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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Casey Corr: Yes or No on South Lake Union Trolley?

Posted by on September 21 at 12:40 PM

Voters don’t want a city council that rubber stamps the mayor’s agenda. That’s why the mayor’s boy, Casey Corr—a former mayoral staffer whose city council campaign is being micromanaged by current mayoral staffers—scrounged for one aspect of the mayor’s South Lake Union Trolley plan to criticize. It’s Casey’s effort to distance himself—as a council candidate—from the mayor. Casey says he doesn’t like that some funding for the trolley will sap some funding for new Metro bus hours. (It’s a fair criticism, and in fact, one I agree with. I wrote a column about it in June.)

However, that’s only one aspect of the mayor’s trolley plan. The question for Casey Corr is: What’s his position overall on the South Lake Union Trolley? Does he disagree with the mayor’s larger funding plan for it? Does he disagree with the mayor’s contention that the trolley is a necessary part of the city’s transportation infrastructure? Or does he think, as some critics do, that Nickels is just catering to Paul Allen?

Even more important, what does Corr think about Nickels’s plan for South Lake Union in general? If Corr maintains that the trolley is stealing bus hours from the rest of the city, will he take the next step and say that by prioritizing South Lake Union, the mayor is siphoning off neighborhood money from the rest of the city? Casey needs to clarify his position on the trolley and on South Lake Union.

So, a Yes or No question for Casey Corr: On balance, does he support the mayor’s South Lake Union Trolley plan? Corr has been squeamish about answering Yes or No questions, but I think this one’s pretty simple. For example, here’s my answer. No, I don’t support the mayor’s South Lake Union trolley plan.

Unfortunately, being familiar with Corr’s evasive political style, I already know what he’s going to say. He will answer by questioning his opponent Jan Drago’s ability to challenge the mayor. He’ll say that she has a record of rubber stamping the mayor’s agenda. For starters, that’s not an answer to the question. More important, it’s not true. As the longtime budget chair, Drago has been in the trenches battling against the mayor’s budgets, and organizing the council to reinstate important social service funding year after year. (Including half-a-million $$$ in 2002 for food banks.) The budget is the nuts and bolts work of the city, and on that score, Drago has a record of being in the mayor’s face.

And while Drago does support the trolley plan, she hasn’t been evasive about that. Casey seems to want it both ways. Let’s see if Corr can succinctly say Yes or No on the South Lake Union trolley.