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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Nickels: I Was Against Levies for Basic Services Before I was For Them

posted by on October 25 at 12:48 PM

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…

RSS icon Comments


I'm sorry, Josh. I'll try not hounding you anymore, but your Freudian Slips crack me up:

"Candidate Nickels did say anything."

Posted by rocktober | October 25, 2006 1:03 PM

Yeah, well exactly why did you guys endorse this blank check, then?

BTW - Nickels was also for rebuilding the Viaduct in 2001, too...

Posted by Mr. X | October 25, 2006 1:07 PM

Why shouldn't road repairs be paid for by gas taxes and the MVET? They were once, but voters had to have their cheap car tabs. I'm voting this down on the principle that the people who use the roads should pay for them.

Why should city property owners foot the bill for suburban commuters?

Posted by golob | October 25, 2006 1:15 PM

Can ya'll please stop using the phrase "______ was for _______ before she/he was against it" or vice versa. It's driving me crazy. It was driving me crazy before it was driving me crazy. :)

Posted by please | October 25, 2006 2:20 PM

Look, I already voted. Why do you media types keep bothering me about things when the election's already over for most of us?

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 25, 2006 2:37 PM

I'm voting down every initiative, proposition, levy, etc. If it's taken to the voters, something's wrong with it.

Posted by Gomez | October 26, 2006 1:54 PM

I'm sorry, Josh. I'll try not hounding you anymore, but your Freudian Slips crack me up: I disagree go to

Posted by apartments warsaw | November 15, 2006 7:52 AM

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