You know what irritates me most about Seattle Times editorials? Their tone. Their holier than thou, we know better than you do attitude that seems to permeate nearly everything they write. They don’t discuss, they don’t debate… they just make pronouncements, without feeling the need to ever back themselves up with… what are those things called again? Oh yeah… facts. Take for instance today’s timely editorial on transportation governance reform: “Sound Transit reform deserves the fast lane.”
The Senate Transportation Committee in Olympia has been sitting on a bill that would reform Sound Transit and subject it to voter control. Called Substitute Senate Bill 6772, it is a way out of the muddle, and the committee ought to move it.
Ought they? Really? In that case, might it have behooved you to run this editorial, gee… I dunno… sometime before yesterday’s cut-off for moving the bill out of committee?
Currently, Sound Transit is governed by a board of politicians. All but one are elected — but, like Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, the chairman, they are elected to something else. The result is that this agency, which is spending billions of our dollars, is under no direct voter control. Voters also have no right of initiative or referendum.
Oh no! Sound Transit is governed by a board of politicians! Heaven forfend! And the best way to correct that horror is to replace it with a board of directly elected… um… politicians. And in low-profile, “nonpartisan” races where your buddies in the business community can buy control through huge infusions of cash. At least that way voters can be assured of getting the kind of competent, accountable governance we get from similar directly elected bodies, like you know, the Seattle Port Commission.
The transit-only folks delude themselves if they believe voters killed last fall’s “Roads and Transit” ballot measure because they didn’t want the roads. They do want the roads. And the idea of combining transit and roads was right. Both are needed. The ballot measure failed because the light-rail part was too expensive and created a tax that was too high.
Um… when the Times says voters “do want roads,” and the “measure failed because the light-rail part was too expensive and created a tax that was too high,” they’re basing those assertions on what? Polls? Intuition? Gentle assurances from John Stanton over foie gras and Chateau Lynch-Bages at the Rainier Club? A public opinion fairy they plucked out of their ass?
Yeah, that’s right, Prop 1 failed solely because of the rail portion of the package. All those polls that showed RTID dragging the measure down, and all that opposition from anti-roads advocates like the Sierra Club — that had absolutely nothing to do with Prop 1’s failure. Jesus… talk about deluded.
The bill to which we refer changes Sound Transit into an agency focused on mobility — cars, trucks, rail and buses included. We regret that the bill does not include the rights of initiative and referendum, but at least it creates direct voter control, which is crucial if voters are to approve another tax increase.
No, the bill to which they refer, but don’t bother to explain, essentially eliminates Sound Transit and gives its name and assets to a new, multi-county transportation agency governed by a board of six-figure-a-year commissioners. Sweet.
The other problem is that Sound Transit is a rail and bus agency only, whereas the need is for mobility in general. What is needed is an agency to invest in transit and roads, to satisfy demand for each and extract the most mobility per taxpayer dollar.
Translation: we want to take dollars from rail, use some of the money to paint the words “Rapid Transit” on the sides of buses, and spend all the rest on roads.
The other problem is that the Seattle Times is a daily newspaper only, whereas what is really needed around here is a place where you can get a decent, New York style bagel and some hand-sliced nova. I suppose if we shut down the paper, sink the Blethen’s assets into opening a top-notch kosher deli, and then slap the “Seattle Times” logo on it, that might do the trick.
The Republican minority tried to move the bill out of committee Monday, and failed. It is not even mainly their bill; Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, and the committee chairwoman, is the principal sponsor. Democrats should support their chairman and move the bill toward ultimate approval.
The Republican minority tried to move the bill out of committee, knowing it didn’t have the votes, in a blatant attempt to embarrass Haugen and the Democrats. The unsigned editorialist would have to be a complete idiot not to understand the petty politics behind such a purely procedural maneuver, so I can only assume they were merely being disingenuous. But then, the timing of this editorial, coming one day after cut-off, does suggest total ignorance of the legislative calendar, so maybe I’m being too generous?
Of course the real question here is why the Times is so adamant about demanding “reform” of Sound Transit, an agency that just came through its audits with flying colors, while they remain silent on the issue of reforming the Port of Seattle, an agency so arrogantly mismanaged that it has now become the target of a Justice Department investigation into allegations of criminal fraud? Now that’s what I call “a muddle.”
Don Joe spews:
“Holier than though“? How ’bout “thou”?
Thanks. At least you know I’m not holier than thou about my proof reading skills. I could do with an editor, if not an editorial.
Notwithstanding hour spelling, your logic is impeccable. Every one of the points you cite in the Times’ editorial is completely wrong.
Now, exactly why the times has such a hard-on for transit is something of a mystery. Do they think people are more likely to read their rag while driving than while riding on a public conveyance? Just how much advertising revenue do they expect to get from Blah-Vue Square, anyway?
Any thinking Seattlelite knows that, to get good, unbiased reporting, you really need to be reading The Stranger. ;-)
You Go Goldy!
Richard Pope spews:
A special purpose governing body for transportation — like an elected board just to govern Sound Transit — will be as thoroughly corrupted by the special interests in the transportation arena, as the Port of Seattle is corrupted by the special interests in the shipping and development arenas.
My one suggestion would be the make the Sound Transit governing board consist solely of the elected members of the King, Pierce and Snohomish Councils who serve the Sound Transit district. Each council member should have a weighted vote, based on the number of people living in their district that are also in the Sound Transit district. That way, each member will be directly responsible to the voters, and each resident will have one elected official directly representing them.
This is the same editorial board that endorsed Dan Satterberg for KC Prosecutor, only to have the news room run an in depth multi-part series about how UW football players were allowed to remain free to commit serious crimes because the same Dan Satterberg didn’t want to hurt the football teams chances of winning. There’s a reason that these are unsigned editorials. Who in their right mind would put their name to them and subject themselves to the humiliating criticism that surely would follow.
GREAT news about the podcast.
In re your editorial critique of the times, it seems to me that you often have insightful critiques to make and your skill as an kinterviewer grew immensley during your stint at Cairo…
I hope along with the podcast you might take the opportunity to add some interviews? The old format, esp. for those of use who attend DL all the time, is good, but I really miss your interviews and, WADR to your motley crew, Cheers they ain’t (grin).
So, how can we all encourage guests to come for interviews and meet the crew?
“Holier than thou”, “we know better than you” and plain arrogance is the prevailing attitude, not just of the ST, but among many Seattle institutions. The city government and the police department just to name a couple biggies. I know this is troll-like in its “off-topicity” but what the hell is up with mounted police on the streets of Seattle? I don’t get over that much anymore, but I was a little taken aback yesterday seeing the horses ass cops stationed all over (suspiciously along the infamous WTO route). What the hell? OK,hijack over. But isn’t the Seattle Times subscriber count plummeting faster than the plot line of Hillary Clinton’s primary wins?
Ira Sacharoff spews:
About 20 years ago, the old Metro council was ruled illegal by Federal Judge Dwyer, because none of it’s members were directly elected. This is what led to the merger ( some say takeover) of Metro and King County…
So, without debating whether directly elected officials provide for more accountability, why is it legal to have the Sound Transit board not directly elected, but the Metro council was illegal for that same reason?
@5: Keep up the insightful comments Richard and we may have to eventually elect you as Democrat.
Good points all around – and to the Seattle times – what a sad, sad editorial. So many bad assumptions on top of poor reasoning…hmm, sounds like what got us into the iraq war….
I believe it was a “one person, one vote issue” that could have been overcome by reconfiguring the composition of the commission, but ultimately just helped push a merger that had long been in the making.
Sound Times is a joke paper for east-side bourgeousie.
@7: So, Goldy, you’re going to start podcasting from DL again?
@13: I can’t wait to hear the sound of Beer going down the chute.But spare me any of the sounds of over-drinking.
BH voter spews:
@9 and 11, re the old Metro Council. Judge Dwyer’s decision was that the Metro Council violated the standard set in the New York City Board of Estimate case, i.e. many Metro councilmemberes served on the council automatically by virtue of their election to certain city and county offices. If they had been appointed to the Metro Council rather than serving automatically, there would have been no legal problem. The Legislature was following the mandate of the Dwyer decision when it crafted the Sound Transit Board as one made up of appointees and one state official.
The Seattle Times is struggling to keep an obsolete business model (printed newspapers distributed daily) alive. One of the problems it has faced, for years, is that with a suburban printing plant (Bothel) and distribution over a wide metropolitan area, it needs lots of trucks and cars on the roads, every day, just about all day long, to deliver the goods.
One of the factors behind the Seattle Time’s move from afternoon to morning delivery (some 25 years ago?) was that it couldn’t move the papers during the daytime traffic. The regional population has more than doubled since then. Rush hour now starts before 6:00 a.m., and and never really ends until late in the evening (after 8:00 p.m.?). It ebbs and flows, sure, but we’ve already made so many adjustments to try to work with the system – flexible hours, etc., that we are just running out of cheap fixes.
So light rail and buses might get more cars off the roads, leaving them open for Times delivery trucks, but the Times doesn’t want to gamble on that. Light rail may take decades to complete, and even more time for people and businesses to adjust to riding the rails for their commute. By then, the Times may be out of business. What might help them stay in business is a quicker fix – adding more lanes to freeways, adding a few more buses here and there, all at public expense.
Of course, delivery problems aren’t the only thing which is threatening the demise of the Times – the company might well be out of business within the next five years anyway, as more and more people rely on electronic journalism and entertainment. Fixing the roads to assist just one of the Time’s problems may not help it at all, in the long run.
I wasn’t aware that anyone under the age of 75 still read the newspaper. I can’t imagine that some mis-informed editorial from an obscure local paper would have much impact on anything other than the writer’s own ego and sense of self-importance.
That said, nice deconstruction, Goldy. Those guys are tools.
Piper Scott spews:
Leave it to Democrat Goldy to oppose vehemently every effort to bring more democracy to local government. Tells me that he’s afraid of the people making the decisions since too often they decide that his POVs are so much bupkis!
Here’s a clue: my pals with Oly connections tell me that some sort of more democratic governance reform will eventually be forced upon ST and regional transportation planning and policy. Just a matter of time.
At that point, a real “voice of the people” on the roads vs. transit issue will be expressed at the ballot box, which is exactly where it should be expressed.
Old by and old girl politics may be OK on the east coast where log rolling and bloated pork barrel stuff is the order of the day, but people out here are getting tired of that stuff.
If you don’t like non-partisan races where buddies of developers or whatever might get elected, then why not trot out that overwhelming majority you always contends supports your POV and stick your guys in those slots? But the people aren’t that dumb, and your attempts at fooling them have, to date, reflected their wisdom and discernment.
How’s that Prop 1 workin’ out for ya?
On transportation, flogging the red herring of the Port of Seattle is a desparate distrction on your part. Never fear, the PofA’s time will come, eventually thanks to Tim Eyman.
Won’t it gall you to support an Eyman measure??? On Port reform?
More democracy, greater openness in government, and more strictly accountable to the people processes are a good, not a bad, thing.
16 The Times switched to morning delivery in 2000, and it was mostly due to Frank Blethen’s drooling, frenzied obsession with putting the PI out of business. Turns out it backfired–some people like a morning paper, some like one in the evening, and the move really pissed off the latter group. Now with two papers competing to provide yesterday’s news today, the PI’s circulation dropped a little, but the Times lost as much or more.
It also probably helped hasten the death of the Eastside Journal, but that was mostly because Peter Horvitz is a total dipshit.
18 The main reason why Prop. 1 failed didn’t have anything to do with whether most people prefer roads over transit or vice versa. It was principally due to the fact that putting the two together added up to a price tag that put most people into shock.
With all the bullshit bandied back and forth, Piper, I still think your friends on the right were behind this, because after it failed and as the stench fades away, the state still has more of a mandate to build and maintain roads than it does to support other means of transit.
The Times’ editorials mumble and hedge. They are relentlessly safe. They seem to be written by old fellows terrified of losing their pensions.
It amazes me that Liberals in the Seattle metro area still subscribe to the Seattle Times since they endorsed GWB in 2000.
That’s the last time that F’ing rag touched my driveway!
Vote with your wallets, people!!
@9 and others: Actually, the Dwyer decision was based on the fact of the appointment of the Metro board AND the fact that Metro was determined to be a general purpose government because it operated two distinct municipal services: transit and sewer. If Metro had done only one or the other of those services, the governance structure would have passed constitutional muster. Sound Transit is a special purpose government and therefore does not have the problem with the structure of its board that Metro had.
PS @ 18: said: “my pals with Oly connections tell me…”
Considering your viewpoints, my guess is that this is the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party, the portion that is completely out of power in Olympia right now. If so, how can they impact anything?
Were these the same guys that confidently predicted a Mike McGavick victory in 2006, and that the Republicans would gain seats in both the U.S. Congress and the Washington State Legislature?
Piper Scott spews:
Actually, my friendships and sources are all across the ideological spectrum.
Transportation governance reform is an issue important to Democrats in Oly. Many Dems in the legislature are frustrated both with the high-handedness of ST and with the Balkanized process we have now that gave us Prop 1.
Some stuff has already surfaced in the media to the extent that converting the Puget Sound Regional Council (see: http://www.psrc.org/) into a region-wide transportation governing, planning, and administration agency is an idea with a lot of appeal.
Personally, I would like to see an agency with but one task: transportation. Not zoning, building a new courthouse or stadium, running schools or anything of the sort; just have it responsible for transportation.
The reasons Goldy was so dismissive of The Times’ editorial are exactly the reasons governance reform is under consideration. Leave it to him to lead the way…in the wrong direction.
The State isn’t happy with how things aren’t getting done in the Puget Sound basin (look at how the Gov is taking conrol of a new 520?), and the thinking goes that if “we” can’t clean up our own act, then “they” will do it for us.
You may not see much news about this on the front page or page 1 of the Local News section. You have to dig deep to find the odd snippet about a committee meeting or some legislator giving a speech or whatnot. But it’s out there!
“High-handedness of ST”….meaning exactly what?
What’s the big objection to Sound Transit, other than that it exists?
I hope that if the state “takes over” 520 or whatever else, they do a better job of it than they’re currently doing running the ferry system.
Gregoire had better get rid of Paula Hammond damned quick before:
(1.) A bunch of people end up going for a very cold swim.
(2.) It costs her the election.
Wally Wilson spews:
The transmission in my 19 year-old truck came to a grinding, halting death last weekend and I had to leave the poor mess in Packwood (WA). Now, why would I want another road when a decent way to travel between Seattle and West Seattle would solve more problems for me than not…
The Seattle Times staff just don’t like sharing things…like buses or trains or roads, or even buildings…
Piper Scott spews:
Consider John Ladenberg and Julia Patterson…Then ask a few legislators down in Oly; take your pick, most any of them will do.
PS @ 25 said: “Personally, I would like to see an agency with but one task: transportation. Not zoning, building a new courthouse or stadium, running schools or anything of the sort; just have it responsible for transportation.”
Gee, like maybe, we should create an entity which looks at tranportation issues, not just in the Puget Sound Region, but which considers the needs, resources, and impacts over a wider area, and adjusts accordingly? Maybe we could name it appropriately, like the “Washington State Dept. of Transportation”??????
28 In Packwood???? How appropriate. They’ll probably turn it into some sort of a shrine.
Piper Scott spews:
No, within the Puget Sound area from Thurston through Skagit Counties with directors elected by the people and jurisdiction over every non-federal transportation asset and function. An agency that will plan and build in an integrated manner rather than just for Laurelhurst, Magnolia, a cross-base highway, roads, transit or stuff like that.
As things are now, nothing gets done, money and time are wasted, and baser political instincts and motives govern.
You got a better plan to get things off the dime?
Keep in mind, the airheads at the Seattle Times editorial board called for the dismantling of that light rail project on several occasions over the past decade (which is, of course what this “governance reform” effort is all about.)
But the Blethen Family Newsletter editoral board achieved super airhead status when the called for the end to Sound Transit’s light rail program in 2003, AFTER the contracts had already been signed.
In other words, Reaganite leftovers Jim Vesely, Bruce Ramsey and Frank Blethen (joined by the always-flaky Joni Balter) were dead set on flushing $1 billion of our tax dollars down the toilet, and handing another $500 million back to the feds so some other city (with better daily newspapers) could use it to extend their rail line.
Roger Rabbit spews:
I’m surprised the fishwrapper endorses rolling roads and transit into a single agency, because that opens the door for raiding road money to pay for transit.
Currently, roads are funded by dedicated transportation taxes, primarily the gas tax, which can’t be spent for anything else. Transit is funded by sales taxes.
I don’t think the Times is wrong to say, “The ballot measure failed because the light-rail part was too expensive and created a tax that was too high.” A lot of people did vote against Prop. 1 for that reason. And it is a fact that the ST2 portion of RTID/ST2 was outrageously spendy and would have imposed an onerous increase in the regressive sales tax.
Combining roads and transit, administratively and funding-wise, may not be a good idea. The funding mechanisms are fundamentally different, for one thing. Roads are paid for by people who drive on them. Transit, on the other hand, is paid for by general taxpayers — and the people who ride it, unlike car drivers, are getting subsidized by those taxpayers.
We all know what happens when Group A can make Group B pay for something Group A wants. Spending restraint goes outit costs, if they can build it with OPM (other people’s money)? And why would senior citizens, low income people, and others at risk of getting stuck with the $28 billion bill for ST2 want to give light rail proponents that much power over their finances? The result is predictable: If a senior citizen on a fixed income has to choose between light rail or medicine, the light rail rider will make him pay for light rail and do without his medications.
That’s why Phase 2 light rail shouldn’t be built with sales taxes or property taxes. One could add that it shouldn’t be built at all if light rail proponents are allowed to run up the cost to $28 billion by spending $500 million a mile to build a fucking tunnel from the U. District to the Northgate Park and Ride, which has parking spaces for about 100 cars. Nobody in their right mind would spend $2.5 billion of their own money on a tunnel that will carry only 100 riders a day. And you won’t get more riders than that if there’s no parking. But this community, apparently, has plenty of people who are willing to spend $2.5 billion of other people’s money on something like that — if they can get away with it.
Last fall, the voters said “no” to that bullshit.
So, maybe combining roads and transit IS a good idea. Historically, transportation infrastructure has been built by user taxes, and there’s a lot that could be said in favor of (a) funding transit from user taxes instead of general taxes, and (b) making roads and transit compete for the same transportation dollars. That would allow voters who need transportation and pay transportation taxes to decide how much transportation they’re willing to pay for, and would facilitate the flow of those dollars to the most efficient mode of transportation.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Spending restraint goes out the window, and why would they care what it costs, if they can build it with OPM (other people’s money)?
32 So, are you claiming that Sound Transit (or any other organization) is favoring the transportation needs of Laurelhurst and Magnolia? How????
34 Roger, it would appear that the Times has finally morphed into pushing a total Reaganite strategy. Push a bunch of BIAW-backed candidates onto the board (Maybe they’ll even elect Timmie and one of Pam Roach’s brood!), monkey-wrench the transit projects in order to discredit them, then shut them down and divert the money to building new roads. They’re probably assuming that a McCain administration will allow that, just like BushCo has looked the other way as Haley Barbour has diverted the bulk the the post-Katrina aid that went to Mississippi to building industrial parks.
When right wing nuts like Piper Scott and Kemper Freeman start calling for a whole new layer of government, along with highly paid elected board members, you just know there’s another agenda going on here.
What’s funny about Piper’s support for this bill (6772) is the fact the proponents are making a last ditch effort to permanently hitch less-popular roads to the light rail bandwagon. Piper is too goddamn stupid to figure that out, as he invents even more reasons to whine about light rail “boondoggles.” the Piper: if light rail is a boondoggle, why does John Stanton, Inc. believe it’s the only way to fund his roads on a regional level?
And, how is it that faux watchdog right wingers are so anxious to let the state off the hook for funding STATE roads within the region which makes up the state’s economic engine?
So why would anti-government cranks be calling for even more government? These dinosaurs have lost every battle over transportation (except for Prop 1, when their less-popular roads got tagged on to the transit package) and they know the only chance they have at winning will be if the rules are changed, and the deck chairs are re-arranged. For more proof of this string of Piper Scott failures, look what happened to anti-rail Senators Horn, Nixon and Esser.
Republicans and conservatives are always slow to change. That’s their nature. But, if you check in with conservative voters in metro Denver, Salt Lake, Phoenix, Dallas, etc you will find Republicans who got beyond the myths and lies, and figured out high capacity transit is the only way to accommodate the needs of fast-growing cities and regions. In those areas, there are still a few frothing Libertarian whackos who fight light rail. But the sane conservatives are all on board.
the Piper can look forward to a day when his idiotic arguments are only taken seriously by a tiny fringe element here in Pugetopolis.
“I’m surprised the fishwrapper endorses rolling roads and transit into a single agency, because that opens the door for raiding road money to pay for transit.”
Speaking of cranky, old conservative (wannabe in this case).
Roger Rabbit, you write a lot of stupid stuff, but this one takes the cake. Gas tax dollars (which fund roads) cannot be used for transit, but sales tax (which funds transit) can be levied to pay for both roads and transit. Same goes for MVET, which can only be used for roads.
You got your argument ass-backwards, which always seems to happen when you weigh in on transportation issues.
We get it: broken, old, white, unemployed, anti-social men enjoy the solitude of their cars. If I hated young, vibrant, people-oriented communities as much as you do, I would probably believe the garbage Roger Rabbit spews on a regular basis here.
Hey, at least Roger’s got that enlightened genius Piper Scott to defend him.
“One could add that it shouldn’t be built at all if light rail proponents are allowed to run up the cost to $28 billion by spending $500 million a mile to build a fucking tunnel from the U. District to the Northgate Park and Ride, which has parking spaces for about 100 cars. Nobody in their right mind would spend $2.5 billion of their own money on a tunnel that will carry only 100 riders a day.”
Jesus, Roger. I knew you were stupid, and I’ve watched you butcher data on a regular basis. But this time, you missed 3 zeros with that ridership figure. Maybe the state unemployment office offers math classes?
It’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks. It’s even tougher to teach an old cave dweller how to do simple math.
“The State isn’t happy with how things aren’t getting done in the Puget Sound basin (look at how the Gov is taking conrol of a new 520?), and the thinking goes that if “we” can’t clean up our own act, then “they” will do it for us.”
More hilarity from Piper Scott. 520 is a state freeway. The state only decided to dump it on the region when they figured out they couldn’t pay for it. Had the state legislature not been taken over by the Piper’s reflexive anti-tax (you can’t be pro-road if you oppose the funding for those roads) goons in the 1990’s, gas tax revenues could have come close to meeting the needs the state KNEW it had.
Even when the whole thing reached crisis status in 2003, Piper’s cavemen in the legislature STILL voted against raising the gas tax, just to try and keep up with inflation. http://www.horsesass.org/?p=794 Ditto 2005.
Freeway proponents will likely always fail, because their base of support comes from frothing anti-tax Eyman types. (tough to find a better example of shooting yourself in the foot) Pro-transit folks, on the other hand, are more willing to actually PAY for the services they want. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure this stuff out.
“Transportation governance reform is an issue important to Democrats in Oly. Many Dems in the legislature are frustrated both with the high-handedness of ST and with the Balkanized process we have now that gave us Prop 1.”
Yeah, right, Piper Scott. That’s why your super-smart legislator pals created the RTID in 2002, the Monorail authority in 2003, and a brand new municipal ferry corporation last session. Maybe the message here is: “somebody stop us before we create any more of these balkanized governments.” So, I guess what Piper is trying to say is, the legislature is frustrated with their own votes. Almost as brilliant as anti-government types asking for more government. These clowns are all over the map….
And what’s the deal with Piper’s Intelligently Designed Discovery Institute concept, that these rural counties should be part of this new mega-government? Don’t people move to Skagit County to get AWAY from the hustle and bustle of urban areas?
And now, Piper Scott wants to give off-the-grid voters MORE government and MORE taxes?
What planet do you suppose he’s writing from? Planet Roger Rabbit?
by Goldy, 02/13/2008, 10:01 AM
‘You know what irritates me most about Seattle Times editorials?’
‘Their tone. Their holier than thou, we know better than you do attitude that seems to permeate nearly everything they write.’
The third sentence accurately describes the liberal crap posted on this blog….
The first is more of Goldy’s extreme jealousy of the Times….
You may recall that only a year ago the Times editorial pages were calling for an appointed Seattle School Board because the public had been electing people the Times didn’t approve of. The Times will flip flop either way. It is not about democracy or having a direct public election with them it is whether they suck Blethens cock.
I’m nervous about agreeing with Roger but here goes…..Goldy, you are advocating is “more of the same”. More of the same has not increased investment in either roads or transit, and was soundly trounced in the Prop 1 vote. Support the attempts by your elected officials (like Haugen who is a leader in transportation) as they try to govern. Or would you rather let Eyman make the call?
Max @ 39, just another correction. MVET can be used for roads AND transit. Gas tax is the only one restricted to road use and that is via the constitution. Prior to I695, the MVET was a major source of funding for transit agencies. That is why, after it was repealed, most transit agencies had to seek voter approval for a sales tax increase to make up the lost revenue.
Haugen, a leader in transportation? Zip, you talkin’ about the freeways she wants to build using transit money, or her own district’s ferries that don’t float?
“More of the same” would be great. After 40 years of arguing about it, the region is finally getting great commuter rail and (soon) light rail service. We also finally raised the gas tax to do some basic roads fixes, after years of neglect. I see construction going on all over the place.
Did you have something else in mind, zip? A monorail? A new freeway someplace?
Watching the legislature in action on TVW this week, I don’t get the impression Haugen understands a lot of King County’s issues. What she does understand, she seems to have contempt for.
If there was a disfunctional body to change, I would start with the state legislature. But the dead wood never goes away, because many of these voters just keep checking the same box every 2/4 years.
“The first is more of Goldy’s extreme jealousy of the Times…. ”
I can see it now: Goldy hoping and praying he might join the lazy Republican journalist club.
No, actually what I advocate is the legislature giving MVET authority to ST, and let it go to the ballot in the King County portion of its district alone with extensions to Northgate and East to Bellevue. If folks in Pierce and Snohomish don’t want rail, they don’t have to pay for it, but they don’t get to vote down ours. That’s what I advocate… localism. Freeing local voters to choose to raise their own taxes to build the infrastructure we want, rather than the infrastructure Frank Blethen, Kemper Freeman and the Discovery Institute thinks is good for us.
But if you want to dismiss ST as more of the same, let me remind you that ST is the only transit agency in the city’s history that’s actually managed to build anything. The SMP couldn’t do it. Forward Thrust couldn’t do it. But ST succeeded. Kudos to them.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@37 It wouldn’t surprise me if some Rovian scheme is percolating in the darkness.
It took me a while, but I think I have this right.
There actually has been quite a bit of new blood on the appointed ST board over the last 6 years:
14 of the 18 board members have turned over. The only remaining board members from 2001 are Greg Nickels, Ron Sims, Dave Enslow (Sumner), and John Ladenburg (Pierce County).
So, I just don’t believe the “turf wars” characterization has much merit.
I don’t see bureaucratic stagnation at ST. This is a problem which has engulfed much of the legislature, a body always fighting the same old fights, and trying to find a new punching bag to shift blame away from many of their own mistakes.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@38 If crackpiper likes it, there must be something sneaky going on.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@40 Maybe you could tell me where the other 99,900 commuters are going to park their cars? Because it’s a mystery to me. Or do you think people will walk to the light rail stations from miles around?
Roger Rabbit spews:
I’m just a dumb bunny, but I don’t see how this much parking can support a $2.5 billion light rail tunnel to the U District. http://www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/t.....506ph1.jpg
Roger Rabbit spews:
Being only a dumb bunny, I don’t understand how they can pay for a $28 billion light rail system by collecting $150 a year from 1.2 million households for 30 years. According to my cave dweller math that’s only $5.4 billion.
Roger, if you really think there’s only room for 100 cars at the Northgate P&R, you’re in dire need of an eye exam.
42 That’s just the point. If the transit-is-the-work-of-Satan crowd can give the franchise to vote on King County/Puget Sound issues to enough people who don’t benefit from them, they can make sure nothing passes. They’d propose that the “regioual authority” include Odessa, Clarkston and–what the hell? maybe Kiev, if they thought the public was dumb enough to go for it.
Rabbit @ 54: you ARE one dumb bunny. Those figures were explained to you a number of different times last year. You went out of your way to ignore the facts and remain dumb. The true mark of an ideologue.
The Seattle Times editorial appeared the day after the bill they liked died in the Senate without a vote. So it appears the Times doesn’t know what’s going on.
Bruce Ramsey appeared to write it – he was playing wag wag in Olympia with the kiss-ass flack hired to push the bill. Ramsey hates light rail and has been writing faux gruff critiques about it for a decade or more.
The GOP tried to force a vote a few times, and may keep trying, in an oddball attempt to hand Dino Rossi something to run on and to show that they deserve more of John Stanton’s billion and change.
The legislation failed to generate the necessary votes for two big reasons:
1. it allowed sales taxes transit depends on to be spent on big freeways (note that it did not in turn propose that gas taxes reserved for highways can be spent on transit) and
2. it created a King County dominated government under the guise or calling it regional – Pierce County and Snohomish county transportation projects would be decided by King County interests, with no protections that taxes raised in those counties would result in any improvements important to them.
There were plenty of other reasons why it shouldn’t have passed, but the top two fatal flaws were all that were needed to kill it.
Is it any wonder that Microsoft and other King County centric interests like this idea? They could buy elections and pretty much control most everything.
The fact that the Seattle Times repeatedly supported the new government (even though it ran its last editorial too late to make a difference) actually helped seal the death of the idea. The views north and south and east were generally, of course a King County paper supports it, because its just one more way to be dominated by King County interests. The support of the “Greater” Seattle Chamber had the same effect.
If the people leading these Seattle based organizations actually had the necessary understandings of how the region – as opposed to King County – really works, we might actually get a workable reform some day.
Don’t hold your breath if people keep insisting on a whole new level of high paid people elected to protect newly mapped turfs. It will never happen. Because it shouldn’t.
When the richest citizens in the state (with histories of being the biggest funders of political campaigns) start wanting more elected officials, they’re simply saying they want more politicians they can elect and control. That’s really what John Stanton and Microsoft were telling the legislature by pushing this bill. Stanton just doesn’t know it because he’s convinced it means accountability. It was nice of him to show up in Olympia as a living example of why his new elected governance is dangerous.
There is accountability in the proposal: to Stanton and his other GOP billionaire friends. The rest of us would be screwed.
So who probably really killed reform in Olympia this year?
It was probably John Stanton, the state’s CEOs and the Seattle Times editorial page.