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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Talk About Hot Air…

posted by on February 7 at 13:25 PM

The Democrats just held a big press conference in the Capitol Building to announce … well…

It comes down to this: Governor Gregoire is creating a task force on global warming that will report back in a year (so much for urgency about the UN report on climate change).

Gregoire and Sen. Erik Poulsen (D-34, West Seattle) are in sync on Poulsen’s new bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, but there appears to be no mandate to do so nor any concrete mechanism to make it happen.

The governor of Oregon meanwhile announced an emissions cap and trade system two weeks ago.

Indeed, Austin Jenkins from KUOW asked the $20,000 question as the press conference was coming to a close: Is there a cap and trade system (i.e., a mechanism), and are these goals or mandates?

The answer was, they don’t know, and they’re “strong goals.”

Another great question that got asked was this: With all this talk of reducing carbon emissions, why is the state getting ready to build a giant freeway along the Seattle waterfront?

There was laughter, Paulson said he didn’t want to get into viaduct politics, and Sen. Majority leader Lisa Brown pretended to answer the question. Then, King County Executive Ron Sims took the microphone, and he said it straight: “You cannot talk about fighting global warming while also talking about building a tunnel or a rebuild. We will not achieve the goals.”

Sims then said Seattle should “vote down both” the tunnel and the rebuild and re-think transportation. “I support what’s called the surface/transit option,” Sims said.

It wasn’t my intent to get into the viaduct here, but the question derailed the press conference and Sims called bullshit on the governor.

Meanwhile, while Poulsen and the governor’s office were busy patting each other on the back about their lofty but intangible plan for reducing emissions, there’s a cap and trade bill in the house that was not mentioned.

I got to ask the final question of the press conference: If the task force is coming up with the specifics (the task force recommendations are due in a year), and the specifics are what make Poulsen’s bill meaningful, is the legislature really doing anything about global warming? The answer: The task force is coming back with recommendations in a year.

I repeat: There is a specific cap and trade bill in the house, and it was not mentioned.

RSS icon Comments


Go Sims! I'm glad one of the representatives of the region has brought this option into the open. It seems shady to me that the surface/transit option isn't even mentioned by our leaders. The surface/transit is the only viable option to me.

Posted by Enigma | February 7, 2007 1:45 PM

mr sims is cool...

i'm willing to live in Sims' City....

Posted by michael strangeways | February 7, 2007 1:55 PM

Ron Sims should have been Governor.

Posted by golob | February 7, 2007 1:55 PM

How is that Sims became such a badass when (most of) the rest of our state's public servants are so clueless? That guy's a stud!

Posted by steve | February 7, 2007 1:56 PM

maybe he'll run again and ride the whole, 'Obama is great, so maybe other black politicians are great, too' wave...white people have fucked up the country for a couple hundred years; give other races a chance, too...(to suck, or not to suck)

Posted by michael strangeways | February 7, 2007 1:57 PM

Wow, Ron Sims is starting to sound like a real leader. If he'd been like this before his primary run in 2004, maybe he'd be governor now. I used to think he was one of the biggest local political problems, but lately he's been one of the few people talking sense.

Huh, it occurs to me that with Democrats in the Senate and Governor's office, there are no higher offices for Sims to seek without challenging an incumbent for his own party. Maybe he's kicking ass because he realizes his higher political ambitions are on hold so he might as well make his current job count.

Posted by Cascadian | February 7, 2007 2:21 PM

Ron Sims is one of the few politicians that I don't regret voting for.

He's a great leader, but people in Seattle think of him as a "bully" because he's decisive - we're too used to wishy-washy, committee politics.

Posted by Soupytwist | February 7, 2007 2:23 PM


Do you know who asked the question about the viaduct in relation to global warming? They deserve a medal too.

Posted by friend | February 7, 2007 2:37 PM

Ron started his 2004 campaign by pointing out the state needs an income tax. He was an adult, and clearly serious about actually running the state in a responsible manner. Therefore he lost to Christie.

When I met her in 2003, I thought she was a preening political hack. When she ran (ineptly) in 2004, I thought she was a hack.

Challenge her again, Ron.

Posted by golob | February 7, 2007 2:41 PM

Meanwhile CA and OR are taking action and doing things. It's not good to be late comers.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 7, 2007 3:18 PM

A "Great Politician" is willing and capable of thinking out ahead of the available consensus and committing to action before opportunities are lost. S/he then follows up on the action by helping consensus emerge afterward.

A mere "Politician" knows that the people who elected them actually want to have a leader. They know that they were hired to make hard decisions. They may not chart the path but *will* take responsibility for their actions.

A "Politico" is simply someone involved in politics.

Gregoire seems not to qualify for more than politico right now.

Sims--I just want to hug him.

Posted by DDD | February 7, 2007 10:52 PM

Hey, what do you know? I don't have to be my usual contrarian, curmudgeon, asshole self on this thread. I like Ron Sims too.

If people want to see him continue in public office, they should ask him to run for the House of Representatives from the 7th District when Jim McDermott is ready to retire. NOT BEFORE, DAMMIT!

Ron would be a great Congressman. No one I know would represent our District better.

Posted by ivan | February 7, 2007 11:22 PM

Shortly after reading this post, I wrote to Mr. Sims to thank him for his comments:

From: [me]
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:55 PM
To: [King County Executive Ron Sims]
Subject: thanks for tunnel/rebuild comment at Dems' global warming press conference

I just read Josh Feit's account [1] of your comment, "You cannot talk about fighting global warming while also talking about building a tunnel or a rebuild. We will not achieve the goals." at the recent Democratic Party press conference at which Governor Gregoir's global warming task force was announced.

I agree with your statement and thank you for answering a question that others in attendance dodged.



Today, I received the following reply from the King County Department of Transportation:

Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 11:16:42 -0800
From: [Ron Posthuma - King County]
Subject: RE: thanks for tunnel/rebuild comment at Dems' global warming press conference
To: [me]
Cc: [Ron Sims - King County], [Harold Taniguchi - King County]

Dear [Phil]:

Thank you for your email of February 7, 2007 to King County Executive Ron Sims regarding the Alaskan Way Viaduct (AWV). Executive Sims asked that I respond on his behalf and to thank you for your support.

If we are going to position Seattle as a vibrant, world-class, 21st century metropolis, we need to proceed with boldness and vision regarding the question of how to replace the AWV. Part of this vision includes the development of a transportation system that is affordable and environmentally friendly. Reconnecting the downtown to the waterfront will make the area more vital and vibrant; where more people will want to work, live, and visit. Regardless of what is finally selected to replace the AWV, we believe that Metro Transit will play a critical role in this solution. In all instances, we are pursuing enhanced levels of transit that will increase transit use in this corridor helping to relieve congestion and fight global warming.

Thank you again for taking the time to write and express your position on the AWV. If you have any further questions or concerns about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me, at 206-684-1007.

Ron Posthuma
Assistant Director, King County Department of Transportation

cc: The Honorable Ron Sims, King County Executive
Harold S. Taniguchi, Director, King County Department of

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