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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Doorbelling with Sound Transit: Celebrity Edition

posted by on June 29 at 23:44 PM

While the rest of you were downtown at the Pride Parade, I was out in Magnolia tagging along with Will Kelley-Kamp, blogger at Horse’s Ass and state Rep. Geoff Simpson’s former campaign manager, going door to door to pass out fliers for Sound Transit’s proposed 2008 ballot measure. The package would increase bus service, allow more than 20 new miles of light rail, add Bus Rapid Transit service to the 520 bridge and triple Seattle-Tacoma commuter rail service.

Will briefed me on the key transit issues before our number 24 bus pulled into the comfortable hilltop dwellings of upper Magnolia.


The two of us were paired up by Rob Johnson, regional policy director at Transportation Choices Coalition, and according to Will, we were one of at least 25 groups doorbelling over the weekend all around the Sound Transit area.

The cool part was that each of the groups were assigned to the neighborhood of an elected official, and Will and I scored the neighborhood of Larry Phillips, a King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Executive Committee member, who also happens to be considering a run for Ron Sims’s gig as County Exec. According to Will, Phillips is big into light rail, so he gets props from us Sound Transiters. Sims, according to Will, is a “light-rail hating monster.” Sims has had a good run, Will says, but his time has passed.

So Will and I began our journey through the sea of Range Rovers, seeking the opinions of Larry Phillips’ neighbors and stopping at the houses of those registered Democrats that bother to vote once in awhile. Most of the people we visited were surprisingly receptive.

One of the first neighbors we visited brought up a common themeŚwith regard to area-wide rail service, he said, we just need to buckle down and build it, like San Francisco did with the flawed BART system back in ‘72. We told him we were going to go on to Larry Phillips’ house later. “Larry’s kinda… yeah,” he said.

When we told the neighbors we were trying to get a package on the ballot, some of them expressed confusion at the amount of measures they were being asked to consider for 2008 (ours, of course, is the most important). Others were worried most about the Earthquake-damaged Magnolia Bridge. Claire Creim, poodle at her feet, told us she’s gotten frustrated with seeing little progress on any projects in the Magnolia area. “I don’t mind paying taxes if I get something for my money,” she said. Creim moved to Seattle from Tennessee 20 years ago and insisted that the roads and transit system there is more progressive.

Finally, after hours of working in the blazing hot sun, we arrived at Larry Phillips’ house. In case you were wondering, this is what a County Councilmember’s house looks like:


When we got there, Phillips and his family had recently returned from the Pride Parade (“It was great!”) and were having a barbecue, but they came out for a minute to shoot the breeze. Phillips has already voiced his support for the ballot measure, so we didn’t really have too much convincing to do. He’s pro-light rail. He’s pro-Gay Pride Parades. We approved.

Phillips didn’t say much else about the Sound Transit package except that he was still trying to convince a couple of ST board members to go along with the 2008 plan. He told us, while looking at his teenage son, that “effective leadership” is the key to getting things done in the area. We didn’t disagree.

RSS icon Comments


That was sooooo not blog worthy.

Posted by I woke up for this? I want my money back. | June 30, 2008 4:53 AM

Nice post, but there's no such thing as a "registered Democrat" in this state.

Posted by ivan | June 30, 2008 6:38 AM

What strikes me is how much the political landscape here has changed in the last year, so that I don't see how Sound Transit doesn't go back to the ballot this year.

For them to miss out on doing a 2008 ballot measure would be just a breathtaking bit of political negligence.

Or maybe the question isn't if they go back to the ballot, but what with. In fact, I'd be curious what plan was being outlined in the fliers folks were handing out over the weekend. In that respect, I'm just hoping they don't make the mistake of placing light rail stations in spots that no hope for dense, pedestrian-friendly development.

Posted by cressona | June 30, 2008 7:54 AM

Hi, Chris! I was actually doorbelling in Sims' neighborhood (Mount Baker) about the same time you were.

cressona, you should actually check out the Link expansion pages on Sound Transit's site. ST2 South and East were both great for TOD last year, and North as far as Mountlake Terrace (as far as they'll go this time, likely) certainly was too. Don't worry about problems that haven't happened, eh? :)

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | June 30, 2008 8:33 AM

Actually, I want to add to that.

Sound Transit doesn't put "station locations" on tha ballot, at least past Northgate, where there's already been a huge amount of public comment and dozens of open houses. For East Link, they've had a first round of open houses, but we'll see more before they select an alignment, and they won't do any selection for North or South until neighborhood groups and area residents have had a chance to weigh in.

You aren't going to be able to attack Sound Transit on station locations, cressona. They have proposed locations listed on their site (and I know you know that), and as you can see from Sound Move, they're pretty good at picking good sites!

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | June 30, 2008 8:40 AM

"Bus Rapid Transit" is an oxymoron. It is neither. It will get very few people to convert from their car to transit. Still, if it gets us more light rail, it is a compromise I'm happy to make. I'll definitely vote for it if they can manage to get it on the ballot.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | June 30, 2008 8:47 AM

: )

Here in Iowa we call it "doorknocking".

Posted by Sara | June 30, 2008 9:32 AM

Obviously, the best way to thank an elected for support of mass transit and diversity is to slap a picture of their private residence on the internet.


Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 30, 2008 9:42 AM

You're wrong, Ivan @ 2: you get registered with the Democratic Party when you make a contribution or attend a Democratic precinct caucus.

Posted by Political Voter | June 30, 2008 9:52 AM

@9: You get IDENTIFIED as a Democrat by the party when you do those things but Washington doesn't have party registration like other states. The state itself keeps no record of what party you affiliate with. The political parties keep their own records of who they have identified as likely Democrats, Republicans or Independents but there is no such thing as a registered .

Posted by cuyahoga | June 30, 2008 10:38 AM

I'm glad to hear Sims may be moving on thanks to a challenger. Now, who's going to fix the Nickels problem?

Posted by Anon | June 30, 2008 10:45 AM

Cuyahoga @ 10, I never suggested it was the state doing the registering. If you choose to narrow the term "register" to mean only a state function, then right, there is no state registration of party affiliation. Some of the rest of us are a little less rigid in our use of the English language, however.

Posted by Political Voter | June 30, 2008 12:26 PM

Will Kelley-Kamp is a douche bag.

With apologies to douche bags, of course.

Posted by 14th and Olive | June 30, 2008 6:44 PM

Will Kelley-Kamp. Will Kelley-Kamp.

Is that a real name?

Posted by Lives in 47th | June 30, 2008 6:53 PM

Correction: Larry's son Brett just graduated from college back east.

Posted by abbo | June 30, 2008 9:10 PM

I believe Larry Phillips inherited his family house. Wouldn't you if it was that nicew?

I knew douchebags very well growing up. Douchebags who were very good friends of mine. I can safely say Will Kelly is no douchebag!

Posted by BlazinTracks | June 30, 2008 11:23 PM

oh dear.

Posted by Kudzu Fire | July 1, 2008 5:22 PM

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