Last Night’s City Council Candidate Forum
I Just got home from the 34th District Democrats City Council candidate forum in West Seattle. I know it’d be way more interesting to report on the post-forum drinks I had with Richard Conlin and Jan Drago, but I promised to keep that session on “double super secret background.” If you’re nerd enough, though, I did write up some highlights from the forum:
Biggest Surprise: When asked about the current Nickels plan to siphon hours off Metro bus service to pay for the South Lake Union Trolley (or SLUT), Casey Corr, trying to shake his image as Nickels's Manchurian Candidate, scored points when he said he was against the plan: "The mayor was wrong,” Corr said dramatically. "Stop siphoning bus hours for the South Lake Union Trolley.”
Best One-Liner: Corr's opponent, incumbent Jan Drago, had a nice jag herself when she told the roomful of Dems: "I'm the only Democrat in the race.” She may have a point. One Drago opponent, Linda Averill, is a Socialist. Another opponent, Angel Bolanos repeatedly insists he's "passionate,” but it's not clear what political party he's in. And Casey "I supported Slade Gorton and I-695” Corr seems like a Lieberman Republican.
Most Thoughtful Answer: When asked if he supported Mayor Nickels increased heights and density plan for the downtown core, McIver opponent Robert Rosencrantz began by saying the plan would turn downtown into a high-income neighborhood. Rather than demagogue about that for some easy lefty points, though, Rosencrantz went on to imply that a fancy downtown core is a smart model for a cityas long as the urban villages in the ring neighborhoods supplement downtown with affordable housing. (That's the way cities work, and it's cool Rosencrantz gets it.)
Most Compelling Answer: Asked about replacing the Viaduct with a tunnel, Nick Licata delivered a much-needed dose of reality. Alluding to KVI's I-912 and Patty Murray's honesty, Licata lambasted his city hall colleagues for wasting time in meetings about a tunnel when there's zero money. I've never agreed with Nick on this point. I've always been a tunnel supporter and/or excited about the The People's Waterfront Coalition's no-replace option. But Licata's contrarian push for a rebuild option made sense to me for the first time.
(Startled by Licata's candor, Richard McIvera big tunnel boostersaid he was willing to look at a "Plan B” for the Viaduct, which he described as a "limited access surface street.” To me, that sounded a lot like the radical PWC plan. But then, during the round of drinking after the forum, Conlin, the Council Transportation Chair, told me: "There is no Plan B!" Was that off the record, Richard?)
Gutsiest Answer: Paige Miller bucked this month's easy pack mentality and stood up for the monorail. "I couldn't disagree with Richard Conlin (her kill-the-monorail opponent) more,” she boomed. "We need to move forward with an affordable, buildable, monorail.” The crowd was stunned. And then broke into applause.