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Friday, July 25, 2008

We, In Fact, Told You So

posted by on July 25 at 16:27 PM

Yesterday I Slogged about the Sound Transit board’s vote to put light-rail, bus and commuter-rail expansion on the ballot in 2008. At the end of my post, I wrote, “We told you so.” As in: At a time when the consensus among transit supporters was that last year’s roads-heavy Prop. 1 was our “last chance” to get light rail in the region, we at the Stranger said Sound Transit would be back in 2008 with a smaller, smarter transit-only ballot measure.

Well, I really meant it: We told you so.

Me, June 13, 2007:

No big deal, RTID opponents say—a “no” vote would allow Sound Transit to come back to the ballot on its own, unlinked to the environmentally damaging roads-expansion projects included in RTID. “Some people think we need to defeat bad roads right now and get light rail,” O’Brien says. “We’d rather kill it all now and come back with light rail really soon.”

Me, September 26, 2007:

[I]f the roads and transit package failed, pressure from groups like the Cascade Bicycle Club could make a re-vote on Sound Transit in 2008 a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Me, September 28, 2007:

Proponents of the ballot measure say if we reject it now, it’ll be years before we have another chance to vote again on light rail. They say the governor “won’t allow it” on the ballot in an election year and predict the following year will be too soon. Feh. First of all, the governor would be wise not to alienate transit-loving King County voters, who provided her slim margin of victory last time. Moreover, the last time Sound Transit was rejected, in 1995, it came back the very next year—and won.

ECB, October 9, 2007:

[Transportation Choices Coalition Director Jessyn] Farrell: […] “The governor doesn’t want to run on a tax measure, [House Speaker] Frank Chopp doesn’t want a bunch of Democrats running on a tax measure, and there are a lot of legislators who just don’t like Sound Transit.” […]

It’s interesting to me that TCC and other environmental groups that support roads and transit assume nothing is set in stone about the roads side of the package (“Sure, we’re voting for roads, but only because we’ll take them out later!”) but are absolutely 100% rock-solid certain that Sound Transit will never be back on the ballot if this fails. Seems like serious cognitive dissonance to me.

Stranger Election Control Board, October 17, 2007:

Supporters of the roads and transit package love to talk about all the light rail we’ll be giving away if we don’t vote for the $17.8 billion package. The SECB sees it differently. If we turn roads and transit down, the invaluable transit side of the package can come back next year (which would be great given that Democratic Party turnout will be huge), or else in 2009, when the light rail track from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown will be rolling out and making the on-the-ground case for expansion. True: Voters turned down a rail package in 1968. But this isn’t 1968. This is 2007. Global warming is an international crisis, Al Gore just won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sound Transit is already building a $5.7 billion line that will demand expansion in its own right.

Josh Feit, November 9, 2007:

Here’s Mayor Nickels in today’s Seattle Times in an article about polling that shows voters would have passed a transit package on its own:

“I recounted to (the Sound Transit Board) what happened in 1995 when the first Sound Transit plan was turned down, and I think that it offers us a pretty good lesson,” Nickels said. “We went back to the ballot in 1996, in a presidential election, with the second Sound Transit plan and it was very different than the first one … and we won going away.” […]

The fact that Nickels is saying bold stuff like this also confirms what the Sierra Club was saying before the election—that this vote could reject conventional wisdom about political “reality” and let voters set the agenda. It also gets the ball rolling on the option we’ve been pushing all along: Expanding transit, not roads, transit.

Me, November 14, 2007:

IThe sudden show of support [among elected officials] for light rail is (promising) anathema to the conventional wisdom pushed by many environmental groups before the election, which said that this was the last possible chance transit advocates would ever have to get light rail in this region, and that Gregoire and the state legislature would “never” let light rail move forward on its own.

Josh Feit, December 13, 2007:

Light Rail is Dead. Long Live Light Rail.

Sound Transit obediently went along with the moronic marriage Gov. Gregoire and the legislature forced on them—going to the ballot with roads this year. Olympia’s harebrained idea was supposed to neutralize anti-transit and anti-roads opposition, but instead it compounded that opposition.

Sound Transit believes the legislature owes them. They’re right.

And just last night, one of the strongest proponents of the this-is-the-last-chance-ever-for-transit point of view, Horse’s Ass blogger David Goldstein, printed a sweet mea culpa:

During their frequent appearances on my radio show, I routinely locked horns with The Stranger’s Erica Barnett and Josh Feit over last year’s “Roads & Transit” package. They opposed Prop 1, arguing that Sound Transit would come back the next year with a better package, sans roads. I thought they were being politically naive, and argued that the powers that be would never allow ST to come back with a transit-only package in 2008, and would be picked apart by the “governance reform” vultures well before 2009. I am not at all unhappy to admit that they were right and I was wrong.

Sound Transit’s on the ballot in 2008—a presidential election year when young and progressive voters will be turning out in greater numbers than any year in recent history. Nothing’s certain, but I think it stands a solid chance in November.

RSS icon Comments


Pride goeth before the fall, ECB. Post too many more of these insufferably long posts in front of a jump, and I'll personally ensure a rat chews through your server connection.

Shame on you.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 25, 2008 4:38 PM

um, it ah, kinda, you know, still, um, has to pass.

Posted by jimmy | July 25, 2008 4:46 PM

Wow! You sure did! Maybe they'll name a station after you! They can decorate the walls with all of your articles! You totally deserve it! Yay, Erica!

Posted by JC | July 25, 2008 4:46 PM

It's like the deadender 21 percenter McSames - they don't like being forced to admit that not only are they clueless, but they are the ones who are naive.

Kind of like how nobody wants to tell you that even if we doubled bus service in Seattle, we still wouldn't catch up to the population and congestion growth since 1980.

But, hey, they have fake $30 license tab fees!

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 25, 2008 4:47 PM

Yes, ECB, you and others were right about a transit-only package returning in 2008.  And I, as one who argued that rejecting Prop 1 would mean years more of waiting, was wrong.

We could wish for you to be more gracious in victory, I suppose, but honestly this relatively benign gloating is a welcome improvement.

Posted by lostboy | July 25, 2008 4:51 PM

So, in other words, you were lucky.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 25, 2008 4:55 PM

Even a blind squirrel find a nut once in a while.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 25, 2008 5:12 PM

JC @3:

Wow! You sure did! Maybe they'll name a station after you! They can decorate the walls with all of your articles! You totally deserve it! Yay, Erica!

Let me state emphatically that I would still vote for ST2—and still campaign enthusiastically for ST2—even if the package mandated that two of the stations had to be named:

  1. The Erica C. Barnett "I Told You So" Station
  2. The Josh Feit Has a Basketball Jones for Gilbert Arenas Station

Now, the delicious irony would be if these two stations were among the Snohomish County stations in the current ST2 package, the same stations that (when they appeared in last year's ST2 package) Erica et al claimed would only contribute to suburban sprawl.

P.S. Let me also state emphatically that, should the current ST2 pass this November, I will gladly engage in any groveling, demeaning, degrading act of apology so desired.

P.P.S. If that ST2 win is combined with a McCain win, I may have to cancel that apology. I'll be too busy checking out my emigration options. (I can just see the Slog posts now if McCain wins: Hey cressona, you jackass. I thought you promised all of us that you would leave the country if McCain got elected. Well, he got elected, so don't let the door hit your fannie on the way out.)

Posted by cressona | July 25, 2008 5:46 PM

Kelly O and Ari Spool give Incredible Hulk can of Rize, Incredible Hulk drink Rize, freak out, get bummed out, INCREDIBLE HULK BECOME DESPONDENT HULK!


And no, I don't feel like letting it go.

Posted by The Insatiable Sulk | July 25, 2008 5:48 PM

Oh Erica, the first to brag are the first to sag. You've got a dick: you should know this.

Posted by ECB stands to pee | July 25, 2008 5:50 PM

Geez, what attitude. You and Matt Davis must have been roommates back in college.

Posted by El Seven | July 25, 2008 5:55 PM

GO ME! RAH RAH RAH!!! I was right too!!!

Posted by TheMisanthrope | July 25, 2008 6:21 PM

Is a 15-year timeline really worthy of "I told you so"?

Posted by laterite | July 25, 2008 6:46 PM

prop one was stupid and doomed, and it wasn't the pro-transit/less roads folks (like yourself/board and, hell even me) that defeated it. the winning margin came from cheap ass status quo folks who wouldn't pony up and be responsible citizens. now that gas is reaming their selfish impulses, they're starting to see the light... but you can take the credit for that too, you seem to have a penchant for that sort of thing, goes right along with the "We told you so" mindset.

Posted by point x point synopsis | July 25, 2008 7:14 PM

Do I understand correctly that the Sound Transit board has endorsed dedicating more taxpayer funds to Sound Transit? That's what I really call fan mail from some flounder.

Posted by Gavin Blood | July 25, 2008 10:08 PM

Fuck you, Erica. Fuck you hard.

Posted by Greg | July 25, 2008 11:17 PM

Hard not to share Greg's reaction. ECB, you are just too easy -- when you pull crap like this it only serves to further illuminate you as a self-aggrandizing twit.

Posted by GoodGrief | July 26, 2008 7:01 AM

Telling people they were wrong, when in fact they were totally, completely wrong is considered bad form these days.

Or, maybe they're just a bunch of whiny-assed, sour grape chewing, poor losers.

If ST1 had passed half these folks would have been all, "in your FACE, ECB!", doing their little victory dance while making that "L" symbol on their foreheads, had it come to that.

Posted by Neener-Neener | July 26, 2008 8:52 AM

There's nothing worse than a sore winner.

Especially if we haven't won yet.

Posted by MyNameIsNobody | July 26, 2008 9:01 AM

Provide an environment safer and better
than their cars. Why not, Mr. Mayor?

So it's a train.

A supertrain.

I've been burned by this
train business before.
You people all seem to forget...

We can change this city.

People love their cars.
I'll put it to you like this, and then
I'll thank you for your time.
My answer is no.

Posted by Scott Dow | July 26, 2008 11:29 AM

As someone who didn't think we'd get even this far by now, I'm happy say I've been wrong so far. But that doesn't count for anything yet.

If this passes in November, I'll be happy to post an apology on my blog within 24 hours.

At the same time, I'd be happy if ECB spent even a fraction of time she spent taunting her progressive allies instead campaigning for this measure. But, hey internecine fighting is so much more fun! (See: Obama, ECB's Criticisms of)

Posted by Martin H. Duke | July 27, 2008 1:43 PM

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