STB 2012 General Election Endorsements

Below are Seattle Transit Blog’s Endorsements for the November 6th General Election. As always, these purely reflect the issues of public transit and land use. We have only endorsed in races with a compelling reason to do so, but in general a generic Democrat typically is better on transit and land use issues than a generic Republican. The Editorial Board consists of Martin H. Duke, Adam Parast, Sherwin Lee, and Bruce Nourish.

U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator: Maria Cantwell gets our pick for a third term in the U.S. Senate. While not as proactive about sustainable transportation choices as her colleague, Patty Murray, Senator Cantwell has provided reasonably steadfast support for transit during her tenure in D.C. Her earmark requests have been relatively favorable to local transit projects, a notable example being Sound Transit’s Link extension to S. 200th.

Washington State

Governor: Jay Inslee has a transportation platform that explicitly mentions continued support for light rail and Amtrak Cascades. His support for light rail on the Columbia River Crossing and long career emphasis on greenhouse gas reduction are good signs. His opponent doesn’t have transportation as a major issue on his website, but does have a record of light rail opposition stretching back over a decade. Although McKenna seems to have made his peace with current Sound Transit plans, he hasn’t repudiated his previous attitude towards high-quality transit and would probably not support any further effort to expand it.

Initiative 1185: No. Another Eyman initiative, once again requiring a supermajority to raise taxes. Our broad view is that transportation taxes are not high enough, and this creates insurmountable obstacles to fixing that. Furthermore, the initiative creates more procedural obstacles to adjusting tolling rates, flying in the face of best practice for managing demand on congested roadways and ensuring they remain congested.

Supreme Court Position #9: Sheryl Gordon McCloud, like most judicial candidates, doesn’t get deep into transportation in her campaign materials. However, her opponent is former Justice Richard B. Sanders, a reliable vote against Sound Transit in Kemper Freeman’s endless attempts to sue East Link out of existence.

County

Pierce Transit Proposition 1: Yes. Pierce Transit is in deep financial trouble. Service levels have dropped dramatically over the last few years, and failure of this measure would accelerate the death spiral by eliminating all evening and weekend service. We’re not thrilled with how little PT achieves with the current level of funding, but don’t see any alternative to preserve the principle of service beyond support for commuters.

C-Tran Proposition 1: Approve. This proposition is a critical seal of approval for light rail on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC), which will be Vancouver’s principal connection to Portland for our lifetime and beyond. The proposition funds C-TRAN’s share of light rail operations on the CRC as well as construction and operation of the Fourth Plain BRT project through a 1/10th of 1 percent sales tax increase. High-capacity transit across the CRC is essential for Vancouver’s future, and the extension of Portland’s well-established MAX system is an obvious choice.

Washington State Senate

District 10: We see absolutely no reason to think that Barbara Bailey, the GOP candidate, will be a good force for transit, or even vote for the most basic legislation on behalf of causes we support. But she will not be chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, unlike incumbent opponent Mary Margaret Haugen. By most accounts, Ms. Haugen has been the primary obstacle to pro-transit legislation in the last several legislative sessions. In effect, a vote for Bailey is a vote for current Vice Chair Sen. Tracey Eide of Federal Way, who represents constituents that depend on Metro and Sound Transit, and had the fortitude to resist the populist, counterproductive anti-Sound Transit bill forwarded by her House counterparts. While not in the inner circle of excellent transfer advocates, we expect her to be a vast improvement over Haugen.
District 41: Maureen Judge doesn’t have a proven pro-transit track record, but her transportation platform is still superior to that of incumbent Steve Litzow, who was wrong on Sound Transit 2, the biggest transit slam dunk this century.

Washington State House

District 21, Rep. 2: Marko Liias is the de facto leader of progressive transportation legislators in Olympia. He has been the driving force behind numerous bills to help struggling transit agencies, and together with unopposed Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) is one of the two strongest pro-transit legislators currently in office.

District 27, Rep. 2: Jake Fey gets our accolade for having a pragmatic transportation-oriented vision, more so than his Democratic opponent, Lauren Walker. He has served on the Pierce Transit and Sound Transit boards, as is sure to emphasize the interests of those organizations in Olympia.

District 30, Rep. 2: Roger Freeman is running against incumbent Katrina Asay, a prime mover of the horrible and counterproductive legislative attempt to punish Sound Transit for not having enough money to get to Federal Way.

District 34, Rep. 2: Joe Fitzgibbon is running unopposed come November, but still gets a well-deserved endorsement for championing the pro-transit cause in Olympia.

District 36, Rep. 1: Reuven Carlyle has been a steadfast ally of transit supporters during his time in Olympia. He was a vocal critic of the supermajority requirement in the emergency funding authority that saved Metro for two years and is even a proven blog reader.

District 46, Rep. 2: Jessyn Farrell’s background includes the Transportation Choices Coalition, and that experience shows in an issues page that discusses transportation and land use in rich detail. She has deep understanding of the issues and experience with relevant legislation in Olympia. Her opponent doesn’t indicate any priority on transportation at all. There are a few candidates that stand out every election cycle by being worth not only your vote, but your time and money. Ms. Farrell is the one in a competitive race this time around.

District 48, Rep 1: Ross Hunter isn’t a pro-transit standout, but he’s shown a fairly steadfast commitment to getting East Link done. His opponent, on the other hand, is only running in the hope of killing Eastside rail expansion entirely.

District 48, Rep 2: Cyrus Habib is relatively new to the political arena, but has all the right positions on transit for an Eastside candidate. He supports light rail and sits on a Bellevue Downtown Association Board that has been an instrumental in lobbying for East Link. Habib is running against Redmond city councilmember Hank Myers, who opposed ST2 in favor of “better transportation options” that were never specified.

City and Other

City of Seattle Proposition 1: Approve. There is no question the seawall needs to be rebuilt. While some will certainly argue about how the rebuild might be financed, the seawall is a foundational requirement of a safe and prosperous downtown and city. Approving Proposition 1 will ensure the the seawall can be rebuilt in coordination with the Alaskan Way Viaduct project.

City of Kirkland Proposition 1: Approve. This is the kind of transportation package we’d like to see more of from suburban cities: focused on safety and fixing existing roads, rather than building new ones. Smart management of roads now, before they are crumbling, will reduce lifecycle maintenance costs and help Kirkland avoid a Seattle-like maintenance backlog in the future. We want the City of Kirkland to continue to be a showpiece in how suburban cities can improve safety and access for pedestrians and bicyclists and hope they extend their leadership to transit in the future.

Proposed North Highline “Y” Annexation Area and Proposed West Hills Annexation Area, which will incorporate these areas into the City of Burien and Renton respectively is simply the correct governance policy decision and is called for under the GMA. Both areas are clearly urban areas and deserved urban levels of government services. This can only be effectively done by a city. King County’s overriding mission is to provide regional services like transit and unincorporated urban areas are a distraction from this mission.

Comments

  1. Matt the Engineer says

    I love the board’s position on District 10. It’s smart, strategic, and shows that transit is not a one party issue. If Baily is smart, she’ll take this endorsement and use it to craft a pro-transit stand on issues in time for the election.

    • says

      Agreed in full. Bailey needed this endorsement and so did transit.

      It’s time transit forces started working strategically with Republicans. I’m one of McKenna’s biggest fans but the kind way you guys unsurprisingly endorsed Inslee was appreciated. It could have been way worse.

    • Michael H. says

      If I were in that district I would seriously consider voting for a Republican for the first time in years.

    • Transit Guy says

      This may be the dumbest endorsement in history. Count votes. Transit will never get Bailey’s, and there will be one less democrat in the Senate.

      This looks like misguided sour grapes. A few not very smart transit lobbyists have poisoned the well for transit in Olympia. This is more evidence that they simply don’t get, how to get results.

      That’s what needs to change.

  2. You guys are crazy says

    So, Mary Margaret Haugen invents Safe Routes To School, creates the Tri-County Connector bus (there is such a thing as transit outside of King and Pierce Counties, FYI), builds dozens of park-and-rides, heavily funds bus services for seniors, and is one of the strongest advocates anywhere in the country at the state legislature level for moving freight by train instead of truck. Her opponent votes against all of these things. But you endorse your opponent? You guys are seriously lacking in facts and need to pay attention to more than just Cascade Bicycle Club’s leg scorecard. Haugen has done a hundred times as much for transit, especially transit in her district, than Bailey ever will, and you guys don’t know about it because you’re in the Seattle bubble. Good thing for the fate of the 10th that no one outside of Seattle reads this blog.

      • You guys are crazy says

        I did. You said that Haugen is the primary obstacle to pro-transit legislation – she is not. She has passed numerous bills to advance transit, bills that STB does not seem to be aware of. Pro-transit bills that haven’t made it out of her committee didn’t make it not because of any personal enmity to transit on Haugen’s part, but because they didn’t have the votes. Your solution – elect another anti-transit Republican! I’ll remind you that SB 6582 passed the Senate 25-24 – if Bailey is in instead of Haugen, local governments and transit districts don’t get the local revenue authority they so desperately need.

      • Brent says

        Where did the authors of the post suggest that Barbara Bailey should succeed Chairwoman Haugen as Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee? They did not.

        “You guys are crazy” intentionally ignores the key point of the endorsement. If “You guys are crazy” had any credibility, she/he would post using a real name.

        And really, would getting rid of Chairwoman Haugen mean that the rather paltry Safe Paths to School funding would go away? I mean, really?

        Also, in her chairwoman position, she is the primary roadblock to better funding for transit in Pierce and Snohomish County, which has led to a great reduction in bus service and paratransit service … including for seniors. The claim that she has helped funding for bus service for seniors is the opposite of reality.

      • says

        You left out the cornerstone of transit in this State, the Senator Haugen Legacy Memorial Stanwood Union Passenger Terminal Platform.

        Fixed that for ya.

      • d.p. says

        Hey, don’t mock! That’s the 16th best used* Amtrak station in the state!

        *(out of 19 total)

      • Bernie says

        Let me guess, it beats out Wishram and BINGEN-WHITE SALMON? Where else, Ephrata or are they still listing Tyee as a stop :=

      • d.p. says

        Wishram …BINGEN-WHITE SALMON …Ephrata

        Bingo, bingo, and bingo.

        In the correct order, too (starting from absolute least used).

      • Zach Shaner says

        Don’t forget Stanwood has 4 trains per day while Wishram, Bingen, and Ephrata only have 2x/day… Stanwood ranks *dead last* in on-offs per train.

        ON-OFFS Per Train:
        Stanwood, 2.8
        Wishram, 2.9
        Bingen-White Salmon, 3.3
        Ephrata, 4.2
        Centralia, 6.0
        Kelso, 7.4
        Tukwila, 9.1
        Leavenworth, 11.0
        Mt Vernon, 12.8
        Edmonds, 13.9
        Olympia-Lacey, 15.9
        Wenatchee, 18.7
        Everett, 19.3
        Vancouver WA, 22.6
        Pasco, 30.9
        Spokane, 32.0
        Tacoma, 34.0
        Bellingham, 40.7
        Seattle, 153.5

    • lazarus says

      Haugen has done little for transit (or even the broader “transportation”) in the Puget Sound area, in fact, she has been a serious roadblock to improvement.

      As this is the “Seattle Transit Blog”, I see no problem in the recommendation to vote against Haugen. In fact, it is probably the right thing to do for the entire State.

      If she can’t be removed at the polls, then the voters of the PS region should work with our representatives to get her removed from all positions of authority involving transportation.

    • Sherwin Lee says

      You can enter “Mary Margaret Haugen” in our search box and you’ll find that her actions have been more detrimental to the central Sound agencies than beneficial.

  3. aw says

    So, the STB editorial board has nothing to say about congressional candidates?

    Also, it should be dead obvious who you should endorse, but there’s a presidential race going on too.

      • aw says

        I’ve already marked my ballot, so I can’t be influenced. I also don’t know about my candidates positions on transportation.

        However, I’d urge anyone in the 8th CD to vote against Dave Reichart. I got moved into another CD, so I no longer can.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        Tsk tsk, voting without learning candidates views on transit. Your transit nerd card is hereby revoked.

      • aw says

        I didn’t need to know my candidates’ position on transit. There were enough other factors distinguishing them that it made my choice easy.

  4. Anon says

    Initiative 1185 is also unconstitutional. It has been ruled unconstitutional before and it will be ruled unconstitutional again.

    The Washington State Constitution, Article II, Section 22 is pretty darn clear on the matter. I don’t know what Eyman intends with his perpetual introduction of the initiative, other than trying to turn our state into the tax mess that is California.

    • David L says

      It’s absolutely clear what he intends to achieve: continue pulling in donations for his organization, from which he can pay himself a salary.

    • Brent says

      A major reason some of his previous initiatives have been shot down is violation of the proscription against multiple subjects. The 2/3 majority rule is constitutional as far as I can see. Previous legislators have passed portions of his initiatives after the whole initiative was thrown out.

      • says

        “shhhh!!! don’t give him ideas! ;-)”

        Why not? I’d love to see him spin his wheels in an attempt to get a 2/3 vote to push his agenda forward.

        I have no problem with a 2/3 vote to institute a tax increase, provided you also have to have a 2/3 vote to institute a tax loophole. The high bar for increasing taxes isn’t wise when it only takes a simple majority to pass loopholes that live on in perpetuity.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        2/3 for anything gives you minority rule. If, say, 60% think a certain tax or loophole is critical for our state’s health, well too bad – the more important minority says no. In a world with party-line splits and tax fundamentalists, this makes a very small minority very powerful.

      • Nathanael says

        2/3s rules and 60% rules — things which have made Minority Rule the order of the day — have wrecked California government and they’re busily wrecking the federal government.

        (California government may be saved by demographics — Republicans may finally be reduced to less than 1/3 of either house of the legislature, which will enable the repeal of the 2/3 rules. To save the US government, the US Senate filibustering rules have to be reformed or ended, which unfortunately neither party has been willing to do — though the Republicans seemed willing to do it until the Democrats got a majority.)

        At the end of the day, the majority *must* be able to rule — otherwise this isn’t a democracy, and people will notice, and eventually revolt, potentially violently. Don’t let your state government be screwed up the way the federal and California governments have been screwed up.

      • Scott Stidell says

        …and, of course, the old 60% rule means we didn’t start building an actual subway system in 1968–a system that would have been completed in the ’80s and likely long since expanded upon, and that had better routing than what we’re getting now.

        No matter what side of the fence you may be on, your vote on any given issue should never be worth less than someone’s on the other side–and that’s what a supermajority does.

    • says

      Eyman intends to keep himself employed. He may believe in what he’s peddling but in reality, he’s just a salesman selling poorly constructed ideas to make government more efficient using a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel.

      • David L says

        He found it was more lucrative and less annoying to sell horrible political ideas than to sell watches with frat logos.

      • Bernie says

        He found it was more lucrative and less annoying to sell horrible political ideas than to sell watches

        Definitely more lucrative. Less annoying to who?

  5. Andrew Smith says

    I met Cyrus Habib and he’s a really smart guy on these issues. I’m glad you guys endorsed him.

  6. Stephan J. Cox says

    Pierce Transit has been pounding the pavement, pushing Prop 1 and handing out informational pamphlets. Though from what I’m seeing, a lot of the people who would need Prop 1 to pass the most are those who can’t, won’t, or otherwise don’t know how to vote. Still, I’m hard-pressed to find any opposition to it. The first time I saw any visible opposition to Prop 1 was on the electric readerboard of (surprise, surprise) a used car lot; with the scare tactic that it will raise our sales tax to “10.1%”.

  7. Anthony says

    So, what’s everyone’s take on Bailey’s record on women’s rights vs. transit? I don’t hear a lot of good things about Bailey on the island, unless its coming from GOP supporters.

    Since I live in her district, I am favored to vote for Haugen since she actually has done something with transit(the boats get me to work, you know). Saying that Bailey will is a stretch so far until we see it in person.

    • Sherwin Lee says

      Haugen will appear better for her constituents since many of her projects have been implemented in the 10th, but her myopic actions have been a disaster for the rest of the region’s transit needs.

    • Brent says

      Nobody here is claiming Bailey will do anything for transit. But just by her election, there is a great chance that transit will make huge progress in Olympia.

      If Haugen is re-elected, there is virtually no hope for progress on transit in Olympia for the next four years. I’ll take two years of a Republican Senate majority over four more years of Haugen’s chairmanship of the Transportation Committee.

      • aw says

        With our top two primary, any third party candidate would have to be write-in. We only have minor party candidates for President and in the primary. One exception to that rule is a socialist that got through the primary for a legislature seat in Seattle.

    • Brent says

      Lesser of two evils argumentation ad infinitum, no thank you. The Democratic Party doesn’t own anyone’s vote, and shouldn’t expect votes to come automatically just by saying the other half of the Two-Party Sithdom is worse.

      • Nels H. Nelson says

        Let me put it another way, Brent. I will never vote for anyone with an “R” by their name. Anyone associated with what the Republican Party has evolved into the last few years will never get my vote. Feel free, Brent, and others, but not me.

  8. Brian says

    “In effect, a vote for Bailey is a vote for current Vice Chair Sen. Tracey Eide of Federal Way”

    It is foolish to assume that the Democrats will maintain control of the State Senate. Control of the Senate will likely come down to 1 or 2 seats, and it could go either way. And if Bailey wins and the Republicans have a 25-24 majority, I highly doubt Eide will replace Haugen.

    • Brent says

      Even if the Republicans gain a one-seat majority temporarily, another Democrat would become chair of the Senate Transportation Committee if the majority flips in two years. If Haugen is re-elected, we get *four* more years of the same (Yuck!). Vote for change.

      • asdf says

        Does Haugen have any urban areas in her district? I thought it was just Whidbey/Camano Islands? And most of the few people that live way out there probably do consider all forms of transit (except for car-carrying ferries to their islands) as wasteful pork, unworthy of state money.

        That being said, it is a bit surprising that a rural area like that would even elect a Democrat in the first place – the Democrats are the party of cities, and the Republicans are the party of rural areas.

      • Avgeek Joe from Skagit County says

        asdf;

        What county between Bellingham and Olympia has FREE transit with no fares?

        Try Island.

        Let’s stop the stereotyping and bigotry, okay? I don’t post sloth here about the people to my south, so you can show some respect – even gruding – to my people. Thanks.

        Thanks.

      • David L says

        Whidbey is quite different demographically from your typical rural area. There are lots of wealthy retirees from the city and more than a few unreconstructed hippies. It’s much more like the San Juans than like Eastern Washington.

  9. Brian says

    Do you really believe a Republican from Eastern Washington will be better for transit than Haugen? Let’s do a little research on the committee’s ranking Republican, Curtis King:

    Here is on expanding the vehicle license fee:

    Republican Curtis King (R-14, Yakima) argued that it was unfair to tax drivers to pay for transit, and suggested that any fee for transit should have to go to a vote of the people. “You’re saying to the people that own a car, ‘You get to pay this one percent and we’re going to give the money to the transit agencies so that all the people who want to ride the buses can do it at a very low rate,” King said. “That’s not fair. That’s not equitable.”

    Here he is on light rail across the Columbia:

    Committee member state Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, asked if another bridge design might allow for cheaper cost without light rail. Again, Hammond jumped in.

    “This took us 10 years to get this far,” Hammond said, reiterating that such a move would mean “going back to the drawing board.”

    King replied: “I’d rather get it right.”

    STB needs to understand that a minority of Washington lives in Seattle and other urban areas. Some level of compromise is necessary with suburbs and rural areas. That’s how politics works. This vain attempt to endorse a token Republican is foolish.

    • David L says

      Your logic is assuming that a Haugen loss will hand the Senate to the Republicans. That is possible, but not the most likely outcome — this is a stronger year than 2010 for Dems, and they are likely to win back a seat or two elsewhere.

      I can understand the reluctance to vote for an R, but replacing Haugen in the chairmanship with a more typical Democrat really is an excellent goal.

      • Brian says

        No, I don’t assume the Republicans will win the Senate – in my original post I acknowledge it could go either way. It is this blog that assumes the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate. I believe it will be very close, possibly decided by one seat, and that one seat could easily be Haugen’s.

        Another thing to keep in mind is that Derek Kilmer has a good chance of being elected to Congress this year. He is a Democrat who holds a lean Republican seat in the Senate. Meaning Republicans have a good chance of picking it up in the special election that would follow in 2013.

  10. says

    Does North Highline extend all the way to Roxbury St? If so, I refuse to let White Center remain divided by an arbitrary city line just because Burien was willing to take them in before Seattle was.

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