Day 3 of my lonely, virtual vigil dawned cool and rainy, with still no official word from David Irons as to where he stands on the anti-roads initiative, I-912. I had hoped that I might take advantage of my close working relationship with Irons’ webmaster, Stefan Sharkansky, to get my question in front of the candidate himself, but Stefan proved as resolutely silent as his tongue-tied boss. So yesterday I emailed Irons’ campaign directly, and eagerly await his response.
As long as Irons refuses to publicly endorse or oppose I-912, the best we can do is try to divine his position by reviewing his prior public statements on related issues. For example, about a year ago Irons came out resolutely behind the Regional Transportation Investment Districts’ $13.4 billion plan for critical transportation improvements in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties… a package that placed a high priority on replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct and the 520 floating bridge.
“Our transportation problem has grown beyond the ability to solve it with any one fix,” said Councilmember David Irons, an alternate on the RTID Executive Board. “But we must solve it for the mobility needs and economic survival of our region. Raising taxes is not politically popular, but the alternative of doing nothing is unthinkable. We must demonstrate leadership and make some tough decisions, and we need the guidance of our citizens in order to make the best choices for our residents, our businesses and our future generations.”
I wholeheartedly agree with Irons that “we must demonstrate leadership and make some touch decisions”… and I congratulate King County Executive Ron Sims for once again showing such leadership in opposing I-912. Yes, “raising taxes is not politically popular,” which I suppose is why Irons refuses to publicly support the gas tax increase that I-912 would repeal.
And what of his statement that “we need guidance of our citizens”…? He was referring to the advisory ballot measure on the RTID proposal which King County voters passed by more than a two-thirds margin… a margin which Irons himself trumpeted as a mandate.
“We have debated this question long enough, and the voters have told us they are tired of talk,” Irons said. “These poll results give us a mandate to move forward.”
But then, that was before Irons declared his candidacy for King County Executive, and before KVI fired up the anti-government crowd with misleading rhetoric in support of I-912. I suppose its possible that Irons now believes that our transportation problem has not grown beyond our ability to solve it with one fix, and that doing nothing is now eminently thinkable. Perhaps Irons now believes that leadership is unnecessary, that tough decisions need not be made, and that we have not debated this question long enough.
As long as Irons remains silent on this issue, I suppose voters are free to suppose whatever they want. Which I suppose may be exactly what Irons hopes to be the result of his silence.