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Friday, November 9, 2007

Gov. Gregoire Open to Light Rail Vote in ‘08

posted by on November 9 at 17:33 PM

I managed to get a quick interview with Gov. Christine Gregoire after she testified at the FCC hearings at Town Hall late this afternoon.

Her speech against media consolidation, btw, was great. Warning against concentrated ownership of the airwaves—which she reminded the commission are “public property”—Gregoire got her biggest applause with these two back-to-back Seattle-centric lines: “How will the next great band be able to leave a garage in West Seattle for a worldwide audience? How will photos, or video, documenting injustice be seen widely enough to spark a response?”

(Three cheers for whatever band she’s hep to that’s busting out of—or busted out of?— West Seattle. And the other line I took to be a reference to 1999’s WTO protests.)

I got a brief interview with the governor after her testimony.

I asked Gov. Gregoire for her reaction to yesterday’s District Court decision suspending state rules that direct all pharmacists to make Plan B (emergency contraception) available to women. Gregoire said she was “very disappointed” in the decision, and she’s looking at filing an appeal with the Attorney General. Asked why she was disappointed, she said, “A woman’s right to a lawful prescription should not be subject to the biases and prerogatives of a pharmacist.” She also stressed that the issue was broader than Plan B, saying, for example, that an AIDS victim shouldn’t be prevented from getting medication because the pharmacist might not “agree with [that person’s] lifestyle.”

I asked the governor what she thought about Mayor Nickels’s statement that Seattle should push for a light rail vote in 2008. (Gregoire has made it clear in the past that she did not want light rail to be on the ballot in ‘08—or so I was told repeatedly by the Prop. 1 campaign.)

She said: “I need a better understanding of the vote. Was it ‘No’ to roads? Was it ‘No’ to transit? Was it ‘No’ to the price tag? Should we vote on light rail without roads?”
Does that mean you’re open to a vote on light rail in ‘08? I repeated. “It’s all in play,” she said.

Finally, I asked her why she didn’t endorse the Democratic candidate for King County Prosecutor, Bill Sherman. (Sherman lost this week to the Republican, Dan Satterberg. Gregoire made no endorsement in the high profile-race.) Gregoire’s face lit up as if she was gearing to tell a big joke, and she said: “You want to know why? Ready? He never asked.” I told her that the campaign said they did ask. Gregoire said: “No one asked me.” I asked her if she would have endorsed him, and she said, it’d be “disingenuous to answer that now.” True.

Footnote on the FCC hearings: To the surprise of many in the Seattle audience, Rep. Dave Reichert sent a video taped message where he spoke out against consolidation. There were also taped messages from Rep. Jay Inslee and Sen. Maria Cantwell. Against.

RSS icon Comments


I'm probably in the minority here, but reading this has made me like Gregoire more.

Yeah, she's being uber-politician, duh. Still, I wish I could hear this side of Gregoire more often in public.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | November 9, 2007 5:45 PM

@1 I'd have to agree.

I didn't vote for her, but the more stuff like this I hear, the more I think Rossi doesn't stand a decent chance.

Posted by Mike of Renton | November 9, 2007 5:59 PM

Agree. This is probably the best thing I've heard Gregoire say in a while, and it appears she's got the right idea with how to react to the Prop 1 vote.

Posted by Gomez | November 9, 2007 6:15 PM

Oh yeah. FINALLY, the Guv is developing some of her own, on the fly, political instincts.
Fire her handlers... and LET THE WOMAN SPEAK. She is a smart lady who doesn't need all the bullshit campaign machinery.
If she loses, then we are ALL doomed.

Posted by No Pleasure Cruise | November 9, 2007 6:35 PM

Our governor is a class act.

And if anyone has busted out of West Seattle for the wide, wide world, I congratulate them, and invite them to take me with them.

Posted by Exile in West Seattle | November 9, 2007 6:39 PM

Sorry I wasn't there to gloat about the previous thread on Nickels' support for a light rail vote in '08. But I'm here to gloat now.

And just for everyone's information, I will be gloating in spirit every time any news of support for the '08 light rail vote comes out. You Portland-moving-to end-of-the-worlders who said Prop 1 was the last chance ever, ever, ever to get light rail are probably going to want to forget all the times you said there is no way no how there could be a vote in 08. But every time you try to get on my train that we are going to vote on in 08, I'll be right there, telling you that you blew it. No train for you. Prop 1 was your last and only chance.

PS Don't listen to Gregoire, kids. Rock and roll can't do it for you. Drugs can't do it. And don't count on any viaduct. There's only one way out of West Seattle: Stay in school!

Posted by elenchos | November 9, 2007 6:41 PM

Gregoire for President.

Posted by Rob Crow | November 9, 2007 7:23 PM

Has everyone forgotten about already?

“We can’t keep second-guessing our decision to build a new monorail, and risk continued gridlock and frustration. We need to move forward.”

- Mayor Gridlock, Seattle Weekly, October 20th, 2004

Can't wait for that douche to be out of here.

Posted by Anon | November 9, 2007 8:05 PM

Perhaps her rep was mired somewhat by the election scandal which clouded her early days, but the more I know about Gov. Christine, the more I like. Proud to have her as a governor.

Posted by Bauhaus | November 9, 2007 8:11 PM

So far her record on transportation is bad:

a new viaduct
allowing roads to be tied to transit, a loser

no encouragement of congestion pricing or tolls

So....she should not just permit a transit-only vote in 2008 she should acively get behind it.

Posted by unPC | November 9, 2007 8:41 PM


Scandal? What scandal? The system called for recounts, and recounts there were. It worked as it was designed to do.

As Senator Margarita Prentice says: The only scandal was that a bottom feeder like Dino Rossi was running for Governor in the first place.

Posted by ivan | November 9, 2007 8:44 PM

So apparently it wasn't enviros and Seattle liberals that sank Prop 1 at all - it was *gasp* suburbanites opposed to newer taxes!

So notes the Seattle Times, which actually looked at the returns by precinct, as opposed to the anti-mass transit Sierra Club's unreliable poll.

Prop 1 got its strongest support in my area - Greenlake and the 43rd LD - and the weakest in Auburn and other areas of South King County.

What does that suggest? Gregoire will NOT in the end agree to putting this on the '08 ballot. She'll listen to her handlers, or her own instincts, which will tell her "put a tax package on the same ballot as your reelection? and give Rossi something to use against you in the Western Wa 'burbs you need to win to stay in office? are you insane?"

Taxes are the real issue here. We had an opportunity to build light rail anyway and squandered it on a pointless demand for purity. Washington's anti-tax voters aren't swayed by logic or sense (otherwise they wouldn't be so rabidly anti-tax) so it's by no means clear a purist light rail plan appealing to global warming is going to convince these zealots.

We'll be lucky to see ST2 on the ballot in guess is 2012-2014 will be more likely.

Posted by greenlake | November 9, 2007 10:00 PM

I've heard Gregoire speak several times since elected and have been much more impressed with her as Governor then her first time as a candidate. Yes, she blew the Viaduct earlier this year, but she's has gotten a lot of others things right and knows how to work with legislators. I think she'll run a much stronger campaign this time around, especially if she can get the legislature to cut the strings between RTID and ST and put together a strong light rail package.

Hopefully, she won't allow any other statewide spending issues on the ballot in 2008 - I think having Proposition One hurt 4202 because it seemed like too much "spending" on the same ballot (though 4204 is now at 49.1%, and may be able to squeak through yet).

Posted by Ebenezer | November 9, 2007 11:04 PM

Very impressed with how quickly Gregoire has weighed the evidence and adjusted to reality. She's a smart one, no doubt.

Posted by scotto | November 9, 2007 11:19 PM

Greenlake...the Times data do not refute to Sierra Club data. The two are not mutually exclusive.

You could argue that those Auburn and other S. King County voters were always going to vote against it, being the anti-tax red state rubes they are. And you could argue that the vote in the liberal areas of Seattle would've been much higher if not for the environmental issues and that it was the lack of that higher vote that killed it.

That's how I read the data and it seems to accord with other info.

Posted by gnossos | November 10, 2007 12:15 AM

Yes, all of north and central Seattle should have been 60 - 65% favorable, and most of greater Bellevue above 55%, if typical patterns had prevailed. This is the enviro vote and without them, R&T didn't stand a chance.

Posted by Perfect Voter | November 10, 2007 1:00 AM

"an AIDS victim shouldn’t be prevented from getting medication because the pharmacist might not “agree with [that person’s] lifestyle.”?

What is she talking about? Lifestyle? What ostensibly non-bigoted person even uses that word anymore? And don't non-lifestyle people get AIDS too?

Posted by Jim C. | November 10, 2007 5:22 AM

Jim you are an idiot. That was the Governor's point with the statement. Bigoted pharmacists will use that exact line to deny medication to AIDS patients.
To your second point, the bigoted pharmacist is also likely to think that anyone who has AIDS is homosexual unless that AIDS patient is a female.
Wake up Jim. Maybe you shouldn't be allowed to post before 6 a.m. any longer.

Posted by Wake up | November 10, 2007 8:43 AM

And HRC is open to bombing Iran.

The package was way too big and the ST part has no assurances, not even that light rail would be built. Read Res. 75.

The next vote probably won't be until 2009 partially because of the lost credibility from saying this was our last opportunity for decades. In addition most of the biggest supporters have already left for Portland, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, NY or any city with rails.

We need a regional agency with elected accountable board members, even if that takes an extra year or two

Posted by whatever | November 10, 2007 8:59 AM

Cressona @ 12...errr...I mean "Greenlake" @ 12:

You've got to be kidding, right? During the election, you repeatedly tried to convince people there would never be a Plan B.

Now, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, you keep insisting there won't be another vote until 2014.

Is it really more important for you to be right than to see light rail get built...your supposed original agenda?

PS Cressona - I guess changing your blog name is easier than actually moving out of Seattle like you promised. That's a bummer. I was going to offer to help you pack.

Posted by otterpop | November 10, 2007 1:07 PM

I suppose it's just up to Sound Transit now to create a ballot measure that is likeable to voters. That and to decide exactly how much new light rail is appropriate at this time.

Posted by Cale | November 10, 2007 1:12 PM

Dino Rossi surrounds himself with anti-transit ideologues, and would do real damage to Seattle and King County if he were to be elected.

RTID was largely a project of ex-Republican Senators who were replaced by Dems who continue to push their roadbuilding agenda (I don't fault them for this - they are simply reflecting the values of their constituents).

However, the one critical flaw in the exurbanite road-building Republican dream: the people who want those roads also don't want to pay for them. The people of SE King / North Pierce County sit in ridiculous traffic every day - they had a chance to vote to widen 167 and connect 167 to I-5, but chose gridlock instead.

I say, give 'em what they want. (nothing) One of the reasons Portland stopped building roads over a decade ago, and shifted their spending priorities to light rail is based in basic political realities: the people pushing for roads were also against the taxes needed to pay for the roads.

Next time that blathering idiot Piper Scott "The Pipedream" weighs in on the Slog, ask him whatever happened to Luke Esser, Jim Horn and Toby Nixon, the three anti-rail Eastside R's who lost their seats advocating his silly arguments. Esser and Nixon had the audacity to vote for the freeways they wanted , but against the taxes needed to build them.

Welcome to the pathetic world of Kemper Freeman.

These Republicans shot themselves in the foot by opposing Prop 1. Their days of freeway building are now officially over.

Let's help them aim for the head next time...

Posted by Darren S | November 10, 2007 6:56 PM

My one concern with this new emerging paradigm: the clueless flakes at the Sierra Club, who have drank so much kool aid, an been locked inside their ideological bubble together for so long, they can actually tell you with a straight face that we're going to reduce our carbon footprint with highly inefficient diesel buses.

Their association with the pavement caucus has been a little too close for comfort lately, evidenced by the fake numbers Andrew Garber haplessly re-pprinted on their behalf in the Seattle Times last week. They made a childish attempt at estimating riders per thousand dollars, or something, and butchered the comparison to the point where it looked like the Discovery Institute or Kemper Freeman actually crunched the numbers.

Scott Ottersonpop outta drop his ego trip for a minute or two, take a step back from all the lying the Sierra Club did to help defeat Prop 1 - then he can start focusing on the issue at hand.

It will be tough for SC to partially detach from half-sane Ron Sims, as he pursues his Third World BRT model, but none of us transit advocates will be successful if common sense remains on holiday over here on the progressive side of the aisle.

Posted by Darren S | November 10, 2007 7:10 PM

Good to see no Ad Hominem attacks.

What is it with Holy Railers that they can't just talk issues there has to be attacks.

Posted by whatever | November 10, 2007 7:22 PM

She said: “I need a better understanding of the vote. Was it ‘No’ to roads? Was it ‘No’ to transit? Was it ‘No’ to the price tag? Should we vote on light rail without roads?”
Does that mean you’re open to a vote on light rail in ‘08? I repeated. “It’s all in play,” she said.

Maybe I'm just dense, but how does this read as anything other than a politician's non-answer?

Posted by Greg | November 12, 2007 8:09 AM

@25: Thanks, Greg. I thought everyone was asleep. "It's all in play" is indeed an excellent political non-answer. Gregoire will definitely get light rail on the '08 ballot--unless she decides not to.

Posted by J.R. | November 12, 2007 9:04 AM

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