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Friday, August 15, 2008

Anti-Light Rail Group Won’t Take Down Deceptive Claim

posted by on August 15 at 11:55 AM

The “No on Prop. 1” campaign opposing this November’s Sound Transit expansion measure is continuing to list the Sierra Club prominently among supporters of the “No” campaign, despite agreeing, according to a story in the Seattle P-I, to take down the deceptive claim.

The Sierra Club opposed last year’s Prop. 1, because it was too roads-heavy and didn’t do enough to address global warming—as the 2007 No on Prop. 1 web site makes abundantly clear. This year’s Prop. 1, so (confusingly) named because it’s the only item on the ballot in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, consists entirely of transit and transit-supporting improvements, including 36 new miles of light rail and expanded bus service. So it’s a no-brainer that the Sierra Club—one of two or three prominent environmental groups that endorses in local elections—would support the new Prop. 1 after opposing the old one.

But you certainly wouldn’t think that after reading the campaign’s web site, which mentions the Sierra Club’s support twice on its front page and makes the measure sound as if it’s the same one that failed last year. Claiming that “not much has changed” about the measure, the site goes so far as to quote the 2007 voter guide statement opposing the measure (a statement the Sierra Club actually did not sign off on, because it was all about taxes, not transit). “This is not a balanced plan. Only 10% funds roads,” the voter statement complains. “That’s why leading Democrats, Republicans, and the Sierra Club all oppose Proposition 1. Don’t be fooled — AGAIN.

James Irwin, the Sierra Club’s local conservation program coordinator, calls the use of the group’s 2007 opposition to Prop. 1 “dodgy” and “disingenuous” but says there may not be much the group can do. “Technically, what they’re saying is accurate—we did oppose 2007’s Proposition 1—but they’re definitely trying to use our name and influence to get people to vote against this.” Irwin says the Sierra Club is “committed” to getting Prop. 1 passed this year.

This year’s anti-Prop. 1 campaign is backed, like last year’s, by Bellevue mall developer Kemper Freeman—a frequent Republican donor whose biggest campaign contributions have been to the International Council of Shopping Centers—a mall PAC—Rob McKenna, Dino Rossi, John Carlson, and Mike McGavick.

So why won’t you read anything about Freeman’s involvement on No to Prop. 1’s web site? Because they lost last time based on support for transit, not a desire to build 182 new miles of roads. Polls after the election showed that voters opposed last year’s Prop. 1 because it had too many roads and not enough transit, not the other way around. Freeman and his road-loving friends at No to Prop. 1 know this. Now they’re trying to deceptively hang an anti-transit victory on the Sierra Club’s environmental coattails.

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Good thing nobody listens to the Sierra Club.

Posted by Ziggity | August 15, 2008 12:05 PM

@1 People do listen to the sierra club on issues like this (they seemed to last time), and the "no" campaign is trying to fight the proposition like it's the same thing as last year

Posted by Andrew | August 15, 2008 12:13 PM

It doesn't really matter if the Sierra Club's view is being misrepresented because you should vote no on prop 1, no matter Sierra Club's position. A colossal amount of money given to an organization with the track (ha!) record Sound Transit has created is the apex of stupidity. The answer isn't to invest in roads, but nor is the answer to invest in an organization that so fundamentally fails to address the needs of the region. The "something is better than nothing" argument falls apart under scrutiny of the future public rejection of this mismanaged project. Sound Transit needs to die.

Vote NO on PROP 1.

Posted by No on Prop 1 | August 15, 2008 12:17 PM

WTF? Buncha liars. Doesn't matter if you are for or agin' this new proposition, nobody ought to be lying about who endorses or supportst their side.

And to MR. "James Irwin, the Sierra Club’s local conservation program coordinator," who "calls the use of the group’s 2007 opposition to Prop. 1 “dodgy” and “disingenuous” but says there may not be much the group can do" -- get off your duff, denounce them as liars in front of TV cameras, put on polar bear suits, whatever. Stop being such a wuss!

So passive.....

Posted by PC | August 15, 2008 12:26 PM

Nope, @2. 2007's Prop 1 was "too big and too pricey". No one gives a polar bear's ass about polar bears, they just don't want to see their taxes go up on a project whose price tag will surely expand over time.

Posted by Ziggity | August 15, 2008 12:30 PM

Reality is that the Sierra Club is definitely in favor of the current light rail plan.

And those who hate reality, like No on Prop 1, need to learn that being a big liar may get you a job with the Red Bushie White House, but it expires in less than 180 days.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 15, 2008 12:32 PM

No on Prop 1: A colossal amount of money given to an organization with the track (ha!) record Sound Transit has created is the apex of stupidity.

In the alternate reality of the right, the only rogue government bodies are transit agencies, not highway agencies. Believe it or not, No on Prop 1, Sound Transit is our government, just as much as the Washington Department of Transportation is our government. It's not some invasive alien species that was forced on us by the other Washington or King George III.

No on Prop 1: The answer isn't to invest in roads...

No, No on Prop 1, the answer as far as you're concerned is more roads. You just know that, now in 2008, you would lose that political argument overwhelmingly if you were honest about your intentions.

(You can tell the road warriors are on the defensive when they're not even pushing more roads; they're just trying to fend off more transit.)

Posted by cressona | August 15, 2008 12:36 PM

One of the things I find so remarkable about the local transit opposition is how carelessly they lie about these projects, whether it's playing fast and loose with the price tag or the project delivery dates or the research on environmental impacts.

This latest pathetic attempt to associate the Sierra Club brand with the new Prop. 1 opposition is typical.

I just can't help but wonder, though, if the relentless careless lies and distortions aren't self-defeating. If you're so sure of your cause, shouldn't you be able to defend it with the facts and the truth? The continual misrepresentations are a sign to me that these folks aren't so confident in their agenda, or aren't so confident about the voting public's support for their agenda.

Notwithstanding James Irwin's statement that the Sierra Club can't do much about this misrepresentation, I think they ought to sue. Win or lose the suit itself, the trial's news coverage would give some good publicity and set the record straight.

Posted by cressona | August 15, 2008 1:09 PM

for once i agree with cressona @8 - they should sue.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 15, 2008 1:46 PM

@5: You know what scares the shit out of me about that article? This part:

But two-thirds of all the voters surveyed said they didn't know how much the package would cost, and nearly as many said they didn't know how much they'd have to pay in taxes if it passed. Many of the rest were wrong about the numbers. That kind of uncertainty bodes ill for tax measures, the pollsters said.

Posted by Greg | August 15, 2008 2:12 PM

Cressona you are so right about being honest and transparent.

Could you link us to a site that gives the total cost of this project and details what greenhouse gas impacts will be?

Also after this is done what will the percentage of transit riders look like as opposed to doing nothing? As compared to adding 40% more bus service?

And how will this doubling of the ST sales tax bring relief to how many people in the next ten to fifteen years?

Yes Cressona give us the true facts.

BTW 90% of voters probably don't care one iota what S. C. says.

Posted by ouch | August 15, 2008 2:40 PM

Awww, dids we hoit your feewings widdle ouch?

Stop lying and maybe we won't do it anymore.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 15, 2008 2:58 PM

I thought NoToProp1 was run by that Belltown whacko rich guy, Mark Baerwaldt? Doesn't matter, really Deception is one of the few things Kemper Freeman and Citizen For More Important Thing (himself) have in common.

Posted by GoneFishin' | August 15, 2008 2:59 PM

Hey ouch:

This year's Prop 1 offers 17% more bus service immediately - and as much as 30% on some routes.

If you mean more Metro service, I suggest you take your issue up with Ron Sims. Sound Transit cannot fund King County Metro - that would be unconstitutional.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | August 15, 2008 3:05 PM

ouch (née whatever? née who-knows-what-before-that?), you seriously want me to link to a site that shows the greenhouse gas impacts of this project? Can you at least stick to fighting light rail for the reasons you yourself actually care about?

For most of the resident mass transit opposition, your interest in global warming extends as far as your interest in digging up Cato Institute studies that try to make the laughable claim that building light rail is worse on greenhouse gas emissions somehow than building more cars and highways and drilling for more fuel that keeps getting more energy-intensive to get at.

Then again, the whole 2008 anti-light rail campaign is going to be founded on feigned interest:

  1. In the plight of bus riders.
  2. In bus service as a mode of transportation.
  3. In the sales tax burden on consumers.

It's a bit like the neocons' feigned interest in defending our country against WMD or terrorists or planting the seeds of democracy in the Middle East. The light rail opponents are going to keep trying to make this a discussion about things they themselves couldn't care less about.

Yeah, ouch (or whatever/whoever), please give us the facts: the fake facts and the libertarian think-tank statistics. And sure, maybe 90% of the voters don't care what the Sierra Club thinks. But it's that other 10% that could make the difference in this election.

P.S. 3... 2... 1... Waiting now for the personal attacks to commence...

Posted by cressona | August 15, 2008 3:14 PM

No on Prop 1 @3: The "something is better than nothing" argument falls apart under scrutiny of the future public rejection of this mismanaged project.

Something else about the right-wing alternate reality... This never-ending strained assumption that somehow "the public" is on their side. In what metro area has the public ever rejected a mass transit system once it got up and running? BART was controversial as hell when they were building it in the San Francisco area. Now people there couldn't imagine living without it.

Does anyone seriously believe that once Sound Transit is up and running next year, people in this region are going to go, "Whoa, did we make a huge mistake or what?" No on Prop 1, when exactly is the public going to reject this project? Or are you making a circular argument that the reason voters should reject ST2 is that voters will reject ST2?

Posted by cressona | August 15, 2008 3:33 PM

Kemper Freeman is Ann Coulter's used douche bag.

Posted by I hate Kemper | August 15, 2008 4:04 PM

Cressona the only personal attacks come from the rail-a-holics.

I'm glad you know what I care about. It is notable that you don't answer the questions of transit percentage or greenhouse gas impacts but rather question my motives.

And Ben the bus increases are a drop in the bucket and you know it.

Ben et al. fight a regional elected board and then fall back on saying that ST can't fund KC Metro buses. I believe they could put money into many of KC's route if they wanted to. Read resolution 75 again.

Posted by ouch | August 15, 2008 4:45 PM

Fighting global warming with half-empty suburban diesel buses @ 4 mpg.

Good luck trying to argue that one, ouch!!

Maybe Sound Transit should be filling the gaps in Ron Sims' over-paid jail guards and cops budget, too.

Ouch, yer a joke.

Posted by JasonS | August 15, 2008 5:33 PM

ouch @18:

I'm glad you know what I care about. It is notable that you don't answer the questions of transit percentage or greenhouse gas impacts but rather question my motives.

Actually, ouch, I do happen to know what you and your cohorts don't care about. And that is global warming. So yeah, I am going to question the motives of you and your fellow transit haters who have suddenly, conveniently taken up a cause that has as much resonance for you as Ingmar Bergman films have for Miley Cyrus fans.

"Fight global warming. More buses, less mass transit." It's a great motto, and you should just keep repeating it. Folks around here will love it.

Anyway, if you're so confident in your (lies, damn lies, and) statistics, please share with us the latest research about the "global warming impacts" of building light rail lines.

Posted by cressona | August 15, 2008 5:59 PM

These anti-tranist road warrior sprawl princes lie, lie, lie. They're tyical Karl Rovian hacks: they'll say anything to scare people into opposing something that might actually improve the common good. And they will of course cleverly disguise their true agenda, which is profiteering from paving subdivisions and strip malls all the way to the Cascades.

Posted by clarity | August 15, 2008 7:44 PM

The link to goes to some kind of mass transit site.

Looks like a good plan to me.

Posted by PeteNice | August 18, 2008 2:56 PM

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