Election Open Thread

You may have heard that there was an election last night. As of 9:30pm, someone sympathetic to STB’s endorsements would say the news was mixed. Of the four statewide races we picked, only I-1185 is going poorly. Of 9 contested legislative races, only Maureen Judge is trailing.

The local measure picture was worse (2 for 6) overall, with the two big transit measures (in Pierce and Clark Counties) both losing, the Pierce measure narrowly.

Anyhow, I’m sure it’s what everyone wants to talk about, so go right ahead.

Comments

  1. MrZ says

    One thing is for sure, it would appear sales tax is no longer a viable form of raising revenue for transit projects. One hopes they both get a second wind and pull through. Of course some more options need to be found asap, as metro will soon be in the same boat with pierce and community transits.

      • says

        “I don’t see how any of last night’s results reflect sales tax?”

        The difficulty that Prop 1 in Pierce County is having is evidence. I’ll admit that I would have had a difficult time voting for Prop 1 since it would make Tacoma, with all of its woes, the highest tax rate in the state.

        But we are already driving people out of our region for large purposes. I hear people bragging about trips to Portland all the time. The presence of so many massive car dealerships in lower taxing districts shows that people are willing to drive a little to save a couple of hundred bucks. (Skagit Ford advertises their 8.5% sales tax rate on their home page, for example)

        1185’s crushing win shows that many of your fellow Democrats are also staunchly anti-tax or at least anti-tax without a vote.

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        I don’t see us driving anyone out of our region with taxes. I see more people wanting to live in the city than we have space for. If we were “driving people out”, square footage would be less expensive in the city.

        I don’t think a particular sales tax measure failing is any indication of the relative acceptance of different taxes. They’re just low density.

      • says

        “I don’t see us driving anyone out of our region with taxes”

        Reread what I wrote, Ben. People make day trips to Portland for shopping trips all the time. Next time you’re down there ask at any bike shop how many Washington residents they see buying bikes. ($1200 bike = $114 savings on taxes – You could easily do an Amtrak trip for that) Privatizing liquor sales had led to a drop in sales along the border and an increase in sales in lower tax states like Idaho and Oregon. Car dealers outside the Sound Transit taxing district advertise their lower sales tax rates on their web sites. Are you telling me people buying a $50,000 truck wouldn’t make a day trip to Mt. Vernon for the scenery and to save $500? Does everybody do it? No. But the higher you push the sales tax rate, the more tax avoidance you will see. It’s simple supply and demand.

      • Nathanael says

        You do know that residents are legally supposed to pay “use tax” on the products they buy out of state and bring back in. The state could, at any time, start putting tax inspectors on the bridges from Oregon.

      • JohnS says

        Yes, Nathanael, that is quite true. It’s been true for decades. I don’t see the State choosing to take that approach for any number of additional decades :) Velo’s right – higher sales tax rates lead to people avoiding purchasing high-ticket items in Washington, and I see mentions of this on my Facebook feed regularly. Increasing sales tax rates is not a recipe for funding projects in Washington.

      • MrZ says

        The no on prop 1 campaign was running a campaign claiming that the sales tax would be at 10.1%, which was only partially true. In the city of tacoma if you bought a new car or boat would it than only be that high. Otherwise the sales tax rate would be at 9.8% for general purchases. Unfourtunaly i think a LOT of people saw that and assumed that wpuld be the day to day sales tax rate.

      • MrZ says

        One way to curb the avoidance of paying your proper share of sales tax, is to have DOL enforce the collection of the proper amount of sales tax for where you live when you register the vehicle (the dealer i suppose could still collect it and report back to DOL). I beileive something similar is done when you buy out of state, that within a certain time period you have to pay sales tax on a vehicle youve bought out of state before you can register it in washington.

  2. groan says

    When does the 1185 court case start?

    When will Metro starting running special Pot buses? Route 420! :-)

    • Ben Schiendelman says

      If the current case about 2/3 comes down against it, 1185 would be invalidated without a new case, I think.

    • Norman says

      With 1185 getting about 64% of the vote, the State Lebislature is not going to be raising any taxes or fees without putting it to a public vote.

      • says

        At least we’ll get a vote… if legislators grow a spine and face us with more than just cuts.

        Problem is the two advisory votes went down in smoke. Somehow my friend Rob McKenna can’t translate anti-tax sentiment into enough votes just yet.

      • says

        Agreed. Frankly, given the pounding the “No” on I-1185 side took, it is time for the legislature to craft a sane constitutional amendment to put this issue to rest. We need sunset dates for all tax loopholes, an idea that has Republican support as well, and we need simple majority votes on issues sent to the voters so we don’t end up with the mess in California. Measure J is a prime example of the bar being set too high.

      • Charles says

        It’s interesting to observe that California just voted a super-majority in both houses. So, revenue has a chance of being in the mix to help solve their fiscal problems.

      • Andy says

        I am so sick of voting on everything here. This is why we elect representatives… a direct democracy is not only not a good thing, it’s not the system we have. Why do we elect representatives if we have to approve everything they do?

        And yes, we have to learn this lesson from California.

      • says

        “I am so sick of voting on everything here”

        I agree but sadly ~64% of voters statewide don’t. Get over it and let’s get behind efforts to clean up this mess (sunset dates for tax loopholes, streamline public votes, whatever…) I’ve been screaming into the wind on this one since the day Eyman started his antics. It’s over and the SOB won.

      • says

        One difference between WA and CA is that in WA there are enough Rs in the legislature that they actually have to govern instead of just trying to discredit the Ds. Also, open primaries produce different kinds of candidates, at least in theory… though there’s obviously still a lot of money at stake in gaining the support of the party establishment.

        Even so, I don’t care what 64% of the people think, going anywhere near the California model is utter insanity.

    • David B. says

      I think that the will of the voters on 1185 should be respected… if it prevails with the same 2/3rds majority it wants to set for other measures.

      • Mike Orr says

        The issue with this “will of the voters” is that it fundamentally contradicts a basic principle that the United States and Washington state was founded on, that 50% + 1 is a majority and prevails. The minority has a right to have its civil rights respected, but it can’t just block all action across the board. 2/3 majority rules lead to a situation that a 33% – 1 minority will have an undue influence. Historically, 2/3 majority has been traditional only in narrow and exceptionally important circumstances. E.g., to override a veto. The overriding is an exception to the normal democratic process, so it has the extraordinary burden of 2/3 majority. Likewise, the Senate filibuster was meant to be invoked only in extraordinary circumstances, to raise awareness of a vital issue that was being debated. It was invoked rarely for over a century until it snowballed in the past decade and is now invoked almost across the board. If the citizenry decides that a 2/3 majority should become the norm at the state level, a constitutional amendment would be the proper way to achieve it.

      • David B. says

        @Mike: The point I was trying to make was the hypocrisy of using a measure that requires 50%+1 vote support to pass in order to create a 2/3rds majority threshold for subsequent measures.

  3. AlexKven says

    Prop 1 needs to pass. Why isn’t Pierce Transit allowed to be biased about it’s advertising of prop 1, but Federal way public schools IS? It’s like people are kicking PT in the side and wondering why it isn’t working. It’s unfair to the agency and ALL of its users.

    • Ben Schiendelman says

      It’s population density. Unless Pierce gets serious about not allowing more sprawl, this is going to be how it is.

      • Charles says

        The new boundary of the transportation benefit district conformed to the urban areas of Pierce County for which the public transit had a clear beneficial effect. They excluded the sprawly parts of the county.

        Unfortunately, human nature was in full effect. People unless educated and acculturated to act with their bests interests often act to not want to pay for anything and expect business as usual. Also, large numbers of transitory people who aren’t invested in the community because they will be transferred in a couple of years.

      • Norman says

        “People unless educated and acculturated to act with their bests interests often act to not want to pay for anything ”

        Transit users never want to pay for their own transportation — they always want someone else to pay for it. It appears a lot of those “someone elses” are getting tired of subsidizing transit users.

        Of course, transit agencies can always raise fares. Oh, wait! That would mean transit users would have to pay more of their own way. How terrible.

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        Norman, transit users want the freedom to pay market rates for their housing, not the skyrocketing prices that land use regulation is causing. Offer them that freedom and I think they’ll be happy to pay for the full price of transit.

      • Bernie says

        Ben’s right. ROT is 8,000 people per square mile to have an effective public transportation system. Piece County is an order of magnitude shy at only 473 people per square mile. Tacoma is only 3,864.9 people per square mile. Lakewood, Tacoma’s “sprawling” suburb is 3,401.3 people per square mile. PT is a case of doing too little for too much. Crappy service spread too thin and costing way more than it’s worth to the average Joe. Ironically Tacoma Link is a wonderful disincentive for people to take the bus to jobs in DT Tacoma. They can drive, park for free and take the tram for free. Why pay to ride the stinking bus?

      • Norman says

        What does land use regulation have to do with transit users paying their own way?

        If you get rid of all land use regulation, you would have a whole lot more forests cut down for housing developments. It is land use regulations that is preventing a lot of sprawl from occuring.

        Or is it just the land-use regulations that you don’t like, that you want removed, but the land-use regulations you do like should remain in place?

      • Sherwin Lee says

        Norman, which do you think is a better use a taxpayer dollars: multi-family housing in an urban infill area with all existing infrastructure in place? Or a large single-family tract development that requires “forests cut down” and new publicly-funded infrastructure to be built and maintained?

      • Norman says

        “Norman, which do you think is a better use a taxpayer dollars: multi-family housing in an urban infill area with all existing infrastructure in place? Or a large single-family tract development that requires “forests cut down” and new publicly-funded infrastructure to be built and maintained?”

        I don’t think tax dollars should be used to pay for housing. Do you? Did tax dollars pay for your house? Or, did you pay for your own house, either by buying it or renting it?

    • MrZ says

      Government agencies are now allowed to campaign for or aganst a ballot measure or politician, etc. Politicans can but not the agencies themselves. Agencies can, however produce neutural fact pieces, put on informational open houses and perform other normal activities that do not advocate for or against a measure.

      • AlexKven says

        Yeah, but why? Federal Way public schools were allowed to, but why not PT? PT is in a dire situation, and FWPS just wanted more money to waste! It’s unfair! WHY is everything stacked against PT?

  4. David L says

    Ugh. I was feeling pretty good about last night’s election until I saw that the PT measure was failing. That’s horrendous. I hope against hope that the remaining ballots will pull it through.

    If not, PT is just going to have to get right back on the ballot as soon as possible.

    • mic says

      They no doubt have a plan B sitting on the shelf for more revenue in a soon to be announced local election – which is a harder sell than in a presidential year. The 37% cuts are going to gut their service plan.
      That said, I would cut every route that could be run by ST and let them do the long haul stuff, and concentrate my fleet on short hops in the city. That may cause some heartburn at ST, but they can scrap some capital spending for more STEX service.
      Not ideal, but times are tough.

      • Norman says

        Or, they could raise fares. But, that would mean that transit users would have to pay more of their own way…..

      • says

        At this point, Pierce Transit should raise fares. The private charter for the Freedom Fair special event was just a bunch of school buses – ‘not optimal’ for mass transit.

        Skagit County, on the other hand, doesn’t have these kind of problems. Gee, I wonder why…

      • Ben Schiendelman says

        “They can scrap some capital spending” <- this is why we're in such a bad situation in the first place.

      • says

        “Skagit County, on the other hand, doesn’t have these kind of problems. Gee, I wonder why…”

        Actually, I don’t know the answer to that. Could you expand on this a bit?

      • says

        Let’s see:

        a) We had a tax increase on the 2008 ballot when gas price pain was high

        b) We have a system that’s managed not based on politics but service within revenue

        c) We have a laser-like focus on buses and not other means of transit

      • says

        I would cut every route that could be run by ST and let them do the long haul stuff

        I honestly don’t know what routes you’re referring to, other than perhaps 495 and 497. All of PT’s service is local service.

      • MrZ says

        Its actually a 53% service cut, and if you look at PTs service they already have done that. There are no more express buses outside the county, and only one express route to gig harbor left that runs 2 round trips.

      • mic says

        I was referring to regional routes with an arterial component like the 500, 501, 400 etc. Those can’t be any less regional than the 560 to W.Seattle.
        Also, I misread the service cut. Yikes. 53%.
        How come so much, when sales tax revenue is only down from $74m to $63m, and that’s only 3/4 of their revenue, so the net is about a 10% loss.
        Have costs risen that much, and they sucked all their reserves bone dry?

    • Brent says

      Now that Auburn, Sumner, and Puyallup already have their stations, will their residents vote for the next ST capital package?

      • mic says

        If we follow this logic:
        1. PT becomes another Everett Transit, with very local routes.
        2. ST picks up some of the slack between PT cities, much like CT up north.
        3. CT isn’t far behind PT on funding shortages, so replay of 1.
        4. ST has now differed most Pierce and Snohomish capital projects to 2030
        5. ST is now in the ‘long haul transit’ business and a large enabler of suburban sprawl.
        Many have taken a “who cares” attitude towards both Pierce and Snohomish delegations spending their sub-area equity in dubious ways, because it’s their money. Faced with 50% cuts, I see the ST current pot of gold as the low lying fruit for both of those areas.

      • Mike Orr says

        Except that ST is not like CT. CT is what Metro would have been if Seattle Transit hadn’t merged with it. CT and Metro have a mandate to privde local services in areas without a city transit agency. ST has a mandate for regional transit. That could include Tacoma – Puyallup – Lakewood – Sumner if PT withdraws to Tacoma only. But it would be more express-y, downtown-to-downtown, than PT’s service. The Pierce subarea would pay for it so there’s no problem there, but the entire ST board would have to decide to focus more on intra-subarea transit in Pierce. That’s assuming new ST3 taxes. Without new taxes, what would ST cut in Pierce to fund new routes?

      • Mike Orr says

        “ST is now in the ‘long haul transit’ business and a large enabler of suburban sprawl.”

        Transit does not cause sprawl! The majority of people in Sumner, Puyallup, and Bonney Lake never use Sounder or PT, and they don’t work in downtown Seattle or downtown Tacoma. A large percentage of them don’t even know what transit is available because they’ve never bothered to find out. Sure, they see Puyallup Station because it’s obvious there on the main street, and they vaguely know it goes to Seattle, but that’s about it. So did Sounder and PT inspire these tens of thousands of people to move to east Pierce County and Spanaway? No! A lot of them moved there before Sounder started, and a lot of the others barely knew that Sounder existed. The same is true for Kent, Covington, Issaquah, Mukilteo, Lake Stevens, and all the other sprawly places du jour.

      • mic says

        Your probably right, but what happened to
        “If we build it, they will come”. Causing sprawl is not the same as enabling sprawl.
        I was just looking at tempting ways for PT and CT to keep their collective ships afloat.

    • Mike Orr says

      If the economy keeps improving, it’s possible that Piercians will change their mind next year or the year after. Or when they see the effects of drastic cuts (I’ve heard no evenings or weekends), that could start a movement to restore service. Hopefully, at that time, PT would be able to improve strategic core routes rather than blindly reinstating the exact routes it had before. PT might even be able to make that explicit in its proposal and the public might approve, since it would clearly be new transit service and the old milk runs would already have been lost.

      • asdf says

        I think by this point, pretty much everyone in Pierce County who used to depend on transit has either bought a car or moved elsewhere. When the only transit users that are left are the dirt poor, it’s hard to get the votes for any more service.

        As to me, all I can say is this – I’m glad I don’t live there.

    • Nathanael says

      Let’s look one more time at the numbers for where the PT measure passed and where it failed. You know, then, what the logical places to cut service and the logical places to keep service are. I do wonder if Pierce Transit didn’t shrink their district *enough*.

      • T.K. says

        Pull back to the cities of Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest, and the unincorporated Pacific Avenue corridor.

        I realize Puyallup and South Hill bring in a good chunk of sales tax revenue, but I have a feeling that’s where the majority of the “no” votes have come from. Let them band together with Sumner and Bonney Lake in forming an “East Pierce Transit.”

      • Mike Orr says

        … and thus the paradox that poorer people are often in suburbs where land prices are lower, and these are the same people who are most tenacious about their cars and unwilling to fund transit. People need to think more about why this is and what we can do about it. I think it’s because frequent transit was withdrawn in the 1940s or so when the streetcars and interurbans were dismantled, which led to people growing up without much transit, especially in the suburbs. Subsequent generations either never thought about using transit, or found that it wasn’t there when they needed it. (It wasn’t running at the time, wouldn’t come for an hour, or was an hour-long milk run plus a half-hour transfer to another mulk run.) That made them even more tenacious about their cars and less willing to pay transit taxes.

        This is really evident in Chicago where the north side has lots of L lines and buses and Metra routes, and people are enthusiastic about transit and more middle class, while parts of the south side have much less transit and fewer regional routes, and people are less willing to use or support transit and more working class. You’d expect working-class people to be more enthusiastic about transit because it’s a bigger benefit to their pocketbook, but turns out the opposite in the US often. The paradoxical thing about the US is, most people don’t give a whiff about transit and don’t consider it when deciding which house to live in, but at the same time they bid up the price of real estate near the best transit. So the cities with comprehensive transit are the same ones more expensive than Seattle, and the parts of Pugetopolis that are most expensive are the core of Seattle. Mansion rows and enclaves like Medina are exceptions to this, but pretty much everything else follows this pattern. In other western countries, even the suburbs have decent transit so it’s less of an issue there, but because US transit drops off into unusable outside the inner cities, these problems arise here.

        It’s only when you add a transformative amount of transit that it can be a game changer.

  5. Bellinghammer says

    Congratulations to Jessyn Farrell, a great candidate and great all-around person. If you’ve ever been around her, her competence and enthusiasm are infectious. Here’s to her being a solid pro-transit voice in Olympia!

  6. Chetan says

    It looks like there is some good news in the legislature. The Dems will hold on to the senate, even though Mary Margaret Haugen is out. And Jessyn Farrel is in.

      • Brent says

        The Vice Chair, Tracy Eide, acted commendably this year, helping ST come up with a plan to start making Federal Way Link shovel-ready, and be able to get federal grants. She did this while other Federal Way politicians were trying to score cheap political points against transit while pretending to be for transit. Let’s hope all those anti-transit demagogues get tossed next year.

      • says

        “Let’s hope all those anti-transit demagogues get tossed next year”

        Start by naming names and giving solid reasons why you believe them to be “anti-transit demagogues”.

        Hanging the scarlet letter early couldn’t hurt…

  7. AlexKven says

    Now that 1185 has passed, does this mean that if PT wanted to rerun Prop 1 again, then to pass it would need a 2/3 vote? This is terrible. If this thing fails, I see ABSOLUTELY no hope for Pierce Transit, except abolishing it and starting a new public transportation system (at 0.9%)

    Seriously, PT has a hard time getting half. If it needs 2/3, then there’s no way it will ever get passed, ever. It’s done. Thank you, Tim Eyeman!

    • LB says

      From what I can tell, the 2/3 vote only applies to taxes at the state level and is what is needed to raise taxes without voter approval. This wouldn’t apply to PT.

    • Bernie says

      All that initiative 1185 would require is a simple majority at the ballot to pass a new tax; no higher burden than now exists for PC Prop 1. What’s interesting is 1185 passed 69% to 31% in Pierce County and Amendment No. 40 Requiring a Two-Thirds Vote of the Pierce County Council “To Levy or Increase a New Councilmanic Tax” passed 67% to 33%. Clearly, Pierce County voters don’t trust their elected representatives when it comes to budgeting wisely.

    • Mike Orr says

      Yes, the 2/3 rule is all about preventing legislators and councils from raising taxes without a public vote or a supermajority. Even Eyman has said (paraphrasing) he’s happy to allow “tax-happy Seattlites” to tax themselves to Armageddon.

      • Sherwin Lee says

        The Pierce County auditor is actually predicting a turnout exceeding 80%. There are 276,092 eligible voters who can vote on Prop. 1 in the PBTA area. Assuming 80% turnout, 220,874 ballots are expected to be returned. As of the 5pm drop, 145,152 ballots have been counted, which leaves more than 75,000 left to be tallied.

      • aw says

        PT Prop. 1 is now trailing by 829 votes.

        There are still 96,000 estimated ballots to be counted in the county.

      • William says

        What’s the heading of “Proposition 1″ on that page? Is it the same thing as “Referendum Measure No. 74″?

      • aw says

        Near the bottom of the Pierce County page, with the title “Pierce Transit”.

        Referendum 74 is a state-wide issue.

      • Bernie says

        Thursday, November 8, 2012 4:35 PM, Prop 1 is now 908 votes behind. It’s still a very close result but the trend doesn’t seem to be changing and as it comes down to the wire it’s more about the total number than the percentage. Interesting that there’s more than 10X as many undervotes as the margin of difference. King County would have taken care of that :=

        It’s remarkable that after being able to draw the voting boundaries around the precincts that vote yes on the previous attempt that it could be behind. Doubly so in a general election where there was a razor tight race between a conservative and a liberal for Governor.

  8. Bellinghammer says

    I know PT’s proposed cuts are only conceptual, but if enacted as shown they will make peanut-butter cuts across the few remaining service hours. All weekend service and basic frequency will be sacrificed in order to keep from deleting any routes (except axing the woeful 62, and combining 204/410 into new Route 4).

    Their formerly renumbered and specially-branded “Super Routes” (1,2,3) will degrade to 40, 60, and 30 minute off-peak frequency respectively, while almost everything else will be hourly or worse.

    Seriously, check out the website (piercetransit.org/prop1) and look at the route-by-route scenarios. Having many LOCAL routes run peak-only, or every 60-120 minutes, is unprecedented as far as I know. It’s astonishing how little service .6% will buy in Pierce County.

    I wonder if we could start a movement to cut routes further and invest basic 15-30 minute frequency on core routes. Given the low-income demographics of PT’s ridership, skeletal service will probably prevail, but it’s a tragedy for Tacoma.

    • T.K. says

      For PT to remain viable, I think they should focus on a skeleton of routes that could run the existing span of service with half-hour peak and hour off-peak frequency. Get rid of everything else, even if that means there’s only 10 routes or so, you could probably still cover the urban core effectively.

    • MrZ says

      I wonder if the case could be made for curtailing or eliminating ADA paratransit service entirely. That service is a significant drain on resources. While i feel sorry for those who rely on the service, in these times would that money not be better spent running a full bus up pacific avenue for all to use? Now, i’m sure you’d get sued by the FTA, whoever enforces the ADA, and probally every class action laywer in town… But there is a compelling case to be made that this unfunded mandate can no longer be provided without significant impact to the community as a whole.

  9. Stephen F says

    I feel like gloating that Noel Frame is toast. Yay for Seattle that Tarleton will support an urban agenda.

  10. Bernie says

    OK, I can’t think of any way to make this transit related except maybe Charter Schools would have a hard time getting big yellow buses. But what really confounds me is the vote by county on Initiative 1240. Elections like the President and Governor are pretty predictable along county lines. 1240 is literally all over the map. Predictable King County voted NO but I would have expected the vote to be much more lob sided (like Island County). Whatcom I can understand being pulled by Bellingham. But the other large population centers, Clark, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane all voted YES. And the rural counties are a patchwork.

    • Sherwin Lee says

      I do not believe many voters understood 1240, which is why the splits for many counties were near 50/50.

      • Bernie says

        I believe you’re right that 1240 was/is poorly understood and it’s not surprising at all that the State wide vote is 51/49. But there are huge swings in counties that I might have thought would lean the other way. Rejected 57/43 in rural Asotin County in the SE corner of the State but approved 55/45 in equally rural Clallam County on the NW tip of the Olympic Peninsula. You could posit that Asotin is driven by suburban Lewiston/Clarkston voters but Clark is most definitely suburban Portland and they voted opposite. I wonder if the results can be traced to targeted advertising?

      • Matt the Engineer says

        My guess: 1240 is supported by Repubs, but directly benefits the rich. Of course, in WA it seems the red counties are the less rich ones. So you end up with the rich counties that aren’t strongly liberal (Snoho, Pierce, etc.) voting for it, and although King is quite rich it’s also strongly liberal, which edges it over to a no vote. Something similar happens in the east, where being a poor county becomes slightly more important than being a red county.

    • Mike Orr says

      It could be that childless voters don’t have a unified view on charter schools, and many of them don’t see it as that important. Also, it’s hard to assess the positive and negative impacts of them, both for those who do understand them and those who do not. The real impacts aren’t across the board, but instead depend on the quality and policies of the individual schools. Some charter schools take their education mission very seriously and prioritize outreach to poor/minority/disabled students. Others are profit-focused diploma mills and/or ideological and/or only interested in the easiest-to-teach students (with only a token outreach to disadvantaged students). Unfortunately, legislation can’t distinguish between the two, or at least we haven’t figured out how to make it do so. As for the impact of public schools losing tax dollars, that ultimately depends on how many charter schools are in a given district, not just on the presence of one or two charter schools.

      • Bernie says

        Some charter schools take their education mission very seriously and … Others are profit-focused diploma mills … legislation can’t distinguish between the two

        Sure it can. This initiative only addresses charter schools that would be part of the State Public School System operated by non-profits overseen by a local school board or state commission. And it limits it to 40 state wide. Seattle and therefore King County’s vote of NO isn’t surprising given it’s politically strong teachers union. But I’d have expected Thurston to follow suit. Not only were county by county results seemingly unrelated to Democrat or Republican leaning but the vote margins were all over the place as well. Why would Chelan vote 64/36 YES and Okanogan 52/48 against when I’d expect the two to be ideologically in lockstep.

      • Mike Orr says

        This brings the problem to the oversight commission. It may reject or close a school for incompetence. Or it may reject or close a school because of pressure from the teachers’ union. How does the law allow one but not the other?

      • Matt the Engineer says

        “And it limits it to 40 state wide.” Don’t forget the loophole – any school could go charter if 50% of parents or teachers agree.

        “operated by non-profits” Interesting. Maybe religion comes into play?

      • says

        As a childless couple, 1240 was one of the only items on the ballot we had to spend serious time considering. In the end, we both convinced ourselves that the law was a reasonable effort to enable our government to distinguish between the two.

  11. AlexKven says

    While we are on the possibility (I have NEVER seen something this close to exactly half before), what would happen if they finish counting, and prop 1 gets EXACTLY 50-50, i.e., there is an even number of votes, and they are evenly divided among the issue?
    Unlikely, but possible?

    • Sherwin Lee says

      There will be a recount. Too lazy to check what the specifics are.

      On that note, the APPROVE vote is picking up steam. The margin has now dropped to 700+ votes, which means that the majority of the new ballots are going in favor of Prop. 1. But it’s far from over. Let’s wait and see.

      • bovine says

        I wonder if, after several recounts, it were truly tied they could draw lots or otherwise do choose randomly, as they would for a human candidate? Probably not – but if so, who would do the drawing/deck cutting/whatever? The backers? Hmm…

      • AlexKven says

        Or maybe the county could do the right thing (A crazy idea, I know), and let it pass? Hopefully it will get enough votes.
        I have to say I will be extremely disappointed if it gets this far and doesn’t make it.

      • Bernie says

        UPDATED: Price tag for full Pierce Transit recount: $200,000

        One quirk with ballot measures: Unlike races for elected office, close vote counts on ballot measures don’t prompt automatic recounts. Only if one side or the other decides to fork over the money, would the ballots be recounted.

        Seems odd to have such a double standard. FWIW, the race is growing tighter in terms of percentage but the gap in absolute number of votes is, slowly, widening. 915 vote spread as of the November 8, 2012 9:31 PM reporting vs 908 at the 4:35 PM.

        Note, the number of undervotes here is huge in comparison to the difference in the result. A hand recount is bound to record “voter intent” on a number of ballots (i.e. people that voted with a yellow highlighter, check mark with a pencil, etc.).

  12. Stephan J. Cox says

    It’s funny how the opposition to Pierce Transit Prop 1 have such Mickey Mouse arguments. “Highest sales tax in the West Coast”, based on what data? And the highest sales tax would just be for auto sales, everything else will be less than that. It’s dishonest to make people think the rate is across the board. They also employ the argument of “PT’s admins and drivers are paid too much”, which seems like a cheap shot.

    Back to the complaint of Prop 1 “unfairly” affecting auto sales, that’s a thinly-veiled anti-transit argument. Why don’t they just go and say “Transit is used by poor, lazy, irresponsible people who can’t drive nor afford a car like a true American can”, since all the anti-Prop 1 crowd has are just cheap shots and scare tactics?

    • Norman says

      And the Pro Prop 1 argument is?

      “I want you to pay higher taxes to subsidize my transportation because I don’t want to pay my own way.”?

      • AlexKven says

        No, you see, we can’t choose to raise the fare, PT has to do that. But they feel bad about raising it again because they had two rounds of fare increases in the past few years. But their fares are the lowest I’ve seen (Except for island transit, LOL).
        But yeah, they need to raise fares to help with this, and if it fails, I hope they match up their fares with King County, and maybe introduce a 2 zone system. Fares at PT currently make only 14% of their budget, whereas fares make up about 1/4 of metro’s budget.

        I’m sure many of us would rather pay $5 for our ride than for it to be eliminated.

      • Stephan J. Cox says

        Thing is, Pierce Transit’s ridership does pay their own way. They pay fares and buy passes. But I guess that’s irrelevant, considering that they’re taking the bus instead of toodling around in some Ford Expedition or BMW sedan, huh?

    • MrZ says

      There are two things; the high sales tax figure they quoted i think often got mis-reprensented as thats what the daily sales tax rate would be; and among the anti movement there was a high dose of the typical anti-employee pieces “so and so is paid too much, they have a cadaliac health plan, bus drivers should get paid minimum wage to work odd hours and shifts for weeks on end not knowing what they are driving tommorw”.

      • Stephan J. Cox says

        So bus drivers should get paid all of diddley and squat while seniors, disabled, and the poor should suffer unless they can find a way to afford a car. And you notice the areas that did approve the last proposition to increase taxes for transit (ie: the map provided by the opposition) were low-income areas. Am I the only one who is seeing the class warfare element of the opposition to Prop 1?

    • Stephan J. Cox says

      Opponents are already crying “the sky is falling” about Prop 1 being litigated into approval, which is “the liberal way”.

  13. says

    “I don’t think tax dollars should be used to pay for housing. Do you? Did tax dollars pay for your house? Or, did you pay for your own house, either by buying it or renting it?”

    Norman, I take that to mean that you paid 50% down and paid off your mortgage in seven to ten years right? Otherwise the government helped you with your mortgage. Of course you didn’t take the tax break for mortgage interest because that would be the government helping you with your mortgage.

    • Jeremy says

      Must be nice, to get all those tax breaks on car driving. What? No tax rebate for walking? How could that be?

      • Bernie says

        What, you mean you don’t write off the entire cost of your shoe license on your federal income tax? You need a better accountant!

    • Norman says

      Tax breaks are not “the government paying for your house.” The government did not take any money from you to pay for my house. The governement does take money from me to pay for your transit trips. ST and Metro both receive hundreds of millions of dollars per year in tax revenues paid by taxpayers. I received ZERO dollars to pay off my mortgage.

      And, by the way, ST and Metro pay ZERO fuel taxes and zero tolls. And transit riders pay ZERO sales taxes on their transit fares. So transit riders not only get their trips paid for by other people (taxpayers) but they also pay no taxes on their transportation.

      Homeowners pay lots of taxes on their homes — mainly property taxes — and they pay they the full cost of their homes. You are not being taxed to give me money to pay off my mortgage. The government has never given me a check to help pay for my house. However, I am being taxed to pay for your transit trips. What tax do you believe you are paying that is being given to me to pay for my house?

      And you don’t pay any taxes on your transit trips. I pay all kinds of taxes (and tolls) on my motor vehicle trips.

    • Mike Orr says

      Guess what, your taxes also pay for my library card and my day in the park and the fire department. The city and citizenry have decided that certain things benefit everybody and make the city function better, whether or not everybody uses them. Transit is one of those things. It addresses a basic need OF THE CITY, that people can get to jobs and family and cultural events without a car or drivers’ license. These trips improve the city’s economy, morale, and cultural vibrancy (i.e., competitiveness). Also, if everybody on transit switched to cars — especially SOVs — congestion would increase dramatically and we’d have to widen the roads, which is expensive, and would affect your taxes and auto fees.

    • Stephen F says

      That’s absurd. Defacing and removal of signs on the public right-of-way is common. One individual is hardly going to accomplish a heck of a lot by removing a few signs. I’m not condoning it, but really, chill. Although, I would say that yard signs should be prohibited as they clutter landscaping strips and are much more offensive than pole signs common in Europe. We should permit only that in the right-of-way instead. Although, I suppose that’s a separate issue.

      • says

        What he did was un-American. It’s nothing less than an assault on democracy, freedom of speech, and our political process. I don’t care who’s sign someone steals, it’s a serious act.

      • Scott Stidell says

        Campaign signs ARE generally prohibited in public road or street right-of-ways…which include sidewalks, verges, landscaping strips, drainage, utility easements etc. Exact specifics are generally set by local jurisdiction (King County’s is KC Code 21A.20.120C). The issue is rarely if ever enforced, mainly because (IMO) the policy makers also depend on scattering their signs about wherever they feel like it when THEY are up for re-election!

    • Bernie says

      So you dismiss the people of Pierce County as gullible sheep? Those poh people, they just kain’t think fo dem selves. And by those idiots backing the NO campaign you’re referring to the Tacoma-Pierce Chamber?

      PT blew it. When they were facing the first round of cuts they decided they’d continue business as usual for as long as possible instead of implementing the inevitable efficiencies they’d already identified. When the first ballot measure failed they doubled down on their scare tactic to make transit as piss poor as possible. If the union bosses in charge had any inkling of actually providing decent value they’d have shown it by now and asked for a smaller than “max it out” increase and then come back later and asked for more based on results instead of threats.

      • AlexKven says

        Let me paraphrase a little. PT is by no means anywhere close to being as efficient as possible, and they need some serious management changes I believe. However, whereas Metro is working great, but to do it, they are getting 0.9% percent and car tab fees. So I think that for the second most populous county in the state, in the most densely populated areas of the county, where there is a lot of demand for bus service, I find it more than fair to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them the full funding. That’s in fact exactly why I believe they are underfunded.
        However, Reject Prop 1 is mostly funded by car dealerships (big shocker there). I am not referring to the Tacoma-Pierce County chamber as being stupid (But they aren’t seeing the whole picture). I’m talking about the people that see the millions of signs that say “up to 10.1% sales tax? It’s too much!” and then base their vote entirely on that. I hate those signs, not only because they were the tool that is killing public transit (indeed, because of the new area and the reality of the situation, it would have passed), but because they are just plain misleading. The supposed 10.1% tax is only on the highest taxed locations, like Tacoma. Also, what they fail to tell you that the tax if it fails would still be 9.8%, which is not much better. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend anyone in that last post.

      • Bernie says

        the millions of signs that say “up to 10.1% sales tax? It’s too much!”

        The total vote is less than 1/2 a million so I seriously doubt your claim there are multiple signs per voter. Liberals won almost every position and measure on the Washington State ballot. Why is it so hard to acknowledge defeat on one measure where you have an overwhelming majority of the vote? The answer seems to be those people are too stupid to decide for themselves.



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