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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Election Night Party Report

posted by on March 13 at 22:05 PM

The crowd at the no-viaduct campaign party in a smallish meeting room at the Edgewater Hotel grew increasingly rowdy (and sweaty) as rebuild opponents anxiously awaited the results of tonight’s election on two up-or-down ballot measures – one on a larger elevated viaduct, one on a scaled-back, four-lane tunnel. Both freeways were defeated—the tunnel by a margin of 70 to 30 percent, the viaduct 55 to 45. The crowd of about 300 included establishment figures like the Downtown Seattle Association’s Kate Joncas, mainstream environmentalists like Aaron Ostrom from FutureWise and Jessyn Farrell and Rob Johnson from the Transportation Choices Coalition, and surface/transit option supporters like city council member Peter Steinbrueck, People’s Waterfront Coalition founder Cary Moon, and Sierra Club leader Mike McGinn.

As Ostrom announced the results and the mayor entered the room followed by his entourage, one staffer began clapping loudly, but the room was slow to comply. Ostrom, who spoke first, waited for an uncomfortable period while a TV reporter finished interviewing Steinbrueck in front of the mayor’s podium—almost literally stealing Nickels’s spotlight. As Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis hugged Moon, he told her quietly, “We’ll be talking more soon.” Nickels, surprisingly for one of the most longstanding supporters of a tunnel freeway on the waterfront, trashed the idea of having a freeway — any freeway— “on our waterfront.”

After his brief remarks, Nickels scurried out Hollywood-style, trailed by a pack of TV reporters who chased him onto the elevator like papparazzi. Ceis, wielding a glass of red wine, was direct about Nickels’s meaning: “No freeway. The voters don’t have to hit us on the head for us to get it.” Then he gestured toward Moon with his glass of red wine. “There’s your story.”

Over at the Spitfire Lounge on Fourth Ave., the surface/transit supporters are still celebrating at 10:00, while the more staid party at the Edgewater was winding down. Moon, who walked into the room to loud applause, said she hoped Nickels would “support the will of the voters and get on board with the surface/transit plan.” Steinbrueck, usually no fan of the mayor, had conciliatory words for the longtime tunnel supporter. “The mayor deserves to be praised for having stood up to the governor” against the rebuild, Steinbrueck said. Steinbrueck, who recently announced he would not be seeking reelection to city council so that he could fight for the surface/transit option full-time, said he would “be happy” to work with the mayor if that’s what Nickels wanted.

Tomorrow morning, the governor and mayor are expected to sit down again and attempt to hash out a solution. The speculation tonight was that they would agree to begin work on the portions of the roadway south of King Street—the portions that are the same under any plan—and, possibly, to begin implementing the surface/transit option as a “stopgap” until a new plan can be devised. Tonight, Steinbrueck said he planned to introduce legislation freezing all city money for the viaduct in this year’s budget (about $8 million) and allocating $500,000 to begin a joint city/county study of the surface/transit option, the council and mayor’s official “backup” plan.

RSS icon Comments

1

Mayor Nickels is fat. What an idiot we have for a mayor. One day, tunnel, now, nothing. This guy has the leadership skills of a blind ox. He should quit and allow someone with vision and leadership to take his place, unfortunately this is Seattle, so there would be ten years of discussion on which type of leader and what sort of vision was necessary.

Posted by rufus | March 13, 2007 10:19 PM
2

The speculation tonight was that they would agree to begin work on the portions of the roadway south of King Street—the portions that are the same under any plan—and, possibly, to begin implementing the surface/transit option as a “stopgap” until a new plan can be devised.

Comedy. Count yourself lucky if Gregoire decides to just shrug and commit the state to a cheap retrofit and dare the surface + transit people to come up with a plan beyond "cars are icky and we hate them." I guarantee you this is going down as Seattle looking stupid to pretty much everyone outside the city.

Tonight, Steinbrueck said he planned to introduce legislation freezing all city money for the viaduct in this year’s budget (about $8 billion)

Eight billion dollars lying around then, huh? Then why the hell didn't we just build the six-lane tunnel in the first place?

Posted by World Class Cynic | March 13, 2007 10:24 PM
3

Whoops - "billion" was a typo. I meant $8 million, which has already been allocated.

Posted by ECB | March 13, 2007 10:33 PM
4

I think three zeros were added to the city funding. $8 million sounds about right, not $8 billion.

Still, a good idea from Steinbrueck.

Posted by golob | March 13, 2007 10:35 PM
5

Ahh, you beat me. ;p

Posted by golob | March 13, 2007 10:38 PM
6

While you are throwing those millions around could you give us wome cash for our North-South freeway? Just askin.

Posted by spokevin | March 13, 2007 10:41 PM
7

Jebus people! Can you just let Erica post for once without SOMEBODY getting called a fat idiot?:-)

Posted by thegrizzle | March 13, 2007 10:42 PM
8

Greg Nickels is so scared of Peter Steinbrueck.

Posted by Trevor | March 13, 2007 10:44 PM
9

Spokevin,

A freeway connecting strip clubs to outlets malls is not deserving of money.

As for Nickles I am not sure its called leadership when you stick to plan that 70% of people oppose, we call that being a decider.

Posted by Giffy | March 13, 2007 10:49 PM
10

So here is how Madam Gov & Chopp will spin it "the viaduct has to be replaced with something, the more popular option is the rebuild."

Congratulations Seattle, your getting a new viaduct.

Idiots...

Posted by you_gotta_be_kidding_me | March 13, 2007 10:50 PM
11

That should be quite easy to remedy YGBKM; we'll just make the next ballot a choice between rebuild & S/T and see what happens.

Posted by COMTE | March 13, 2007 11:04 PM
12

We need the mayor on this... I don't care if he's been bad on transportation in the past. He's officially on THE GOOD SIDE now. If he can help Seattle win against Gregoire, I might even vote for him next time. (For governor, I'm voting Al Runte.)

Posted by jamier | March 13, 2007 11:08 PM
13

nice, concise recap erica, thanks.

i wonder how the mayor drove home to west seattle tonight? did he take the viaduct and curse it the whole time? or, did he brave the stretch of potholes known as alaskan way south and fantasize that he was underground?

get that scoop and i'll buy you your next glass of $11 wine.

Posted by kerri harrop | March 13, 2007 11:25 PM
14

The graphic on this page is interesting
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transportation/307376_viaduct14.html

It looks like the people who use the viaduct the most voted the most yet the rebuild still lost. That also suggests a higher then expected Yes-Yes vote.

Posted by Giffy | March 13, 2007 11:27 PM
15

So, when is Carrie going to decide to run for City Council? Seriously, she should!

Posted by Willis | March 13, 2007 11:27 PM
16

@13:

That is a great question.

And thanks to Erica for the recap. I just had to have some fun with the typo, though. Been there, done that, had the red face to show for it.

Posted by World Class Cynic | March 13, 2007 11:28 PM
17

The biggest loser in this election is Greg Nickels. With only an elevated and a surface remaining as viable options, there is no way he can maintain his bases in the business, labor, and environmental community. They will divide, leaving him wide-open for a smart challenger who can suck up ˝ of his base.

• Labor will never accept a surface option. They want big contracts, which will only come with the elevated.
• Downtown business will support the surface option
• The regional Greater Chamber, however, wants 405/520/509/519/light rail, etc. The regional ballot measure is what they really want, they’ll have no stomach for the surface option and will fall behind the elevated, splitting the business community in half
• The enviros will support a surface.

Whichever direction Nickels go, his base will be utterly shattered, and available for all takers.

Posted by Blob | March 14, 2007 12:01 AM
18

Don't blame me, I voted for the Bogue plan


http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=160

Posted by Stan | March 14, 2007 12:26 AM
19

Nickels got to West Seattle tonight via his limo.

Tonight was a big victory for the progressive activists in Seattle much like the first several votes for the monorail before the establishment took over the spending machine and the property downtown property owners came together to supposedly protect their values and views (and someone please look into Burlington Northen's interest in protecting their Sound Transit rail lines).

And yet, the Establishment Machine has an uncanny ability to rally and come back from the dead. They have hundreds of millions at stake collectively. Don't underestimate their motivation to prevail.

An example, the 11:00 news tonight (all 3 stations) limited their coverage of the elections to just 3 minutes. Outrageous. There should have been an in-depth analsysis of the political dynamics in this region. Instead, they had that dipshit Locke talking about how the failed options might still be on the table.

Don't underestimate the establishment nor the regular folks. But our assets/power/resources are very different.

Tonight was a big victory. Let's take Nickels out.

Merkle

Posted by Merkle | March 14, 2007 12:31 AM
20

The big loser was the truth. Will someone please now admit that the Embarcadero Freeway was a glorified off-ramp and in no way comparable to the AWV?

Posted by rodrigo | March 14, 2007 12:40 AM
21

and has been pointed out repeatedly, rodrigo, the real SF-Seattle is the old central freeway.

So not only did the tear down of the embarcadero not devastate Chinatown or North Beach, but the flippin' central freeway (which carried a helluvalot more traffic than the viaduct and connected the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate), came down. And a vast improvement for the central city.

Posted by gnossos | March 14, 2007 12:56 AM
22

gnossos @21, you only illustrate my point with more lies. The Central Freeway was never completed and never made the connection you describe.

link:
"Like the Embarcadero freeway, San Francisco’s Central Freeway was partly built during the 1950s before it was stopped was stopped by San Francisco's freeway revolt. All that was built was a freeway spur to the west of San Francisco’s Civic Center...The main opponents of removal were residents of west San Francisco - the lowest density part of the city - who used the freeway to drive to their homes. "

"This vote canceled the Central Freeway as well as the Embarcadero Freeway, leaving the spur of the Central Freeway that had already been built, which went from I-80 across Market St. and through in the Hayes Valley neighborhood to the west of San Francisco’s Civic Center.

The plan had been to extend the freeway in two directions:

The part of the freeway that goes north past Civic Center would have continued north through the center of the city and then connected with the Golden Gate Bridge.
The ramps that turn west before reaching the Civic Center would have gone half-way through Golden Gate Park before turning north and connecting with the Golden Gate Bridge, providing freeway access to the western neighborhoods of the city. After the project was stopped, these ramps connected to Fell and Oak Streets, a pair of one-way streets that led to the roads in Golden Gate Park - not a freeway, but still a relatively fast route to the neighborhoods in the west of the city."

Posted by rodrigo | March 14, 2007 1:08 AM
23

And as far as traffic volumes are concerned, the supporters of rebuilding the Central Freeway cited 97,000 cars per day, which less than any estimate I've seen of the traffic on the AWV, certainly not "a helluvalot more".

Posted by rodrigo | March 14, 2007 1:14 AM
24

Rodrigo, poor wording on my part re the connection. But the comparison still stands. The viaduct itself is a short expanse of freeway cutting through downtown, as was the central freeway.

Posted by gnossos | March 14, 2007 1:20 AM
25

It delivered traffic to the middle of the city.

Posted by rodrigo | March 14, 2007 1:34 AM
26

rodgrigo is right. because the embarcadero was not the EXACT SAME ROAD as the viaduct, any comparison at all is completely invalid.

why are so many rebuild people so idiotic?

Posted by gb | March 14, 2007 1:45 AM
27

since the ballot was advisory - the rebuild won and will go forward - screams and howls of the mortally wounded

some of these people are in love with their own shadows and need to get a clue

two options, which is the less supported by voters, tunnel - MORE SUPPORTED, REBUILD

carrie moon is a winner, she is bright and intelligent, and a potential leader if she can get her own identity going separate from the nononononononononno - doom gloom doom gloom crowd

Posted by ed dippy | March 14, 2007 5:48 AM
28

i am still nervous that the late votes will be pro-rebuild enough to tip the scale.

never underestimate the shortsighted cheapness of seattle's scandinavian heritage. change is scary, we don't deserve to set trends, mope mope mope.

Posted by max solomon | March 14, 2007 6:15 AM
29

kerri harrop@13

Great post, while Erica is at it she should find out about how Steinbrueck got home, the idea that that douchebag, who threw a hissy fit when he lost his free parking, has ever used public transit, is laughable.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | March 14, 2007 7:17 AM
30

kerri harrop@13

Great post, while Erica is at it she should find out about how Steinbrueck got home, the idea that that douchebag, who threw a hissy fit when he lost his free parking, has ever used public transit, is laughable.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | March 14, 2007 7:17 AM
31

My concern is that 45% is not enough to kill teh Rebuild. I ahve spoken with a number of people who don't follow these civici issues much and one had voted for the Rebuild because she thought that there was no option but to Replace the Viaduct. She didn't like either the Tunnel of the Surface option. So she voted for the Rebuild mostly because she wasn't aware that it could be Repaired and she had been convinced by the "convenient fiction" (brought to by the Mayor and the Media, including the Stranger) that Repair was not an option. Thus the Rebuild vote is inflated artificially. Of course the purpose of the Rebuild was simply to make the Tunnel look good -- no one ever thought it would come down to being the finalist, for real. So the Mayor/Council (aided bt Media) are now hoist by their own petard.

Thanks, Erica.

Posted by David Sucher | March 14, 2007 7:45 AM
32

Um David weird conspiracy theories aside, the proponents of the rebuild were the state, not the mayor/council. Not to mention that this order had been expected from day one. The tunnel was always a long shot and stacking it against the cheaper rebuild was known to be a problem.

Posted by Giffy | March 14, 2007 8:05 AM
33

why are so many rebuild people so idiotic?

You might have a point--arguing with people who resort to namecalling after all their "facts" are demonstrated to be wrong could be described as idiotic.

Posted by rodrigo | March 14, 2007 9:18 AM
34


Peter takes the bus to work.

Posted by bus | March 14, 2007 9:45 AM
35

Blob said:

Labor will never accept a surface option. They want big contracts, which will only come with the elevated. • Downtown business will support the surface option • The regional Greater Chamber, however, wants 405/520/509/519/light rail, etc. The regional ballot measure is what they really want, they’ll have no stomach for the surface option and will fall behind the elevated, splitting the business community in half • The enviros will support a surface.

Labor would benefit greatly from expanded light rail construction, including serving the neighborhoods that now use the viaduct. Massive expansion of light rail construction equals lots of contracts and lots of jobs. Throw in enough road and highway improvements along existing corridors, and you can satisfy the people who want a regional package. Downtown business and the enviros get what they want, everyone gets real transit options, and there's enough support to get it passed.

The key to making surface work is mass transit. Repair and prepare is just what we can all agree to do until we can get a real mass transit plan in place.

Posted by Cascadian | March 14, 2007 10:14 AM
36

Cascadian, that sounds great, but if the tunnel was voted down as too expensive, what's the likelihood that voters will be willing to support your suggested expansion of light rail plus roads? Conventional wisdom seems to be that the RTID is doomed because it packages mass transit and roads together.

Posted by rodrigo | March 14, 2007 10:31 AM
37

Repaired or rebuilt, I expect to be driving on the Alaskan Way Viaduct 20 years from now.

Posted by ivan | March 14, 2007 10:58 AM
38

Ostrom, who spoke first, waited for an uncomfortable period while a TV reporter finished interviewing Steinbrueck in front of the mayor’s podium—almost literally stealing Nickels’s spotlight.

Uh, you might wanna look up the word "literally" before trying to use it again...

Posted by Hugo | March 14, 2007 11:12 AM
39

Most real cities have a metro system that really, really works with a combination of trams, trollies, trains, subways, ferries and busses. We have some of this but need to take it to the next level (and that would not be a new viaduct or highway tunnel)...

Posted by Tim | March 14, 2007 1:18 PM
40

Hi Jim. You letter i received. Thanks! Photos is GREAT!!!!

Posted by Slim | March 20, 2007 6:24 AM

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