Time to get those ballots in the mail, people. Got questions about how the hell to vote in this way-off-cycle special election? Answers here. Wondering what the Stranger Election Control Board thinks about Prop 1? Wonder no more!
Hey, Seattle: Republicans are itching to screw you. And unless enough of you vote yes on Proposition 1—your ballot is being mailed this week—they will screw you.
They've engineered a multiyear strategy to starve mass transit in Washington State, running an initiative to nix taxes that paid for transit (car-tab fees based on the value of vehicles) and then blocking legislation that lets counties easily restore that transit funding themselves. Their goal: stop buses from running.
What the hell is their damage?
For one thing, Republicans are ideologically allergic to anything that isn't powered by old dinosaur bones. Even more, these right-wingers mostly come from rural parts of the state, and Democrats tend to live in cities, so gutting transit in cities is a good way of fucking over Democrats. But as we emerge from the recession, cutting transit would kneecap our transportation system and stunt economic recovery in cities—the state's biggest economic engines.
The cuts have gone deep the last few years, specifically in two of the state's more densely populated counties: Snohomish County was recently forced to cut 35 percent of its bus service, and Pierce County was forced to slash 43 percent of its bus service. King County has narrowly avoided these problems so far with a patchwork of stopgap funding.
But we are next.
Through no fault of its own, King County Metro will soon be short $75 million a year and face brutal cuts in bus service by the end of 2014 (even though King County currently sends more money to the rest of the state than it gets in return). In the process, Metro will also have to scotch transit service for many disabled people.