Politics 37th District Hypocrats?
posted by October 22 at 17:19 PMon
It’s good to know Democrats are all on the same page.
A glossy mailer arrived at my house a few days ago heralding endorsements from Southeast Seattle’s 37th District Democrats. It was generally predictable—donkey, donkey, donkey—but two things jumped out. They endorsed Lt. Governor Brad Owen, who is as much a Democrat as I am a lesbian. Then they endorsed initiatives and such: Yes on Death with Dignity; no on the Eyman initiative; yes on Parks; yes on the Pike Place Market… and curtain.
But what about that proposal for a HUGE MASS-TRANSIT LINE running through the 37th District? Prop 1? There’s a light-rail station proposed in the middle of the district that would connect residents to the Eastside and the rest of the city in minutes. Why don’t they have an opinion on that?
They should have an opinion on it. The Washington State Democratic Party platform, passed earlier this year, explicitly outlines support for measures like Prop 1. One resolution on climate change called for to “develop alternative transport systems such as bike paths and mass transit.” Another one called, “A resolution to address transportation problems” says the “Washington State Democratic Party supports immediately identifying and prioritizing transportation problems…” So how does a party chomping at the bit to build mass transit fall asleep at the wheel when, in two weeks, we vote on miles of new light rail?
“We understand the parks. We understand the [Pike Place] Market,” says Rob Holland, chair of the 37th District Democrats. “But paying for an expansion on transit … there was just a concern that they have got to find another way to fund the project.” He said district members over 60 years old strongly opposed the measure because they fear increasing property taxes. Holland thinks the “other way to find the project” is to “elect Barack Obama. Put federal dollars toward it.”
Holland says that members under 40 overwhelmingly supported Prop 1, but were outvoted (probably because most of them miss the meeting while they are at work and raising kids). However, they did manage to persuade the group to switch from a “no” vote to remaining neutral. Also under 40, Holland says his vote for Prop 1 will fall along the same age lines. “I’m not overly excited about voting for it, but you gotta keep things moving.”
So this isn’t Holland’s fault. But it is the fault of the Metamucil happy-hour crowd in South Seattle. And it’s is the fault of people like me: Folks under 40 who vote with a sip of wine and wafer, but don’t go to their district Democrat meetings. If we did go, we could outnumber the set who can’t wrap their brains around light rail.