The Seattle P-I: How much does it really cost?

If you said 50 cents a day (and a buck-fifty on Sunday), you’d be wrong.

At least, that’s according to “Slim” Jim MacIsaac, who’s goofball numbers are getting front page treatment at the P-I.

This is from an email received earlier today:

Using the same methodology reported in the PI to arrive at the $160B cost figure for the joint ballot measure, the Seattle PI costs a reader $60,000.

Here’s how it works: 50-cents per day for 6 days a week, plus $1.50 for Sundays. That’s $4.50 a week, multiplied by 52 weeks a year for $234 per year. But wait – those are 2006 numbers. Using MacIsaac’s terms, you go back to what you’ve been paying since 1996 and go forward to what you’ll pay through to 2057. Using ST’s/MacIsacc’s/PI’s annual inflationary factor of 5.2%, you deflate back to 1996, inflate up to 2057, add it all together and you get $60,075.37 – the true cost of the PI to the reader. I like Joel Connelly, but he doesn’t seem like much of a bargain at that price, now does he? Curiously, the PI does not use these figures to encourage purchasing their product.

But wait again – this is the “true cost” of the PI for one reader, not all readers combined. So, to find the “true cost” of the PI to the community you have to multiply the per reader cost by their circulation figure (since a growth inflator of 5.2% was already in the per reader figure, you don’t have to apply it again to the circulation figure). Keeping in mind that my degree is in Political Science, not Mathematics, the number I get is $7,943,946,401.21, or $8 billion.

I too love Joel’s column, but at 60k, that’s one expensive paper.


  1. 1

    MichaelW spews:

    First it was a text message from the City Club debate, now an email from earlier today — are these from Yes campaign consultants?

    It’s a great service you are providing for them, and I’m sure you don’t consider yourself a journalist or anything, but you might want to avoid looking like such a tool for the man.

  2. 2

    Uncle Albert spews:

    Props to Ron Sims! He called BS on it. VOTE NO. There will be a better plan, and it will include congestion-relieving variable-priced tolling. Raise revenue AND utilize the roads we have better – who can argue with that?

    No way should Seattle taxpayers ship billions of THEIR tax dollars over to Bellevue (the RTID plan). That money from the families of Seattle would go to building excessive highway capacity leading directly to Kemper Freeman, Jr.’s properties.

  3. 3

    otterpop spews:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amusing that Will chose to blog on some bizarre tangent about the cost of the PI, rather than reporting the Sims news?

    Maybe he shouldn’t take all of his direction his handlers at the Yes campaign…

  4. 4

    ken spews:

    Wow the 700 Club is getting cozier and cozier with Kemper. Now defending Kemper’s goons’ numbers against light rail.

  5. 5

    bob56 spews:

    Ron Sims’ position on transportation is shakier than the 520 bridge.

    He was for light rail before he was against it.

    He is for the surface transit option and the projects in SODO that you need to build in order for it to work. You know things like fixing the Spokane Street Viaduct, building a bus off ramp, building an overpass on Lander street (projects funded in Roads and Transit). Now he is against those?

    He wants the South Park bridge replaced. But opposes this plan that would replace it. What is his plan when this ticking steel truss mess falls in the river?

    I’ll take my transportation advice from somebody who knows where they stand.

  6. 6

    artyfunkster spews:

    Ed Murray is for the plan. The Governor is for the plan. Larry Phillips is for the plan. Dow Constantine is for the plan.

    Ron Sims is not. He joins Gary Nelson (R) and John Koster (R) from Snohomish County.

  7. 7


    otterpop @3,

    Eat me. I mean really… what the fuck? We get nothing but abuse from assholes like you for daring to speak our minds, and yet you think we should be staying up 24/7 ready to respond to any late breaking news… all the while getting paid absolutely nothing. You don’t like it here? Go read (u)SP.

    Will wrote this piece last night, and set it to go live at 8AM, so as not to step on Lee’s excellent post. (Actually, Will originally set it for 8AM yesterday, but I fixed that.) We’re not fucking mind readers, and believe it or not, the Times doesn’t share their editorial schedule with us.

    Do you have any idea how much time we put into this blog? Do you have any idea how long it took Lee to write that post? Do you have any idea how many hours a day I put into researching and writing my posts?

    I’ll write a post on Sims when I’ve had the time to put some thought into it. You’ll just have to wait until then. In the meanwhile, why don’t you try to take a few minutes to address the actual point Will made… that Kemper Freeman Jr. and his buddies are bunch of SHAMELESS, FUCKING LIARS, and that their numbers are total bullshit.

  8. 8

    Commentator spews:

    One big difference: you can stop your PI subscription any time you want. With the ST2/RTID tax increase, there’s total lock-in as long as you choose to own a car or choose to buy anything in the taxing boundaries. I wonder how many people will drive a few extra miles to buy a car or other big purchase in a lower-tax rate area?

    Another difference: you can read the PI online at no cost other than your internet access, though whether that’s a viable business model remains to be seen.

  9. 9

    Daddy Love spews:

    When I saw those numbers on the front page, I remember wondering how many other projects get this kind of cost accounting. Of course, the answer is none. Thanks for the whimsical lesson in anti-transit propaganda.

  10. 10

    otterpop spews:

    Gosh David, sorry I touched a nerve. I stupidly assumed the date and time stamp on the post was the date and time stamp for the post. Silly me.

    “We get nothing but abuse from assholes like you for daring to speak our minds…”

    Now I guess you have an idea about how the Sierra Club feels about the vicious personal attacks Will has been making since they dared speak their minds.

    And, you’re right. I don’t know how long it took Lee to write that post…I don’t even know which one you’re referring to.

    But I do have a sense of how long it took Will to write his post…about five seconds to cut and paste into a blog post.

  11. 11

    get real spews:

    @6: The “support” from those four electeds is mere lip service. Compare that to what Ron Sims has done. Sims just authored hundreds of words in a column in the Times. He explains why we should vote no.

    Murray, Gregoire, Phillips – they haven’t come out with any good, solid explanations for why we SHOULD support RTID. They are not trying to get out in front of this thing – far from it. They are trying to get out of its way. NO electeds are urging yes votes and listing compelling reasons. That is very telling, and unprecedented.

  12. 14

    michael spews:

    “Additionally, Sims says some light rail is being built in the wrong place, specifically from Sea-Tac Airport to Tacoma, at a very high cost per passenger.”

    It should be noted that Tacoma all ready has the Sounder a heavy rail link to Seattle, Acela trains (when ever they’re back up and running) to Portland, express bus service to the airport (ST 574) and a small light rail line that they would like to expand, but lack the funding. Funding an expansion of the Link line in Tacoma would be cheaper and faster than the rail improvements called for in RTID and would allow existing transit options to be better utilized.

  13. 15

    michael spews:

    Oops, it’s the Talgo cars that are currently out of service slowing down train service to Portland.

  14. 16

    Leadership? spews:

    Kemper lives in a penthouse in one of his buildings. Ron doesn’t care about anything outside of Seattle.

    Leadership works to not just have great ideas, but to get something done.

    Kemper will lie through his teeth, tout his own plan for roads, fight buses and rail, and in the end NOTHING is done.

    Ron will come up with ideas and studies on everything…but DOES NOTHING. We need a new exec that gets out of Seattle once in a while.

    Oh ya, at least Kemper has a plan, Ron only has ideas. But having 3 people opposed to something doesn’t make me want to believe them.

  15. 17

    Mark The Redneck-Goldstein spews:

    Rons Sims’ column in today’s PI is fucking hilarious. He’s against spending $160B because it doesn’t solve the problem, costs too much, and won’t fix “global warming”.

    I guess he got to the right answer, but to base it on junk science is beyond belief to me.

  16. 18

    SeattleJew spews:

    Ron Sims is a true leader. He is willing and intellectually able to put his reasons into writing. If he is wrong then the supporters of RTID have ane qual chance to respond.

    Sadly, so far they have not. The best pro RTID info I can find is at the antisites. Their vitriol and abuse of math really makes me want to vote for RTID. Goldy is right about that.

    Now along comes someone I respect so my vote sways towarsds nay. Where id Gregoire on this? I could care less about her endorsement, I want some leadership. Is she incapable of writing a a piece like Ron’s?

  17. 19

    chadt spews:


    Well, junk postings from you are ridiculous, too, but they seem to be an inescapable fact of life. Sort of like sewage.

  18. 20

    Mark The Redneck-Goldstein spews:

    Geez Jew…. as a scholarly perfessor why don’t you think it through for yourself? Why do you need someone to tell you what to think?

    Oh yeah… yer a librul. Never mind…

  19. 21

    greg spews:

    Ron Sims put this on the ballot a couple of months ago.

    Then said he was going to not take a position last week.

    Then today he says he opposes.

    Well there are a few weeks between now and the election how many more times can Ron change his mind?

    Leadership? Sounds more like he has a transportation identity crisis. I can’t tell what he believe in.

  20. 22

    greg spews:

    Ron rudderless on transportation.

    Editorials & Opinion: Thursday, January 11, 2001

    Guest columnist

    Why we must proceed with light-rail plan

    By Ron Sims, Bob Drewel, John Ladenburg and Dave Earling

    Special to The Times

    Local, elected officials from throughout Snohomish, King and Pierce counties will meet this afternoon to decide whether to accept a $500 million federal grant and with it a commitment to begin building a light rail train system to serve the people of our region.

    It’s a decision that, regardless of the outcome, will affect how people live and get around in the Central Puget Sound region for the next 100 years or more. The issue facing the region’s leadership is whether we’re finally going to do something about improving transportation, or whether we’re content to let our transportation system – and our way of life here – continue to deteriorate.

    We think the best choice is to go forward with light rail.

  21. 23

    bob56 spews:

    I want my 50 miles of light rail.

    I also want to organize a dinner party with the opponents of this measure.

    Mike can we do this on Phinney Ridge?

    It will be me, you (Mike “Kemper’s man crush” O’Brien), Kemper, Grary Nelson (R), Ron “I don’t know where I stand” Sims, Will “beat my wife” Knedlick and Jim Horn.

    Over desert we can put the finishing touches on our transportation plan.

    Let bridges sink. Street cars for the rich. And slow buses stuck in traffic for the poor.


  22. 25

    Mark The Redneck-Goldstein spews:

    I really want all you gullible moonbats who believe in the myth of global warming to start riding trains and buses so you can “save the planet”.

    I want you to get the fuck off the freeways so I (and the rest of The Producers) can get where I need to be in my carbon spewing luxury SUV without getting stuck in traffic with you fucking losers.

  23. 27

    xman spews:

    Ron was for Southwest Airlines moving, and then against it.

    He was for just a trail on the BNSF line, now he supports rails with trails. Sidenote: Has he looked at the ridership on that line?

    He voted to build light rail to Bellevue, now he is against it.

    I can’t keep up.

  24. 28

    xman spews:

    The Sierra/700 club is all gitty today, but what they don’t understand is that Ron didn’t take this position because of the road projects, he took it because of the transit projects.

    Hurley was not totally satisfied with Sims’ overall package. “There’s a big transit gap in there,” he said.

    Sims would spend 53 percent on roads, 21 percent on carpool lanes and 26 percent on transit, including $1.33 billion to take light rail to Northgate and to Sea-Tac Airport.

  25. 29

    michael spews:


    You know things really do change over time. Why should Simms have exactly the same positions in 2007 that he had in 2004? Most of what he was talking about in ’04 has been shot down, so why bring it up again?

    It’s not flip-floping, it’s leaning from ones mistakes.

  26. 30

    Piper Scott spews:


    Ed Murray is for the plan…check.

    Christine Gregoire is for the plan…check.

    Larry Phillips is for the plann…check.

    Dow Constantine is for the plan…check.

    Thanks for giving me four reasons to oppose the plan…because they’re just trying to stick me with the damn check!

    The Piper

  27. 32

    Nels spews:

    “The Sierra/700 club is all gitty today, but what they don’t understand is that Ron didn’t take this position because of the road projects, he took it because of the transit projects. ”

    xman, I think that may have something to do with the fact he needs the cars to put the tolling transponders in, to pay for the buses people don’t want to use, and to keep the pavement flat so the buses aren’t quite so bad…

    Just like the “promise” of monorail last go-round, congestion pricing is simply a (regressive) concept which will never get off the drawing board.

    Congestion Pricing would help revive Tim Eyman’s career, since he feeds off citizen rebellion against government control.

    Hilarious today that Dori Monson said he “agrees 100% with Sims.” Apparently, our fake Libertarian friend hasn’t looked in to the Sims plan to tax all of us to death, and build no new infrastructure along the way.

  28. 33

    Nels spews:

    “I’ll write a post on Sims when I’ve had the time to put some thought into it. You’ll just have to wait until then.”

    Goldy, otterpop has been trained on the Sound Politics thoughtless “drive by analysis” approach. He needs little doses of silly populist shit to help him “understand” complex issues. If you actually drill down on the subject, otter ain’t gonna read it anyways…

  29. 34

    GS spews:

    Hell, even Karmac the Magnificent wabbit sides with Sims on this one!

    156 Billion in new taxes most of which continue to punish the poorest is BS. The poor cannot afford to live near ST, their land has all been sold to developers of Condomania for rich Seattle suburbanites.

    Way to go Wabbit!

  30. 35

    thor spews:

    Ron Sims is no leader on this topic. What has he been doing for the past two terms? Leading the development of a ballot measure toward something he can’t support? Good grief, is that leadership?

    What was his wife saying all these years while he was sitting on his hands about whether he should really be in public office?

    Look. Sims has done some good things. But his performance on this topic is astonishingly inept. That’s what he was really saying in his kitchen table op-ed.

    He’s all talk on this topic, and no action. Worse, he touts tiny accomplishments as real progress toward confronting global warming. People who are serious about global warming don’t mislead like he’s misleading.

    He’s done nothing to really deal with one drop of new water where ice used to be in the arctic.

    He touts flawed studies as realistic plans. When is he going to get real and do the actual work of developing realistic plans enough people can support to make happen?

    Not in our lifetimes.

  31. 36

    greybeard spews:

    It is the reasons to vote no he didn’t put into the newspaper story that worry me.

    He knows what’s ahead for ST – warts and all. That includes trying to get that second tunnel dug under Beacon Hill and then trying to get light rail operational to the airport by 2009 under budget.

    He’s saying what all parents say to over-excited children: time out. Time out to get the first part of light rail done right, and time out to get the SR 520 project designed and full funding sources secured first.

    That is a message from someone who knows what’s really up, unlike any of you.

  32. 37

    runnerodb83 spews:

    Maybe Sims does see trouble ahead with SoundTransit…yet he isn’t revealing anything which is suspicious. Regardless, our region had the opportunity to obtain a large transit system similar to BART in the Bay Area in the late 60’s…with federal funding covering most of the bill. People voted it down, presumably to stem growth and save their pennies, and Atlanta got OUR majorly federally funded heavy rail transit system. Well look what our situation is now, growth has come, we are stuck with a freeway system designed in the 60’s that is insufficient to handle the current capacity, and a “bandaid” of a rapid transit system. We had the opportunity to invest in high capacity transit back then, and we didn’t. This time around it’s more expensive. If we vote it down we’ll still be stuck with the same problems and the next time a measure like this comes around it will be more expensive. I’m not saying the RTID package is flawless, but its a start and it can only improve our region.

    Also, Kemper and his Transportation Engineer buddy want you to vote no…why? Who knows. But his buddy loves to brag that he helped design our current transportation network over the past 40 years…yeah the same network that is crumbling apart and needs the RTID overhaul. Vote YES or pay more later.

  33. 38

    P(ravda)-I(zvestiia) spews:

    I computed the past value, the net present value, and the future value of the P-I, using the correct algorithm and formula. I came up with a large negative number.

  34. 39

    Republican Party Reptile spews:

    Mark, #25: I heard the news today, oh boy. The Moonbat-in-Chief says the planet is boiling and that you and I are to blame. He’s talking about doing a Crawford-Kyoto.

    Sucks to be us, my friend.

  35. 40

    Love Daddy spews:

    Good to see that my old friend, postal chadt, is here … exercising his unalienable right to free screech. But where’s (check out the brain on) Dad? We need to feel the love.