Two followups from last night’s West Seattle Bridge community meeting (here’s our as-it-happened coverage, with video):
ALL THE QUESTIONS: As noted here, questions submitted in writing via Zoom were only visible to the meeting panelists. 28 questions were read/asked and answered, but anyone wondering what else was asked was left wondering. SDOT promised an “FAQ” list would eventually be published, but we asked today if we could just get the list of all the questions asked. Here’s the document sent to us as a result, with all 175 of the questions/comments submitted via Zoom Q&A.
WHERE THE MAYOR ACTUALLY WAS: During introductions, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe said Mayor Jenny Durkan – who has spoken at past bridge-related meetings – “couldn’t be here because she has been in the other Washington, D.C., working hard” to secure federal funding. But as it turns out (thanks to the reader who caught this via a Seattle Times photo gallery), she was actually already back in Seattle at the time of the meeting – attending the Kraken NHL team expansion-draft event at Gas Works Park. Her Twitter account featured this, seven minutes before the bridge meeting began:
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) July 22, 2021
Certainly a mayoral appearance was not a must for the bridge meeting. But since a point was made of her absence, we inquired with SDOT and the mayor’s office. First, from an SDOT spokesperson, “What Director Zimbabwe meant to say was 1) the Mayor had been in or was shortly traveling back from DC and 2) wasn’t able to make the meeting in part because of that. Any inference that she was in DC at the time was a miscommunication and we regret the error.” A spokesperson from the mayor, meantime, replied, “Yes, the Mayor was in DC the first half of this week until she flew in yesterday, shortly ahead of the Kraken draft, which you are correct that she attended. While in DC she met on several transportation priorities, including with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to secure additional resources for the West Seattle Bridge repair. Over the past 16 months since the West Seattle Bridge closed, the Mayor has attended many West Seattle virtual town halls and Community Task Force Meetings. As Mayor, she often has to balance competing priorities but remains wholly committed to getting West Seattle connected again.”