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Monday, July 21, 2008

Parks Levy to Go on the Ballot

posted by on July 21 at 16:06 PM

The city council just voted unanimously to put a $145.5 million parks levy on the November ballot. The parks levy will join a $9 billion proposal to expand Sound Transit north, south and east, and a $73 million levy to make major maintenance and seismic improvements to Pike Place Market.

Council member Jan Drago, head of the council’s transportation committee, was the only council member expected to vote against the levy, which she worried would siphon support from Sound Transit. In voting to put the levy on the ballot today, Drago said:

My reservations are not about the need for open space and parks; my concerns are about the lack of prioritization of ballot titles. In the past, councils have tried very hard to prioritize ballot issues, both in the city and in other jurisdictions, and thatís clearly lacking in this process. Because of that lack of prioritization, I believe that we will have three competing ballot issues, and for me the most urgent priority is the Sound Transit ballot… I think Pike Place Market is urgent. Itís way overdue for major maintenance. … So in terms of timing, I think the parks issue could wait. … Itís less urgent. … Having said all of this… I will join in placing the levy on the ballot and hope and work to see that all three levies pass.

Given the higher-than-usual, younger-than-usual, leftier-than-usual voter turnout expected this year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all three do.

RSS icon Comments


Ugh. Not a good sign for ST. Too bad our eager-beaver councilmembers couldn't have held their horses for a year more.

Posted by lorax | July 21, 2008 4:18 PM

Yeah, load up that ballot with expenditures in a year when the younger-than-usual voters are also poorer-than-usual and see how any of them fly.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 21, 2008 4:26 PM

@1--the early poll numbers showed that Sound Transit will do better with the parks levy on the ballot. Plus, do you really think that Sound Transit will fail because of Seattle voters?

Posted by Gidge | July 21, 2008 4:32 PM

Here's how I'm voting at this point in time:

Sound Transit: YES. Whatever I can do to increase our mass transit infrastructure.

Parks: NO. There's only so much money in my bank accout and Sound Transit is clearly the priority.

Pike Place Market: FUCK NO. Figure out how to get the tourists or merchants to pay for the upgrades, but don't come looking to me.

Posted by I Got Nuthin' | July 21, 2008 5:29 PM

Agree with 4. Yes on transit, no on the other two. The Parks wouldn't need more money if they didn't waste it on stupid-ass shit, like the 50 or so lighted, private fields at Magnuson Park when there are plenty of other fields not in use, even during peak hours.

Posted by echo | July 21, 2008 5:44 PM

no way, i'm not voting for any of them if its going to raise my already sky-frigging-high property taxes!!!

Posted by dawn | July 21, 2008 5:53 PM

The problem with the parks levy is that past success has convinced them that it's cool to run basic city services like parks off of special levies instead of the general fund. Parks are what the budget is FOR. Instead, we've got them coming to us for a special levy every couple of years, just to cover the normal functions.

Posted by Fnarf | July 21, 2008 6:22 PM

The Pike Place Market levy deserves your vote, unless there's some kind of unnecessary stuff thrown in there I don't know about.

A lot of people don't realize that when the Market was preserved, the preservation district was given a mandate to not only preserve the architecture, but also to provide services to the people who lived in the neighborhood, who were mainly low-income and elderly. The market thus provide low-income housing and social services (including a free medical clinic). It also provides an affordable place for local farmers to sell their goods.

These kinds of businesses might be able to cover their buildings' basic maintenance, but they do not have the ability to meet the long-term, capital needs of century-old buildings. This is not a frivolous renovation. The levy meets essential needs that make the Market a national model for using historic preservation to compensate for some of the effects of gentrification.

Posted by Trevor | July 21, 2008 6:23 PM

"...but also to provide services to the people who lived in the neighborhood, who were mainly low-income and elderly. The market thus provide low-income housing and social services (including a free medical clinic)."

Even more of a reason not to pass it - FREE med/social services for the lazy and the druggies. Not getting my vote.

Posted by skullneck | July 21, 2008 8:08 PM

@8 now I am DEFINITELY not voting for the market. tell me again why I should be paying for "a national model for using historic preservation to compensate for some of the effects of gentrification."

PUH-lease. How about this, businesses selling crap (have you even been to the market lately) pay for their own buildings to sell crap in!

Posted by thanks | July 21, 2008 8:26 PM

You know, we here in Seattle already pay for parks here.

If we decided not to back the KC parks levy, in favor of transit, maybe the politicos would get the message that we want more transit NOW and that they're supposed to pay for parks from general revenues ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 21, 2008 11:35 PM

Transit yes please but as for the parks and Pikes Place Market hells no. Pikes Place needs to look toward the tourists to pay for that shit. Providing an inexpensive place for farmers and artists to sell their expensive ass good does not benefit me at all when I can barely afford to by lettuce at QFC. Most people who live in Seattle avoid the Market at all costs. The produce is really not that good, the fish is fresh yes but way too expensive and as for the art well allot of it is crap and the flowers die as soon as you get them home. Also the affordable senior housing is crap, how about providing affordable housing to 30 somethings who bust our asses working two jobs to pay for our unaffordable housing. My thought on the parks well if there is less money that means the bushes will grow back in Volunteer Park and I can go back to getting a proper bj and start using the parks the way god intended.

Posted by The levy was dry, | July 22, 2008 8:17 AM

Wow, when did all the neocons start reading slog? If you want to live in a blighted wasteland can't you move to kent where it's cheaper? Please let us have nice things and let us take care of our most vulnerable. In return, we will let you count your money in your quadrant home while laughing at all the dying people without health care.

Posted by poppy | July 22, 2008 8:21 AM

So if this Sound Transit measure fails (likely), what is ST's Plan B? Smaller version in 2010?

Posted by Plan B | July 22, 2008 9:49 AM

@14: You're looking at plan B. Plan A was Prop. 1 last year.

Posted by Greg | July 22, 2008 11:02 AM

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