This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
I’m glad that the STB dudes are meeting to talk about how to pass the new ST ballot measture that’s coming this November. I can’t make the meeting, but I thought I’d share a thought or two.
Sound Transit can’t actually campaign. So we need other groups to form — like last fall’s “Yes on Roads and Transit” — to do the legwork. That campaign was relentlessly positive, and I think that was a perfectly reasonable tactic to use.
However, while I was away, I caught a few radio and TV ads promoting Honolulu’s proposed light rail system. And I thought they were very effective. Here’s one:
The radio ads are even more aggressive. They basically call out the anti-rail folks for being full of it. They’re made by a 501(c)4 called “Support Rail Transit.”
Of course, negative ads are risky. They repeat the negative. Why give the anti-rail zealots a platform for their arguments? That’s why negative ads are generally accepted as a sign of weakness (c.f. Microsoft’s new anti-Apple ads, or any of John McCain’s recent anti-Obama ads).
But maybe it’s time to get more aggressive. Mayor Nickels’ recent op-ed is effective because it openly mocks the anti-transit folks’ arguments as absurd on their face. The Honolulu ads use a similar tactic.
With all the misinformation floating around in the public about what Sound Transit is and isn’t planning, it might be time to shoot down some of these arguments publicly. Our major local media outlets have generally been loathe to call B.S. on these guys, maybe someone else needs to.