For your viewing pleasure. Publicola has a quick summary of the press conference, with more details coming soon. In brief the Mayor said Councilmember Conlin violated the city charter when he signed the SDEIS which will be released for public comment sometime in the next month. More details should be emerging over the next few hours.

36 Replies to “McGinn’s Deep Bore Tunnel Press Conference”

  1. Whether you’re pro-tunnel or not, Mike McGinn certainly isn’t living up to his campaign promises. Arguably, the only reason he was able to get enough votes in last year’s election was due to his promise to not block progress on the tunnel.

    By not signing off on the environmental documentation (which has been planned for release for several months), he is blocking progress on the tunnel.

    I haven’t seen anything constructive come out of his office.

    1. I didn’t expect a lot out of this mayor, but I expected more than this.

      I’m not sure of the legal issues involved, but this sure was a very poor display of statesmanship. I’m very disappointed.

      1. In what respects is this a poor display and how is this different from, say, Godden on Crosscut misquoting a writer to compare McGinn to fascists?

      2. I think it is worse statesmanship to do something that could possibly be a violation of the city charter. Sally Clark use that exactly phase and I nearly laughed when I read it.

        Statesmanship? Really. I think everyone involved with the viaduct is way beyond statesmanship like action, on both sides. McGinn is trying to stall it at every turn and the Council and WSDOT are trying to steamroll the process.

      3. The only actions that are possibly violations of the city charter are those who legality would be settled in court. Hence, Conlin’s action as it stands is not a violation of the city charter unless McGinn makes it so. .

      1. Remember, this entire Deep Bore Tunnel scheme (or should I say scam?) is designed to eat Seattle’s budget. In order to benefit… well, not Seattleites, it’s for through traffic only (!?!)

    2. Whoa, wait wait wait — he asked for and was initially granted a week to review the large document. Suddenly, he was told that he had 15 minutes. That’s not right.

      Nor is it right for Conlin to sign. Conlin indicates he consulted others — but if McGinn was given 15 minutes, how did Conlin had time to make consultations?

      Moreover, it’s difficult to understand why in any universe we’d applaud Conlin for doing something that most have agreed is probably outside his sphere, all the while making a specious claim of timelines, especially in light of the council giving itself 6 months more on other aspects of the DBT process.

      1. Conlin consulted with the city attorney’s office, it is alleged, so he was acting with what he believes was proper authority. The mayor’s office has had enough time to sign, it was never in McGinn’s plan TO sign. Stall, stall, stall, and then point at the expense as your cover.

      2. While the City Council and State have the ability to delay other decisions on the DBT, they don’t have that luxury with the environmental process.

        Furthermore, if the State had agreed to give McGinn another week, he probably would have complained “that’s not enough time, I need a month!”

        We all know his position on the tunnel, and we know he’ll try anything to stop the project (despite campaign promises). Conlin really didn’t have another choice — and his decision will likely be ratified by the City Council anyway.

      3. Let me just point out the obvious: Conlin did not consult Holmes or his office (they were unaware of the signing).

        Buttressing your argument with inaccurate and unsubstantiated rumors and flawed portrayals of the facts at hand only serve to discredit you.

  2. There remain shameless tunnel boosters who will continue to defend the indefensible. Mr. Conlin’s illegal signing of the Draft SDEIS is just one more time where those on the take will attack the mayor for not going along with indefensible actions.

    Mr. Conlin, for his part, should act like an adult, apologize for the action, and inform WSDOT that his signature is not valid for purposes of city action on the Draft SDEIS. Then, the mayor should graciously thank Mr. Conlin for doing the right thing.

  3. Not surprisingly, but I agree with Richard Conlin and applaud him for standing up to the mayor – yet again, there is the necessity in order that we move forward as a city and not backwards. Someone has to lead afterall.

    1. I don’t agree with the decision – I don’t like this tunnel – but I agree with Conlin taking the lead. Like Tim says, someone has to.

      1. Ah, why? Does Conlin fancy himself as the City Executive? it is the Mayor’s prerogative as to how the process enfolds, NOT the city council’s or it’s President for that matter. The Tunnel is NOT a done deal like it or not.

        It may be true that the Mayor is engaging in a death by a thousand cuts strategy for the DBT consistent with the passive aggressive nature of Pacific Northwest culture. Accountability for this is at the ballot box. Frankly, if the Mayor’s actions prevent a boondoggle from occurring and we get a more reasonable approach (e.g. cut and cover/seawall build, or lidded freeway) then I support him.

  4. A lot of people are accusing McGinn of acting in bad faith and he may have been. But nobody that I have heard is disputing his time line so he is probably telling the truth about that.

    If this time line is true then the state tells the mayor he needs the head of SDOT to sign a document in the next hour. Within that hour the mayor refuses. Still within this hour the state gets hold of Conlin and he calls someone in the city attorney’s office. Still within the hour this employee researches the matter and decides that Conlin has the authority to sign but decides not to consult with his boss. Then Conlin signs the document.

    As far as I can tell this appears to be the story that Conlin is telling. Does anybody think this story is any more believable than [ot]?

    1. Don’t worry, Jeff. There is a minuteman email list of tunnel boosters who get alerted to pile on on the blogs when an important story hits. You can tell pretty easily when that list has pointed its folks toward a story, and when it escaped that list’s notice.

      As you can tell here, they’ve been pointed to comment on this post. Outside of the Building and Trades Council and the Chamber of Commerce, there is no mass fan base wanting the tunnel.

      I’m sorry, guys, but there is no excuse for President Conlin’s signing of the SDEIS. It was illegal, no matter how you slice and dice the justifications.

      The mayor has kept his promise not to abrogate the agreement between the city and the state. (He never promised to do anything more than that.) Mr. Conlin needs to do his part and obey the law, too.

  5. This is a great story. So much drama with so little fact! Gotta love it. I’m wondering if the “required” signature is analogous to UPS or FedEx dropping off a package and asking someone, anyone, to sign (anything). From what I heard on radio (the wireless) WSDOT considers it good and Seattle is still a co-lead. I doubt Conlin and McGinn got together behind the scenes to orchestrate this (it’s simply too good) but the publicity plays firmly into McGinn’s hand. Not my mayor, not my city but I’m starting to love the guy. Hilarious that the Seattle liberals demonize him when the choice was for a tel-com exec Republican turncoat and McCheese was odd man out.

  6. I find it funny that when Nickels was Mayor, the council and Mayor would fight but ultimately work together(or the Mayor would take over?). Nowadays, it seems that the Mayor keeps turning around and around and the council does its own thing. I find it distasteful that McGinn campaigned on not getting in the way, so he was able to get just enough votes from pro-tunnel people that believed him. Now he’s in office and he’s blocking the tunnel every way he can. There should be a recall against him.

  7. I’m a tunnel supporter. McGinn is right, his office is the only city authority to review, accept, and sign the SDEIS. A week extension to digest the impact statement is fair. WSDOT looks like they are trying to ram something through. As for Conlin’s actions, whatever … his sig is not valid on the document per the city charter. Funny how the press will spin this like the mayor is trying to delay.

    If we’ve learned anything this past decade, every single citizen has to follow the law for our democracy to function properly.

    1. So, the car drivers need to stop speeding, and we pedestrians need to stop jaywalking? Good luck with that!

  8. Kinda interesting that McGinn so obviously lied about not opposing the tunnel, but there are people who still believe every word he says- no matter how improbable.

    The fervency of this belief makes any discussion of the “facts” quite pointless.

    Of course, you may find it interesting to try and learn the facts so you can form your own opinion about what is going on. It might even be interesting, for a little while, to see how far you get by citing the facts you’ve learned to a McGinn supporter.

    But that, as the label says, is for amusement purposes only.

    1. Please supply the direct quote from the mayor that you find to be dishonest. Otherwise, your comment holds no water.

      And back to the topic at hand: Even if what you were saying were true, that still doesn’t excuse President Conlin violating the city charter.

      1. I’ve tried the “supply the direct quote” approach in the past and it bounces off the McGinn supporter like a raindrop off a Washingtonian.

        As you yourself indicate, saying that even if I did supply such a quote, it wouldn’t convince you. And even if I did supply the quotes from attorneys contradicting you, I’m guessing that still wouldn’t convince you.

        It’ll be easier to wait and see what happens.

      2. There are two separate issues here. Proving McGinn to be dishonest does not prove Conlin to be in the right. Nor does showing that Conlin was clearly in the wrong prove McGinn to be honest.

        Regardless, it looks like WSDOT is preparing to retroactively extend the deadline so that the city council can give its approval by ordinance. (which is probably still illegal unless the deadline is extended to sometime after the time the extension is granted, and the mayor is given time to sign)

        But then, my support for the mayor isn’t just about his appearance of refreshingly blunt honesty or his populist low-budget campaign. It’s about him being a strongly pro-transit, pro-bike public servant in a sea of pro-freeway politicians I wish would go away.

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