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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

37th District Hypocrats?

posted by on October 22 at 17:19 PM

It’s good to know Democrats are all on the same page.

A glossy mailer arrived at my house a few days ago heralding endorsements from Southeast Seattle’s 37th District Democrats. It was generally predictable—donkey, donkey, donkey—but two things jumped out. They endorsed Lt. Governor Brad Owen, who is as much a Democrat as I am a lesbian. Then they endorsed initiatives and such: Yes on Death with Dignity; no on the Eyman initiative; yes on Parks; yes on the Pike Place Market… and curtain.

But what about that proposal for a HUGE MASS-TRANSIT LINE running through the 37th District? Prop 1? There’s a light-rail station proposed in the middle of the district that would connect residents to the Eastside and the rest of the city in minutes. Why don’t they have an opinion on that?

They should have an opinion on it. The Washington State Democratic Party platform, passed earlier this year, explicitly outlines support for measures like Prop 1. One resolution on climate change called for to “develop alternative transport systems such as bike paths and mass transit.” Another one called, “A resolution to address transportation problems” says the “Washington State Democratic Party supports immediately identifying and prioritizing transportation problems…” So how does a party chomping at the bit to build mass transit fall asleep at the wheel when, in two weeks, we vote on miles of new light rail?

“We understand the parks. We understand the [Pike Place] Market,” says Rob Holland, chair of the 37th District Democrats. “But paying for an expansion on transit … there was just a concern that they have got to find another way to fund the project.” He said district members over 60 years old strongly opposed the measure because they fear increasing property taxes. Holland thinks the “other way to find the project” is to “elect Barack Obama. Put federal dollars toward it.”

Holland says that members under 40 overwhelmingly supported Prop 1, but were outvoted (probably because most of them miss the meeting while they are at work and raising kids). However, they did manage to persuade the group to switch from a “no” vote to remaining neutral. Also under 40, Holland says his vote for Prop 1 will fall along the same age lines. “I’m not overly excited about voting for it, but you gotta keep things moving.”

So this isn’t Holland’s fault. But it is the fault of the Metamucil happy-hour crowd in South Seattle. And it’s is the fault of people like me: Folks under 40 who vote with a sip of wine and wafer, but don’t go to their district Democrat meetings. If we did go, we could outnumber the set who can’t wrap their brains around light rail.

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Because some of our elected leaders are a lot less progressive than they profess to be, or than the district as a whole.

Posted by 37th progressive | October 22, 2008 5:22 PM

I'm a proud member of the 37th, and I attended meetings regularly all last spring, but damn, people-- I HAVE A LIFE. I hope that LDs (and the party in general) think about adjusting to meet the culture of Gen X and Y, the future leaders, because most of us don't have the patience or the interest in attending once-a-month two hour long meetings that are long on procedure and aging activists and short on action. For true wonks, it's a pleasure, I guess, but DAMN. (And this is no knock on Rob, who is an amazing chair and keeps meetings both tight and funny.) Larger question-- do LD endorsements matter all that much? I guess the 36th pissing contest will show...

Posted by Suze | October 22, 2008 5:30 PM

Heck the meetings are way too long anyway.

LD endorsements determine who gets their literature carried free district-wide - and other LDs pay attention to them too, so yeah, they matter a lot.

actual doorknocking does more than all the emails you send.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 22, 2008 5:33 PM

According to the 37th District, there was a motion to endorse Prop 1 on September 8th that failed.

So there ya go.

They don't want to seem unpopular so you won't hear much about it.

Posted by Really, now? | October 22, 2008 6:55 PM

Hey what's your piont , you don't like grass roots democracy?

you lose a vote so you insult the people who out-voted your side?

very classy.

you didn't join you didn't go you didn't vote so STFU about the people who did. They don't deserve your arrogant elitist insults. The light rail is funded by a sales tax. They're sick and tired of our unfair regressive tax system -- a tax system Stranger bemoans -- except when it comes to a vote adding a sales tax hike -- then it's who gives a shit about actual fixed income people who actually suffer.

And guess what -- aresolution for transit in general doesn't mean this plan is approved.


And think:
if the old time long term democrats in the very place that gets "benefitted" don't want it...

um maybe you should take a second look.

Posted by PC | October 22, 2008 6:55 PM

PC: The 37th is not saying endorsing "no", either.

Posted by AJ | October 22, 2008 7:03 PM

and there's more.

If you want people to go to their district democrat meetings, put up the times and places like you do for art shows, movies, readings, etc.

That would help a lot of younger folks to go and yes they should go.
Second, folks in the 37th are already getting the light rail pahse 1 -- they perhaps don't want to pay for phase 2 because they perceive no need to tax themselves to build a train to Fifeand other outlying areas. Perhaps they just want to go downtown and don't need a line 70 miles long that goes way out there to the exurbs.

Posted by PC | October 22, 2008 7:08 PM

So you don't mean "They should have an opinion".

What you mean is "They should have MY opinion".

Posted by RonK, Seattle | October 22, 2008 7:14 PM

@7, PC again: They won't be paying for light rail to Fife, that's the South King Subarea. They will be paying for expansion to Northgate and a little beyond that, light rail from the ID to the I-90 bridge and a few things like that.

We'll actually be getting a fairly awesome deal of it thanks to Subarea equity.

Were there no Subarea equity, construction could certainly be done 2-5 years sooner by paying it forward. But we have to be fair to those who "don't need a line 70 miles long that goes way out there to the exurbs."

Posted by AJ | October 22, 2008 7:16 PM

@8: According to the 37th: "The 37th District Democrats considered endorsing Prop 1 at its last membership meeting, September 8. The motion to endorse the yes position failed. There was no motion to endorse the no position."

I think the assessment that they need to have an opinion is fair.

Posted by AJ | October 22, 2008 7:18 PM

I can't say I've ever known or will ever feel concerned enough to care to know about whom or whatever my legislative district leadership has endorsed. Just the mention of the 37th District Dem leadership here on a Stranger web page has probably made them feel way more influential and special than is merited.

Posted by drewvsea | October 22, 2008 7:40 PM

I heard Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos opposed endorsing Prop. 1 and she pulls a lot of weight in the District organization. Sen. Adam Kline and Rep. Eric Pettigrew are much more pro -Sound Transit and rail transit generally. But, I'm not sure if they were at the meeting because I didn't make the meeting either (one of those younger voters with kids to take care of).

Posted by Bill LaBorde | October 22, 2008 8:21 PM

What's hypocritical about the 37th Democrats not supporting the Sound Transit measure? One thing is glaringly clear: Sound Transit's primary purpose isn't to help people get around the city, rather it's to help people get around the region. That means it mostly helps long distance commuters who choose to live far from where they work. As with the 520 bridge expansion, why should we subsidize and encourage long-distance commuting when we have energy and environmental problems to deal with. Sound Transit doesn't and will never help most folks get around the city. If you live on Cap Hill and want to get to Fremont, Ballard, the CD, Queen Anne, Eastlake, Georgetown ... wherever -- you're out of luck. What we should focus on is a local transit system. It's a shame the monorail died because that actually was designed to help us get around the city. Hell, the airport has an automated subway, why don't we advocate for one around the city.

Posted by 37th Dem | October 22, 2008 8:50 PM

Prop 1 is the death knell for freedom and life in the Puget Sound.

Voting for it will enslave you to gangsters and con men for the next 20 years.

Posted by John Bailo | October 22, 2008 8:51 PM

@14 - no, that's voting for Republicans that does that.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 22, 2008 8:56 PM

@14: Rossi's 18 billion transportation plan isn't enslaving us to gangsters and con men?

@13: The reason it's so difficult to get from Cap Hill to the CD is because long distance commuters have to... drive! 23rd is congested with cross-city traffic from those long distance commuters and so are so many other roads in this city.

Paying 50 cents on $100 is a good deal, especially if we can also get local transportation wrapped up in the future on the back of this. Not now, of course, since ST is generally barred from providing local transit, but this passing would certainly give us ground to say "people want rail transit, why not specific to the city?"

Posted by AJ | October 22, 2008 9:01 PM


Rossi is more concentrated on roads which we are in dire need of in the exurbs.

I disagree with his plans for 520 and the Viaduct.

Both should be scrapped.

Other than that, Vote Rossi!

Posted by John Bailo | October 22, 2008 10:11 PM

Fuck exurbs. We shouldn't be encouraging people to live in commuter bedroom communities an hour away from where they work.

Posted by NaFun | October 23, 2008 6:34 AM

NaFun: idiotic non-argument.

Think you can come up with something of this planet?

Anybody WITH a job knows you don't always get to decide WHERE YOUR JOB IS.

Inbreeding isn't just limited to rural areas. What else would explain some of these moronic comments?

Posted by Jeremy | October 23, 2008 9:56 AM

Welcome to the world of the ignorant isolationist: 37th Dem

"One thing is glaringly clear: Sound Transit's primary purpose isn't to help people get around the city, rather it's to help people get around the region."

As if people who live in Seattle don't work in, say Bellevue or Redmond. There is a new weird argument invented each day to oppose light rail in Seattle.

Posted by Jeremy | October 23, 2008 2:10 PM

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