Election 2009: Is West Seattle “nowhere”?

If you follow @westseattleblog on Twitter, you know the side conversations are numerous. One of them involved a musing (see it here) three days ago about a campaign commercial online (see it here, “cued up” to the reference) in which King County Council Chair/County Executive candidate Dow Constantine is accused of spending money on “ferries going nowhere,” while an image of the King County Water Taxi is shown. We wondered aloud if that was meant to suggest West Seattle is nowhere. The ad apparently subsequently hit the airwaves, which led Joseph Brick to wonder the same thing and send the question to us and The Stranger, which quickly pursued responses and just sent us links to their resulting Slog posts. Short summary, with the links: The person who produced the “ferries going nowhere” ad (whose funding is noted here) notes it’s an “independent” production and that “the (Susan) Hutchison campaign hasn’t seen it” and explains they were referring more to plans to expand the foot ferries; the Constantine campaign contends it’s evidence of an “anti-Seattle campaign” by Hutchison “and her allies.” No published comment from the Hutchison campaign so far, but we are seeking one. (12:47 AM WEDNESDAY: Haven’t received a reply.)

38 Replies to "Election 2009: Is West Seattle "nowhere"?"

  • flowerpetal October 20, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    TR, your link to who funded the ad does not work and I didn’t see it from going to their website. Can you help us with that? Thanks

  • Sarah October 20, 2009 (1:14 pm)

    I’m terrified of what will happen to Seattle if Hutchison is elected. Unfortunately, I have a feeling it’s more of a “when” she’s elected, as Seattle has to counteract the votes of the rest of King County, which tends to be much more conservative and will likely vote Hutchison in.
    Her ads have really riled me up, and I’m livid that the Times endorsed her.

  • WSB October 20, 2009 (1:18 pm)

    Sorry, FP, it was a link to the original Slog post about the ad, before the “ferries to nowhere” part was singled out.
    I will see what’s wrong with the link in the story text and fix – TR

  • Al October 20, 2009 (1:41 pm)

    Her absolute disgust for the King County Ferry District, which unless I am mistaken, includes the West Seattle Ferry is very clear here:


    Q: Can you explain your position on the King County Ferry District?
    A: Bad idea. Bad tax. My opponent used the important flood district as a bargaining chip to pass this costly and unnecessary pet project, which is currently being dismantled by his fellow councilmembers as it should be.

  • John October 20, 2009 (1:48 pm)

    I agree with Sarah. Mrs. Hutchinson will follow an extrmely conservative path. I hate when we seem to go backwords here in Seattle, because of mistakenly unaware elected officials.

  • OP October 20, 2009 (2:34 pm)

    ROFLAMO! King County is conservative! Here, check the 2008 Prez. electiion results:


    70% for the Dem ticket in ’08
    68% for the Dem ticket in ’04

    Preception does not equal the reality, kids!

    Geez, if anything, Hutchison would be the counter balance to the near monarchy-like left-wing leadership and spendthrift liberalism of the county.

  • Mike October 20, 2009 (2:51 pm)

    If Hutchinson is like the Federal GOP bandwagon, she’ll cut all socialist funded programs. Like Police, Fire, public transportation, shelters, animal control, sewage treatment, you know… everything that’s socialist. We don’t want to be taxed, that’s baaad, it pays for services that keep us safe.

  • Gene October 20, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    Ferry to nowhere? I can’t say I love downtown compared to West Seattle, but I don’t know that I would call it “nowhere”.

    Really, I don’t see why they would insult the folks downtown like that…

  • Scott (no, the other Scott) October 20, 2009 (3:09 pm)

    OP, two presidential elections (particularly those two) are a pretty narrow gauge to use to weigh voting tendencies. Besides, conservative/liberal is a relative thing and I think the previous posters were well aware of that. If you are coming from some other parts of the country, then yeah, King County (and all of Western Washington, for that matter) is a snake’s nest of liberal vipers in comparison… even Hutchison would be called a flaming liberal by people some places I’ve been.
    But if you’re talking within the context of King County, then Seattle certainly is liberal and the rest of the county certainly is conservative. I suggest you wait and have a look at the Country Executive vote breakdown by precinct after this election for a textbook demonstration of that fact.

  • TomA October 20, 2009 (3:16 pm)

    I’m a real nowhere man,
    Sitting in my nowhere land,
    Making all my nowhere plans
    For nobody.

  • mark October 20, 2009 (3:22 pm)

    The simple fact that she is on the Board of Directors of http://www.discovery.org/ should be enough to scare anyone. Her campaign has done a great job of distancing her from her out of touch and somewhat wacko views.

  • Cheryl October 20, 2009 (4:08 pm)

    This just pisses me off! But I live in “nowhere”, so I’m a “nobody” apparently. Grrrr.

  • Roger October 20, 2009 (5:29 pm)

    Found this online while doing a search on Hutchinson…

    “Candidate Susan Hutchison, a former KIRO-TV news anchor, did not attend. An organzier told the audience Hutchison had been invited “multiple times.”

    Seems to me like even back then she didn’t care about us or our issues here in West Seattle.

  • WSB October 20, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    Reported here when it happened.
    All the other primary candidates were there.

  • c October 20, 2009 (8:22 pm)

    reminds me of about 15 years ago when a typo in the voters pamphlet talked about West Seattle as an “undeserved” instead underserved community.

    This was when they were talking about the monorail coming to West Seattle.

  • OP October 20, 2009 (8:31 pm)

    OP, two presidential elections (particularly those two) are a pretty narrow gauge to use to weigh voting tendencies.

    I wasn’t looking at a narrow gauge, that’s just your poor assumption.

    I suggest you wait and have a look at the Country Executive vote breakdown by precinct after this election for a textbook demonstration of that fact.

    Fine. And I suggest you go and do a little searching. (Do I have to do everything around here?) Here are the results for Ron Sims’ re-elections in 2001, 2005:



    It’s not even close.

    And just for giggles, the 2000 Prez. election results.


    Care to revise your perception?

    And feel free to look at the other results too.

  • Danno October 20, 2009 (8:37 pm)

    Yes, Beware the evil Susan Hutchison, the she-devil incarnate….

    Get a grip West Seattle, we need to put the brakes on Obama style spend and then tax insanity, and Dow is just a rubber stamp for such Polly Anna governance!

    Wake Up!!

  • mar3c October 20, 2009 (10:15 pm)

    lol, danno.
    guess you’ll pass the hat when the west seattle bridge needs improvements, huh? or when sewer mains break? or you want streets salted and plowed? gonna complain about taxes when the viaduct comes down and west seattleites have to walk, bike, swim, or fly to or through downtown?
    one day you’ll consider all of the times that you voted “no” on spending and realize that those taxes are aimed at benefiting the city as a whole and not punishment for the upper class – or those who aspire to the upper class at their neighbors’ expense.
    imho, hutchison is rather vapid, and appears programmed. maybe she’s a manchurian candidate.
    btw, the only thing obama has spent money on so far is “bailing out” the wealthy, who snivel when anyone suggests racking up a little more debt for the sake of the public at large. and, uh, what federal taxes of *yours* have increased, anyhoo? obama stealing the candy from *your* mouth, is he?

  • Erehwon October 20, 2009 (10:55 pm)

    Bumpersticker opportunity!



  • JanS October 20, 2009 (11:10 pm)

    mar3c…good answer. I get so tired of those who blame Obama for every financial problem in this country (like there was a void before he took office). Banks, etc. are making money hand over fist again..nice, since we bailed them out. I don’t see anyone jumping to bail out you and me, huh. The things we keep hearing from the danno’s of the world are getting very tiresome. It’s just bashing, and they have no substantive alternative answers.

    Now, back to the post. I will give as much respect to the candidates as they give to this part of the city. Ms. Hutchison should be required to live on the peninsula ( Mr. McGinn, too) for about a year, with no car. Tunes would change, I bet.

  • rw October 21, 2009 (5:27 am)

    As much as I cheer for the water taxi, the fact is that it may not survive the cost cutting that King County needs to do for the next few years.

    Here is the key question: What does the water taxi provide that the bus system does not?

    There are simply too many worthy needs competing for too few tax revenues. And simply raising taxes isn’t always the answer. One answer is to make cuts where there is a duplication of services. (And yes, I know that in a few years the roads in and out of West Seattle are going to be sorely maxed out by the Viaduct rebuild.)

    FYI, I voted for Dow, but even he will have to make some difficult and unpopular program cuts.

  • WSB October 21, 2009 (5:36 am)

    If nothing else, it provides a backup. I refer back to our archive of coverage from what we at the time dubbed “Freeway Fright ’07” – the I-5 work that was in danger of inflicting gridlock on us all but didn’t, in no small part because people used alternatives. Photos:

  • mar3c October 21, 2009 (7:04 am)

    rw, the problem is that there aren’t any new taxes, fees, or levies on the table, but there are always initiatives that require some level of government spending. (and public nuisances like tim eyman haven’t made things any easier.)
    we should crank the MVET back up for the county to raise money for transportation projects, based on vehicle weight and MPG.

  • CandrewB October 21, 2009 (7:26 am)

    rw, it serves as a safety valve when the Viaduct and/or bridge is messed up. I took it twice last Summer specifically because of that. I take it a lot as a matter of fact and most of the time half of the crowd is made up of tourists coming over to spend money.

  • Kayleigh October 21, 2009 (7:52 am)

    I wasn’t even going to open this thread because local politics is/are so tedious to me. But now I can’t wait to vote against Susan Hutchison.

  • Paul in Gatewood October 21, 2009 (8:05 am)

    If by “nowhere” they mean a place where my better half and I can afford a house, where I can ride my bike to the beach, ride the bus to work, enjoy the many cool business districts nearby and the many great parks, have great neighbors, and be happy to get home from work every day, then I’m quite OK with living in “nowhere”.

  • Tony S October 21, 2009 (8:48 am)

    I’m not a fan at all of Hutchison; however the water taxi’s are an expensive misuse of funds. The studies I’ve seen repeatedly prove this out – $600 per rider (in some scenarios)? Yes, they’re charming and romantic, but they make much less economic sense than typical transit. I think it was a good idea that unfortunately in theory is better than reality.

    On a lesser note – has anyone who’s ridden the WS KC ferry noticed the diesel smoke it spews out? That can’t be a good tradeoff between passengers per carbon output versus a full load of bus riders.

  • austin October 21, 2009 (9:32 am)

    The water taxi will become more important as a major transportation option into and out of downtown as the Spokane Street and Alaskan Way viaducts become large construction sites. However without more real connecting bus service to Harbor and Alki Aves it will remain a novelty to those who won’t or can’t bike to Seacrest. Putting all of our transit into and out of West Seattle on roadways that will soon become more and more limited and congested is short sighted at best.

  • Suits are not boring October 21, 2009 (11:25 am)

    Tony S – those figures included routes that were being studied and not all will happen. The study done in 07 looked at several routes and some were much more costly than others.

    It also is often forgotten that this issue actually started with the WSF deciding to get out of the passenger-only ferry business. The Legislature told the counties they would need to fund them if they wanted them – and that included Vashon.

    In the current economic crises, the County chose last summer to spend some of the monies they collected for the ferries on other projects. They will continue to fund the WS Water Taxi and the Vashon Passanger-Only ferry – and Vashon also is “somewhere”

  • mark October 21, 2009 (11:29 am)

    Really Tony, $600 per rider? Assuming the boat runs with one passenger how much do you think it costs to make a single run across the water? Its a 15 minute ride, 3 employees on the boat, a little diesel, the cost of renting the boat and insurance etc. I have made the trip a few dozen times, mostly nights and weekends, I typically see 50 or so riders (most of the seats on the bottom level full, with more on top). Are you saying it costs $10,000 or more to make that trip, or lets say $100,000 a day or #3,000,000 a month? Don’t believe every rumor you read on the internets

  • KateMcA October 21, 2009 (12:27 pm)

    I really love the water taxi- and if we are going to tear up the viaduct for several years, it will be even more necessary to have an alternative to taking the bridge and I-5 to downtown. I wrote to Ms. Hutchinson to voice these concerns during July, and I’ve yet to hear anything back from her or her campaign (probably because I am no one and live in the middle of nowhere). I’ll be voting for Dow, thanks very much.

  • Tracy White October 21, 2009 (2:22 pm)

    Most of the reasons I read in favor of the water taxi are not priorities. There is no right to a lack of traffic, and would you be prepared to argue that your ability to shave ten to twenty minutes off of your daily commute is more important than the amount of fire and police services that the money spent subsidizing the WT would pay for?

  • austin October 21, 2009 (3:38 pm)

    And if you really want to throw out a red herring you could bring up the king county animal shelter, school closures, medicinal marijuana, bank bailouts, the fact that we have to pay taxes on parks, or any number of things that don’t have do with transportation in and out of west seattle.

  • Free Lunch October 21, 2009 (6:22 pm)

    The claim that “she’s never seen the ad” is preposterous. Someone as media savvy as her wouldn’t care enough to view something about her campaign that’s on every 20 minutes?
    That’s the advantage to farming out attack ads to an “independent producer” – you can disassociate yourself from all of its negativity and truth stretching.
    Doesn’t say much for her personal ethics, if you ask me.

  • mark October 21, 2009 (6:26 pm)

    Priority to who? I avoid the 405 (and the entire Eastside for that matter) so that’t not a priority. I don’t have school age kids anymore, so thats not a priority. I vote we close the 405 and buy more Water Taxis!!!!

  • AceMotel October 21, 2009 (7:07 pm)

    Everybody seems to wonder
    What it’s like down here
    I gotta get away from this day-to-day running around,
    Everybody knows this is nowhere.

    (Neil Young, 1969)

  • dawsonct October 23, 2009 (10:39 am)

    I was hoping someone would quote Neil at some point. Thanks Ace!

  • MindDrive October 23, 2009 (12:43 pm)

    I know Dow has West Seattle connections. But you’d think Hutchinson would find a way to concede the West Seattle vote more respectfully. So this is either a complete lack of class, or a grave political blunder by her. Either way she won’t even have my vote for ANYTHING.

Sorry, comment time is over.