just mathematics.

    But we lefties rail against the rich. Attribute motives to them. I think that’s besides the point. It isn’t the people or their motives. I’ve met plenty of rich people who were almost too stupid to breathe. Money will take care of itself. Left to its own, it’ll accumulate. It’s just math.

    Any way.

    We’ve got all these trogs running around making things better for themselves. It makes perfect sense. Rational self-interest and all that blather.

    What they’re not doing is looking at the big picture. Few do. And maybe it’s not the job of everyone to pay attention to the unintended consequences, the big negatives to all these small positives.

    I think your issue with a lack of leadership is at play here. We don’t have (visible) proponents of the big picture. No one to explain how saving oneself $100 today will cost them $10,000 over time.

    Any way. Back to education.

    We’ve got lots of people running around with lots of ideas. But no one has identified the models of success that we’re all supposed to copy and improve. And when there is an example, like my alum Bellevue High School, no one can say exactly why it works, so that it can be copied.

    That’s why I pay attention to efforts like Teachers for America, Harlem Child Zone, and others. They’re trying to be empirical.

    Unfortunately, our society has an emphasis on grades and scores, vs achievement. So you have these groups running around ranking teachers. As if a score tells any useful part of the story.

    Here is the universal God’s truth from quality assurance:

    You cannot test your way to quality.

    It’s no different than the scientific method. Have an idea, structure an experiment, predict the result, measure the actual result and then (here’s the magic) discover why the predicted and actual are different.

    See, everyone does the testing without the method. Cargo cult thinking. It’s bullshit. And it’s ruining lives. And worse of all, it’s screwing our kids by squandering precious time and resources.

    I think everyone having ideas for how to improve education is awesome. Then do the experiment. Without the experiment, to validate one’s beliefs, it’s all monkey motion.

  52. 57

    Zotz sez: The microchip in Klynical's ass was transmitting 6... 6... 6... spews:

    @34: All good questions. No “good” answers, just less bad. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. I have a tooth ache and went and got it looked at.

    All of these answers require political will, resources (dollars and materials), and time. None of which are available, particularly the political part. Our politics are captured by forces that are intent on wringing every last cent of profit out of the old ways.

    “So what do you recommend we do?”

    There are lots of things we could do and should have been doing since the sixties. Basically all of them boil down to: electrify everything we can and ration fossil fuels we have left for things like agriculture, mining, steel production, etc. for which there are no real substitutes.

    Every structure could be a net contributor to the grid, including retrofit of solar cells, etc to every roof.

    Micro hydro. I have a year around creek that runs by my house with about 10 cfs (more now during the wet) and 30 feet of fall. It could power my home and a couple of others with a good size bank of deep cycle batteries and an inverter (and some attention things like no instant on vampire circuits, etc.). No permits required as long as you don’t hook up to the grid.

    A smart grid and battery (storage) technology.

    What would you personally do?

    Conserve, conserve, conserve. All my lighting is cfl now. Plan: I make the most of trips (combine medical appointments with shopping, etc.). I think about all my energy use and make a kind of game out of using the least I can.

    Got any websites links that are good starting points?

    Here’s three I regularly visit. They pull in stuff from all over (including the industry) so they’re good compendia.

    Peak Oil News

    The Oil Drum

    Energy Bulletin

    A final thing: I used to be a Navy Nuc. Among other things, it gives you a keen sense of logistics. I’ve thought about and had to deal with these issues for a long, long time for the Navy. And so one of my heroes is (Adm) Hyman Rickover. Here’s Rickover on Peak Oil from a speech in 1957 and IMO, a great place to start reading because he lays things out so clearly and in practical terms:

    Energy Resources and Our Future

  53. 59

    spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 50

    The previous tunnels were dug by hand. (No?)

    The way that it was explained: The problem is the variations. One can easily make a machine that can dig thru anything. But to make a machine that digs through everything is pretty tough. So a sand digger will get blocked once it hits a rock.

    Maybe the newest bestest tunnel diggers will have interchangeable digger parts. Who knows how the winning bidder plans solving this problem.

    What I do know is that a tunnel of this size (diameter) and through this soil composition(s) hasn’t been done before. Which makes me very excited that Seattle gets to pay for the privilege of being the alpha tester of new tech.

    Your point about gold plating is well taken.

    I’m told the business community doesn’t want a new elevated replacement. So when the street option was removed, the tunnel became the default choice.

    The Port of Seattle gets screwed by the tunnel.

    So I’m not real sure who the tunnel helps. So other than the governor ramming this thru, who’s going to champion the project long term?

    Whereas the monorail had clear benefits for Ballard and West Seattle (and then U Dist and Rainier Valley). So obviously it had to be torpedoed.

  54. 60

    Zotz sez: The microchip in Klynical's ass was transmitting 6... 6... 6... spews:

    @58, BJ: Yes. I’m not sure how that happened (I assume the two Vicodin I took for my tooth ache didn’t help).

  55. 61

    spews:

    Steve @ 55

    Mr Cynical, pudge, “lost”, have no idea they’re lying. That’s what makes it all so precious.

    Never attribute to malice which is more easily explained by stupidity.

    Seriously.

    The only trog that pissed me off was “lost”. He seriously believes people who are sick deserved it. That the world would be better overall if ill people like me would just die already.

    Mr Cynical hasn’t said a coherent thing the entire time I’ve read him.

    Pudge can’t use pronouns.

    Their “belief systems” and contradictory.

    Why ever would anyone take them seriously?

    So long as Goldy sees fit to provide them a forum for their hate speech, the best play is to mock the trogs.

  56. 62

    Steve spews:

    @61 “The only trog that pissed me off was “lost”. He seriously believes people who are sick deserved it. That the world would be better overall if ill people like me would just die already.”

    I hear you. I poke at Klynical and Puddy and ignore most of the others. I fired both barrels at Lost. What I did may have been a turnoff for some folks here, but I truly believed he had it coming to him.

  57. 63

    ArtFart isn't ready to be classified as a "useless eater" spews:

    @33, @34 Let’s be frank…not only is our “modern civilization” reliant on cheap fossil fuel, but the folks who pump it out of the ground and sell it control every detail of public policy regarding it.

    “What can we do about it”? Well, plenty. On the other hand, why we aren’t doing anything about it is that Big Oil doesn’t want us to. In spite of all their propagandizing about how there’s still “plenty” of liquified dead dinosaurs in the ground, they know full well that the supply is limited, and that we’re probably near or already past the peak of potential worldwide production.

    So, if you make your money selling one product, and you know you’re going to have less of it to sell, whaddaya do? In the case of the petroleum industry, it’s to bribe, obfuscate and propagandize their way into preventing adoption of alternatives at any significant scale, until they’ve squeezed the greatest profit from the last drop.

  58. 64

    ArtFart isn't ready to be classified as a "useless eater" spews:

    @5 “In other words, nobody will be able to afford to drive the way they do now.”

    The wealthy will. Most of the rest of us will try until we’re faced with a choice between driving and eating.

    “We wont have a choice about mass transit then. It’s either that, or we go back to horses.”

    It’s not inconceivable that those downtown horse-drawn carriages will become more competitive with the city’s taxi fleet.

  59. 65

    Steve spews:

    @59 “the tunnel became the default choice”

    Don’t forget the lidded trench. That was my prefered solution.

    I wonder how their take “surface option” worked out for SF after they removed the Embarcadero. I haven’t been there since it was removed. Of course, that city and that viaduct had a different traffic scenario than ours. Oakland’s Cypress went to the surface option with assistance of Loma Prieta and the loss of over fifty lives. But for a twist of fate I would have been on that freeway on that day and time and I have avoided the Alaskan Way viaduct ever since.

  60. 66

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @59 “So I’m not real sure who the tunnel helps.”

    It helps the owners of downtown office buildings whose views will be improved and therefore they can charge higher rents.

  61. 67

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @63 “So, if you make your money selling one product, and you know you’re going to have less of it to sell, whaddaya do?”

    If you’re Exxon, you buy a huge natural gas play, which is what Exxon just did.

  62. 69

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    51. Steve spews:

    @44 It’s just a dumb joke circulating on the internet tubes.

    It’s still pretty funny steve.

  63. 70

    Steve spews:

    I suppose a joke about meth addled country boys might be funny, at least far more accurate. Your “joke” wasn’t. Your attempt to self-align with a myth was simply pathetic.

  64. 71

    Zotz sez: The microchip in Klynical's ass was transmitting 6... 6... 6... spews:

    @70: Thanks for that.

    I was thinking something more along the lines of 11 year olds circle jerking.

    But hey! It’s probably the same guys — just growed’ up.

  65. 72

    ArtFart isn't ready to be classified as a "useless eater" spews:

    @65 Actually, the last time we were in Baghdad by the Bay (hmmm…do we still dare call it that any more?) it appeared to have worked out pretty well. No longer in the shadow of that monumentally ugly freeway, the Embarcadero became a broad, attractive boulevard with jogger-friendly sidewalks, awaiting residential and business development to spread around the peninsula from the Fisherman’s Wharf area. No doubt that’s going pretty slowly since the crash (SFO got hit harder than we did) but sooner or later it’ll happen. Downtown traffic is still pretty bad, but no worse than it was before.

  66. 73

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    @72
    I’m not sure the Embarcadero Freeway is analogous with the Viaduct. IIRC, the Embarcadero shunted people coming off the Bay Bridge, or from 280 from the South, past downtown and dropped them off in North Beach, where the freeway ended.
    I don’t think it ever served the same sort of thru-way function connecting the whole region that 99 does.
    This, however, is not to be construed as a defense of the tunnel.
    While I find big complex public works projects really cool, and we need more of them, both because of infrastructure crumbling and for the jobs, I think the technical issues with ours is likely to result in an awful and costly morass. And the Discovery Institute came out in favor of it, so I’m opposed simply to avoid being on the same side of anything as those anti-science, crypto-know-nothing creationists.

  67. 74

    Steve spews:

    “I’m not sure the Embarcadero Freeway is analogous with the Viaduct.”

    Only in that it was of similar construction and located on the waterfront. It was so dead down there that it was the only place I could consistently find to park in that city. I’d usually park down there and then walk up to North Beach or wherever I was headed.

  68. 75

    Liberal Scientist spews:

    @74

    Yeah, I think both structures cause harm to their local environs, creating huge obstructions between people and the waterfront.

    I think they were likely able to take down the Embarcadero with little/less consequences than would happen if we simply took down the viaduct. I guess I’m arguing that there has to be some way to move people efficiently down the corridor that the Viaduct serves, but that the tunnel as presently construed is stupid and not a good solution.

  69. 76

    Steve spews:

    That’s why my preference would have been the lidded trench. I also believe it would have been a safer environment than the tunnel, being easier to escape in case of an earthquake or fire.

  70. 77

    spews:

    I don’t agree with this. It wasn’t just politics. Nuclear power technology of the sixties and seventies was pretty crappy. It may be worth taking a fresh look at nuclear power, but if so, that’s because of new reactor designs and technology that wasn’t available then.

    We have no other choice in my opinion. Technology should free people and nuclear does that in spades with the least environmental consequences – the right kind of nuclear power anyway. I’m not a fan of the current status quo. From that we get these bulky expensive plants that are basically a huge skimming operation for contractors.

    Yes, nuclear power has come a long way since the late sixties and yes, there’s new designs that are much more reliable and safe. I’m a big fan of the liquid flouride thorium reactor – when it gets too hot, the molten salts just drain into tanks and the reactor stops. We needed this technology back in the Carter era but the politics of the times chose the uranium-based path which was complementary to nuclear weapons programs. Well thorium is 3-4 times more abundant than uranium and the price of uranium has shot up due to anticipated demand from China and other places.

  71. 78

    Puddybud identifying rujax liberal scientist deathfrog and zotz as fools! spews:

    But for a twist of fate I would have been on that freeway on that day and time and I have avoided the Alaskan Way viaduct ever since.

    Puddy is glad God spared you that day Steve. You wouldn’t be here and Puddy wouldn’t have the opportunity to kick your butt.