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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Freeman Dumps $100K Into Anti-Transit “Campaign”

posted by on October 14 at 15:49 PM


Until this week, opponents of this year’s mass-transit expansion measure—AKA Proposition 1, which you’ll find on the bottom of your King, Pierce, or Snohomish County ballot—have been laying low, dropping only $20,000 into the anti-transit, pro-roads “No to Prop. 1” campaign. In the past week or so, however, the road warriors have come out in force, dumping $112,000 into the anti-Sound Transit effort. Fully $100,000 of that money came from Bellevue land mogul Kemper Freeman—a perennial transit opponent who’s working to defeat light rail even though it would go directly to one of his largest downtown Bellevue developments. The remaining $12,000 came from Belltown zillionaire Mark Baerwaldt, Fremont landowner Suzie Burke, downtown developer Matt Griffin, and cell-phone magnate Bruce McCaw. Those five contributors are joined by longtime anti-rail zealots John Niles and Donald Padelford, Oak Harbor Freight Lines and the Washington Asphalt Paving Association, and H. Chaffey Investments—bringing the total number of supporters for the anti-light-rail “campaign” to ten. In contrast, the Mass Transit Now campaign has more than 200 donors… and has raised more than half a million so far, to the “no” campaign’s $150,000.

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WTF??? Lightrail would be here. It works in Vancouver AND PDX. I hate these Goddamn rich developer assholes.

Posted by JJ | October 14, 2008 4:02 PM

Why... Why?

Posted by drunkel | October 14, 2008 4:08 PM

Developers' not recognizing the benefits of transit to their business really boggles my mind.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 14, 2008 4:11 PM

Lightrail is going to happen. Even if these assholes stopped Sound Transit dead in their tracks (sorry) today, the issue would come up again. Opposition groups are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by dragging this process out. I understand my logic here is slightly flawed, but it's somehow still correct.

This could have been paid for and operational since the late 70's when the Fed's were practically giving it away. Or when it was discussed again in the mid-80's. Or started construction in 1994. Or maybe someone can get it killed again and Seattle can start all over when steel is worth its weight in gold?

Jesus, fuckers (Freeman, Niles, Paddleford, etc.). Step aside and let people do their jobs finally.

Posted by Dougsf | October 14, 2008 4:18 PM

It's just staggeringly crazy.

Posted by Greg | October 14, 2008 4:19 PM

Ron Sims said Light Rail is wrong for our region.

And he instigated it!

Posted by John Bailo | October 14, 2008 4:19 PM

@6: Primarily because a regional system is taking riders from his local service, diminishing farebox revenue and reducing his chances at forwarding further expansion proposals should the taxing authority be extended further.

The cut in passenger miles served would be staggering and more than certainly would put present and future King-specific subsidy in jeopardy. This is why transit systems often join forces when going regional since 5309 grants are very specific.

It would not diminish current service in King County, but it could definitely put a pinch in Sims' plans for a comprehensive King County-centric regional transit system in the future. I guarantee he would sing differently were there no plans for northward or southward expansion.

You can get a general idea of how this works in the route structure in East King, where there are often Metro routes that duplicate Sound Transit routes via halving stop spacing and taking circuitous routes.

Posted by AJ | October 14, 2008 4:31 PM

Kesh, it also benefits their competition. People like them are rent seekers, that is they seek to change the rules to benefit their business against competitors, not actually deliver a more desirable product.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 14, 2008 4:32 PM

Seriously, I want these old dudes to go away. I'm young. I'll be paying for this plan for a solid chunk of my life. I'd really like the privilege of investing in my community and building something good for our future. My friends all want this. I want these old, tired, naysayers to GO. THE. FUCK. AWAY.

Stop dragging us all down.

Posted by go away | October 14, 2008 4:40 PM


You sound like the type of dumbass who'd get high and jump on top of the Light Rail train and electrocute himself, so you'd only be paying for a year or two.

Posted by John Bailo | October 14, 2008 4:51 PM

@10 You just sound like a dumbass though.

Posted by benskibeat | October 14, 2008 5:32 PM

Kemper = McCain: nuthin' new to say

Baerwaldt = Palin: plumb-ass crazy

Posted by erratic old guys | October 14, 2008 5:51 PM

How the world turns. As regards zealotry, The Stranger, former skeptics of Sound Transit, get religion and become unthinking, faithful true believers. Ron Sims, former true believer, sees the light and becomes a skeptic.

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | October 14, 2008 6:02 PM

Kemper Freeman is a fucking dick who's flat-out said he doesn't want poor people near his developments. God forbid, they might light-rail from Southcenter up to Bell Square and bring property values down!

Posted by Jessica | October 14, 2008 6:04 PM

BAILO! You're a great one to talk about anybody getting shocked. When I think of all the times you had me hook your nutsack up to that electro-thing so you could get yourself off, I could puke!

Of course now that the electric company's shut the power off, we don't have to worry about that, do we? Of course, God only knows what you do after I drop you off at Woodland Park every night.

by the way, if you're looking for me I'll be at the food bank. Somebody's gotta put food on the table.

Posted by Mrs. John Bailo | October 14, 2008 6:07 PM

We should let the 520 bridge sink unless kemper pays for its maintenance.

Posted by Trevor | October 14, 2008 6:26 PM

It's so obvious with Kemper- he doesn't want people in Bellevue to have easy access to the much cooler shopping experience downtown. That and he doesn't want poor people infecting Bellevue. Imagine! Soon they may have to implement homeless services! There goes Bellevue's one comparative advantage!

Posted by CP | October 14, 2008 7:52 PM

So, Erica, tell the rest of the story. Most of Prop 1 Yes donors are Sound Transit employees or contractors--not exactly objective when it comes to spending other people's money. Vote No to Prop 1, and get some workable alternatives onto the ballot. Do you really think Kemper Freeman would oppose light rail to Bellevue Square, if he actually thought it would carry people? Take a look at the SLUT, and get real about what these oversized toys really do.....

Posted by Tellthewholestoryplease | October 14, 2008 7:56 PM

For your information, the Seattle Streetcar BEAT it's ridership projections THREE MONTHS EARLY.

Yeah, nobody uses rail alright...

How about you get real and get with the times. As somebody whom takes the bus on a daily basis and who was on the inaugural ride of Link on the 7th, I can tell you to shove it with a smile on my face - It's coming and it ain' stoppin' and not a damn thing you can do to stop it.

Posted by Mac | October 14, 2008 8:07 PM


did you just call Suzie Burke an annoyingly craptastic slab of fat?

Posted by holz | October 14, 2008 8:18 PM

Actually, there's only around 170 donors on the contributions list for Several entries are repeat donors. Either way, it's still a staggering comparison.

Posted by Clarkj | October 14, 2008 9:02 PM

"Vote No to Prop 1, and get some workable alternatives onto the ballot"

TellTheWholeStoryPlease always comes up with these generic non-solutions.

I like the conspiracy theory about Kemper opposing light rail because he has secret knowledge nobody will ride it. That was funny.

Kemper Freeman and his ilk oppose light rail because his right wing ideology prevents him from even studying how rail transit has worked around the country. Kemper is so freaked out by the socialist transit thing, he refuses to even board buses (I am not kidding...I used to work for the company)

What drives Kemper to fight light rail, besides his right wing hatchet guy Bruce Nurse, is an honest belief that "his shoppers" won't take the train. Transit is for poor people in their book. Or, the elderly and disabled.

Real Americans drive cars. That's all there is to it when you're a 50's era dinosaur.

Posted by Garbled | October 14, 2008 10:16 PM

"Vote No to Prop 1, and get some workable alternatives onto the ballot."

hahahaha. that's exactly what Mark Baerwaldt, Ron Sims, Doug MacDonald, the Discovery Institute clowns, Ted Van Dyk, Bruce Ramsey, etc all sais was gonna happen THIS year...after the defeat of last year's measure.

Boy, those "workable measures" sure did come right out on to front stage, didn't they, Tellthewholestoryplease?

Posted by Garbled | October 14, 2008 10:20 PM

Kemper spends $100,000 in order to drown out citizen voices? Must be nice to throw that kind of money around to mess with people's business.

Must be nice to wake up every morning thinking, "Yes! Fucked 'em all again!" Or, "Gosh, who can I screw over today?" Oh I know, his cousin, Kempeneezer Scrooge Freeman.

Wish I had a couple hundred thou to throw at an ballot measure outlawing crappy sprawl and strip mall development.

Posted by clarity | October 14, 2008 11:20 PM

I wonder if Karl Rove still visits Kemper when he's in town raising money for right wing causes?

Matt Griffin: the weasel who - along with trust funder Don Padelford - got city taxpayers to underwrite and subsidize that downtown mall parking garage. As chair of the Downtown Seattle Assn, Griffin hired a guy named Emory Bundy pal Daniel Malarkey to cook up some bogus cost-benefit analysis showing monorail was supposedly a lot cheaper to build than light rail. Malarkey went on to become the monorail authority's finance director, famously underestimating the revenue stream by 30%, and concocting that crazy $11 billion junk bond finance plan. (the rest is history)

Posted by Blaine | October 15, 2008 2:29 AM

Don Padelford - who hasn't worked a day in his blue blood life thanks to the old family name - was also a monorail guy. Mr. Lexus Lanes + BRT is so detached from reality, he banked on converting the overhead monorail guideway into an elevated busway. No joke. Sorry, he has lifted a finger to make money in the past. My bad. Padelford twisted lots of arms at the city council and mayor's office 10 years ago to get us taxpayers to build him and Matt Griffin a private for-profit parking garage. Throw in parking garage king Kemper Freeman,and it's no wonder these clowns have spent decades fighting rail transit in Seattle.

But hey, when Matt Griffin's monorail Frankenstein actually got loose, Griffin was at least consistent: he had that old bogus cost-benefit report removed from the DSA website, and went on the fight that project, too.

Suzie Burke: bigtime George W Bush donor, along with transit hating cell phone magnate McCaw. Suzie is still a hardcore monorail enthusiast, if you can believe it. She bought into all that privatization nonsense the Discovery Institute and other monorail backers were trying to sell.

Mark Baerwaldt: nutjob extraordinaire (ask his set of ex-wives). Also an avid monorail Kool Aid drinker. Ex-oilman and developer of suburban sprawl (nice guy!)

And John Niles, who plays a transit supporter on TV, but is paid by Heritage Foundation clone think tanks to go after real transit options, wherever they may lurk. The guy is even advising anti-rail zealots in Hawaii on how they can mimic his "success" here. Niles also did a nice job instructing us to ignore the monorail's financial mayhem.

And Chaffy, master of paving spraw all the way up into the Cascade Foothills.

See a pattern emerging among the NoToProp1 folks?

Posted by Blaine | October 15, 2008 3:01 AM

Sorry - @25 I meant: Matt Griffin hired Daniel Malarkey, who was a friend of Emory Bundy.

Either way - the messy history with all these anti-transit fanatics is disturbing.

Posted by Blaine | October 15, 2008 9:19 AM

Niles, Padelford, Burke, McGraw, Kemper Freeman...a cocktail party with this crew would make a tremendous horror movie. Sort of a Dinner With Andre thing, but in a bad sort of way, like Boris Karloff in a 1958 movie where all he has to do is exist and it's scary...

Posted by serial catowner | October 15, 2008 10:04 AM

You know, it's funny, because Kemper Freeman could make a bundle building a parking garage near one of the light rail stations. But I guess he really believes no one except poor people will ride it.

Posted by Greg | October 15, 2008 10:05 AM

Not to mention the fact Freeman is philisophically opposed to putting any fees on cars, parked or moving. That would be like taxing cows in India.

Posted by Blaine | October 15, 2008 5:26 PM

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