Here are STB’s endorsements in some less prominent races. For an introduction to our endorsement approach and our picks in statewide, King County, and Seattle races, see yesterday’s post.

Bellevue Council Position 2: Lyndon Heywood is a political outsider and novice, but has demonstrated a thorough understanding of walking, biking, and transit’s importance over car dependence. Incumbent Conrad Lee, on the other hand, presided over some of the most unproductive years in Bellevue city council history, largely thanks to the majority’s unwillingness to move on light rail.

Bellevue Council Position 4: Steve Kasner’s experience as a community leader will provide a useful balance on the council. He’s been supportive of light rail and rightly critical of opponent Kevin Wallace, who actively pushed for multiple bad light rail alignments during East Link planning.

Lynne Robinson

Bellevue Council Position 6: Lynne Robinson’s statements on the campaign trail reveal a thoughtful critique of the Bellevue Council’s wildly misplaced priorities. Although it’s too late to truly fix Downtown Bellevue’s station placement, it will be useful to have someone on the council that knows what mistakes to mitigate and will avoid similar errors at stations further East.

Fred Butler

Issaquah Mayor: Fred Butler has been a productive and enthusiastic member of the Sound Transit Board. We are always impressed by local politicians that deeply want rail to serve their jurisdictions but have the maturity to realize that they are not first in line.

Federal Way Mayor: Jim Ferrell has rightfully criticized incumbent Mayor Skip Priest’s tantrum about low Sound Transit tax revenues, where he backed a Republican-led legislative attack on Sound Transit. We can think of no less constructive response to a setback in a project of great significance to South King County’s future.

Federal Way Council 4: Jeanne Burbidge has a long record of participating in key regional transit organizations and is well-versed in the issues that transit faces. Her views on parking, development, and Link alignments are not particularly STB-friendly, but in a Federal Way race her expertise is enough to earn our endorsement.

Jay Arnold

Kirkland Council 1: Jay Arnold’s pro-density positions are courageous in a suburban race, and his history with groups like Futurewise is remarkable. His fearless support of accessory dwelling units, cottage housing, and microhousing deserves your support.

Kirkland Council 7: Incumbent Doreen Marchione has some good work on bike trails and supports a new TOD hub in Totem Lake.

Lake Forest Park Council 1: Hilda Thompson‘s issues page is impressive for a race in a small suburban community. It comes out strongly for transit, pedestrian infrastructure, and — most notably — a variety of housing types to accommodate a wide variety of potential residents. She has worked for STB all-stars Patty Murray and Jessyn Farrell.

John Resha

Lake Forest Park Council 7: John Resha is well versed in transit issues having recently served as council staff liaison for Regional Transit Committee.

Mukilteo Mayor:  Jennifer Gregorson retains our endorsement from the Primary. Her urban planning background and Cascade Bicycle Club endorsements are very promising signs.

State Senate 26th District Special Election: Nathan Schlicher We generally don’t endorse generic Democrats against generic Republicans: you don’t need us to tell you that the former will create a friendlier picture for transit, although both state parties are equally bad about highways. However, this race is important for control in the finely balanced Senate, and the coming few years demand a flurry of legislative action for both the bus agencies and Sound Transit.

There is cause for concern that an undivided legislature will simply result in a terrible highway package coupled to a band-aid for transit. However, we don’t believe this battle is already lost. With Mary Margaret Haugen no longer in charge of Senate Transportation there is an opportunity for real progress on transit issues. Finally, in the coming years we need revenue authority for Sound Transit 3, and it is inconceivable that a Republican Senate would approve it.

20 Replies to “2013 General Election Endorsements – Part II”

  1. I have one.

    Burien Council 1: Lauren Berkowitz

    In recent council fights over the zoning of Burien’s central business district, and the density of new residential developments there, incumbent Jack Block Jr. has been on the wrong side of the density argument. He voted for requiring impractical amounts of mandatory outdoor open spaces in new center-city developments, up to 4 times what’s required on the other side of city limits in West Seattle.

    His challenger, Lauren Berkowitz, is a trustworthy vote for sidewalks + transit, and aligns with the other half of the council.

  2. Regarding Marchione and Totem Lake TOD: I’m not sure a “new TOD hub in Totem Lake” is anything to crow about. Totem Lake doesn’t have a frequent and fast transit connection to anywhere (like in those Ford commercials, it has frequent or fast transit connections to a handful of places), most of the region’s strong transit areas are far enough away to need some speed (it’s like Redmond in that regard — Redmond has a bunch of fast transit to strong transit areas), and it’s defined not so much by its tiny namesake lake as the crossroads of a massive freeway (speed and capacity!) and a handful of massive arterial roads. Most people that live in Totem Lake won’t have jobs convenient by any means but driving. Most people that work in Totem Lake won’t live places convenient by any means but driving. Most people shopping in Totem Lake won’t be able to make that trip conveniently by any means but driving. And given the traffic volumes and noise there, making any part of it pleasant on foot would be a minor miracle.

    In short, I’d need a lot of convincing that Totem Lake TOD was anything but a fancy word for subsidizing freeway-oriented development and greenwashing it with a bus loop and a bike path.

    1. It’s easier to get cities to make existing shopping/industrial centers walkable than to convert single-family areas. People who live on the Eastside need a TOD alternative that isn’t as expensive as downtown Kirkland or downtown Bellevue. This is an opportunity to redeem a suburban shopping center. which will also be on a future 405 BRT or norrth-south Link line. It would also give a partial justification to make the 235 full-time frequent in the meantime, which could be reinforced by other parts of the line.

      You’re right that it has to be good TOD, integrated with the employment in the area. But that’s not a reason to be pessimistic and oppose the project out of hand; it’s a reason to be optimistic pressure the Kirkland city council to make sure it’s good. Kirkland has done an excellent job on walkability downtown and down Lake Street, better and earlier than the other suburbs, even if we may wish the heights were taller. So I’m convinced it will be better than “a bus look and a bike path”, even if it’s not stunning, and even if we can’t expect a full Wallingford.

      1. It’s easy to do well at walkability in downtown Kirkland — it’s an old downtown with narrow streets and a history of mixed use and it doesn’t have a freeway running through the middle of it! Totem Lake is about as hard as it gets — it’s a giant freeway interchange in the northeast corner of the metro area. Kirkland could hire Janette Sadik-Khan and I’m not sure it would matter!

        Downtown Kirkland is expensive because it’s tiny. But there are connected street grids and bits of mixed-use to the north and south. Any hope for walkability in Kirkland surely lies there. And in the various other commercial, mixed-use, and post-industrial parts of Kirkland that aren’t most notable as horrible 405 interchanges.

      2. Totem Lake does have a fair number of jobs (there’s a hospital there). It is also served by the abandoned railroad tracks trail. It is entirely conceivable that, if done right, people living there could at least walk to work, even if they are driving everywhere and will almost never step foot on a bus. Given that off-peak service from Totem Lake to downtown is an extremely circuitous 255, off-peak trips to downtown probably means either driving all the way or driving to a P&R, perhaps South Kirkland, South Bellevue, or Mercer Island. (Yes, the 255 is indeed so circuitous that people who live right along the route and value their time are encouraged to drive partway only to catch the same bus that goes right by their house further back.).

      3. What makes the 255 circuitous? I’m afraid to say it looks straight to me on the map. Of course, it’s paralleling the freeway on local streets, but nothing can really be done about that.

    2. Al,

      I would never argue that Totem Lake would be the world’s greenest neighborhood, but suburban leaders willing to embrace more units per acre are critical for the future and thin on the ground.

      1. It’s worse than “not the greenest neighborhood”. It’s pushing growth into places intractably built around SOV-on-freeway travel. Density is not destiny (least of all single-project density), and it wouldn’t surprise me if Totem Lake was worse than the other places that would soak up the residential and commercial demand it would fulfill.

        FTA used to give lots of “land use” credit for greenfield development anywhere and thus favor cheap freeway-running trains connecting freewayside developments with giant P&R garages. We all thought that was stupid because it’s the opposite of good land use. Just because it has high density figures within a certain area doesn’t mean it actually contributes to anything walkable, especially when that density cannot exist without being surrounded by lots of emptiness (the freeway, interchanges, and parking lots) and sparse residences (because any more density would cause the freeway and arterials to break down).

      2. FWIW, I don’t live in Kirkland and I’m guessing STB researched Marchione’s full slate of positions and she’s probably better than her opponent. It’s just the Totem Lake thing, which sort of pisses me off. It’s like how every town in Silicon Valley can say it’s bike-friendly or green while pursuing land-use goals that cement auto dependence… Kirkland is doing its best to do the same, and the only difference is that it’s not been as successful at the land-use part.

    1. There are very few transit/density issues being decided at the port. The Stranger usually does a pretty good job digging into those smaller races, though.

    1. Well, I took the survey, though I assume the House Republicans will take one look at my responses and assume they don’t have my vote.

  3. The State Senate is the elephant in the room. All of our hopes and dreams for ST3 basically go out the window unless Democrats take back the Senate in 2014.

    1. I forget… We did elect some sort of “governor”, right? A guy hypothetically in charge of (or at least involved) in governing. Jay Insomething. Jay Invisible? Sure seems so.

      When are our Democratic executives going to the hard lessons that Obama finally learned during the recent shutdown? Stop letting yourself being taken hostage!

      If the opposition refuses to compromise or negotiate or dignify matters of vital importance with discussion, you have to play hardball with their own agenda. Nothing they want crosses your desk, nothing gets signed, none of their interests get “executed” (you are the executive) until the needs of the urbanized region that elected you get released from purgatory!

      1. Nothing they want crosses your desk, nothing gets signed, none of their interests get “executed” (you are the executive)

        When making sure nothing gets executed except budget cuts seems to be their main interest. How do you stonewall that?

  4. asdf: did Ben share the RCW that allows HCT to be provided through property tax? by what government? the transit agencies, cities, and counties are creatures of state government.

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