News KC Council: Gaming the Public
posted by February 16 at 9:22 AMon
“I deeply regret it” —KC Council Member Larry Phillips in yesterday’s Seattle Times, apologizing for his 1995 vote to overrule the voters and authorize publicly financing SAFECO Field.
On both April 3, 2006 and April 4, 2005 the King County Council, chaired by Larry Phillips, cancelled its regularly scheduled morning Committe of the Whole meeting so it could move its regularly scheduled afternoon Full Council Meeting to the morning. (The KC Council is supposed to meet every Monday at 9:30 and 1:30.)
And on April 6, 2004 (a Tuesday) the KC council’s Growth Management Commitee meeting was cancelled.
Why would I bother to dredge up these old cancellation notices? After all, council meetings are routinely cancelled and/or rearranged.
Here’s why: Because, April 3, ‘06; April 4, ‘05, and April 6, ‘04 all happened to be opening game days at Safeco Field for the Seattle Mariners. They played the Angels, the Twins, and the Angels, respectively.
In 1995, voters narrowly rejected a sales-tax increase for a new Mariners stadium. State lawmakers decided to fund it anyway.
They rushed into emergency session and came up with a new package of taxes that was approved by the Legislature and the County Council without a second public vote.
Voters have never let politicians forget that episode.
“That is an issue that has never died,” said County Councilman Larry Phillips, D-Seattle, who wrote the letter to Gregoire. “I deeply regret it.”
So, Phillips “deeply regrets” vetoing the voters and authorizing public financing for Safeco Field, does he?
Hmmm? I wonder why all those early April public meetings were cancelled. I wonder what else the KC Council did on those days instead. Could they have put off doing the public’s business because they had somewhere more important to be?
I’ve got a call into Phillips’s office to find out where he and the council were on those dates instead of doing the public’s business. I’ll also ask him—if the answer is what I think it is—how his seats were.
Look, I’m against subsidizing the Sonics, and I’m “guilty” of going to Sonics games. But WTF? I don’t skip out on work to go see Sonics games. And even if I did, my work isn’t paid for by the public. And I didn’t defy the public by voting to ignore a public vote—giving the green light to $500 million publicly-financed project that we’re still paying for.