Edit: Too late, Publicola broke that Hague won’t vote for it. Note that Port commissioner John Creighton, running against her, is way better on transit.

Now that emergency transit funding for Metro has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor, the next step is for the King County Council to implement the new $20 vehicle license fee.

It’s a good assumption that the four Seattle county council members will vote for this – but we need six total votes. Here’s a nice map of the districts so you can see who represents where. Julia Patterson, who sits on the Sound Transit board, represents the 5th district and is quite likely to vote for service, as the population she represents is highly transit dependent.

The sixth vote will probably have to come from the 6th district – Jane Hague. A lot of people in Bellevue could lose service due to Metro cuts, so it’s possible she’ll vote for it. She’s also up for re-election this year, challenged by current Port commissioner John Creighton. Creighton returned a call just now saying he’d support the fee, but would also support finding other savings – including getting rid of 40-40-20.

The best thing you can do right now is email your county council member to say “please vote for this!” A lot of the time, the Seattle council members don’t hear much of this from transit advocates, because we assume those votes are simply safe. The more they hear, the more import they’ll attach to transit issues, and the closer we get to them saying “gosh, maybe we should build some permanent transit infrastructure…” – an easy way to do that right after the jump.

Here are the council members’ email addresses, and a sample text you can easily copy and paste (remember your name and theirs!). Enter your address to get your council member.

Position 1 – bob.ferguson@kingcounty.gov

Position 2 – larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov

Position 3 – kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov

Position 4 – larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov

Position 5 – julia.patterson@kingcounty.gov

Position 6 – jane.hague@kingcounty.gov

Position 7 – pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov

Position 8 – joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov

Position 9 – reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov

Dear County Council Member:

I’m a constituent living in your district, and I feel strongly that we need to keep Metro Transit from having to make huge service cuts like those happening in Pierce and Snohomish counties. Please pass the $20 license fee the legislature has offered you so we can keep our county moving!


– Consistent Voter & Future Campaign Contributor

31 Replies to “Now, Quick, To The County Council!”

  1. Twitter users… her re-election account is @janehague2011, feel free to take inspiration or RT:

    What better way for @janehague2011 to celebrate Earth Day than by announcing she won’t vote to prevent massive transit cuts in King Co.?

      1. How hard is a public ballot going to be? I know what they say about being able to see all the votes you need from the Space Needle, but what’s your feeling on it?

      2. Well, King County and San Juan County were the only two in the entire State that voted to keep the tax on candy, soda and bottled water. I-695 (the original $30 car tab bill) lost in King County by 5 percentage points and I-776, the sequel, lost by 20 points. I’d say a vote for higher car tabs is a slam dunk.

      3. Yes, Bernie, it probably is a slam dunk. Having the stamp of approval of your constituents is nice, but elections cost money as do the campaigns on both sides. For a small and temporary fee increase, all that money and effort could be spend better elsewhere.

        I’d be more inclined to support her if she had asked her constituents to call/write about what they want vs. just punting.

      4. Yeah, I’m with ya on the expense of the election. But the car tabs aren’t going to be popular on the eastside since it’s even more subsidy for Seattle. Most folk over here don’t give a rat about reduced service since there is a lot of eastside service that never should have existed in the first place (hint, it’s not a revenue problem; it’s a spending problem). The high ridership is ST Express and routes like “my” 255 which won’t get cut. She has to win an election. Hopefully she can use this as a bargaining chip and get something good in return for for a yes vote. She really doesn’t have to worry too much since the biggest challengers would vote for the tax increase even if Metro didn’t have a budget shortfall.

      1. I consider myself well informed and have met both of them a few times. I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for…Luckily I don’t turn of age until the general election so I don’t actually need to make a decision until after one of them loses :)

        Patsy Bonnincontri is also, apparently, running for the 6th. She was a terrible candidate and is the reason Kevin Wallace is on the Bellevue City Council. She and Hague are the two people I would never vote for in that position.

  2. Putting a transit funding measure on a ballot that may contain one or two tunnel-related measures, interesting.

    1. Hmm, good point. May be the silver lining in what I otherwise regard as a heap of bollocks.

    1. Unfortunately, there are people out there that see a tax increase of one penny worthy of an election.

      1. If only they also believed that every tax credit/tax cut resulting in reduction of government services was worthy of an election. In other words, if we’re going to have a tax cut, we have to know what we’ll lose and vote on it.

  3. Well, Reuven Carlyle was right!

    We allowed a really terrible precedent to be set (applying the 2/3 threshold to county and local levying authority), and we didn’t a cent of funding out of it!

      1. I don’t know, Bruce. Did we really need legislative authority for the public-ballot option? Our local governments can (and do) proffer self-taxing referendums all the time. And even if the public vote did need legislative approval, it should have been able to be divorced from the county council supermajority requirement, since they’re entirely unrelated!

        Carlyle was right. Up until this point, the Tim Eyeman supermajority requirement applied only to the state legislature. Thanks to this compromise, a blanket 2/3 requirement at all levels of government is now the default political presumption. This is an incredibly toxic turn of events!

        And what did we get for it? We got the change for Hague to build consensus. Which she didn’t do. And then we got nothing!

      2. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Metro has no taxing authority left. That was the whole reason for this bill, and partly why other agencies were excluded.

      3. All local taxing authority is established by statute. King County had no authority to impose a vehicle license fee prior to this bill. The passed bill allows the fee to be imposed “if approved by a majority of the voters within that county or a two-thirds majority of the governing body.”

        I’m actually concerned about the public vote. Remember, starting next week Seattle car owners will have to pay $20 more for their car tabs under the fee imposed by the Seattle Transportation Benefit District. The new fee would be in addition to that, and this could weaken support for the new fee in Seattle where we need strong support to offset the rest of the county.

      4. Matt might be right that the legislature needed to authorize even voter-approved taxing authority. In which case only the voter-approval path should have been authorized. The council-approval option w/supermajority caveat should never have been allowed.

        Can anyone offer a shred of good that has come from accepting the toxic 2/3-at-all-levels-of-government precedent? I suppose it (with an assist from Hague) has already helped prove just how impossible it is to do anything with 2/3 approval.

    1. Carlyle is actually quite slick about his voting record. He voted against the DBT cost overrun amendment, and then voted for the underlyng bill. So, some got the false impression he was against the tunnel and/or against the cost overruns, when he was merely giving himself and some colleagues political cover. Of course, they then excised the record of the vote on the amendment, further exposing that they all wanted everyone to have political cover.

      I’m still waiting for any legislators to lead the charge to define buses and trains as “vehicles” in RCW, and thereby make them generally available to have their infrastructure funded by fuel tax. I keep on hearing the constitutional argument, but it is not a problem with the constitution. (And yeah, there are some making the circular argument that all the fuel-tax money is spoken for, so it has to be spent on those projects.)

  4. Rather than put the congestion fee on the ballot, the five Democrats on the County Council could simply hold an up or down vote on implementing it, and then schedule another vote after the November election, turning transit funding into the key issue in Hague’s race. Hague might think twice about putting herself in that position.

  5. It is so disappointing that a lousy twenty bucks would cause the repubs on the county council such heartburn. Utterly disappointing.

    [Ad hom]

  6. Based on your sample letter, I wrote an expanded email to all of the council members with a special personalized message to Hague:

    Dear County Council Member Hague,

    I’m a constituent living in King County, and I feel strongly that we need to do everything in our power to keep Metro Transit from having to make service cuts like those happening in Pierce and Snohomish counties. Thousands of people depend on those services and there is a reason that the legislature has passed this through to Governor Gregoire. Word on the street is that you said that you will not vote for this and I have to wonder why when it would only benefit hundreds of thousands of people in your County. In these hard economic times it is the poor and underprivileged people that suffer the most and if we are to get out of the fiscal problems we are in, we need to all pitch in to bring us back to a place of prosperity and wealth. If you have enough money to maintain and drive a car, you can certainly afford an extra $20.00 when it comes time to renew your license. It is not a liberal or socialist ideology to want fiscal wellbeing and expect every citizen to do their part.

    The $20 license fee the legislature has offered to help subsidize public transportation in King County is a small price to pay to keep much needed services available to people who need the bus to get to their destinations. This fee would also people who drive their own cars because having more bus service will decrease the amount of traffic congestion on our roadways. People in King County are depending on you to make the right decision and vote yes for this .

    Thank you,
    Mark LaFalce

    – Consistent Voter & Future Campaign Contributor

  7. Anyone who votes for that [ad hom] Jane Hague is a fool. She’s the reason we have those useless vans that are unsafe to drive or ride upon. The best place for her is the unemployment line.

  8. Metro has worked hard to effect savings, and they deserved to be singled out for getting this funding (on that basis), in contrast to the other agencies. Still, some of the artifacts in their personnel systems, such as pay increases based strictly on longevity, need to be replaced with merit-based systems for anything above the cost of living.

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