This is hilarious, as one of the largest property owners (maybe the largest property owner) in downtown Bellevue is Kemper Freeman Junior – who’s responsible for 2/3 of the money in the opposition campaign.

He’s the odd one out – maybe they didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to call transit users communists and make thinly veiled racist comments about transit and poverty? Or maybe he’s the only one who’s insane.

I don’t think the Mass Transit Now campaign put this up on the web, so I’ll just copy their press release here:

Seattle—The Bellevue Downtown Association endorsed Proposition 1, becoming the latest in a long line of Eastside civic, political and community groups that support the mass transit expansion plan.

Later today, Mayor Greg Nickels, chair of Sound Transit, will debate transit-opponent Kemper Freeman, a Bellevue developer who has put $100,000 of his own money into the No On Prop 1 campaign.  The support of Proposition 1 on the Eastside highlights the growing gap between Freeman and the business leaders, neighbors and representatives who recognize the immediate need for transit solutions.

The BDA said Proposition 1 was a necessary step in providing near and long-term transit solutions for the fast-growing number of downtown Bellevue workers, residents, and visitors.

“Our ability to grow and thrive as an urban center is linked to accessibility,” said BDA Board Chair Jill Ostrem. “We approached this decision asking, ‘What’s best for Downtown Bellevue?’  Connecting downtown with the region through safe and reliable mass transit is essential to our community’s future success.”

The measure will expand regional express bus service on I-405 next year and deliver light rail transit to Downtown Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center.

Ostrem said: “With this endorsement, the BDA pledges to work with Sound Transit, the City of Bellevue and the downtown community to ensure effective and efficient implementation of these investments.  In addition, we will continue to engage at the local and regional level on high priority congestion relief projects and transit solutions.”

Wow, guys. The BDA seems to have their heads on straight. I even think Junior’s a member. Maybe their sanity will rub off on him? Nahhh…

10 Replies to “Shock: Bellevue Downtown Association endorses Prop 1!”

    1. Wouldn’t that be hilarious. :) I think they know he’s crazy, but put up with him for his money. I’d kick him out – I want to replace that mall with something more inside-out.

  1. It makes too much sense; except to the senseless (i.e.KF). BTW–Is that guy merely looking out for his business interests in opposing mass transit? Or is he some kind of retro-grouch? Or is it much worse than that (nutjob, racist, etc…)? I’ve never really heard an explanation about what drives that guy. But I became aware of him within a few weeks of moving here in the early 1990’s when I started getting familiar with the local political geography in the Puget Sound Region.

    AJ–Thanks for the polling link.


    1. He’s a small government ideologue mostly. You know how being an ideologue makes people blind to the facts on the ground (such as how a rail connection to dense and wealthy residential areas will benefit his mall enormously). Some of this is tied to his father and grandfather and their racism as well, I would venture.

      If anyone here actually read the City of Bellevue’s official paper and poked around a bit, this endorsement would not be a shock in the slightest, however. The City of Bellevue’s government and most Eastside business leaders are very, very pro-transit and (even more so) pro-infrastructure. Then again, most Chambers of Commerce are that way when something will directly benefit them.

  2. Wow. I think we need to give the BDA more credit. The other board members obviously know that they risk losing Kemper’s support (both politically and financially) by making this decision. It speaks to their intelligence and ethics that they chose what was best for the community in the long run over what is best for their organization in the short term. I doubt they are going to kick him out, but I wouldn’t be surprised, given his unreasonable attitude towards opponents, if he quit in protest. Who knows, maybe that’s what they want.

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