Politics Nickels: I Was Against Levies for Basic Services Before I was For Them
posted by October 25 at 12:48 PMon
So, Mayor Nickels wants to raise your property taxes to pay for some basic maintenance.
Here’s the deal:
Voters are being asked to approve the largest property-tax levy in city history to support a broad package, known as Bridging the Gap, that devotes a full half of its $544 million to other things: bike lanes, sidewalks, road signs, traffic lights, buses, street trees, stairways, neighborhood traffic circles, and even some basic maintenance the city says it can’t otherwise afford.
Mayor Greg Nickels insists the city should seize this chance to improve its roads and invest in pedestrian safety.
The city promises the new money would trim the backlog of substandard arterial streets and bridges by half, and add, for instance, four miles of bike trails in Ballard and Beacon Hill.
Well, check out what the mayor thought about using levies to fund basic maintenance when he was a candidate in 2001. The PI reported at the time.
Mayor Paul Schell last night accused King County Councilman Greg Nickels of “demagoguery” during a neighborhood forum for mayoral candidates that featured an unusually direct exchange between the two men.
Schell, Nickels and City Attorney Mark Sidran attended the event in Ravenna, one of the last forums before the primary Sept. 18.
Nickels had been hammering away at Schell’s budget priorities, saying the city should have paid for parks maintenance out of its budget instead of asking voters to approve a levy last year.
“That’s pure demagoguery,” Schell said.
“No,” Nickels interrupted, “that’s setting out clear priorities.”
“You had your chance,” Schell said.
“You had your chance before me,” Nickels said, apparently referring to Schell’s time in office.
Schell and Nickels also squared off earlier in the evening when the three men were asked how they’d improve city services.
Nickels promised to create one phone number to handle any questions about city services and respond within 24 hours “before you shouldn’t have to spend your time trolling through the bureaucracy.”
Both Nickels and Sidran have accused Schell of neglecting basics.
Schell quipped, “When you’re a candidate, you can say anything.”
Schell was right. Candidate Nickels did say anything. And, it turns out, Mayor Nickels is happy to ignore all of it.
Maybe there’s a difference between Nickels’s road maintenance levy and Schell’s Parks levy that would justify Nickels’s flip flop???
Actually, there is a big difference, but it makes Nickels’ look even more obnoxious. The Seattle Times reports:
It’s difficult to predict exactly what voters would get, because there’s no definite timetable. By contrast, recent measures for schools, parks and libraries came with very detailed commitments, so the public could judge what a new tax was expected to buy and then measure success…