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RSS icon Comments on Hypocrisy at the PI: Elite Luncheons


Yes, clearly the people who actually run things in this town should follow the open model of the pride parade.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 10:52 AM

HMMM. I kinda wondered why neither the times nor the pi have run any stories in the past couple of years about the financings and tax impacts of Sound Transit.

Numerous property developers and commercial landlords are on that list. Their wealth shoots up when those trains pump thousands of extra workers downtown daily.

And look at how well the financiers (and general legal services providers) for ST are represented:

Mr. James Ellis
Founding Partner
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Hon. Slade Gorton
Of Counsel
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. William Neukom
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. David Tang
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. J. Tayloe Washburn
Executive Committee Chair
Foster Pepper PLLC

Ms. Judith Runstad
Of Counsel
Foster Pepper PLLC

Mr. Peter Joers
President, Bank of America Washington

Posted by Ogelthorpe, Marris | May 7, 2007 11:13 AM

Oh, my gosh! Yes, the fact that a multi-billion dollar project involves banks and lawyers -- conspiracy! The fix is in! They're hiding something from us!

We should just let the trains build themselves, organically.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 11:18 AM

Dagny Taggart would not approve.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 7, 2007 11:25 AM

@ 3 wrote: " The fix is in! They're hiding something from us!"

I agree. When the city's power elite wanted SMP to go down in that vote, the dailies published stories highlighting how many years of the tax there would be (50 years, est.) and what the YOE costs would be - about $11.5 billion. Those figures included financing costs and the effects of inflation.

But with RTID and ST2 coming up, the media organs in this CDR have not reported the costs in that way.

I'm with fnarf - the dailies (and entercom - 710 KIRO pimps the upcoming ballot meausre) are slanting their coverage to keep the real financial details of the upcoming ballot measure hidden.

Posted by The Original Kenjei | May 7, 2007 11:36 AM

Sarcasm is lost on you, apparently.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 11:41 AM

I read fnarf sticks quarters up his nose.

Posted by The Original Kenjei | May 7, 2007 11:44 AM


Let's say ST2 is approved. Do you agree that it would provide additional taxing authority to ST for spending on projects described in Sound Move? That'd be allowed under sec. 2 of SHB 1396, which passed this past session.

What is your estimate of the sum of the annual tax collections over the next five decades by both ST and RTID over the next five decades (assuming the measure in November passes)?

Look, if you don't have a clue, that's fine too ... just say so.

Posted by The Original Kenjei | May 7, 2007 11:49 AM

Sotty, fnarf, I'm with Josh on this one. This is where I came in 40 years ago, except that the movers and shakers met at the Rainier Club then.

Nothing will ever stop power from exercising power, but I want all the daylight on it that I can get, and so should you.

Posted by ivan | May 7, 2007 11:57 AM

I meant sorry. Fucking typos.

Posted by ivan | May 7, 2007 11:58 AM

Kenjei: I don't give a fucking shit. I want them to build the fucking train, period. The time for questioning the project is long past. Fucking over a few dollars in the financing plan at this point amounts to sabotage, and I don't like it. I want them to build the fucking train.

Which is not germane to the point I was originally trying to make, which is that the presence of important local figures from politics, banking, and law in a multi-billion dollar civic project is neither surprising or offensive. Who do YOU want to run it, Vern Fonk?

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 11:59 AM

I want them to build an atomic-powered magnetic train!!!1!

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 7, 2007 12:01 PM

Josh, this is interesting. Is this a "Public" council, or funded with tax dollars in any way? Would it not then be subject to the state open meetings laws? Perhaps not, as there are no *current* political officals on the list.

You raise an excellent point about the appearances created by the participation of not only the Times and P-I, but also several broadcast media companies, as well as the Puget Sound Business Journal.

We should not assume there's anything sinister going on, as I'm sure there are a number of very positive things this group promotes for the greater good of the community. But it's very much an all-powerful, well-monied group of people, and it never hurts to have some scrutiny by the Fourth Estate.

What reporter is going to risk their job by taking a critical view of a group in which the people who sign their paycheck is a member?

Maybe The Stranger could dig into the activities of this group a bit more, since no other media here in town is likely to do so.

Oh, and where did you get that list? Seems like a lot of "private" information in there. If this isn't a public council, then are you violating any journalistic ethics rules by publishing all of the contact details (and admin assistants) for this Council?

Posted by Watchdog | May 7, 2007 12:14 PM

Uh, those are the same financiers who put together the Seattle Monorail Project's financing scheme. They are now trying to pitch ST2 and RTID. There are less taxpayer protection provisions in this November's ballot measure than there were for SMP.

Fnarf's reaction, while understandable out of a four-year-old (he wants his choo choo, whatever it costs), is not what we need out of voters in the fall. The cost issues need to be vetted well, and that hasn't happened in the mainstream media.

Posted by Red Flag | May 7, 2007 12:16 PM

Looks like Josh got turned down at the P-I, which is too bad because we were expecting that big expose on Tim Keck.

Posted by 6th and Wall | May 7, 2007 12:37 PM

Although I somewhat agree with Josh's point about the hypocrisy of Mr. Bunting's editorial -- a simple line disclosing his and other publishers' membership in the CDR would've at least brought some perspective to this piece -- we're taking this a bit too far.

Find me one newspaper whose publisher, executive editor or similar executive isn't involved with at least one civic organization -- be it the chamber of commerce, elks club or anything similar -- and I'll show you a publication that not only is missing stories that occur "behind closed doors" but also isn't doing its part as a local business.

Given the NY Times' recent past -- especially in light of Judith Miller's blunders -- pulling out of the correspondents dinner likely was a good and interesting PR move for the NY Times . And it does bring to light the ethical questions that come with media participation and coverage of these events, as Bunting writes.

But to imply that membership in the CDR constitutes being a part of some secret, hooded clique that decides what's covered in the papers and what isn't is juvenile and absurd. Let's give some credit to reporters for not being weasels.

Posted by frederick r | May 7, 2007 12:44 PM

The dailies aren't reporting on the true costs of RTID + ST2 because the editors are in the CDR.

The dailies aren't reporting on the true costs of RTID + ST2 because the "pro" side of the campaign is buying their silence (both with promises of campaign spending AND promises of post-victory ad purchases).

And FNARF - given the sorry history in this burg of voters being suckered, I strongly suggest you read every damn word of what you will be asked to approve in November. And that goes far beyond the ballot title in your Voters' Guide.

Your response seems selfish, FNARF (I'm sure you didn't mean it that way). This is not about whether any of us personally wants trains. It is about the costs to the poorest in our region of these regressive taxes, versus the benefits to the poorest in our region of the commuter trains. Don't be suckered in by the pitch: "it'll just cost you a latte a day!!!!!" RTID and ST2 is not about you or me. It is about the poorest in our community who don't need more sales taxes heaped on them. If you can't reasonably determine what the economic costs from the taxes would be during the next six decades, then you have no business voting for it (even if the notion of shiny new trains really seems exciting to you).

Just my two cents . . . .

Posted by old stones | May 7, 2007 1:03 PM

@17: The notion that the daily newspapers are being bought with promises of ST/RTID campaign advertising is pretty laughable. Newspaper ads have only represented a small part of campaign spending in the last 25 years--most of the bucks go to mailing and TV/radio buys.

@3: Monorail conspiracy theories are old and sad. So are old monorail supporters who just can't let go.

Posted by J.R. | May 7, 2007 1:15 PM

Sarcasm fails twice in the same post! Amazing.

I agree with you, J.R.

Old stones, if you're going to demand an absolutely spotless, perfect funding plan, you're going to get nothing. Nothing is what we've had too much of. In fifty years, nobody will give a shit what the ballot initiative looked like; they will, however, be pissed if their train is a half-assed joke line. Besides, we already know that the tax system blows and is unfair. I don't care. JUST BUILD IT.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 1:22 PM

So, what's the name for the planning cabal of Dick Falkenbury, Peter Sherwin, Grant Cogswell, Joel Horn, Cindi Laws and Dan Savage? The "Back of the Napkin Brotherhood?"

Posted by Lionel Hutz | May 7, 2007 1:40 PM

Fnarf, from my experience, people whose sarcasm is continually misunderstood typically need to tone down on or rethink their sarcasm.

Posted by Jude Fawley | May 7, 2007 5:19 PM

"RTID and ST2 is not about you or me. It is about the poorest in our community who don't need more sales taxes heaped on them."

Uh, the poorest - those who need mass transit the most, old stones?

What taxing source would you recommend? Property taxes?

At least business pays about half of all sales tax, and people who don't make a lot don't buy a lot of crap at Restoration Hardware.

Posted by BigD | May 8, 2007 6:12 PM

The ST trains and commuter buses don't serve the poor (for the most part). They are a commute alternative for middle and upper middle class long-term employees who have jobs in downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Lots of government workers, and MSFT workers if Phase 2 passes. The people who don't make a lot are retirees on fixed incomes, the unemployed, those who get random grey-economy jobs, temp workers, and the self employed. They don't commute. Yet they'd be paying the sales tax on their light bulbs and shoes for their kids and toothpaste and jeans and socks and school supplies. We are near the top of the country in sales tax already, and adding more on this region just for commuter subsidies (and to increase developers' profits) is bad policy and harmful to families.

Posted by Yrba | May 9, 2007 7:18 AM

Hello everyone, wanna be part of some kind of community, possible here? anyone here?

Posted by Buy antivirus online | May 10, 2007 2:07 PM

Thanks for posting this, Josh. It is interesting. Especially how not all companies active in this area in particular sectors, be it high-tech, media, or financial, are represented here.
Now if we can get some info as to what are the topics at the meeting, who are the organizers, who attends, etc. maybe from the same source who provided the membership list?

Posted by reader | May 11, 2007 8:34 AM

fnarf states he doesn't care and wants "the train" built, yet the same power group killed a project that wasn't a boondoggle, didn't have all these KICKBACKS built into it, and didn't make a bunch of people millionaires - it was called the Monorail project - and would have cost considerable less - been considerably more valuable in the event of natural catastrophes - and riddled with far less corruption (if any at all!).

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