[Update 9:43PM–

Preliminary results are in:

It’s election day!  Tonight, we’ll  be watching several races across the region which will have an impact on transit.  Topping the list are the two big transportation ballot measures: Prop. 1 (Seattle), which will help fund transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and street improvements, and I-1125 (state-wide), which would seek to stop East Link, and insert a bunch of tolling provisions with the effecting of increasing transportation costs across the state.  We’ve endorsed a YES vote for Prop. 1, and NO vote for I-1125.

Other important races include the Seattle city council, which will be integral as the city hones in on key land use and transit policy decisions over the next several years, and the Bellevue city council, which is currently struggling over East Link and policy debates on how to fund and develop the Bel-Red Corridor.  Our endorsements for these and more can be found here.

If you haven’t yet voted, there still is time.  Ballot drop boxes will be open until 8PM tonight and ballots going through the mail must be postmarked today.  As we progress through election night, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the races.  Follow live updates on our Twitter account: @seatransitblog and through the general #waelex hashtag.  We’ll bring you results as they come and leave the thread open for discussion.

95 Replies to “Election Night Open Thread”

      1. People who hold opinions counter to those of Eyman and his supporters tend also not to favor his style of dirty tricks such of obfuscatory initiative language and deceptive signature gathering practices.

    1. Unfortunately Eyman’s abuse of the initiative process and the recent trend toward large, often out of State initiative campaigns threatens the entire process. We may join the list of States which don’t allow citizens to directly affect the law.

      1. I guess one thing that helped I-1183 along is that it was sponsored by a home-grown company. As was pointed out in an NPR report this morning, if it had been backed by WalMart, it would face a lot more opposition.

      2. I tell ya, the New York State Assembly might be the most corrupt government in the country, but it’s nice to know that when you elect someone with the purpose of getting things done, their efforts don’t get bogged down in “initiatives” and “community outreach” and other forms of catering to fearful NIMBYs.

      3. We may join the list of States which don’t allow citizens to directly affect the law.

        Highly unlikely as getting rid of initiatives or referendums would require a constitutional amendment.

      1. Voting by mail cannot be awesome. putting a stamp, using a pen, that is definitely not awesome, and certainly not “similiarly”.

        Now going into the place, getting a pen and a sticker as a souvenir, having ten people helping you vote with a hilarious rube goldburg diebold device, and having everyone clap and say “Thank you!” when you are finished, that’s awesome.

      2. Whoa, is Diebold still around?!

        I thought they had been publicly drawn and quartered, and the remains thrown with all their “devices” into Mt. Doom…

      3. Going to Union Station a year or two ago, with a line running virtually the entire perimeter, was not awesome. I was lucky I was only there to drop off my ballot and not actually vote. Vote-by-mail does not work for a good portion of the less fortunate in Seattle.

        Not voting in a general election this year for the first time since turning 18, partly because I moved less than a month ago, partly because my ballot may have gotten lost in the move, partly because I got a late start on figuring out how to vote and got lost in some of the more contentious issues, and partly because the state of the country and the discourse has convinced me that voting alone does not make a democracy, or is even the most important part.

  1. I cast all 20,103 ballots I got for transit, but most son’t be counted today.

    Took a while to fill them out.

  2. Since this is an open thread, Amtrak should totally do this. Travelling on a long flight with a child is tough. Travelling on a long train ride with a child is less tough, but you’re still stuck in a little box for hours and hours.

      1. Awesome. Well, kind of awesome. It’s not like we don’t all have the same abilities on our phones these days. Getting kids up and moving has advantages.

      2. Never seen the arcade room, although i have my doubts they are still there. As for the lower level theater’s in the ex Santa-Fe High Level’s, they rarely work, and dont seem to be showing any movies, atleast the last couple times i’ve ridden sleeper.

    1. If I am not mistaken, the Arlanda express in Stockholm has kid friend facilities on board, but not THAT kid friendly.

    2. And if this is an anything-goes open thread, I can talk about something odd related to bunching I observed tonight.

      Three buses pulled up all in a row to I-90/Rainier: a 214, a 554, and another 214. I got on the second 214, and from the way the driver acted sometimes, I got the impression she wasn’t allowed to pass another bus of the same number, since she had what looked to me to be several opportunities to pass the first 214. Yet when we got to Issaquah TC, she got all lined up to pass the first bus when the crosswalk cleared (but instead dumped the two remaining passengers, including me, onto the first 214 and ended her run early).

      (Also, here’s how absurdly duplicative the 214 is: In the future, if a 554 and 214 show up to I-90/Rainier or on 2nd Ave at the same time, I’ll get on the 214, get off at Issaquah TC, and if there isn’t a 200 coming soon, get on the 554 when it comes, the exact same 554 I spurned downtown or at I-90/Rainier.)

      1. But it shouldn’t be. That is whack.

        Allowing buses to leap frog each other minimizes delays and bunching and more evenly distributes load on both buses. Chicago CTA figured this out about 4 years ago.

      2. Chicago also figured out that charging a higher cash fare speeds things up for everyone.

        Metro needs more money. Raise our cash fares, please!

      3. Coach passing creates an A-B type skip-stop system on busy routes here in chicago, it makes things faster, why can’t they do it on Metro?

      4. Metro barely has the resources to keep a single stop pattern frequent enough to be usable (see Bruce’s Aurora post) and much of its routes make so many turns it’ll be confusing to follow for passengers unlike Chicago’s straight lines.

        Metro does do a similar thing for its peak expresses skipping entire areas on the same corridor like the 5X and 355X.

  3. Took my first ride on some really rural Metro routes (209, 224) and wow some amazing scenery out here. Every 3 hours? Guessing the 224 (Redmond / Fall City) is toast. I’m kind of surprised I was in a 30 foot Phantom. It was so rural, I was expecting a van

    I will miss it when I go home to extremely flat (elevation-speaking) Virginia.

    1. Vans have been out of service for a couple months, the 30 footers are temporarily replacing them.

    2. I did a transit excursion to Fall City/Snoqualmie Falls a couple of months ago. It was delightful.

      As for Virginia, I remember driving the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and I was happy to find beautiful scenery that rivals some of our Pacific Northwest.

  4. I’m at a computer physically located on the main campus of Eastern Washington University, awaiting the results of the C-TRAN ballot measure in Clark County.
    The odd thing about all of this is I’m still a resident/registered voter of Multnomah County, Oregon, in a precinct that doesn’t have anything to vote on this Election Day.

      1. Also the tax was hugely regressive.

        In addition, it funded things like “Street car plans” and “Bicycle Master Plans” instead of “Extend SLUT to UW, or Freemont” and while I understand the need to update the plan when the economy is in a tailspin, its better to fund the things that are in the existing plan.

        Also as a bicyclist, I’d love it if the city funded road maintenance. Potholes are a killer for me. And riding slowly I see cracks in the surface that need sealing everywhere.

    1. I think it’s better to break these large proposals into several smaller ones.

      People tend to support individual projects. If there’d been 4 or 5 smaller fees on the ballot, all with a specific purpose ($30 for transit improvements, $5 for bike improvements, $5 for sidewalks, etc.), odds are that the outcome would be different.

      In a measure like this, which won’t be aggressively campaigned, you rely mostly upon the ballot title. That’s as much as most voters will know about the measure, unless absolutely inundated with advertising.

      If approved, this proposition would fund transportation facilities and services benefitting the City of Seattle, including: transportation system repairs, maintenance and safety improvements; transit improvements to increase speed, reliability and access; and pedestrian, bicycle and freight mobility programs, all as provided in STBD Resolution No. 5. It would authorize a $60 increase in the Vehicle License Fee beginning in 2012, allowing collection of approximately $20.4 million annually for ten years.

      Basically, “we’re gonna raise your tabs a whole bunch, and do a whole bunch of different stuff with it”. You can’t get specific in that space.

      It was nice that the Pro campaigners managed to get out that glossy mailer, but in most households it went into the recycling unread. You’ve got to be hitting the mailboxes every week to explain a big package deal like this. If it’s going to be a low budget campaign, you can’t do that, so the ballot title has to speak for itself.
      And the ballot title has just enough space to explain a single, simple program.

      1. I just think it was sold really poorly. A whole bunch of progressives disliked how much it had been watered down and never got enthusiastic for it, McGinn’s not popular right now so his cheerleading was mostly ineffective, and the ground game was never really impressive. Put this exact same measure on a ballot which is more exciting to progressives and it probably sails to approval.

      2. Don’t blame McGinn for this and stop with that meme that he is unpopular. He had the misfortune of getting in the cross hairs of powerful road builders, land speculators and bankers. They unleashed their PR hacks on him and he hasn’t recovered. But he is doing a good job as mayor and we need to see the good he is doing.

        And remember, the transportation district is all the Council members and not the Mayor. The blame for putting this ill defined and non-nominal fee on the ballot rests with them.

      3. My intention wasn’t to “blame” McGinn, merely to point out that his public support was less effective than it could have been had he greater popularity.

        By “watered down” I mean it was spread around to variety of studies and abonymous-sounding “improvements” rather than tied to one or more specific, high profile projects.

      4. $5 for sidewalks would be 1/12 of the $60 total in Prop 1. So 8.5%. The Prop 1 funding plan as proposed by CTAC would have had twice that much for pedestrian projects, for a total of ~$44 million.

        Pedestrian Master Plan backlog for Tier 1 projects is $840 million. We’re currently spending about $15 million/year, although not all of that goes to new sidewalk construction.

        In essence, a $5 tab fee for sidewalks would have almost no impact. Hyper-focused around access to transit and safe routes to school, a few neighborhoods would see some improvements, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to total need.

    2. Reading the “no” blurb in the voter’s guide, I got the impression that they favored more sidewalks and street maintenance, but opposed new taxes to fund improvements for transit and bikes. Given the current mode share of transit and bikes, and “no” note was not that surprising – there’s very little reason for someone who drives everywhere to want to vote to for it. And, yes, Mike McGinn’s association and the Seattle Times’ anti-bike attitude haven’t exactly helped it either. And the “yes” campaign did an extremely poor job selling to voters exactly what would be funded. While I did vote yes, it was basically because I was willing to give the city the benefit of the doubt, although I did feel a tad guilty because as a non-car-owner, I would not actually be paying the $60 fee.

      1. New sidewalks are brutally expensive. If David Miller comes up with some measure to fund new sidewalk construction, I would expect it to fail as well.

      2. You know all money is to some extent fungible. We could bring the tax back next year, toss roughly $200 million of already programed road and pedestrian improvements in as the “funded” projects and use the general fund money for bikes and transit.

        From a political perspective I’d put the majority of the “roads” portion of any measure toward bridges.

      3. Chris, you’re right, but I don’t see a lot of political will to do something like that next year, given the percentage loss for Prop 1. You’re also contending with some sort of statewide transportation measure in Olympia. Perhaps 2013.

    1. This was just sent:

      Councilmember Hague;

      Congrats on your win tonight. As an out-of-county observer of the… er… culture of King County Politics and a 100% supporter of mass transit, relieved you won. Just relieved. It is clear tonight that your vote on car tabs & transit reform saved Metro. As a disabled person who when down in Seattle & vicinity uses various forms of mass transit, I thank you and congratulate you.

      Hopefully Seattle Transit Blog will be more pragmatic in the future… and when you retire in four years you will look back on last summer as the high point in your career.

      Very sincerely yours;

      Joe Kunzler
      josefk-AT-wavecable-DOT-com

      Read into this what you want – hopefully some words to the wise not just to you but to the councilmember… but here you go.

      1. My guess is she’s thinking, “Who’s this guy from two counties over, what is he babbling on about saving Metro, and what’s this ‘Seattle Transit Blog’ he mentions?”

  5. Looks like a 60/40 loss on prop 1. It was poorly sold.

    In brighter news, looks like 1125 is going down.

    1. Also, the structure and incidence of Prop 1’s tax were a great weakness. Most of the organized opposition centered on that.

      1. I’m not going to celebrate until 1125 completely confirmed voted down and dead. =\ It’s too close for comfort for me.

      2. He would HATE to get his way on everything. That would end the gravy train. He’d have to sell watches for a living again.

      3. I’m not going to celebrate until 1125 completely confirmed voted down and dead. =\ It’s too close for comfort for me.

        Oh, there’s still another large batch of King County ballots yet to be counted – this result only includes the early voters. Election-day ballots from King County won’t show up until tomorrow’s update. A small side-effect of our all-mail system.

        Eyman conceded at 8:05 PM, 10 minutes before the FIRST batch of King County ballots were released. He knows about the backlog of King County votes, and could tell then that his statewide margin wasn’t nearly enough cushion.

      1. Assuming the count is going per typical pattern, King County has a large share of the remaining votes. Generally the tally gets better with time.

      2. There are as many votes yet to count in King and Pierce counties as in the rest of the state. King is going 60/40 against and Pierce is a tie, so I think there is no joy in Mukville. The Mighty NoMan has struck out!

      3. I find it extremely scary that Eyman came within one percentage point of willing this. One of the things I find really insidious about his initiatives is that when read the description on the ballot, without bothering to do any research on the issue, it sounds at first glance perfectly reasonable, especially with terms like “restate the existing statuary authority…”. If he came this close this time, he’s certainly going to try again. And with so little margin of error, it seems a matter of time before he gets something to pass. What’s Sound Transit’s backup plan if 1125 passes next year, or in 2013 or 2014? Are we just supposed to concede that East Link is dead after already spending millions of dollars on planning it? How can we responsibly spend billions constructing it if at any time, we’re just an Eyman initiative away from being forced to stop.

      4. “How can we responsibly spend billions constructing it if at any time, we’re just an Eyman initiative away from being forced to stop.”

        What are we supposed to do, not build it because an initiative might cancel it someday? That’s surrendering before the battle, or self-censorship, or settling for mediocrity. Reversing projects by initiative is the same as when offices switch parties and the new incumbants reverse their predecesors’ programs. It’s a byproduct of democracy.

      5. Besides, 1125 would probably be shot down by the courts for too many topics like all Eyman’s other initiatives. (Don’t know how that works, but I would think “kill East Link” and “screw up the tolling system” would kill it right there.)

      6. Morgan … that’s his plan.

        The way he works is to create these initiatives that WILL be struck down … but in effect makes the legislature so scared and the topic so radioactive … that they will enact most if not all of his initiative anyway … ergo creating a win (which is what his bankrollers want anyway so it is a good investment for them).

      7. Next time, we’ll be able to say “what part of no didn’t he understand”. It’s a powerful statement. The exception is when the measure changes substantially.

  6. Report from Bellevue:

    Council incumbents John Chelminiak and Claudia Balducci are winning by landslides. John Stokes is in a dead heat with Aaron Laing and leading by a mere 127 votes.

  7. Prop 1 would not pass in Seattle Transit Blog heaven. Huge, regressive tax that would not do a darn thing. Oh, sorry, I forgot. A few bus bulbs and bike paths. LOL. I just cannot understand how it failed. McGinn, [ad hom] was behind it. Bummer.

    1. Even as a serious transit proponent who knows how out-of-touch the Times is, their “no” endorsement had me seriously thinking of joining them.

      Frankly, to outsiders it comes off as a pet project of transit and bike nerds, even if they otherwise support transit and bikes.

    2. Three reasons for the no vote:

      1) It was peanut butter — a very uninspired mix of this and that. It’s hard to get behind peanut butter, and even harder to trust elected officials with it.

      2) McGinn was behind it. Just having McGinn be “for” something will generate a lot of opposition. People really don’t like or trust him.

      3) The word “bike” was included. Sadly, the “war on cars” is generating a backlash against bikes. People are generally tired of the bike discussion and the bike lobby.

      That said, I did vote “Yes”, but I did it on a coin flip and I didn’t expect the measure to have any chance of passing.

      1. Agree with the above. I can’t stand tax/fee raises with a “vague” project list that tries to spread a small budget over a large number of improvements. At the end of the day you don’t end up with any tangible difference. I’m afraid that this plan was just not specific enough for many people to put any confidence in it.

      2. There really wasn’t a way to get a project through the CTAC process without carving up the budget for multiple modes. Throwing it all into, say, replacing the Magnolia Bridge, would have failed at that level, much less failed miserably at the city-wide level. Putting all the dollars into transit wouldn’t have been enough to get a significant streetcar line, and there was plenty of pushback about streetcars from the public once the plan was announced, even though it was just study money. We could have split it 50/50 between bicycles and pedestrians, I suppose, but that would mean the anti-bike forces would have had an easy target. And I love the transit improvements that were in Prop 1, but there’s a segment out there saying those things should be done from the general fund.

        On project specifics – I’m with Matt the Engineer. As long as bike and ped money is going through the respective master plans, you’re going to get good projects the majority of the time. And there was pretty good oversight too. I think tying a measure down to a specific project list means you can’t take advantage of other dollars that become available, easily coordinate work with other departments (like City Light and SPU), NMF awards, etc.

  8. Is is possible to start an initiative that requires Tim Eyman to leave the state and never come back. Im sure we could get that passed. What if we also required he give all his wealth to tranist. Im sure people would like that.

      1. Notice that Eyman was trying to block East Link back then, too. Don’t assume he or Freeman will allow the project to move forward gracefully.

      2. From that article “Tabor also said the proposal amounts to an illegal “bill of attainder” that punishes an individual without a trial. The measure is “clearly an attempt to degrade or punish” by public humiliation or shame, he said.”

        What could be more like a trial than a state wide vote?
        That and i am all for public humiliation or shame.

        How about just an initiative that would ban Eyman from the initiative process.

  9. out of all my friends and acquaintances … I know of 2 that voted no because of one thing. They own more than 1 car and thought it was unfair that they have to pay the fee multiple times.

    Had the fee been levied only 1 time per car owner (regardless of how many cars owned) they would have voted yes.

    1. That’s an interesting perspective.

      Still, the main “no” case seemed to be that it was a regressive tax. Having it apply only once per car-owning household would have made it even more regressive.

      And anyway, it’s a VLF, not a head tax on car owners. The type of fee you describe isn’t an option that we have available. (And FWIW, I’m glad it’s not.)

  10. It sounds like the upshot is, things won’t get better transit-wise, but they won’t get immeasurably worse either. That seems to be consistent with the reaction to the $20 Metro fee: voters will defend existing transit but they’re not so sure about additional transit.

  11. How on earth can a housekeeping resolution that literally nobody is against, that has no functional impact to the law besides cleaning it up only have ~70% of the vote? Do 30% of the people just vote no on everything without ever reading what it is?

    1. groan: We’re talking about a measure which didn’t even have an opposition case in the voter’s pamphlet, because no one would agree to write one.

      I just don’t get it.

      1. Because a lot of folks will just vote “No” reflexively. The key is to get your initiative/referendum worded in such a way to take advantage of that ;-)

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