Irons in the fire

David Irons had some rare, positive news last week when the Alki Foundation, the political wing of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, awarded him their “recommendation” in the race against sitting King County Executive Ron Sims. Sims had received the foundation’s endorsement in 2001, and has always enjoyed fairly strong support from the region’s business community.

So why the change of heart? Joel Connelly suggests that problems in KC elections, and Sims’ backing of Southwest Airlines’ proposed move to Boeing Field, may have had a lot to do with it. But from what I hear, what put Irons over the top with the Alki board members was his private assurances that he opposes the gas tax rollback initiative, I-912.

Both Alki and the Chamber, like most of the region’s pro-business groups, understand how vital these transportation improvements are to the local economy. Indeed, Alki refused to endorse either Steve Hammond or Reagan Dunn for county council, because both support I-912.

“These gentlemen support Initiative 912. Transportation improvement is such a central issue to the business community that we decided to make no recommendation.”

While Irons has repeatedly refused to take a public position on I-912, my sources tell me that he has been much more talkative in private. This is a very important issue to Alki members, and to earn their endorsement Irons apparently told them what they wanted to hear.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Irons hasn’t been privately telling I-912 supporters what they want to hear, too.

Irons can easily settle any lingering doubts over where he stands on the initiative, simply by clearly stating his position the way Ron Sims did. (Sims opposes it.) Indeed, he must come clean. I-912 could have a huge impact on the economy of the county he wants to govern, so reporters owe it to their readers to keep Irons feet to the fire, by bluntly asking him where he stands, and at every opportunity.

If Irons believes that the county can get by without replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct and the 520 floating bridge — both past the end of their useful lifespan — or if he believes we can replace both structures solely with local funds, then he needs to explain how. But if Irons supports the statewide transportation package and acknowledges that the gas tax hike is a reasonable way to finance it, then he needs to be upfront with voters.

Yes, Irons is between a rock and a hard place on this issue. His own polling shows that while two-thirds of his own base supports I-912, a large majority of King County voters do not. Still, running a county as large as King often requires taking unpopular positions on controversial issues… something Sims has had to do repeatedly throughout his tenure.

I find it ironic, but not surprising, that even Irons’ official campaign website (soundpolitics.com) saw fit to ask US Senate candidate Mike McGavick to clarify his position on I-912, but refuses to demand the same of its own candidate. It is absurd to believe that Irons doesn’t have an opinion on an initiative that will have such a huge impact on King County’s quality of life. And it is even more absurd to believe that he should be allowed to keep it to himself in such a dishonest and disingenuous effort to walk both sides of a controversial issue.

Comments

  1. 2

    Irony spews:

    Not only does Irons support the gas tax, he also supports raising billions and billions more in taxes through a regional transportation plan. Gasp! As a member of the RTID Executive Board, Irons voted (April 2004) to put forward a .3 percent sales tax hike, a 2.8 cent local gas tax, a .3 percent MVET and a $75 flat tax on vehicles to pay for such things as, gasp again, light rail to UW. And all you R’s in the rural area – don’t think you are getting out of paying these taxes under Irons’ plan that funds roads in the urban area. Nope, everyone in King County would be paying for his plan – did I mention it includes $800 million for light rail to UW? What an Irony.

  2. 3

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Mount Olympus Hiker–
    The “anti-roads” initiative???
    That’s clever….but it won’t fly dude.
    In fact, my prediction is that if you take the “guilt the taxpayers” approach…it will fail be even more.
    Taxpayers are sick of government using “guilt” tactics to squeeze more dollars out of us. They need to stick to the issue of accountability and doing only what is necessary….not a beautification of the Seattle Waterfront project disguised as a transportation emergency.
    Get off the bullshit MOH…you can do better than that.

  3. 6

    Ivan spews:

    That Chamber of Commerce, what do you expect from them anyway? They’re all LEFTIST PINHEADS, right? They’re all for fiscal irresponsibility, right?

  4. 7

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Most Chambers of Commerce are social clubs where people think they are doing something and it looks good on their resume. Sadly, too many are Chambers of Bullshit!!

  5. 8

    spews:

    Hmmm.

    Business and industry groups like the chamber are full of bullshit?

    Really?

    Then the BIAW needs a new name –

    B.I.A.S.

    Building Industry Association of Bullshit

    BIAS, has a nice ring to it, don’t you agree, Mr. Pinhead?

  6. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Let’s have a name-the-initiative contest! :D My entries:

    Anti-Car Initiative
    Horse and Buggy Initiative
    Walking Initiative
    Anti-Progress Initiative

    But my favorite is …

    F R E E L O A D E R I N I T I A T I V E

  7. 12

    spews:

    Mr. Cynical wrote, “They need to stick to the issue of accountability”

    We hear the same tired argument from I-912 proponents. So I ask you this Mr. Cynical, how many of you devotees of accountability have even bothered to read the documentation available that addresses that concern? It isn’t hard to find, in fact I’ll give you a link to it to make it even easier: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/accountability/

    Go read it and educate yourself, then come back here and specifically address whatever it is you are looking for that isn’t covered in any of those documents.

    Or else, just shut up.

  8. 13

    spews:

    Roger Rabbit suggested, “Let’s have a name-the-initiative contest!

    How about the “Something for Nothing Initiative”.

  9. 14

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Daniel K–
    You mean the Fox watching the Hen House document???
    Give me a break!
    I-912 will pass overwhelmingly dude…no matter what you or I say.
    It’s time for you to cook up a Plan B Daniel My Brother!!

  10. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    To All You LEFTIST PINHEADS:
    I took a look at BIAW’s website.
    They have taken no position on I-912.
    So much for your assertion that trade associations like BIAW are blindly opposed to every tax increase.
    But then again, LEFTIST PINHEADS only know one tactic. They need a scapegoat to demonize for EVERYTHING. If it isn’t bush & Rove…it’s BIAW.
    Y A W N!!!!!!!

  11. 16

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    BY The Way—
    I prefer the “GET EVEN WITH LEFTIST PINHEADS” Initiative!!!
    Or better yet, how about the FUCK LEFTIST PINHEADS Initiative.
    Call FLP….just to be politically correct.
    How was traffic this weekend assholes?

  12. 19

    spews:

    Hey Daniel K and all other donks-

    I recently created a new business and I am going public soon. The initial offering price for my stock is $100.00 a share. I am telling you this is the next Microsoft. I can produce my own internally audited financials if you’re interested. I feel that once you see my… I mean the audited financials you will not pass this deal up. What do ya say?

  13. 20

    Bax spews:

    I can produce my own internally audited financials if you’re interested.

    Is this a reference to DOT? Because of course they hire outside firms to do their audits, so what you’re saying has no bearing whatsoever on DOT practice.

  14. 22

    Bax spews:

    Go read it and educate yourself, then come back here and specifically address whatever it is you are looking for that isn’t covered in any of those documents.

    Or else, just shut up.

    Daniel, I’d really encourage you to listen to Dave Ross’s interview with Doug McDonald (DOT head) and Brett Bader (912 campaign chair). It’s archived on 710’s website. Bader was ripping the DOT for its audit practices, claiming that they weren’t being audited properly. Then Ross asks Bader if he’s actually read the audits. Bader’s answer: no.

    Even the campaign chair of Initiative 912 hasn’t actually read any of the data regarding DOT. Absolutely pathetic.

  15. 23

    Bax spews:

    “They” hire outside firms to do audits.

    Well who the fuck else do you want to hire the firms? You going to front the money?

  16. 24

    spews:

    I guarantee that my audit committee is more independent than any JLARC or WSDOT audit committee. You can’t lose on this deal.

  17. 26

    Bax spews:

    Who is on the audit comittee you dumbass. Can you name them?

    TPAB Members

    Elmira Forner
    Washington State Transportation Commissioner.

    Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen
    Senator from the 10th District. Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

    Doug Hurley, Chair
    At-large gubernatorial appointee. Serving a 4-year term.

    Linda Long
    State Auditor Designee.

    John Ostrowski
    Gubernatorial citizen appointee with expertise in construction project planning, including permitting and assuring regulatory compliance.

    Richard Perteet
    Gubernatorial citizen appointee with expertise in construction engineering services, including construction management, materials testing, materials documentation, contractor payments, inspection, surveying, and project oversight.

    Troy Pyles
    Gubernatorial citizen appointee with expertise in construction means and methods and construction management, crafting and implementing environmental mitigation plans, and administration.

    Sen. Dan Swecker
    Senator from the 20th District. Ranking minority member of the Senate Transportation Committee.

    Rep. Deb Wallace
    Representative from the 17th District. House Transportation Committee Majority Leader Designee.

    Rep. Beverly Woods
    Representative from the 23rd District. Ranking minority member of the House Transportation Committee.

    Ann Daley
    Legislative Auditor. Ex-officio member.

  18. 27

    Mark The Redneck spews:

    Neo-Capitalist Wabbit @ 10

    Here’s some names for 912:

    The No More Choo Choos Initiative
    The Pour Some Fucking Concrete Initiative
    The Make More Room for SUVs Initiative
    The Stop Wasting Our Fucking Money Initiative

  19. 28

    spews:

    That is cool because I am on my audit committee along with some distant friends who do not have anything to do with Rufus,Inc . I knew my audit committee was more independent then the governments. So how about it Bax… you want to buy some stock.

  20. 29

    thehim spews:

    The Stop Wasting Our Fucking Money Initiative

    So building a major artery through the largest city in the state, and making sure that the main artery for hundreds of employees at the most profitable company in the state is available so that they can get to work, is a waste of money? Should we all just go back to living in log cabins and taking horse and buggies through town? Is that your libertarian paradise?

    At least you would have to pay the gas tax anymore.

    Jackass.

  21. 30

    Bax spews:

    The No More Choo Choos Initiative

    Except that it leaves all the funding for mass transit in place, cutting only roads.

    The Pour Some Fucking Concrete Initiative

    Except that it cuts road funding.

    The Make More Room for SUVs Initiative

    Except that it cuts the funding for more general purpose lanes to make room for SUVs.

    The Stop Wasting Our Fucking Money Initiative

    Except that they already do a good job of spending our money.

    I’ve got a better name for it: the “You’re a Fucking Idiot Initiative.”

  22. 31

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Enron and Worldcom had audit committees and hired their own outside auditors to dumbasses.

  23. 32

    Mark The Redneck spews:

    Thehim @ 29 – The People have paid billions and billions and billions of dollars in gas tax and MVET in the past 25 years. And the problem has continued to deteriorate. We let fucking idiots like Ruth Fisher run the transportation committee trying to implement stupid fucking public mass transit boondoggles that will NEVER WORK.

    This isn’t rocket science. Pour fucking concrete for freeways.

  24. 33

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Where there is smoke….
    Well you know the old saying…..
    I do not have confidence in WSDOT accounting methods and reporting….I think their are issues about capitalizing costs to specific projects. I think it is very difficult to understand if projects came in on budget….or if the scope of work was what was originally promised.
    You can change the scope of work…reducing it…in order to meet an original budget estimate.
    Accurate tracking systems are very difficult to implement.

  25. 34

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    I would still vote for David Irons even if he is against I-912. I never vote for or against someone merely because of one issues.
    I will vote against Don Ron Sims King for 2 reasons:
    1) He is a crook.
    2) He reminds me too much of Buckwheat.
    OOOOOTAY??!

  26. 35

    harry poon spews:

    uSP is so damned boring that all you Republifarts can think of to entertain yourselves is to put your sub-moron intellects on display at HA? Remember, you lost the gubernatorial election; you lost the subsequent lawsuit; and uSP lost to HA in the best and most popular blog contest. You remind me of the Black Knight in the old Monte Python movie.

  27. 36

    Terry J spews:

    I-912 will pass no matter who endorses it or opposes it.

    So what do you do next?

    My guess is there will be a lot of wailing about the SEATTLE projects that won’t get funded, and not a word about the other things. Clear thinking about the next steps will be absent.

    So where are the constructive proposals for funding transportation once I-912 passes? Put trucks in the HOV lanes? Dedicate the sales tax on vehicles to transportation? Quit playing with trains? Actually fund the named projects over 10 years with taxes and tolls and whatever? Actually discuss and report on a road project outside SEATTLE?

    The Seattle media is way too SEATTLE-centric. They are read or viwed all over the state, but can’t bring themselves to recognize that they are a state-wide force. As long as they only report SEATTLE interests on these tax issues, you lose.

    This issue is not so much about a lousy dime (12,000 miles, 20 mpg, 600 gallons, $60 per year), it is about trust. Just look at the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Lots of new tolls, but no new lanes unless you own a bicycle or a bus. What other wonderful surprises await in any new spending program? More meat inspectors?

  28. 37

    spews:

    Mr. Cynical wrote

    Where there is smoke….
    Well you know the old saying…..
    I do not have confidence in WSDOT accounting methods and reporting….I think their are issues about capitalizing costs to specific projects. I think it is very difficult to understand if projects came in on budget….or if the scope of work was what was originally promised.
    You can change the scope of work…reducing it…in order to meet an original budget estimate.
    Accurate tracking systems are very difficult to implement.

    Oh my, some sane comments for once instead of insults. Thank you! You make two points I’d like to respond to:

    1) I do not have confidence in WSDOT accounting methods and reporting

    While that is fair, it is also disingenuous to argue against the gas tax for such a reason. It is clear that there is a lot of information available to you to get more confident about it from reading it. It is also clear that the auditors are not some unknown group of people. If you don’t like the methods, you should approach that issue with an initiative. Regardless of what happens to I-912, you’re not going to get resolution on any confidence issues you have.

    2) Accurate tracking systems are very difficult to implement.

    I couldn’t agree more. Yet you’re going to hold this state’s transportation infrastructure hostage over that nevertheless? It isn’t just the documentation about the tracking that is difficult to produce, as well as the tracking system’s accuracy, the transportation projects themselves are great challenges. This isn’t as simple as Mark the Redneck would have us believe with his “This isn’t rocket science. Pour fucking concrete for freeways.” comment. It may not be rocket science, but every project has to deal with all kinds of issues: existing traffic, property issues, environmental issues, political wrangling, contractor bids, public disclosure, open house forums, negotiating with businesses and homeowners, funding, work schedules, cost of materials, existing rules, regulations and laws on the local, state and national level, weather issues, soil issues, drainage issues, various transportation needs, rivers to cross, bridges to build, tunnels to dig, sound walls, retaining walls, nimbyism, and so on and so on.

    This may not be rocket science, but it may be a whole lot more complicated with no one formula to turn to to solve every problem.

  29. 38

    Rujax206 spews:

    Let’s all vote for the Anti-Roads initiative!! And I know why…it’s a nefarious plot by Cyn and his BIAW masters to require us to fuel our vehicles with the methane gas that comes right out of THEIR OWN ASSES. So simple. The very best plans ARE simple. Pure genius. I’m tellin’ya! I tried to figure out why a builder group was opposed to ROADS. This has GOT to be it. Why BULLY for you, boys…that idea is a real CRACKERJACK!!!
    I’m in!

  30. 39

    Mark1 spews:

    Ho-hum…… It’ll pass, and all you LEFTIST PINHEADS as my “brother” so often states, will be running around flailing your arms and shrieking like the little school children you are along with the aaahhheeemmmm….the “Governor”, Maria Cunt-smell, and the Mom in tennis shoes; sniveling lil’ Patty Murray. Like it or not, I-912 will go down in State history as it should: one of the most signatures collected in the least amount of time; what does that tell ya? Have some tofu, on me. Thanks.

  31. 40

    Sandals spews:

    Like it or not, I-912 will go down in State history as it should

    Yeah, as a simply terrible idea, especially given that 10 cents a gallon is peanuts compared to our gas prices that are going up, up, up.

  32. 41

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Rujax@38–
    So show me where BIAW is for I-912 you idiot.
    I called down there and they have taken no position….and won’t.
    Many BIAW members are actually for it dumbass.
    You just love to make stuff up Rujax….blame Bush, Rove and BIAW for everything, right?? LOSER!

  33. 42

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Sandals@40

    Typical LEFTIST PINHEAD attitude towards taxes. “10 cents per gallon is peanuts compared to”. You LEFTIST PINHEADS always have this “it’s only 10 more cents per gallon” attitude. However dickhead…when you do it 350 times….your talking about real money!!!

  34. 43

    thor spews:

    I-912 will probably pass statewide. But it probably won’t pass in King County or Snohomish County. David Irons would be wise to openly and stridently oppose it.

    The price of gas increased by 18 cents in the past week or so – and none of that increase did anything to fix our roads. Where’s the outrage? One would think that the I-912 crowd would be trying to impeach the President because the price of gas has doubled in his current term – with no vote of the people! And an “emergency” in Iraq – something about WMDs that did not exist.

    The people who buy a lot of gas all at once – the truckers – won’t see any savings from I-912 because it doesn’t remove the new 3 cent fuel tax from diesel.

  35. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @16

    “I prefer the “GET EVEN WITH LEFTIST PINHEADS” Initiative!!!
    Or better yet, how about the FUCK LEFTIST PINHEADS Initiative.”

    This has to be the mother of all Freudian slips. Now we know what I-912 is really all about. Thanks for your honesty, Cynical. That’s unusual for a Republican.

  36. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Cynical Idiot @ 3

    “They need to stick to the issue of accountability”

    You don’t worry about accountability for the $8,280,000 per hour your GOP buddies are squandering on their Iraq adventure (source: http://www.boosman.com/blog/ar.....350_m.html); is this because you’re putting it on your kids’ credit card?

  37. 47

    antidote spews:

    Mr. Cynical @ 14:

    For once, I agree unequivocally with you: 912 WILL pass no matter what either of us writes here. People will vote for it for the same reason that people watch daytime TV or shoot up heroin overdoses with dirty needles, even though neither of those things is particularly good for them: They don’t think, or care, about all of the consequences. Add to that the recent spike in gasoline prices, and I don’t see how 912 can possibly NOT pass.

    So let’s stop arguing about 912 and instead get down to the hard work of finding some other way to fix our region’s road problems. Maybe that means looking only to our region for the tax money that would pay for it — although I believe that would be a dangerous move from a state policy point of view, because it would make it extremely difficult to get tax money appropriated to pay for projects that have less political support. And that means projects in Eastern Washington, our GOP friends. Think about it: If Sno-King-Pierce divert to themselves all the tax revenue that they would normally make available to the rest of the state for transportation projects, how will the east side pay for its crumbbling roads and bridges? And if Sno-King-Pierce legislators see all their efforts at coming up with a statewide roads plan negated, what incentive will there be for them to cooperate with eastern WA legislators on projects over there?

    Maybe there’s another way around this beyond Balkanizing tax money, but I don’t see it right now.

  38. 48

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    antidote–
    We need to stop the flow of tax dollars to WSDOT…clean house and then move forward. These Bureaucrats are unaccountable and pray on lazy, stupid Legislators from BOTH PARTIES to empower them. WE NEED TO CLEAN HOUSE FIRST!!!

  39. 49

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Roger Rabbit–@45–
    I am not a Republican. I voted for 7 Democrats in the last election. As a Libertarian…I pick and choose. I voted for Rossi because he would have “cleaned house” and got rid of the professional, unprofessional Bureaucrats who are the real problem. Predictably, Gregoire has only taken what Locke gave her and played musical chairs.
    No Party should have the Governor’s Office for 20+ years. The Bureaucrats become entrenched. The ruling Party becomes complacent. What we are seeing in Washington State was predictable and inevitable.

  40. 50

    antidote spews:

    Mr. Cynical: I agree completely! No more money for Eastern Washington projects! Let’s wait, say, 30 years before letting WSDOT waste any more money over there. Then, when we’ve utterly destroyed the bureaucracy, laid off all the state workers, bankrupted the construction companies that vie for those projects, only then can we completely rebuild all of that infrastructure from scratch. It’ll be a lot cheaper to do 30 years from now.

  41. 51

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    antidote–
    It won’t take 30 years….perhaps one if Gregoire has some balls.
    You will not get real reform and a bang for the buck with the current entrenched crowd of bureaucrats. Clean house from the top down. A lot of WSDOT know exactly the lack of leadership above them and what it is like to do unproductive busy work. We need new leadership….NOW! And yes, sometimes you eliminate some good people to. But is our mission to rehabilitate Bureaucrats…or fix the roads???

  42. 52

    Enoch Root spews:

    I remember back when I-695 passed, I predicted that the same jerks who voted for it would then complain that the roads were deteriorating and that Olympia was mishandling their money, even though they were the ones who had decided not to pay for that infrastructure in the first place.

    And I was, unfortunately one freakin’ hundred percent correct.

    If the goal is to reorganize how Olympia allocates its transportation money, then just do that, instead of wasting everybody else’s time and effort and underfunding important infrastructure like 911 call centers (remember? When I-695 passed? Many areas were left without money to pay for 911 and fire and police services and had to scramble for emergency funds, and PEOPLE DIED AS A RESULT?)

    (No, of course you don’t remember. Because you’d rather not believe you were responsible.)

  43. 53

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Enoch Root-
    Same old LEFTIST PINHEAD dogma…our taxes aren’t high enough, don’t question where the dollars are going trouble-maker, pay whatever we LEFTIST PINHEADS tell you to pay and SHUT UP!!!
    Is that what you are saying Enoch Root??
    Sounds like it to me.

  44. 54

    spews:

    Mr Cynical says, “don’t question where the dollars are going trouble-maker

    You can question where the money is going. But then do your homework: read the documents. Don’t simply make generalizations and unfounded accusations. The literature is there. Read it. Then come back here and ask specific questions, or ask your legislature specific questions.

    Anything is wasting everyone’s time, and misrepresenting the facts and the issues.

  45. 56

    spews:

    “Even if we pass I-912 the state will still get $3 Billion”

    Two points: that’s not a given. Why fund a project that has no public funding support from within the state? Some of that money may not be forthcoming if I-912 repeals needed dollars for some projects, effectively killing them. The rest of the money is spread out over the entire state, only partially addressing many needs. The $3 billion will help, but it cannot become the primary source for funding our transportation needs.

  46. 57

    antidote spews:

    Mr. Cyn:

    I completely agree with you when you say the folks at BIAW will agree to not have ANY REVENUE coming in for a year! Just think about it — no road projects anywhere in the state for a whole year! The BIAW’s members will surely put the state’s best interests above their own and agree to shut down! And during that time, as you say, ALL of our problems will disappear! And it’ll be so much cheaper then! Oh, I can’t wait!