The tunnel's dead, Jim.
Yep, probably is. Now to see if any of the politicos will do something public transit wise.
Don't assume a tunnel is dead. If a tunnel was dead, why would the gov delay her decision? The fact is that the clearest narrative for the governor is to support a tunnel and find a way to make it happen. Easy story to tell.
If she chooses the elevated option, what does she say? It is the right thing to do? NO. It is the cheap thing to do? Hardly the stuff vision is made of.
I'm curious - how would the stranger team vote if the choices were tunnel or rebuild?
After much political wrangling, the House Democrats in Olympia tonight announced who will serve as Committee Chairs. Work in the Legislature is done by Committees, and being a Chair of a Committee is a plum post because the Chairs of Committees have the power to (literally) set the agenda in their committee—so this means they single-handedly determine what bills will (or will not) advance through their committee. Along with the House Leadership, these are the “players” in Olympia. Most of the assignments remained the same as last year. Here are a few of the key changes:
Rep. Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island) was named Chair of the powerful Transportation Committee (replacing Ed Murray who was elected to the Senate) and will oversee transportation policy including writing the state transportation budget. Clibborn is a centrist with a long experience in local government. She bested several more senior legislators vying for the post, in part, because she is well-regarded as a thoughtful, capable and likable legislator who has managed to not accumulate the baggage and enemies that other legislators vying for the post had accumulated.
Rep. Ross Hunter (Medina) takes over as Chair of the Finance Committee (replacing Rep. Jim McIntyre of Seattle), where he will oversee state tax policy. Hunter is a Microsoft millionaire known as much for his ego as his smarts. He is pro-business and his selection probably is a comfort to the business community.
Rep. Deb Wallace (Vancouver) was named Chair of the Higher Education Committee (replacing Rep. Phyllis Kenney who made a lateral move to Chair the Economic and Workforce Development Committee). Wallace is a moderate Democrat from Southwest Washington with little Higher Education experience but considered a hard worker with a good head on her shoulders.
Rep. Dave Upthegrove (Des Moines) was named Chair of the newly-created Select Committee on Puget Sound. He will be the point person in the House on the high-profile efforts to restore the environmental health of Puget Sound. Upthegrove, a smart young environmentalist known for his work ethic and ability to get along with his colleagues, vaulted past more senior legislators to land this post. The environmental community will be pleased with this selection.
Rep. Jim McIntyre (Seattle) was replaced as Chair of the Finance Committee. Some say his staunch support for a progressive income tax may have cost him the post. Others point to his tendency to talk down to his colleagues.
Rep. Shay-Schual Berke (Normandy Park) was, once-again, passed over by her colleagues for a Committee Chair assignment since being removed as Chair of the Banking Committee several years ago. One Seattle Democrat blamed this on her, “huge ego, poor treatment of colleagues and staff, and being completely and utterly self-absorbed”. If ever there was a “falling star” in the Legislature, this appears to be it.
Rep. Bill Eickmeyer (Bellfair) was passed over to lead the Select Committee on Puget Sound despite his significant seniority and experience as past work on Hood Canal issues. This grumpy rural conservative isn’t known for being a workhorse, and that may have cost him.
The Democrats seem to have done something amazing. They didn’t make decisions based on seniority. They appear to have picked people based on ability. All four of the legislators above who were promoted are generally viewed as bright talented rising stars in the Legislature. They are smart, hard-working, and are good communicators. But by promoting talent over seniority, Democrats may have ruffled some feathers within. In addition, all four of the legislators who were promoted are from OUTSIDE of Seattle—a reflection of the growing Democratic base.
To #3: the most Seattle-centric opinion I've read in a while. The Governor will select the tunnel option ONLY if she wishes to run another election in which she loses nearly every other county and perhaps has a narrow victory in King. Approval of the tunnel: dooms the RTID/ST2 vote next fall and dooms Gregoire. There is simply so little support for the tunnel anywhere outside of Seattle, I am surprised when I find people who are not tuned in to that fact. The tunnel is toxic. I am not sure the tunnel is even that popular in Seattle, and we will never know because the Mayor and Council were too chickenshit to put it to a vote.
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