The Slog had a well-reported piece Sunday on whether or not Move Seattle is a “slush fund.” That’s a loaded choice of words by the opposition, meant to imply a lack of democratic or public process. If you think that implication is plausible, then this is your first month following Seattle politics.
To actually construct a measure that would neutralize this talking point, Seattle would have to write a package that literally could not adjust to changing conditions. If a federal grant were available but we had to provide matching funds — multiplying the return per dollar — or if growth skyrocketed along one particular corridor, SDOT could do nothing about it. It would be an idiotic way to run the city.
This is all part of a disturbing trend in local politics. Voters tightly constrict the expenditure of any block of revenue, limit the growth of the general fund, and then complain that worthwhile projects require special levies.
The best reason to think that levy funds won’t be “hijacked” into some grossly contrary purpose is that the Council and Mayor that direct these funds are accountable to the same voters. If you don’t think levy funds will go to worthwhile projects, them vote for a new mayor and council! You have an opportunity for the latter as early as tomorrow. This is how budgeting in a representative democracy is supposed to work.
That’s what’s really happening here: the Move Seattle opposition hates bikes and transit investment, and favors absolute primacy of the car. But they can’t win an election against the consensus ever so slowly turning the ship of state from absolute car dominance. So their hope is to sow enough fear, uncertainty, and doubt among well-meaning voters to deny our leaders the tools to do what we elected them to do.