Video: West Seattle elected officials say, don’t toss that ballot

April 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 60 Comments

“It’s absolutely crucial that Proposition 1 pass,” King County Executive Dow Constantine told a get-out-the-vote gathering at the Senior Center of West Seattle this afternoon. It’s been one year since Metro general manager Kevin Desmond issued a warning of cuts to come if the State Legislature didn’t come up with a funding solution; they never did, as Constantine noted again today. Added City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen at today’s event, “We’ve done everything we can in Olympia” to try to get help, and none was forthcoming. So now it’s in voters’ hands, he, Constantine, and County Councilmember Joe McDermott – all three West Seattleites – reiterated, and they urged supporters to talk to their friends and family to make sure they vote, since a one-issue springtime special election might be ignored otherwise, with ballots potentially languishing in stacks of junk mail.

Our video above includes the entirety of what they said today; April 22nd is the deadline for voting – by mail or by dropbox/van.

60 Comments

  1. Oh I didn’t toss my ballot.

    I voted no.

    Comment by JimmyG — 8:06 pm April 12, 2014 #

  2. I didn’t toss my ballot either.
    I voted yes.

    Wish there was a “Heck YES!” option.

    Comment by Militant Moderate — 8:43 pm April 12, 2014 #

  3. I’m not giving them money to waste either if I can help it.

    Comment by dsa — 8:55 pm April 12, 2014 #

  4. Same here- didn’t toss- voted no-!
    How long should we subsidize inefficiency ?

    Comment by Gene — 9:04 pm April 12, 2014 #

  5. So by designing a limited capacity bored tunnel through downtown, solutions for extra traffic were to include improvements to public transit. And by improvements, they mean taxpayer funded, additional car tab fees, to continue the existing public transit system. Sounds awesome.

    Comment by jags — 9:04 pm April 12, 2014 #

  6. Didn’t toss it, and I voted Yes.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 9:55 pm April 12, 2014 #

  7. I’m still bitter about the monorail.

    Comment by Person — 9:58 pm April 12, 2014 #

  8. We voted yes and we sent them in right away. With out a vigorous metro many will suffer in the county. I am not sure some are aware of just how bad the potential cuts will be if this does not pass.

    Comment by cj — 10:54 pm April 12, 2014 #

  9. One No for each of my vehicles. You can only drive one at a time; why should I be penalized for liking cars? But more importantly, the issue for me is that I truly do not believe Metro is being run efficiently. Their poor management is not something I wish to subsidize. The irony? I also use Metro. I just don’t trust in their efficiency.

    Comment by No. No. No. — 11:25 pm April 12, 2014 #

  10. Yes on Prop 1! I don’t understand the whole argument of “don’t give them money they don’t know how to spend it” when (1) costs of running the system have increased (Thanks, Tim Eyman) and (2) the idea that not giving money will somehow make things better (I’ve heard the same argument about not giving money to the school system–I guess supporting prison systems is better). What is your solution, Prop 1 opponents? How will high school students get to school without bus routes?

    Comment by ANW — 11:44 pm April 12, 2014 #

  11. Voted yes, 2 of us. I don’t understand how a no vote on this can possibly make your situation as a driver better. As it stands today, biking is faster than either car or bus for me. By voting no, you’re only punishing yourself. If you want to convince Metro to change don’t be a passive, be an activist.

    Comment by Yes. Yes. Yes. — 12:46 am April 13, 2014 #

  12. Is the King County Water Taxi and it’s land shuttle part of King County Metro or The Washington State Ferry System ? Just wondering.

    Comment by Noelle — 1:23 am April 13, 2014 #

  13. Don’t be fooled people. VOTE NO. Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors like the article says and encourage them to VOTE NO.

    Comment by Fed Up — 4:01 am April 13, 2014 #

  14. How about accountability- being efficient–does that not come into play — how about we demand they run their business better before they come to us asking for more money– what a novel concept!

    Comment by Anne — 6:29 am April 13, 2014 #

  15. There is zero evidence — none — that Metro has anything else that can be cut back or any remaining inefficiences. They’re audited eighteen ways to Sunday. A “no” vote is a no vote against the economic survival of our region.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 7:03 am April 13, 2014 #

  16. Oh don’t worry No.No.No. If this doesn’t pass, you will definitely be penalized for driving a car. It will take you 10-15 minutes longer to get anywhere. Oh and since you are a bus rider, expect another 30 minutes by bus.

    Comment by AmandaKH — 8:01 am April 13, 2014 #

  17. NO twice from this address!

    Comment by Marty — 8:40 am April 13, 2014 #

  18. Noelle, neither, and that was pointed out in our coverage of Metro speaking to the Chamber on Thursday. The Water Taxi (both WS and Vashon) is run by the King County Ferry District, separate funding source(s), not involved in this.

    Comment by WSB — 9:11 am April 13, 2014 #

  19. http://seattletimes.com/html/editorials/2023304233_kingcountyprop1transiteditaug2014endorse06xml.html

    No, and this says it better than I can.

    Comment by KT — 9:28 am April 13, 2014 #

  20. If you own 2 cars flush $120.00 down the toilet. If you enjoy that vote yes. If you find it a waste vote no. King County gets enough money from our taxes. If anything tax the bikes and I am a bike rider. I would pay tax for that if 100% of the money goes to bike lanes.

    Comment by Max — 9:31 am April 13, 2014 #

  21. I have kids that depend on the bus routes. I will spend more on gas dropping / picking them up if the routes are affected. So…Yes!

    Comment by Chris — 9:44 am April 13, 2014 #

  22. Voted yes x 2 at our house.

    Comment by Aramis — 9:59 am April 13, 2014 #

  23. If you car idles for an hour, it uses around a gallon of gas.

    So if the bus cuts mean you spend another 5 minutes a day idling in traffic, you can easily spend that $60 you “saved” yourself by voting no. (And that’s assuming you don’t drive on weekends and gas costs $3.00 a gallon.)

    Then there’s the additional maintenance the roads will need, to impact on the environment, the money going to people like Exxon and BP instead of being spent locally.

    Voting no is really cutting off your nose to spite your face. But you’ll show those inefficient bureaucrats at Metro!

    Comment by maplesyrup — 10:26 am April 13, 2014 #

  24. Interesting that many of the no voters are voting no because of ‘waste’, ‘inefficiency’ or ‘poor management’. Clearly they haven’t been paying attention.
    .
    In reality, Metro been thoroughly audited since 2008. They have implemented almost all of the audit recommendations (see http://www.munileague.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Municipal-League-Foundation-Metro-Report-2013.pdf). They’ve negotiated a wage freeze with the driver’s union, and other efficiency measures. But most importantly, this isn’t an increase in money going to Metro – it is replacing money lost due to sale tax decreases. So any talk of inefficiency is just wrong.
    .
    In fact, waste and inefficiency are codewords used by some people who just generally don’t like to pay taxes. They need to realize that taxes pay for services that make us a viable and livable community.

    Comment by Moose2 — 10:48 am April 13, 2014 #

  25. Whoops I take that back about how much gas your car burns while idling. Should have checked multiple sources.

    Here’s more complete information: http://idlefreevt.org/misc_pdf/cost_idling_argonne_3.50.pdf

    Still, you can make the argument that some or all of the $60 you didn’t spend will be consumed in other ways, including idling.

    Comment by maplesyrup — 10:54 am April 13, 2014 #

  26. Thanks KT. I hope everyone takes the time to read this level-headed article. The more I think about it, the more I am outraged by Metro’s strong-arm (fear) tactics. Get your house in order, Metro, and then we’ll talk.

    Comment by No. No. No. — 10:56 am April 13, 2014 #

  27. I have a question for the people saying that Metro ought to be more efficient instead of asking for more funding.
    .
    The audit information is out there; several links posted in various discussions of this issue, including the report Moose2 linked to. So I’m curious, what inefficiencies are you seeing that lead you to vote no? Where should Metro make the cuts? Because I’m not seeing it and I wonder what I’m missing.

    Comment by datamuse — 11:20 am April 13, 2014 #

  28. Moose, for those who don’t have the time to view the video, Executive Constantine did mention, toward the start, the shift in financing means. For anyone who doesn’t know where Metro’s funding comes from, here’s a pie chart breaking it down.
    .
    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/budget/revenue.html
    .
    I have not been able to find something comparable for 1999 or previous, to show the percentage that the MVET covered. (If anyone can find a 1999 pie chart, please post a link!)
    .
    I did find this more-detailed document on Metro funding in the “accountability” section of the county website. It says the MVET covered about a third of funding before it was repealed at the turn of the millennium.
    .
    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/reports/2014/metro-transit-finances-overview-02-03-14.pdf
    .
    Have to stop googling now and get back to some other work but for anyone interested in a larger breakdown of the issue, beyond our area, this paper popped up, a general study of ways to finance public transportation, done in Canada but apparently meant to apply beyond its borders:
    .
    http://www.vtpi.org/tranfund.pdf
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:36 am April 13, 2014 #

  29. A strong YES here.

    .

    I haven’t set foot on a bus in nearly 8 years. Every job I’ve had has been located in the suburbs, both north and south. Transit isn’t much of an option. The auto gridlock is bad enough as it is without the additional (and avoidable) stress of more cars on the road. And remember…40% of the Prop 1 proceeds go to road maintenance.

    .

    No organization with humans involved is ever going to be 100% efficient. I see no reason to inflict pain on both riders and drivers in order to punish Metro for this illusion of perfection.

    Comment by sb — 11:41 am April 13, 2014 #

  30. NO! on Prop 1. Car owners are unfairly targeted in this proposition. As a car enthusiast, I’ll be multiply punished. The only recourse most riders (the non-car-owning ones) will see is the .1% sales tax increase. Transit riders/car owners all use the same streets, but the car owners will be relied upon to subsidize much of the infrastructure/transit. If the carless riders were facing the same fiscal sanctions, they’d say “NO!”, too. Bummer, I voted for Dow. Never again.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 11:58 am April 13, 2014 #

  31. Voting no in our household. If Seattle wants to pay for it’s transit, perhaps the density advocates should pay for it. 4000 new residences and dorm rooms in WS alone and we’re only funding to keep service running? Please…

    All of king county should not pay for Seattle’s inability to devise a decent growth plan that doesn’t screw the lot of us.

    The real question is, who’s going to pay to expand service if this is just to plug the leaking coffers of metro.

    Comment by Civik — 12:21 pm April 13, 2014 #

  32. 40% of the money goes to road maintenance and this is unfairly targeting car owners?

    Comment by maplesyrup — 12:27 pm April 13, 2014 #

  33. Thank you West Seattle Blog!

    Comment by Noelle — 12:30 pm April 13, 2014 #

  34. I am so glad that Councilmember Joe McDermott pointed out the high percentage of bus riders who own cars. If people think Metro is inefficient (it isn’t) just wait to see how inefficient our transportation system (yes, it’s a system) becomes when road occupancy climbs because people have to drive to get around. Politics make strange bedfellows, but business leaders, environmental groups and others who sometimes find themselves on different sides of an issue agree the social, environmental and economic costs of a “no” vote are too great.

    And, who believes the Seattle Times actually cares what is best for our community anyway? Oh, darn, I promised myself I would not go there!

    Comment by Ann — 12:41 pm April 13, 2014 #

  35. 2x yes votes here. If we subsidized public transit half as much as we subsidized car transportation Seattle would be a much better place to live.

    Comment by MacJ — 1:39 pm April 13, 2014 #

  36. I have spent the majority of my career as an auditor in Big 4 (or big 5, 6, etc.. depending how far back you want to go.) I normally don’t pay much attention to transit but this issue seems big. I just read through the actual audit report for Metro from 2009. I encourage you all to do the same. Audit responses and reports prepared by third parties about audits often have a “spin” and shouldn’t be relied on for accurate, unbiased information. Additionally, you should pay attention to the sponsors of anything you receive or read in support of this initiative. For example, the flyer I got in the mail last week was very clear about the sky falling if this ballot measure fails. The sponsors of the flyer were printed in the corner and included the Metro labor unions, the van company contracted by Metro for para transit trips, and the advertising company with the exclusive contract for all Metro advertising sales. I beg all of you to inform yourselves before you vote on this issue. My opinion, based on the audit report, is that Metro is unlikely operating efficiently. Even the most agile private companies wouldn’t transform this quickly from the maturity level outlined in the report. I consider my “No” vote as a catalyst. The sky won’t fall either way – just keep that in mind. The report: http://www.kingcounty.gov/~/media/operations/auditor/documents/2009Documents/TransitSummaryReport.ashx

    Comment by Flabbergasted — 2:30 pm April 13, 2014 #

  37. It’s one thing to be a greedy person. Despite this ridiculous Mayberry image we try to foist off on everyone, West Seattle is full of them these days. It’s quite another thing to mask your cheapskate nature behind claims of “more accountability” or “running it like a business” Government ends up running things like metro because private companies can’t make a profit on it.

    Don’t forget it was that stupid, unrealistic, $35 car tab nonsense that got us in this situation in the first place.

    At the end of the day, if your financial situation is so frail you can’t afford an extra sixty bucks a year per car to ensure adequate bus service, maybe the thing to do is move? You can be as grand in Auburn as you can in Admiral.

    (This could all be avoided if we would wise up enough to impose a state income tax. But people here seem happy to let the rich leach off the rest of us) n

    Comment by Vote yes — 2:37 pm April 13, 2014 #

  38. Clarification to “vote yes” – The portion of this that is a vehicle-tab fee is not “$60 extra beyond what you are paying now.” The $20 “congestion reduction charge” that was part of your last (or pending right now) vehicle registration expires before this would take effect. So it’s $40 more than you paid for your last vehicle registration.

    Comment by WSB — 2:46 pm April 13, 2014 #

  39. @Vote Yes: if you’re comfortable not knowing how other people spend your money then I’d like to get in on that action. I accept checks, cash, paypal, and bitcoin.

    Comment by Yes please — 2:49 pm April 13, 2014 #

  40. Two no votes,. If passed they will be back for more money in 2016.

    Comment by Wsguy — 3:35 pm April 13, 2014 #

  41. $60 is apparently no big deal to ‘vote yes’ (typical Seattle liberal mentality). Some of the wealthiest people I’ve known in my life drive Camry’s, and live in nonchalant digs. $60 is a lot to them, and they’re worth gargantuan sums. Methinks you’re foisting a false image on yourself, ‘vote yes’. I scrimp and save every penny.
    -
    Why is it the Seattle driver’s responsibility to ensure adequate bus service? Seattle Liberalism is a clinically-intriguing mind frame.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 3:49 pm April 13, 2014 #

  42. Tax the Tesla and Prius owners instead that don’t pay their fair share of gas taxes.

    Comment by nope — 4:04 pm April 13, 2014 #

  43. vote yes said,”At the end of the day, if your financial situation is so frail you can’t afford an extra sixty bucks a year per car to ensure adequate bus service, maybe the thing to do is move?”

    .
    how much should those without a car (no tab fees) pay? its very easy to spend other peoples money…

    Comment by flimflam — 4:41 pm April 13, 2014 #

  44. With regard to the following website linked above:

    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/budget/revenue.html

    Everyone should know that a typical large city draws approximately ten percent of costs from ridership, not 23%, as King County Metro has continued to gouge from local bus riders.

    How about the idiots running Metro reduce their upper ranks by a significant percentage, and how about those who do the greatest damage to King County roadways make up the difference between a more common 10% of Metro costs passed on to ridership, and the gouging of riders which Metro has been doing in recent years?

    If bus fare were a dollar, as it should be, then the balance between people riding buses and people damaging the roadways one car at a time would be more favorable to lighter traffic and better road conditions.

    Comment by Disenfranchised — 5:57 pm April 13, 2014 #

  45. Thank you to “Flabbergasted” for a well informed post.

    .

    I would be very interested to learn how Metro’s performance compares to other similar sized transit agencies in the US.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 6:42 pm April 13, 2014 #

  46. For the record, We have three cars, one truck, two boats, and an RV. I’m a dumb West Seattle guy who got lucky, and lives in the neighborhood I was fortunate enough to have grown up in. I haven’t taken Metro in twenty-five years. But I know where I come from, I count my blessings, and I am part of the community. If that makes you all itchy, that’s not my problem.

    Comment by Vote yes — 7:04 pm April 13, 2014 #

  47. Flabbergasted, the report you cite is five years old, as if all the cuts and savings metro has found in the last five years never happened. Your yes vote is an uninformed vote. Here are some current facts for you:
    http://www.munileague.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Municipal-League-Foundation-Metro-Report-2013.pdf
    Voting no because you want to punish Metro because of bad behavior based on outdated information is nothing but being vindictive.

    Comment by Voted YES — 8:28 pm April 13, 2014 #

  48. VY-
    That link is to nothing but a Metro ‘Puff-Piece.’ The fact remains is that the voting base is sick and tired of the way things are. I ride Metro every day, and am currently being held hostage over Route 57. This is one of the Routes again being dangled near the machete cuts. Just for the record, every morning a 57 double bus leaves WS with nearly every seat taken. Recently some Metro Genius has determined that while every AM double-bus is full, no one wants to come home. They have decided to only run single buses back to WS and make many stand all the way home.
    Do not fall for the BS. Make Metro do the job, they are getting paid plenty. Let them cut fat so they can do their duty and drive buses.
    VOTE NO!!!!!!!

    Comment by Danno — 11:10 pm April 13, 2014 #

  49. Already voted NO since Metro cannot and will not keep dangerous criminals from riding the buses into our neighborhoods. More route cuts just means less ways burglars can case our homes, robbers can escape the police, and muggers can get across the West Seattle Bridge with our purses, wallets, jewelry, and cellphones.

    Comment by Brad — 12:31 am April 14, 2014 #

  50. Yes, let’s cut metro and instantly West Seattle will be crime-free – why hadn’t I thought of that before?

    I wish Metro would keep people without a brain from riding buses into our neighborhood.

    Comment by Perplexed — 9:12 am April 14, 2014 #

  51. Nice to see that lots of folks would rather consign EVERY WS commuter to MANY hours of time-wasting, polluting and costly traffic nastiness than spend the equivalent of another tank of gas per car per year. Nicely thought through, folks.

    Someone on the other side please tell me exactly what level of “efficiency” you require before Metro gets more funding from you? Lemme’ guess, you can’t describe it but you’ll know it when you see it – which is never? What are the goal-posts here people? Does Dori Monson have to say we’re good? The desperately out of touch op-ed board of the Seattle Times? The King of Bellevue? Who and what exactly? The answer is you don’t like taxes and there’s no metric that will please you. Fine, just admit it already and be done with it.

    There’s lots of folks here who still want to find functional solutions to the infrastructure conundrums we face.

    Here’s hoping that sanity and foresight carry the day.

    Comment by wakeflood — 9:30 am April 14, 2014 #

  52. i hope everyone who voted “No” won’t be on here after the cuts happen saying that the traffic keeps getting worse, or if they also ride the bus, that the buses are too crowded or they were passed up by a bus that was too full. Or they they won’t complain about infrequent buses that used to be more frequent.

    We’re free to vote the way we want, but we shouldn’t then be able to complain about negative conditions that are a result of our votes.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 9:36 am April 14, 2014 #

  53. And voting no isn’t going to make Metro not cut buses they shouldn’t, such as the evening 57!

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 9:38 am April 14, 2014 #

  54. Sorry, WSsince79, you’ve misunderstood their play. It’s wonderfully scalable and easy cuz it takes no effort save fostering some negativity against the rest of society. Here’s the formula:

    Step One: Complain about inefficiency and bad performance of any public entity.

    Step Two: Use that leverage to defund whatever entity you’ve targeted.

    Step Three: Complain that target entity’s performance is worse than ever and should be defunded further or possibly abolished altogether!

    See? Anyone can do it. I do suggest you get your grump on before you dive into Step One. It makes reveling in the muck and mire of negativity that much better.

    Comment by wakeflood — 9:45 am April 14, 2014 #

  55. Correction to my previous comment, made a serious typo. Meant to point out that a no is an uninformed vote, not a yes. D’oh. It seems people got my meaning anyway. However you feel, vote!

    Comment by Voeted YES — 10:54 am April 14, 2014 #

  56. I’m a former transit bus driver and I just voted NO and dropped my ballot in the King County ballot drop box. It amazes me when people say that traffic will get worse in West Seattle with fewer bus stops/routes when it’s obvious to any casual observer that buses stopping and blocking traffic lanes are responsible for a lot of our traffic. Until Metro can do something about keeping their costs under control and providing safe transportation for their passengers, I don’t think they deserve a dime.

    Comment by Joe — 11:36 am April 14, 2014 #

  57. I’m voting no, I just haven’t heard enough from Metro as to how they propose to try and cut operating costs. Our operating costs are higher than LA’s and San Francisco’s. I also think they’re just going to keep coming back for more. Let’s add to the car tab fees, yet we want people to get out of their cars? So, if we reduce the number of cars on the road where do they get the money from at that point. I was more in favor due to the poor roads, but I just see to much mis-management when it comes to Metro, WSDOT (look at our tunnel project for gods sake), etc…
    If I have to start riding my bike to work so be it. My bus service is so bad now that I’m already considering it. RapidRide was a downgrade to my old #54.

    Comment by natinstl — 4:47 pm April 14, 2014 #

  58. Just voted N-O. natinstl took the words right out of my mouth. Metro has been a terrible neighbor in Westwood, too.

    Comment by Running Man — 6:25 pm April 14, 2014 #

  59. Vote Yes and keep us (90% of whom will also be paying the fee for our cars) out of your traffic jam and on the bus. Bus holds 30-60 people. Avg morning commuter car holds 1-3 people. Length of one bus equals 3-4 cars. You do the math after 17% service cut.

    Restore a portion of the funding anti-any-kind-of-tax voters caused us to lose in 1999.

    Comment by Kathy — 9:04 pm April 15, 2014 #

  60. Two emphatic NO votes from this household!

    Comment by Busy Lady — 12:47 pm April 16, 2014 #

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