I think the Post Globe has been the best thing to rise out of the former P-I. And I generally like this piece on McGinn’s final town halls (incidentally, I’ve been making calls for McGinn, and the last time I did, we were pushing undecided voters to one of the town halls). Still, this piece of conventional wisdom repeating was a little disappointing.
Surprisingly, McGinn wasn’t asked about what Mallahan in particular has been describing as his flip flop over the viaduct.
Why are you surprised? First off, these are undecided voters. The people who are passionate about the tunnel one way or the other, who would ask that as their only question at a town hall (even in West Seattle) have made up their mind about the mayor’s race. They’ve got better things to do on a Saturday.
More important though, nobody outside of the political class thinks that the tunnel is the issue of the campaign. Sure it’s important, and it’s where one of the biggest distinctions can be drawn. But people are more concerned with, for example, crime and education than they are about a few miles of a state highway.
But of course, reporters who drive into Belltown from all across the region and leave before the crackheads come out probably put a higher emphasis on traffic on 99 than on crime in the city. And if they’re sending their children to Bellevue or Edmonds public schools, they probably don’t care as much about education as a parent worried about the quality of their neighborhood school. In fact, they’re more likely to laugh off McGinn’s education plans as unrealistic or someone else’s job.
Still, reporters, in these last few days of the campaign, please don’t be surprised that people care about more than just the tunnel. Don’t be surprised that Seattle voters care about rising crime, or that we care about the cultural institutions of the city, and dealing with the dropout problem. Please consider that whoever we support, we might care about parks and neighborhoods. Please also understand that we think transportation is more than just the Viaduct: that we want improved bike lanes, better mass transit, and a road system that works throughout the city.