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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Read It and Weep

posted by on October 17 at 16:05 PM

Our endorsements are out…

Sound Transit/RTID Proposition No. 1


The joint roads and transit ballot measure shackles expansion of Sound Transit’s popular light-rail system to a massive roads- expansion package that could never have passed on its own.

After road proponents realized they didn’t have voter support for a stand-alone roads package (a major roads-expansion proposal died at the polls in 2002), legislators in Olympia linked roads expansion to light rail. This proposal is an attempt to use urban voters to pass a suburban agenda. Rather than letting compromised politicians tell us what’s possible, the people should tell the leaders what’s needed: more light rail without massive roads expansion. It’s time to flex some urban muscle. Seattle voters shouldn’t have to fund roads on the Eastside in order to get light rail.

But by voting No on 50 miles of new transit, wouldn’t Seattle’s pro-transit voting bloc be cutting its nose to spite its face? No. By unwisely voting Yes on 182 miles of new roads, including four new lanes on I-405 to accommodate an extra 40,000 cars a day, they would be.

Read the rest here—including our endorsement in the Della/Burgess race. Can you guess who we backed?

RSS icon Comments



Posted by Mr. Poe | October 17, 2007 4:10 PM

Stranger buddy David Della?

Posted by Gomez | October 17, 2007 4:14 PM


Posted by Lake | October 17, 2007 4:16 PM

These are excellent choices across the board - color me impressed.

Posted by Trey | October 17, 2007 4:16 PM

(/reads the article)

Wait, WHAT

Posted by Gomez | October 17, 2007 4:17 PM

Wrong! On two counts...(1) I'm voting for Della; (2) Ed Murray endorsed Della, not Burgess like you say in your article. You can't even get the basic facts right, much less the politics.

Posted by mike | October 17, 2007 4:17 PM

People ought to go read the comments to the Bill Sherman threads on Goldy's website ( and see what the people IN the prosecutors office think.

Posted by TR | October 17, 2007 4:18 PM


Posted by second w00t | October 17, 2007 4:18 PM

When's the video from the endorsement interviews being posted?

Posted by hbkahn | October 17, 2007 4:19 PM

Woo Hoo!

Um, did you decide to endorse Heidi Wills?

Waving my Sierra Club "No on RTID/ST2" sign from my upstairs balcony in glee!

Bill Sherman's a great choice.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2007 4:20 PM

"It's time to flex some urban muscle."

You did that already. Wait for it...starts with an M...

Posted by JW | October 17, 2007 4:24 PM

If this $17.5 billion transportation package gets approved we should all move to Canada. How can people think this is a good idea after shooting down the $11 billion bid for a monorail system (which WAS too much, btw)?? This city is so far behind in honest-to-god solid transportation options. I mean, NYC can dig up half the isle of Manhattan to install a new subway line (which would mean moving millions of tons of rock & dirt, power lines, sewer lines, phone lines, etc etc etc) and can do it for a mere $2.4 billion?? What is wrong with Seattle that it can't get a good system in place? How about more tunnels (which would reduce traffic noise and create green open space - like a lid over most of I-5?) or a bridge across the harbor from the Aurora tunnel to West Seattle (which would be fucking beautiful as almost all new major bridges in ANY metropolitan city are AND would free up the waterfront from the abomination of the viaduct in addition to reducing traffic noise through downtown AND creating more green space for parks with pedestrians and bicyclists). Or a real true relatively "affordable" monorail system that Seattle originally voted for? All of these options would be less than adding more roads and this light-rail line that I have yet to actually meet someone who's ridden it or who approved it in the first place. I mean, we need to get our parka-wearing heads out of our asses and fuckin' DO something instead of talking and voting about it forever. I mean, sheeeit.

Posted by Nicholas Zervas | October 17, 2007 4:29 PM

NZ, um, there are such things as blanks.

Between lines.

Use them.

And take a breath.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2007 4:32 PM

oh i know, Will. lol It's all so rediculous, though. I kinda got on a tangent. =)

Posted by NZ | October 17, 2007 4:34 PM

Well, at least we can all agree, to wait until next year.

I hope?

Posted by drheavy | October 17, 2007 4:35 PM

TOOT - I don't know the value of WOOT.

You have made a real mistake endorsing Burgess.

And your comments about Della are juvenile and lack any degree of respect, even if you disagree with him.

I like Godden, wrinkles and all. Pleased you changed your mind. Joe is a wife beater and talks endlessly about what he did 18 years ago somewhere else.

Posted by Andy | October 17, 2007 4:48 PM

Andy, your comments about Joe Swaja are juvenile and lack any degree of respect, even if you disagree with him.

Posted by Grace | October 17, 2007 4:52 PM

You guys just made my day - and restored my faith in the Stranger.

Posted by woot woot woot | October 17, 2007 4:57 PM

#17 - Dear Grace, I hope you are not married to him, beware flying plates to the face.

He is a convicted wife beater, fact.

He rambles on and on about his past in the city of Madison, 18 years ago. We all have it memorized from the forums.

Very poor campaign plan. Grace, if you are a green, get some new blood. Joe is a stale hack at this point, with all due respect.

Posted by Andy | October 17, 2007 4:58 PM

Great, so if you get your way, we'll have the next light rail vote delayed until 2009, and it will include less mileage, all of it in Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma in disconnected systems. Cost projections will be higher, and public support will be lower. A yes vote will be a miracle under those conditions. We'll be a second-rate sprawling LA without their transit options.

And the state will just push through road funding by whatever other means it can muster, including everything except maybe Cross-base, so all the roads you think you're saving will be built anyway.

From Dan's other posts today, it seems like he dissented from the prevailing view, but deferred to the majority on the staff. Or else this is all just trolling for more hits on Slog, and this was judged the more controversial position.

Posted by Cascadian | October 17, 2007 5:00 PM

Sad. Well, if ST2.1 actually comes in Feb, I will be happy. Otherwise you can all suck my balls.

Posted by Cale | October 17, 2007 5:04 PM

Ya'll should hop down out of your hipster Ivory Tower and actually read what you wrote:

urban voters shouldn't be paying for Eastside roads? HUH.

What you really mean is that Eastside voters should pay for Seattle's light rail, only Seattle's light rail to Northgate and the rest of you get buses.

F**k you.

Posted by Tower | October 17, 2007 5:15 PM

@14, cool. @20, nope, Feb 2008, just like in ST backup plans. @21, mine are chocolate. but I only let women do that.

last time I checked the light rail across I-90 is mostly so Eastsiders can get access to our route - so they owe us. Especially since they've been stealing our bus service (we pay 40 percent of budget, have 30 percent of population, get 20 percent of new service).

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2007 5:20 PM

On all counts, logic and reason prevail.

Posted by scotto | October 17, 2007 5:24 PM

Maybe if the handpicked Republican attorneys hired by Republican leadership in the prosecutors office don't want a Democrat in office it might be a good thing to go against their will.

Posted by mirror | October 17, 2007 5:45 PM

Wait...seriously? Practically the whole SECB lived through the monorail blunder, and this is what they got out of it?

Seattle already tried to go it alone, with the stupidest results ever. We thought we could finance something on our own so very correct, so pure, something that fulfilled these deep needs to have an uncompromised transit system, and it failed spectacularly.

And the result is that The Monorail Cheerleader Election Control Board turns around and gives Prop 1 the finger?

So which Eastside, which Pierce and Snohomish County are you looking to to pony up money for transit? I guess one that exists only in your dreams. Or perhaps we can go it alone again! Yeah! Know any underemployed taxi drivers?

Posted by JW | October 17, 2007 5:46 PM

Everyone who thinks that Seattle is toast if RTID passes and vows to leave... if/when it passes, please do. Please fuck off to Portland or Canada or wherever you think it's better. Please get the fuck out to whatever better life you think awaits in these locales, and let the rest of us have our alleged sociopolitical armageddon in peace, because the whining's getting old and we're getting nowhere with douchebags like you fighting any sort of progress whatsoever because it's not the exact progress that you want.

Posted by Gomez | October 17, 2007 5:59 PM

Oh god, "Let's be big eco-pussies so we can outdo Portland!!!!!11"

Cities need roads, cities need transit. This doom and gloom "OH SHIT, GLOBAL WARMING" crybaby take-our-ball-and-go-home attitude is going to leave Seattle without a transit plan and without legislative support for future transit plans. Show me their plan for after this thing fails as you guys are hoping. I haven't seen one, and knowing how long it takes for these to get off the ground, I can guarantee you there'll be difficulty getting light rail to the university district on time, if at all.

No, seriously guys-- it IS possible to be bigger fuck-ups than the city of Houston when it comes to urban planning. Keep going!

Posted by Alex-jon | October 17, 2007 6:31 PM

Sorry, I'm voting for it.

Posted by Curtains | October 17, 2007 7:08 PM

I obviously don't agree with The Stranger's "No" endorsement on Prop. 1, but I will say at least the piece didn't have a Brave New World/Karl Rove quality to it like the Times's editorial. I was deeply offended by the Times's "No" opinion; I wasn't deeply offended by The Stranger's "No" opinion.

There was only one passage that offended, or puzzled, me:

But we won't be able to make those investments, because we'll be committed to paying for a compromised light rail system for the next 50 years.

There are other problems with the package. The light rail in this proposal would be paid for with a regressive sales tax instead of user fees (like tolls). The line itself (through a low-density area) may feed sprawl in south King County, instead of promoting the dense urban development that will grow alongside light rail stations in North Seattle.

How is the light rail system compromised? (I'm guessing they mean by the roads.) How is wrong for us to pay for light rail over 50 years? We were going to pay for monorail over 50 years (with the debt backloaded toward the last 10 years), and The Stranger was OK with that. As was I.

Paying for light rail with a sales tax isn't perfect, but it's perfectly understandable why that tax was chosen. The monorail authority ran into a veritable minefield trying to choose the right tax from the ones available.

And one item of disingenuousness here: This line – "The light rail in this proposal would be paid for with a regressive sales tax" – suggests that light rail is only being paid for with sales tax, whereas it's also being paid for with MVET, a good tax. How is The Stranger being any less BS-ful with this than the Times was with their Portland/Portland area conflation?

The one shameful argument

But the one item that made me angry the way the entire Times endorsement made me angry was the suggestion that light rail "may feed sprawl" because it's going through a low-density area in South King County. Claiming that light rail – any light rail – promotes sprawl is akin to claiming that freeways promote density. It doesn't pass the laugh test.

This argument gets into one of the classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" syllogisms of the anti-mass-transit echo chamber. If there's already density in a place, they'll argue, "Well, what do you need rail for? There's already density." And if there's not already density in a place, they'll argue, "Well, why are you building rail there when there's no density to support it?" Unless municipalities make really boneheaded zoning decisions, light rail inevitably promotes density. Never sell short the power of mass transit, especially when we're entering an era of climate change and oil scarcity.

And just as a practical matter, look where ST2 would be going in South King County. The city of Federal Way is already looking to place residential towers near where the station would be.

I'm afraid The Stranger writers sold their souls to the freeway interests with that one line. For that line alone, they should be ashamed.

Posted by cressona | October 17, 2007 7:20 PM

As for The Stranger's implicit belief that if we just kill this ballot measure, we'll soon get a comparable light-rail-only ballot measure in its place, (A) I hope they're right. (B) I hope we don't have to find out they're right.

Posted by cressona | October 17, 2007 7:21 PM

Dan's title, "Read It and Weep," perhaps suggests there was some dissension in the Stranger Election Control Board ranks.

So Dan, are you pro-Prop. 1? (Or did you have to sign an NDA concerning your own opinion?)

Seeking signs of Stranger sanity

Posted by cressona | October 17, 2007 7:36 PM

Sometimes I feel like I'm automatically in a bucket because I live on the eastside. I made the choice years ago to move closer to work, beacase driving the bridge every day was bad for me & the enviornment.
My bf & I still spend time in the city, we go to the hill at least once a week. I like to read the Stranger over Friday night dinner on Broadway before we go out. I feel fairly connected to Seattle, which I've lived in and around for 35 years (since I was 4)
I think light rail is great. I really hope we pass it, but it will do nothing for me personally.

What really is frustrating this sense from urbanites that it's somehow an us or them thing. Why is that? I'm an utlra-libral, green, suburbanite who has a tendency to support libral causes that don't help me directly. But I'm starting to slowly buy in to this us or them mentalitly that the Stranger seems to endorse. You're just going to alienate people like me when you imply that nothing that doesn't benefit the city and the city alone is worthwhile. Eventually you may convince me to not support light rail.

Posted by DJSauvage | October 17, 2007 8:36 PM

What? You Prop 1 supporters are still here? I shouldn't have to explain this, but -- you're done. Tens of thousands of people will read the Stranger's no position on Prop 1. Maybe 100 people bother to read your comments.

That's because the Stranger ed board writers are players. People care what they have to say. Virtually no one gives a crap what you say in response.

Likewise, the Sierra Club activists are starting to look like players. They've won over the Stranger team, and by extension many of their readers. I notice most aren't bothering to comment here anymore -- they're out talking at forums and on the radio. That's because people care what they have to say. As for you ... see my comment above. Could it be that you wankers were just practice material for them before they went out to address the voters?

The players on the "pro" side don't even need you. They've got TV and radio ads and people hired to speak at forums. Some of those people may in fact be you, but we'll put that detail aside because I don't know which is more pathetic -- that you're paid shills or folks who can't figure out any better way to support your cause than post on blogs all day.

You could do like the Sierra Club and actually work at organizing people around your cause. How about forming "The Bent-over Citizens Brigade?" Your slogan: Just tell us your idea, and we'll vote for it.

Oh, and Cressona: Don't be hurt if Dan Savage doesn't get back to you. He's awfully busy meeting people who actually wield influence out here in the real world.

Posted by Loewyputian | October 17, 2007 9:59 PM

32. I'll give them credit for this: it's been stated multiple times that many of the SECB recommendations are majority opinions, with one or more dissenters. A well known example is the SECB coming out against I-901 when Dan was for it.

Posted by Gomez | October 17, 2007 10:03 PM

Loewyputian @34, so you just spent a whole post explaining why volunteer Prop. 1 supporters are pathetic. You folks really don't want to debate this measure on the merits, do you? Why is this? I'm curious, because those of us who are Prop. 1 supporters don't seem to have any trouble talking about global warming or peak oil or the reality of Washington politics.

Anyway, question. Does this all mean that the Sierra Club's opposition all along was founded on their desire to be, as you say, "players"?

Posted by cressona | October 17, 2007 10:15 PM

#34, I'll bite.

I do it because it helps me to sort out my thoughts about it and sharpen my brain with something productive while I am bored at work. If I can convince only a few people, that's still an added bonus.

I still think it's well worth passing.

Posted by Cale | October 18, 2007 12:15 AM

The editorial could've been a lot simpler if they'd just written what they meant:

"We live in the city and are therefore awesome. You live in the suburbs and are therefore worthless. You need to pay for our stuff and get nothing in return, because we're better than you. And oh yeah, the facts don't matter to us."

Posted by Bax | October 18, 2007 6:39 AM

That's because the Stranger ed board writers are players. People care what they have to say. Virtually no one gives a crap what you say in response.

Damn right! That's why the monorail is working out so great, right?

Posted by Bax | October 18, 2007 6:41 AM

I'm afraid The Stranger writers sold their souls to the freeway interests with that one line. For that line alone, they should be ashamed.

Cressona, it's not about selling their souls to freeway interests, it's about their inherent smugness about all things urban. Light rail can't be built to the suburbs because the suburbs and the people that live there have no value. Seattle is better than everybody else because it's Seattle. It's your typical urban superiority complex, and the people that work at the Stranger have it in spades.

The ironic thing is that I'd bet that most of them have never been to the 'burbs.

Posted by Bax | October 18, 2007 6:44 AM

@27: The last part of your comment struck me as interesting:

"... the whining's getting old and we're getting nowhere with douchebags like you fighting any sort of progress whatsoever because it's not the exact progress that you want."

That is a pitch-perfect indictment of the Sierra Club's opposition to ST2/RTID.

Posted by Greg | October 18, 2007 8:50 AM

Here's one of my biggest beefs with the Stranger position:

"Seattle voters shouldn’t have to fund roads on the Eastside in order to get light rail."

Well, no, actually, they should. You see, it's a compromise - Seattle gets the Eastside to help pay for light rail, the Eastside gets Seattle to help pay for road improvements. Both parties do something they wouldn't otherwise be inclined to do, for the sake of mutual benefits.

Also, have you considered that expansion of 405 might actually be good for Seattle, not just the Eastside? If 405 stays as it is now, I-5 is going to pick up a bigger share of that traffic as the equilibrium shifts. Then we'll have the worst of all possible worlds: more congestion on 405, more congestion on I-5, and no light rail outside of the Central Link area.

By thinking only about yourselves in your little fortress on Capitol Hill, you've screwed everybody.

Posted by Greg | October 18, 2007 9:11 AM

bravo, Greg! My sentiments exactly.

...yours from Redmond

Posted by calvin | October 18, 2007 9:55 AM

I am astonished by the go-it-alone self-centeredness displayed by this editorial. We need a regional coaltion to build big projects to solve big problems. If Seattle tries to go it alone, we'll just wind up in an even deeper traffic nightmare then we already have. What has our "pro-transit voting bloc" gotten us? Just a start on a light rail line. A wee small start. We need to recognize the politics of this. The outlying counties are part of this mess, and we need to be part of their solution, not selfish pigs.

BTW. It's GOOD to build rail in places where there aren't that many people. It's the best way to do it! Ding-a-lings. It creates transit-centered communities. The people are already moving south. We need to give them a fast, reliable, green way to get to work. Duh.

I'm voting for Prop 1, no misgivings. I will happily pay my beefier sales tax for trains and roads.

Posted by SouthSeattle | October 18, 2007 10:58 AM

It's ok, Cressona, just remember to support ST2.1 in Feb 08, and we're good.

As to "good to build rail in places where there aren't too many people" ... have you ever heard of WHY AMTRAK is such a FAILURE? Because they did that.

Politics is the art of the impossible done in the present for the future.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 18, 2007 11:38 AM

Seattle and the region, supposedly the most educated city in America, is really full of a bunch of fucking idiots that can't agree on anything and cannot get anything built ever because wahhhh, I dont want to pay for anyone else's form of transportation and everyone that doesnt commute how I commute or live how I live is either a evil commie full of social engineering plans or a SUV driving greenhouse gas emitting suburban redneck and compromise be damned.

That's my rant for the day.

Its debates like this that make me wish for a government that will just build the damn thing without a vote. Like say, Vancouver BC.

Posted by Brian In Seattle | October 18, 2007 11:42 AM


I have no idea who the "you folks" you refer to are, nor why the Sierra Club acted as it has. I do know the Club is making a difference, and you're not.

But you're right that I was silly to bother writing that post. If you want to be king of the slog, go to it. Won't hurt a thing.
See ya'.

Posted by Loewyputian | October 18, 2007 12:21 PM

Will, stop lying. There will not be another light rail vote in February.

If I'm not mistaken, Sound Transit can't just put a new proposal on the ballot by themselves. They'd have to work with the state legislature to get it included in the February 19th special election/meaningless presidential primary, and the legislative session doesn't start until January 7th. And you can bet the Governor isn't going to call a special session to work out the details earlier. In fact, she'll work with other local politicians to stop the vote from happening at all.

Even if I'm wrong on this point, to put a proposal on the ballot the ST Board would have to agree. But the board is divided and it's highly unlikely that they'll come to any agreement quickly enough to schedule a vote in February. That's unless they simply resubmit the ST2 plan without changes.

But the Sierra Club, Ron Sims, and Cascade Bicycle Club among other ST2 opponents all are on record opposing the light rail plan as it is. So voting no means these groups would try to reopen the package for discussion to make it more Seattle-centered and less useful. You can bet people outside of the city are going to scream, dig in their heels, and do everything they can to stop the changes. Oh, and if the funding mechanism is called into question, it will take even more time finding a different way of paying for whatever plan is agreed on. Expecting this renewed round of Seattle process to be done with in time to schedule an election in only three months is ridiculous. It's not going to happen.

So that leaves the main primary in August and the general election in November, but even one year is a short turnaround for another round of process, even ignoring the fact that it's an election year and a big tax package is risky for Democrats.

If this fails, I'll support efforts to get something good and politically viable on the ballot as soon as possible, but I doubt anything will have a chance until 2009.

Posted by Cascadian | October 18, 2007 12:31 PM

I'm going to type slowly for Will, the SECB, and everyone else who thinks building light rail going outside cities "causes sprawl." Look, we have sprawl. We don't have any light rail. So, how did the sprawl get there? Please! Use your noggins.

Jobs, housing costs, and percevied quality of life all seem to lead people to live and work outside big cities. People are going to move outside the cities unless you make it illegal with zoning. We aren't making it illegal, so the people are there, right now. Federal Way, Everett, Bothell, Belleveue, Redmond, Issaquah. LOTS of people. Driving everywhere. The sprawl is there. If we bring trains to some of these places, we can SLOW the sprawl, because it will be much more attractive to live a short drive from a rail transit hub in Federal Way, for example, than to move to, say, Carnation and have a miserable commute to Seattle.

One more time: Everyone who keeps talking about a great big light rail ballot 2008 fantasy, get over it. Will it be on the ballot? Who knows. Probably not. If such a thing were on the ballot, it could never pass in the three-county district. I love trains, but those rail-heavy proposals get nuked by the wider regional voting system. We may want our 50 miles of light rail and nothing else (though a lot of the road stuff really makes sense), but people outside Seattle get to shoot it down, as they did in 1995. And the Elway poll says they'd do today. Holding out for it? Hold out for Nader next year, too. That worked out great.

Posted by SouthSeattle | October 18, 2007 1:44 PM

@48, repeat until you have memorized this fact:

The Sierra Club does not oppose ST2.

They would support Prop 1 if it did not tie ST2 to the massive highway expansion in Prop 1 that will make global warming worse.

The Sierra Club is on record in too many places to count saying exactly this.

Posted by scotto | October 18, 2007 5:07 PM

Here is a very appropriate response to the Stranger/Sierra Cub Scout/Sims pro-rail/anti-rail position (you can tell this silly alliance a strong one, right out of the gate)

Posted by BongHitsForSeattleBubbleites | October 18, 2007 5:41 PM

Re #12:

"This city is so far behind in honest-to-god solid transportation options."

Yes, NYC kicks Seattle's ass. What do you expect in a city with a subway system that lets you use one token to travel from the Bronx out to Far Rockaway?

That said, having just moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City, I can safely tell you: be damn thankful for what you DO have.

Posted by Jay Andrew Allen | October 23, 2007 6:29 PM

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