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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kemper Gets Slapped

posted by on June 19 at 14:54 PM

How much does Kemper Freeman—last seen here comparing transit supporters to socialists and terrorists—hate transit? So much that he’s opposing the joint roads and transit package even though it would build light rail directly to the large residential development he plans to build in downtown Bellevue.

Well, it turns out that the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce isn’t on board with Kemper’s anti-transit vendetta: they voted overwhelmingly today to support the package, with 21 votes in favor and five against.

Considering that Freeman more or less built downtown Bellevue, that’s a pretty damning indictment.

RSS icon Comments

1

Now let's see them screw it up for everyone by demanding that the trains go through a subway through Blahvue, thus ensuring that the train doesn't make it all the way to Redmond.

Posted by Tiffany | June 19, 2007 2:58 PM
2

Oh, if I could only tell you...

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 19, 2007 2:58 PM
3

All that vote shows is the Bellevue political and business leaders are half-bright. The road and transit improvements they would get would in no small part be paid for by Seattle taxpayers. The plan this November is a huge net loss for Seattle taxpayers. Billions more taxes would be collected out of Seattle than would be spent here. The winner in that bad equation? Downtown Bellevue businesses.

Vote NO!

Posted by wishkah | June 19, 2007 3:01 PM
4

It's an emotional reaction to be sure, but I think motherfuckers such as Freeman should be allowed to drive as much and as far as they like with one proviso: Their lips must be wrapped around the exhaust pipe.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 19, 2007 3:11 PM
5

Bellevue sucks so much.

The plan this November is a huge net loss for Seattle taxpayers. Billions more taxes would be collected out of Seattle than would be spent here.
It's called "sub-area equity" dumb-ass. Every penny taxed in Seattle will be spent there. In fact, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are actually chipping in to pay for our transit projects, and a rail station on I-90 above Rainier in the city will be paid for by the Eastsiders. Awful nice of them, isn't it?

Go read something and stop making shit up.

Posted by Angry Andrew | June 19, 2007 3:16 PM
6

I think building dowtown Bellevue was a family project. Miller Freeman basically founded it (by getting the SR 520 bridge built), Kemper Sr built it, and Kemper Jr. inherited it all.

Kemper Jr. might want to stay away from the anti-terrorist talk, by the way, lest he bring back memories of his grandfather's role as the Pacific Northwest's preeminent advocate for Japanese-American internment.

Posted by Trevor | June 19, 2007 3:17 PM
7

Kemper Freeman should join the Cuban dude in Westlake Center, and together they can bitch to the world about how their respective targets are communist/socialist. He would need to make a big sign first to fit in, but that shouldn't take the windbag long.

Posted by Gomez | June 19, 2007 3:35 PM
8

“It's called "sub-area equity" dumb-ass.”

Whoa!

Why is it the supporters of this measure are such idiots?

The reason there will be a huge net outflow of tax dollars from Seattle to the East King County subarea (that’s Bellevue, Andrew) is the following statutory language:

“Per agreement with a regional transit authority serving the counties participating in a district [e.g., RTID], the equity principle identified under this subsection may include using the combined district and regional transit authority revenues generated within a participating county to determine the distribution that proportionally benefits the county.”
That’s from RCW 36.120.040(4). That’s a law, Andrew.

Right now because of the massive ST spending in the North King subarea which includes Seattle (due to the light rail costs), the way ST2 and RTID spending would equalize the spending deficit that has built up in East King is by pumping Seattle tax dollars into roads and tunnels on the East Side of the lake.

Clear enough for you, Andrew?

Posted by wishkah | June 19, 2007 3:40 PM
9

"the way ST2 and RTID spending would equalize the spending deficit that has built up in East King is by pumping Seattle tax dollars into roads and tunnels on the East Side of the lake."

Yeah, that's pretty clear. The eastside has been pumping transit dollars into seattle for about two decades. The state has recently radically increased the rate of infusion to Seattle (THROUGH ST and RTID) so finally some laws were passed to see a little of that fall onto the streets east of the lake on it's way over to the dense urban core. Sub-area equity is equitable. Not the one sided pillage that the shrill posts here indicate.

Posted by bk | June 19, 2007 3:54 PM
10

I wonder what people would be posting if he -had- jumped on the transit bandwagon... When did it become a good thing to lobby for massive public funds for something to benefit private enterprise like this one "directly to the large residential development. When did pork become mandatory?

Posted by bk | June 19, 2007 3:58 PM
11

@9: The Eastside subsidizes Seattle transit? That's news to me. Do you have a citation for that factoid?

Posted by Steve | June 19, 2007 3:58 PM
12

I don't even understand the rationale for the project: who wants to go to Bellevue? There's one nice wine shop, and a good Lebanese Deli, but beyond that it's about as interesting as suburban Detroit, with a similarly tiresome collection of malls.

I guess some people are forced to work there, but then providing more transit capicity will only seal their fates, and codemn the to a career spent in such a tedious exurb.

Couldn't we wall it off instead? The US army has some skills we could tap in that regard, or maybe we could hire some Israeli consultants. Bellevue could build an airfield to airlift in necessary supplies and such, or better yet connect walled-Bellevue to a walled-Renton (they deserve eachother) and then they will have an airfield to use.

Posted by kinaidos | June 19, 2007 3:59 PM
13

"Sub-area equity is equitable."

No, it is stupid. Seattle got screwed by monorail - something like $150 million dollars in taxes wasted, and nobody ever gave a final accounting. So now they want to rip off Seattle taxpayers for additional billions JUST BECAUSE ST can't get built what is said it could build. ST mismanaged light rail HORRIBLY. The extra spending needed for light rail (downtown tunnel, the University Link projected costs, plus the ST2 spending to Northgate) means HUGE amounts of Seattle taxes would have to go to roads and rail east of Lake Washington.

It is not Seattle's fault, it is Sound Transit's fault. But because of Sound Transit's past mismanagement, they want to punish Seattle taxpayers.

ST is a fucked up government. It does not matter if you like trains or you don't like trains, or if you want to reduce green house gases, or if don't think GHG's are going to be impacted one way or the other by train-building. Sound Transit still is one fucked up government.

Posted by BJ | June 19, 2007 4:13 PM
14

BJ - pls include URL of gov't agency with spotless record of spending tax revenue. Thx.

Posted by Bob | June 19, 2007 4:25 PM
15

Bob: First, you provide us with a URL to a government that when it can not deliver on time or within budget it "solves" that problem it created by taxing some people MORE in order to benefit business interests in a DIFFERENT part of the county.

Posted by BJ | June 19, 2007 4:42 PM
16

No one at ST has ever admitted any cost overruns.

Therefore there have never been any cost overruns,period.

Posted by Goebbels for Transit | June 19, 2007 4:43 PM
17

cant we split king county in two at the lake?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 19, 2007 4:49 PM
18

Sound Transit is the most-audited agency in the State. If there were any budget improprieties or misspent public money, eagle-eyed auditor Brian Sonntag would have raised a flag. Moreover, ST has received clean audits from KPMG for seven years running.

Bark up a different tree. If you think there’s a problem, you can always sue in a court of law. Better yet, ship off to Iraq – that’s where you neocons seem most happy. I'm sure you can find far more wasted money there.

Posted by Paul Simpson | June 19, 2007 5:06 PM
19

Hooray for the Bellevue Chamber. They've come a long way, baby.


Now the official No campaign can get underway, with Josh, Erica, and Kemper all holding hands. Kemper's even started running radio spots, so you're off to a head start. Way to keep yourselves in good company, kiddies.

Posted by start your engines | June 19, 2007 5:27 PM
20

Tsk tsk that ST pr mafia is lying again.
They know admitting the truth, that there has been a cost overrun in the billions, would turn off voters big time.
Remember about a year ago, we learned the Viaduct tunnel would cost about a billion more due to construction inflation -- that's when it totally lost steam.

So, the ST-cheerleader squad dedicates itself to creating a big lie in the blogoshpere: we are on budget and on time! Audits prove it! Repeat it everyday! Over and over!

Liars. ST told us before the 1886 vote the 21 miles would cost $1.9 billion and be built in ten years, now we know it will cost about $1.5-2+ BILLIONS MORE and is YEARS delayed.

And no "audit" is going to show this because, duh, they increase the budget to match the overrrun -- duh, they have to budget for the increased costs.
Duh, they aren't going to pay contractors money outside the budget. Duh, a government agency budget is not a contract with itself, you can't sue them for changing their budget, duh.

They think voters are fools. What contempt.

Why do they never give the NUMBERS: what did ST say the 21 miles would cost before the vote; what does it cost now.

Because if they did, you would know they are big fat liars and ST is billions over budget.
For ST1.
ST2 is supposed to be $10 B more. If it is approved and if the estimates are off, they will increase the budget and pay the increase, and you won't be able to sue them for that, either.

Posted by Yourpantsareburning | June 19, 2007 5:51 PM
21

"The road and transit improvements they would get would in no small part be paid for by Seattle taxpayers. The plan this November is a huge net loss for Seattle taxpayers. Billions more taxes would be collected out of Seattle than would be spent here. "

wishkah: like most anti-everything cranks who populate the Slog, I'll bet there's no way on earth you can prove that statement.

For one thing, Eastsiders are paying for the entire East Rail extension, including a station in the Rainier Valley.

Secondly, the fight that occurred while Sound Transit was putting this package together had to do with Snohomish pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into Seattle and North King County to get light rail up to Northgate in 10 years; similarly, Pierce County taxpayers will be pumping hundreds of millions into South King County to make that extension happen.

But nobody outside the Seattle Whiner Bubble seems to be complaining about that now.

So, in fact wishkah, it would seem you have your facts bass-ackwards.

Prove me wrong.

Posted by BornOnThe5thofJuly | June 19, 2007 6:38 PM
22

Kinaidos, you may not be interested in going to Bellevue, but a lot of people are. Bellevue Square is one of the biggest shopping draws in the state, and the downtown there has erected probably twice as much office space as Seattle over the past decade. There are a LOT of people working there now, and a surprisingly huge number of people living downtown as well. It's a boomtown, and could even quite conceivably pass Seattle as a business center in the next decade or two.

Seriously, if you haven't been there in a few years, you haven't been there at all. It's a new world over there. Not appealing to you, or to me, but the numbers prove we are not representative.

Posted by Fnarf | June 19, 2007 6:40 PM
23

Mr. Pants,

You can not be believed because nothing you say is on the ST site. The fact that they said a very conservative estimate of $1.9 billion in today's dollar for the first 21 miles and it is costing $3 billion for the first 15 miles does not mean they are over budget. For God's sake up is down, war is peace and ST is on schedule and under budget. In 2027 when they have built 30 miles for $30 billion they will be even further under budget and more on schedule than they are on phase one.

Posted by Goebbels for Transit | June 19, 2007 6:44 PM
24

Oh and Mr. Pants why don't you just go to the audits that the ST toadies refer you to and read them. Oh yeh they don't ever give them. Where is Sonntags performance audit of what we voted on?

Posted by Goebbels for Transit | June 19, 2007 6:48 PM
25

"Why do they never give the NUMBERS: what did ST say the 21 miles would cost before the vote; what does it cost now.
Because if they did, you would know they are big fat liars and ST is billions over budget.
For ST1. "

Notice how the permanently-disgruntled set never cites any sources for these tirades. Yourpantsareburning/BJ/etc always say "the auditors don't know what they're doing" and "the planners don't know what they're doing" and "the government doesn't know what they're doing"....but do the self-styled and self-centered activist cranks ever have an alternative to offer up?

Of course not.

Will the cranks actually ever cite sources to back-up their outdated claims of !MASSIVE CORRUPTION! ? Probably not.

Both of these challenges may be the reason these guys always come out on the losing end of just about every vote, lawsuit, etc.

Posted by BornOnThe5thofJuly | June 19, 2007 6:48 PM
26

The technique was perfected 70 years ago.

Challenge someone to prove something they didn't say. No one but the ST hack has used the words "Massive Corruption"

But does the hack give links to performance audits?
No

KPMG audits do not judge whether or not an agency is fulfilling its promises or staying on budget.

Posted by Goebbels for Transit | June 19, 2007 7:08 PM
27

Well, if they can't build a goddamn transit system by scraping mud together with their hands, I ain't payin' for it. Investing in the future is dumm.

Posted by Fnarf | June 19, 2007 7:10 PM
28

Fact: Kemper Freeman stands to gain enormous wealth, for himself, his partners, and his family, if ST2 + RTID passes. Light rail right to his commercial properties in Bellevue, and billions spent upgrading I-405.

Yet he makes like a fool: calls proponents of the measure Nazis, says all transit is evil, blah, blah, blah.

Why so over the top? Why play the fool?

So anyone who has a legitimate concern, of any kind, about the upcoming ballot measure can be lumped in with a reactionary fool. To wit, see above:

"Now the official No campaign can get underway, with Josh, Erica, and Kemper all holding hands. Kemper's even started running radio spots, so you're off to a head start. Way to keep yourselves in good company, kiddies."

This is a tactic as old as the hills. There is no better way to demonize your political foes than by lumping them in with a fool. Only here, Freeman is playing the fool.

He is not sincere in this "over the top" opposition to a massive spending plan that would force the costs of transportation upgrades that would make him vastly richer onto the backs of the next three generations of people around here.

Posted by Marketing 101 | June 19, 2007 7:11 PM
29
It's a boomtown, and could even quite conceivably pass Seattle as a business center in the next decade or two
Just Downtown Seattle has more than three times as many jobs than all of bellevue. It will take a lot longer than 10 years.
Posted by Angry Andrew | June 19, 2007 7:12 PM
30
the downtown there has erected probably twice as much office space as Seattle over the past decade.
Wait where the hell did you get that statistic? I am pretty sure Two Union Square and WaMu Center both went up in the last decade, and those are pretty fucking big office towers.
Posted by Angry Andrew | June 19, 2007 7:16 PM
31

Two Union Square dates back to the late 80's. But new building should not be indicative of occupancy. We way, way, way overbuilt office space in the 80's - part of the reason we have all of the city offices in the Seattle Municipal Tower (nee the AT&T Gateway Tower and KeyBank Tower).

Posted by catalina vel-duray | June 19, 2007 8:05 PM
32

nee the Penisium.

Posted by spokesperson | June 19, 2007 8:40 PM
33

Does anyone remember the mini shitstorm that happened in (I think) the early days of The Stranger - but it might have been The Weekely - when someone compared the AT&T tower to an erect penis, and the opening to the I-5 express lanes as a vagina?

Drama, drama, drama. And that was before the Internets.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | June 19, 2007 9:45 PM
34

Umm...all those cities with transit systems that The Stranger is so jealous of...NY, Chicago, DC....are you seeing a pattern here? Either you can have your squeaky clean gov't or you can have your transit system, butcha can't have both. That's what I'm sayin'.

Portland? We ain't them. And they're probably more corrupt than anyone else these days, right? Just like the Ted Haggards of the world, right? The cleaner they claim to be, the nastier they are behind the curtains.

Or maybe I just expect the worst of gov't, and if I get a train to the airport, well, that's better than I was getting before. Sad, these low expectations, but hey, is that any worse than paying some asshole fat cash just to park my car next to SeaTac?

Posted by Bob | June 19, 2007 9:48 PM
35

Angry Andrew: go take a look at downtown Bellevue and get back to me. There are at least a dozen really big towers there, and a dozen more in progress, none of them as big as the Washington Mutual Center but collectively much, much larger.

Posted by Fnarf | June 19, 2007 9:58 PM
36

July 2006: Class A office space under construction: Bellevue 5.45 million square feet, Seattle 325,000 square feet.

Microsoft just took 1.3 million square feet in two downtown Bellevue buildings and three others near I-90. This is the largest lease deal in the Seattle area.

Three huge projects, including Tower 333, are opening later this year and are 100% pre-leased.

Bellevue Class A space already commands higher prices per square foot than Seattle, and vacancy rates are much lower.

That's a random sample. If I paid for a subscription to one of the business-statistic services I could give you more. Seattle is still the center of the region, but for how much longer? If that 4-to-1 construction pace continues, ten years. It won't -- but it's closer than you think.

The scariest thing in Bellevue is the blocks of row houses they're building right downtown -- they look like they've been transported here direct from Brooklyn or Boston or Philly. Sort of.

Posted by Fnarf | June 19, 2007 10:11 PM
37

Fnarf, They are building a lot more buildings in Seattle now that the cap has been listed, so that year you mention was probably the peak of the difference between the two. Bellevue is a smallish area, I bet it won't be as severe as you predict for so long.

Posted by Mack | June 19, 2007 11:54 PM
38

There are 300,000 people working downtown every day, compared to 75,000 in Bellevue. Yes Bellevue is growing. In 50 years it might have as many people as downtown Seattle has now. Bot for the mean time it more certainly does not. Check you facts people!

Posted by Oh please | June 20, 2007 12:09 AM
39

I like the name Kemper

Posted by stan | June 20, 2007 12:28 AM
40

I think the point is that both Bellevue and downtown Seattle are popular for business and play, and that both need transit.

Like most dynastic rich people who never had to work or think, Kemper's not bright enough to grasp that. Sort of like lil' Frankie Blethen.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | June 20, 2007 6:26 AM
41

The only thing ST2/RTID does, from an economic perspective, is make commercial property owners in Seattle and Bellevue even richer. And who pays for that? Those paying by far the largest percentage of what they have are those who are the least well off among us.

Want to give K.F.Jr. the middle finger? Want to give a half-dozen other property owners like him the middle finger? Vote NO in November.

Posted by get real | June 20, 2007 8:09 AM
42

And let's make sure we do nothing to the Viaduct, for fear that someone might profit. Too bad that sculpture park wasn't subject to a vote, 'cause god knows we'd rather have a toxic brownfield than something that might cause someone we don't like to make a profit.

Posted by JW | June 20, 2007 8:55 AM
43

So get real wants us to "give Kemper the finger" by voting WITH him in November. That's genius, just pure genius. That'll really show 'em who's boss, huh, get real? We'll show 'em we mean business by DOING WHATEVER THEY SAY!

[despair]

Posted by Fnarf | June 20, 2007 9:04 AM
44

I live on cap hill, I work in downtown Bellevue. I take transit to work. Give me my damn train already so I can wave to all the single occupancy vehicles as I whiz by, rather than sitting with them in traffic.

Bellevue is growing and could easily be our number two city in the state in a few years. And its growing right, concentrating their growth in the downtown core. Why would we not want to support this?

Posted by Dono | June 20, 2007 10:17 AM
45

get real:

The only thing ST2/RTID does, from an economic perspective, is make commercial property owners in Seattle and Bellevue even richer. And who pays for that? Those paying by far the largest percentage of what they have are those who are the least well off among us.

Want to give K.F.Jr. the middle finger? Want to give a half-dozen other property owners like him the middle finger? Vote NO in November.


get real is right. Keeping them richies from making a buck is a far higher priority than climate change, energy independence, the local economy, people's everyday commutes, preventing farmland and forest from getting swallowed up by sprawl, etc.

Yeah, I'm a firm believer in cutting off my nose to spite a rich person's face. And I just hope that my fellow psychotic populists can continue to make their compelling case against this November ballot.

Posted by cressona | June 20, 2007 10:44 AM
46

Cressona,

Please can you provide actual data that shows when the line to Overlake will be GHG neutral? Please explain how providing a relatively quick and reliable trip to Overalke will not induce building even farther from urban centers than without it. The line along I-5 will not have that sprawl inducing effect. Before screaming some accusation of being pro coastal flooding or Kemper's secret brother please consider how we can spend $23 billion to do a much better job of getting to ends you desire.

Posted by whatever | June 20, 2007 11:44 AM
47

Note to Cressona - anyone who spends 99.9% of his Slog posts vilifying populists doesn't get to call himself one when it suits his momentary purpose.

Posted by Mr. X | June 20, 2007 12:58 PM
48
Please can you provide actual data that shows when the line to Overlake will be GHG neutral?
What the hell does that mean? What single method of transportation is GHG neutral? Is anything you do GHG, whatever? Do you grow your own crops (with tools you hand-made) and cook them with solar energy? Every day you wear a shirt made and brought to you with GHG and eat food brought to you with GHG and if all you care about is eliminiating GHG then you should go move to a cave right now because the energy to light up your monitor and the energy that runs these servers where this data sits may not be GHG neutral!!!
Posted by Angry Andrew | June 20, 2007 1:41 PM
49

Mr. X:

Note to Cressona - anyone who spends 99.9% of his Slog posts vilifying populists doesn't get to call himself one when it suits his momentary purpose.

Note to Mr. X. Sorry I didn't precede that post with a WARNING! SATIRE AHEAD notice.

Posted by cressona | June 20, 2007 2:24 PM
50

Cressona,

You're a lot funnier when you aren't trying to be.

(Snark aside, I actually tried to post a retraction after I figured out you were trying to be all humorous and whatnot, but it was eaten in transit).


Posted by Mr. X | June 20, 2007 3:28 PM
51

@ 45 - ST 1 did not improve any of the following on a region-wide basis: "climate change, energy independence, the local economy, people's everyday commutes, preventing farmland and forest from getting swallowed up by sprawl, etc."

What on earth makes you think ST 2 would bring us better results than ST 1?

Posted by past is prologue | June 20, 2007 9:23 PM

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