I suspect it wouldn’t have taken long to manifest, but at long last, the great East Link War has begun to deteriorate into ideological nonsense. Back in May, I specifically warned that this kind of rhetoric would have no place in planning for a key infrastructure project like Link. On Tuesday, my plea was thrown under the bus (no pun intended) by B7 supporters at the East Link workshop. There was no shortage of anger seething among those who were unhappy with the 112th Avenue option. Martin Paquette, who I quoted in the recap of the previous workshop, had this to say about Tuesday’s meeting:
[Tuesday’s] session, which built on the previous one, was all about the 112th Avenue alignments. It was a very negative evening, and Surrey Downs was overwhelmingly present, [it] mostly stayed on task, discussing the technical specifics and Sound Transit kept their cool. However, the audience attitude (not surprisingly) was typified by the one fellow who said, “you’re giving us a bunch of lousy options so that we’ll just have to go with the lesser evil,” and also probed into whether Claudia Balducci was in a conflict of interest situation being both on Council and Sound Transit; and Betsy Blackstock, who stood up out of turn and accused them of withholding answers to the very critical question they all wanted answered (subject immaterial, as far as I’m concerned).
Here’s the real stinger: Geoff Bidwell, a pro-B7 resident, decided that public testimony wouldn’t satisfy his frustration, so he was kind enough to distribute these flyers (PDF) out at the workshop and throughout South Bellevue neighborhoods. Notice anything unusual? More below the jump.
Yikes. It doesn’t bother me so much that people are speaking their mind about a B2M alignment. After all, this is a free country, right? What does bother me is that they’ve begun ascribing substance to ideology. So all of sudden, Sound Transit is akin to a man who was responsible for the persecution and execution of not only ethnic minorities but his own officials as well? I can’t help but be reminded that this is not so different than the things we’ve seen from LaRouche PAC.
As far as I’m concerned, the flyer also has plenty of misinformation in it as well. So to add insult to injury, we have a lot of one-sided talk coupled with a nice big picture that pretty much says “Sound Transit = Stalin” (Bidwell also couldn’t have forgotten the nice little American flags next to “Bellevue” in the title). A few of the flyer’s points are considerably misleading:
Sound Transit Board Members are NOT elected by the citizens of the City of Bellevue. Out of 18 members only 1 is from Bellevue (and that 1 person is not appointed by the City of Bellevue).
The Sound Transit Board is compromised of region-wide elected officials that were appointed by the King County Executive, also an elected official. The Board’s duty is to see Link in it’s true context: a regional system, not through the lens of one small faction. I’m also not sure what Bidwell means that that “1 person” isn’t appointed by Bellevue. Claudia Balducci is an elected official that was voted in by a majority, just like everyone else on the council.
The Bellevue City Council has voted for the l-90 | l-405 light rail alignment (called B7) to protect our established neighborhoods and Mercer Slough and to save the taxpayers $$$.
The Bellevue City Council has divisively voted 4-3 for B7 to act as a preferred alternative. The DEIS was fairly clear that B7 would have equally or more damaging impacts on the Slough and neighborhoods, unless the Mercer Slough/Brookshire Condos are somehow not at the elite level of “established neighborhoods.” And can taxpayer money truly be the issue when the more expensive tunnel alternative has been the darling of downtown alignments among Bellevue residents? What about the 200K commissioned by the City to study far-fetched options like relocating the South Bellevue P&R?
Sound Transit is requiring Bellevue to pay for a $150 million Down Town tunnel. Seattle’s tunnel was paid for by Sound Transit.
A more accurate statement would be that the City of Bellevue has agreed to help pay for a tunnel. As we’ve stated very clearly before, the tunnels that we got in Seattle are because the alternatives would be much harder to construct and much more impactful. Under subarea equity, any tunnel would be funded by Bellevue taxpayers whatever the means.
Let City Council and Sound Transit know that you support B7 and remind Sound Transit that we live in a democracy.
We do live in a democracy. Therefore, the 56% of residents that voted for ST2 in Bellevue’s primary legislative districts should get a light rail stop at South Bellevue Park and Ride– a station clearly marked on Prop. 1’s map in the 2008 voter’s pamphlet (page 97).
I guess never mind what I said about resorting to ideological nonsense. Never mind that the community interests are greater than just those coming out of say Surrey Downs. If people are resorting to immature tactics, ideological ad-hominems, and other forms of distasteful rhetoric, it says much more about them than it does Sound Transit. I wouldn’t disagree that ST has been less than angelic in carrying out ST2, but I would have never expected NIMBYs to go this low. For those of us who have favored rational debate, this is a complete and utter shame.