West Seattle, Washington
West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician is just wrapping up an hourlong q-and-a session on the Times website. Some WS-specific stuff, too.
-Want to hear the experts discuss the viaduct situation, present and future? Tonight’s the big forum at West Seattle HS (6:30-8 pm) with panelists including City Council member Jan Drago and Seattle Department of Transportation boss Grace Crunican.
-Just two nights till you can get the mayor’s office perspective from Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, courtesy of the Fauntleroy Community Association.
-Ex-govs Gary Locke and Dan Evans declare themselves anti-viaduct (though not necessarily pro-tunnel) in today’s Times.
–MIDMORNING ADD: The No Tunnel Alliance says it will “rally” 4:30 pm-6:30 pm today at 35th & Fauntleroy.
-The Stranger rebuts The Times’ “voting ‘no/no’ is stupid” editorial.
-The Urban Environmentalist says pro-tunnel and pro-Third Option folks should bond.
Since we’ve got our ballots and you probably do too, let’s call this the first weekend of the election, which could be dubbed Pointlessness at the Polls, even though we’re not going to the “polls,” aka “polling places” (however, the big envelope of dead tree matter that accompanied the ballot reveals we can drop off the ballots rather than entrust them to USPS, so we’re going for that option — here in WS, a dropoff spot will be open at High Point Community Center on 3/8, 3/9, 3/10, 3/12, and 3/13 **only** — before 3/8, the only dropoff available is downtown). As a service to anyone still deciding whether to go no/no, yes/yes, no/yes, or yes/no, here are today’s related headlines: “Tunnel lite” MIGHT work (Times), Scare tactics in the election? EEK! (Times), N/N wins Stranger poll (Slog), P-I editorial board boss sort of plugs retrofitting (P-I). P.S. To hear in-person debating on all this, check out the WS Chamber’s transportation forum at WSHS Tuesday night.
… we got our ballots today; did you? Half your WSB team has taken its stand: No And Hell No (even Susan Paynter is going that way). What DO we support, you ask? Retrofit. If you want to review other campaigns, try No Elevated, or No Tunnel, or No New Viaduct, among others (like the too-young-to-vote view).
If you’re registered to vote, you might get your viaduct ballot before the week is over. In today’s viaduct news (so far), the guv still says it’s Replacement-A-Duct or nothing — no, wait, she even ruled out “nothing.” And if you want to read all the million-dollar fine print before your ballot arrives, the official “voters’ guide” is now available on the city website.
One result of a No/No viaduct vote might be the so-called retrofit. Viaduct, The Blog coined a new catch phrase for it: “Repair & Prepare.” LATE AFTERNOON UPDATE: Just read at Friends of Seattle that the 34th District Democrats decided this week not to endorse the rebuild (so did they go pro-tunnel, or No/No?).
Sorry, we know we should just subtitle ourselves The Viaduct Blog these days, but really, several other blogs are doing a much better job of that — however, since so many of us use the darn thing, it seems important to track the crazily twisting tale here too. That said, here’s the latest: We’re voting, and that’s final.
The ballots are supposed to go out in days … but now the state says, “don’t bother.” Incidentally, KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross proposed earlier that we all just boycott the viaduct tomorrow as a taste of what we’ll be facing regardless of its fate, since it’s going to be out of commission one way or another. Meantime, we’re awaiting the mayor’s reaction to the state’s latest missive. Perhaps Seattle should secede?
If you haven’t seen the latest semi-satirical video by the pro-tunnel camp, it’s here. Nowhere near as good as the classic “Committee to Save Big Ugly Things” video, in our opinion. But the link did lead us to videos we’d been looking for — the official animated renderings of Replacement-A-Duct and Original Tunnel, first released last fall. P.S. Turns out there is an actual NO/NO group. Here’s their rather grabby logo/slogan:
One Metro route through eastern West Seattle just got extra service as part of the Transit Now tax increase that voters passed countywide in November. Route 120 goes between downtown and Burien via Delridge and White Center. Besides expansion of that route and several others, the county says it’s working on the new express routes promised in the TN initiative, including one (see this map) to get more of West Seattle downtown (especially once The Viaduct is out of service — speaking of which, the No Tunnel Alliance launches its campaign tomorrow, days after the kickoff for Not Another Elevated Viaduct — can’t find any official site yet for the No/No faction).
Doesn’t the whole Viaduct thing seem more like a bad movie every day? Usually a comedy; hopefully not eventually a tragedy. Today’s plot twist: The No-Tunnel-No-Way state legislative leader starts making Third Option noises. Incidentally, the official ballot measures we’ll be voting on by-mail-only (boo) are now online (here’s tunnel yes/no; here’s replacement-a-duct yes/no).
According to this P-I update, the judge who ruled today on the ballot language for next month’s Viaduct Vote at least asked a question on behalf of all us West Seattle commuters (sadly it seems there’s no good answer to that question yet):
Seu said access to downtown is planned at King Street, though he couldn’t answer Erlick’s question about exactly how a West Seattle resident could get downtown from a new tunnel. “There is no final design,” Seu said.
Before we get to the 2-part (more like 4-option) viaduct vote in March, don’t forget the 2-part school vote next month, with a big West Seattle project on the ballot, as the Times reminds us again today. (Then if you’re still trying to sort out the viaduct conundrum, check out this excellent Slog breakdown, with reader comments that inspired us to suggest the slogan No/No, The Way to Go.)
The council’s Viaduct Vote Verdict is in. Instead of voting between tunnel and replacement-a-duct, we get a two-part vote: Yes or no on a tunnel, yes or no on replacement-a-duct. So that means this is actually a four-ply vote, with these possible combinations:
-Yes on both
-No on both
-Yes on tunnel, no on replacement
-Yes on replacement, no on tunnel
How are they even going to interpret the results?
-A gushy Seattle Times writeup on the “pay by touch” technology that’s in its fifth year at Morgan Junction Thriftway confirms our November suspicions that it remains the only store in Seattle using PBT. Nothing personal against the Thriftway, which we adore, but we still don’t get why anyone would link their finances to their fingerprints. If you use it, we’d love to hear from you; we still have never seen, or heard from, anyone who has.
-The whole viaduct-vote thing still has our heads a-spinning. OK, so never mind what the Gov said the other day, now we’re going to have a vote? All just complicated political positioning, we suppose. So how ’bout they throw The Third Option and even The Retrofit on the ballot too, while everyone’s changing their minds every five minutes? Or are we supposed to be happy and relieved now that at least we get some kind of vote?
-Thanks to the reader who tipped us to the effervescent Elliott Bay Brewery feature on the Seattle Weekly site. (We’re not much for beer but we like their burgers too!)
Now we’re really confused. If the guv’s position was Replacement Viaduct Or Nuthin’, why didn’t she just say that a month ago instead of throwing the ball back for the whole advisory-vote thing? Or was it really Tunnel Lite/Less (Land)Filling that put her over the edge? Whatever the case, this morning’s update on the whole thing sure makes it sound like the tunnel’s toast (here’s exactly what she said), but the City Council’s going to meet tomorrow to talk about … something. A sit-in, maybe?
Just when you’d think Guv Chris would have been out surveying the devastation, instead, she was making her viaduct pronouncement. Or, let’s say, nonpronouncement. Let us voters decide! Wow, what a novel concept! Weren’t we just going thru this … um … months ago? Lucky darn thing last night’s storm didn’t blow the AWV down. Anyway, it seems to be a crafty way to evade the Gregoire vs. Greg deathmatch — we’re not even going to get rock/paper/scissors out of this. But Ron, from his hospital bed, just might ride to The Third Option’s rescue.