ST3 Results by Precinct

In a wide-ranging interview, the South Seattle Emerald asked Mayoral candidate and State Senator Bob Hasegawa about Sound Transit 3. The reply was astonishing in several respects:

Emerald:  You’ve been an outspoken critic of the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 package, could you talk about why?

Hasegawa: I think that vote was rigged. I don’t think the ST Board was really honest with the people on what we were voting for. As a legislator they told us Sound Transit 3 was a $15 billion package, and I verified what they were saying, and their news releases, and at the time we balked at the price. But traffic was so bad we had to do something. That was part of the transportation budget bill, which also contained the largest gas tax increase in the history of the state, at over 11 cents per gallon.

I think this was one of those times that elected officials really disregarded the impacts on fixed and low income people who are trying to make ends meet. Once we authorized the $15 billion, the powers that be went behind a curtain, massaged something and when they came back out popped a $54 billion project. They knew they had the votes to pass whatever they wanted to, so they were like kids in a candy store. I’m not saying I would’ve voted against it had they originally stated the true cost, but I would have liked to not have had the wool pulled over my eyes.

ST3 received extensive coverage in the local media. That’s lucky, because otherwise people might be misled by this tangle of conflated events and financial naïveté. In no particular order:

  • Sen. Hasegawa has a long history of messing with Sound Transit, either reorganizing a successful agency or directing it to spend money on car storage for non-riders rather than transit. Nevertheless, for a Mayoral candidate to come out against a package that passed by 39 points (!) in the City of Seattle*, and promises traffic-free, zero-emission mobility to Ballard, West Seattle, South Lake Union, and a few other neighborhoods is… notable.
  • I don’t think the ST Board was honest with the people on what we were voting for.” This accusation is unsupportable. The $54 billion figure was widely publicized, even though I think it vastly exaggerates any meaningful statement of the cost. Both the agency and the region’s largest newspaper published online calculators where voters could estimate their personal expenses.
  • He then conflates his confusion as a legislator with deceit of the voters. Ordinary citizens may well be confused by the gap between the $15 billion and $54 billion figures, enough that I devoted many words to it in an explainer. However, this gap was irrelevant to the public campaign. Sen. Hasegawa has been in the legislature for 12 years. He has a staff, and agency governmental relations personnel that would be eager to clear up any uncertainty he might have. He has a responsibility to understand what he is voting on, or at least not complain that he couldn’t be bothered to figure it out.
  • He is deeply concerned about “impacts” on low-income people from transit taxes that the voters had to approve, but is just fine with a gas tax increase for highways with no voter approval.
  • They knew they had the votes to pass whatever they wanted to.” Since he’s referring to the transition from $15 billion to $54 billion, the only “votes” he can be referring to are those on the Sound Transit Board, or among the people of the region. Since both had to be true, “they knew they had the votes” is a way of saying the region’s appetite for high-quality transit is insatiable. And yet somehow, this is his reason to be a critic.

This set of views is startling for a Senator from the 11th District, much less a potential Mayor of Seattle. Perhaps targeting the 31% of Seattle voters who voted no on ST3 is good enough to survive a big primary field. ST3 won’t decide this election, but if you care very much about transit, Bob Hasegawa may not be the Mayor for you.

* If I’ve crunched these numbers correctly, ST3 passed in Seattle 257,027 to 114,052, or 69.3% – 30.7%.

89 Replies to ““I think that vote was rigged””

    1. If he has ignored media inquiries from the Times on his signature free-parking issue for the past several years the way he has ignored inquiries from STB, I doubt they’ll be impressed either.

  1. Oh man, my nightmare setup in the general would be if Hasegawa and that Sawant clone made it through to be our choices. I would never, ever, in a million years vote the latter. I would just have to hope Hasegawa’s anti-ST talk is mostly bluster.

    1. That would be unfortunate, and a tough call (I suppose I’d vote for whichever one seemed the most promising on land-use and expanding the housing supply), but really, that they’re the worst of a crowded field is a pretty good sign. Neither would be *that* bad.

      1. @djw: Should I infer that your theory of the housing affordability crisis is to keep building more and taller with no concern for livability? After the biggest construction boom in history, with rents still rising fastest in the country, isn’t it obvious that we are building apartments only for high-rolling tech workers? My middle-class friends are being forced out daily.

        The Mayor’s explicit housing policy is to let the developers do whatever they want, wherever they want. We know Vulcan is calling the shots, and that Downtown Seattle money now shifts over to Jenny Durkan. Meanwhile, we can’t get developer impact fees as 80 other WA cities have, to pay for infrastructure with our over-the-top growth.

      2. What would you do? Not building at all or building more “livably” (whatever that means) would not stop rent increases and displacement; it would accelerate them faster as more people compete for fewer units. Impact fees can pay for infrastructure but they can’t build enough housing to stop the rent increases. The only way to stop the rent increases and displacement is to upzone the vast single-family areas to fill the gap between the high-rolling tech workers and the rest of the demand. Even a modest upzone would make a big difference because it’s so many lots — more than demand would require, so not all of them would be converted.

        Regardless of whether you accept this, building up and building out are not each other’s enemies. The problem is not developers or high-rolling tech workers or the lack of impact fees. The problem is that the existing zoning is not enough to saturate demand: the demand keeps rising faster than the supply does.

        I can prove it by referring to 2008-2011. In 2008 the economy crashed, a lot of people moved away, and rents fell. From 2008-2011 the population remained low and rents remained flat. In 2011 Amazon started hiring like mad and people moved here, and rents started increasing. I wonder why? Also, rents started increasing before the aparment-building boom revved up full blast. So the increases caused the building boom, not the other way around as Mr Fox claims.

      3. Should I presume you have a definition of “livability” that is more than just leaving the housing patterns the way they were when the white settlers took over the land that is now Seattle?

        Do you think rents will stop increasing if we shut down those evil homebuilders cold?

        I don’t think the mayor agrees with your assessment of his policies. First, they don’t get to do what they want with the land unless they own it. Second, the mayor took well over half the land in the city off the table, even for building DADU’s, because of the white homeowner privilege lobby.

    2. “and that Sawant clone”

      Nikkita Oliver is not my top choice for mayor, but why won’t you use her name? Stuff like this is why Oliver has started using #sayhername for her own situation.

      1. DaveO,

        Well said, Dave0.
        I’ll probably not vote for Oliver, but people I respect are supporting her, and she had the boldness to run against Murray when it looked like he’d win easily.

        Good luck to her, although the crowded field will make it difficult.


    3. There’s a large number of people looking for a moderate, either McGinn or a newcomer who may yet reveal their experience and/or judgment. I know little about Hasegawa but he sounds more extreme than Mallahan; i.e., a smaller niche. I can’t see two niche candidates, him and Sawant, mopping up both top spots. Not unless something goes wrong with “strategic” voting as when people voted for either McGinn or Mallahan even though they liked Nickels believing he would surely get the first or second slot (and The Stranger promoted McGinn on this basis), but too many did that and Nickels got third and was out.

      When I’ve heard Sawant speak she sounds more moderate and nuanced than her campaign rhetoric and the supporters’ rhetoric are, so I’m not exactly worried about what if she wins, but I’d like to have a choice between something more than just her and a reactionary.

      1. I’ve never heard of anyone voting for McGinn or Mallahan on that basis. They may have assumed Nickels would survive the primary but if you “liked Nickels” you should have voted for him. Anyone who failed to understand his unpopularity after the snow debacle was just misreading the public.

      2. I did and many people did; it was widely reported at the time. I voted mostly the Stranger’s slate. The Stranger said afterward it had made a big mistake telling people not to vote for Nickels because he’d be sure to get the other slot. I thought Nickels was a fine mayor but I also liked McGinn; I wasn’t sure which was better so I hoped they would face off in the final and I could make a final decision then. But it didn’t work out.

        “Anyone who failed to understand his unpopularity after the snow debacle was just misreading the public.”

        You’re overstating the case. Some people are one-issue voters; they’ll cashier a mayor if a snowstorm goes badly, but that’s still a niche, the way Hasegawa’s anti-ST warpath is a niche and Sawant’s socialism is a niche. Nickels lost the primary partly because of the snowstorm, partly because of this strategic voting tragedy, and partly because some people never liked him all along. (“Too much in the pocket of downtown developers.”) Unfortunately Seattle has now gotten a pattern of booting out mayors for insufficient (to me) reasons: Schell, Nickels, McGinn….

      3. I thought she was. But I guess it was just an early Times editorial positing a Sawant mayorship as a theoretical horror story, and now with so many other candidates jumping in and Felsen’s comment I thought she had jumped in too.

      4. I voted for McGinn figuring I liked him and Nickels both, and with both in general election I could put off making the decision for a while. Sorry, Greg. It’s not that I didn’t like you.

    4. Now that Jenny Durkan has entered the race, she will get the Seattle Times endorsement and the establishment vote. Hasegawa will be left with the cranky NIMBY vote. Neither is likely to be the winning niche, but Durkan may very well get through the primary.

      Sawant hasn’t made a peep about running for mayor, so why is she being discussed?

    5. Are there clones in this race? Is it Rex or Cody? That would make a difference for me. I’d rather be smashing imperialism.

      As for Sawant (who isn’t running for mayor, last I checked), I can’t remember her being actively hostile to transit the way Hasegawa is. Nor can I remember her being actively hostile to densification. We just disagree about the impact of various forms of rent control.

    6. Oliver is targeting many of the same voters as Sawant, and has similar issue positions, but she’s far from a Sawant clone in terms of personality (which IMO is mostly a good thing for Oliver). I would vote for Oliver over Hasegawa, because Oliver so far has only been a bit NIMBY-sympathetic rather than Hasegawa’s full NIMBY, but I would prefer quite a few other candidates in the race over either. Oliver would also have more chance of changing my mind, if she were to change her rhetoric about housing and developers.

      1. Let’s start by fixing our rhetoric. “Homebuilders”. The NIMBYs have turned “developers” into a curse word. Let’s remind people that someone is building the shelter in which our future generations will live, and it isn’t the neighborhood activists building that shelter.

    1. Ya, I probably would have put Hasagawa off my list for either his “reserved street parking for locals” proposal or for his “gut the ST3 revenue stream by siding with the Republicans on MVET” actions. But with both of them? No way am i voting for him. Ditto for McGinn.

      My fear is that with so many candidates a clunker like Hasegawa has a chance to make it through the primary with a very small fraction of the vote. Then we will be stuck with bad choices.

    2. Just to clarify, Hasegawa hasn’t voted for any of the MVET reduction bills. He voted against 2ESB5893 both times it came up on the Senate floor.

      His support for gerrymandering the Sound Transit Board to pack Seattle voters into as few board seats as possible, and trying to make Sound Transit pay for parking permits where neighborhood groups have petitioned to create them near light rail, are the times he has voted the wrong way on transit as a senator.

      His Trumpian quotes about Sound Transit seem to hurt his cause more than his voting record does.

  2. “Once we authorized the $15 billion, the powers that be went behind a curtain, massaged something and when they came back out popped a $54 billion project.”

    There were two public steps. First ST proposed a 15-year ($15 billion) package like everybody was expecting. The public response was overwhelmingly, “No, that’s not enough, it doesn’t reach all the ST3 top priorities. We can’t wait three decades amidst this massive population growth. Do a bigger package that’s like a combined ST3&4 or ST3 & 3 1/2.” So ST came back with a second proposal, a 25-year plan costing $28 billion.

    The “$54 billion” figure is based on a different measurement scale that includes all bond interest. It’s unfair to impose that scale on ST3 alone (and the monorail in its last vote) when most other projects use the other scale. It’s like one store quoting prices including sales tax when most other stores exclude it.

    “But traffic was so bad we had to do something.”

    And the 15-year plan would not have been enough. The 25-year plan is not even enough. So what’s your real solution? Because the problem wouldn’t have gone away if we’d adopted the 15-year plan. There would have just been more delay and uncertainty until ST4, and whatever would come after that to finish the rest of it. In the meantime would be more years of inefficient travel, which accumulated adds up to most of a person’s lifetime.

    1. It’s not controversial to note that legislators felt misled. Hasegawa is far from the first to say so. The common assumption was that ST3 would be a 15-year program and that Sound Transit would go back to the voters for ST4.

      Not clear how 25-year ST3 goes “faster”. It leverages up as aggressively as they can, but mostly it goes ten years longer. Did the public want that? The self-selected subset of the public that responds to public comment periods wanted that. The voters were evidently more skeptical. ST2 got 58% approval as the economy was going over a cliff in 2008. ST3 got just 54% with a booming economy, more traffic, better demographics etc. Any win is a win, but this is hardly a mandate for the maximal package vs the more time-limited program legislators believed they were authorizing.

      1. The drop off was similar to the drop off in support of Hillary v Obama.

        Seems more likely that progressive turnout was depressed across the board.

      2. Which is why I support the hearings. Provided we set a few preconditions like open testimony and full TVW footage. If THIS will clear the air and start the healing process sooner rather than later, then good.

      3. I wasn’t endorsing the hearings. The Legislature has higher priorities than offering a platform for Dino Rossi’s grandstanding.

        I’m just making the uncontroversial (to anybody who paid attention) observation that Sound Transit went to the voters with a program much larger than they led legislators to believe they were authorizing.

        There’s some inevitable blowback to taking this path, apart from the narrowing margin of support from the voters. Friendly legislators feel burned. It’s why there’s no sympathy in the Legislature for the absolutist position on maintaining inflated MVET valuations. And, yes, it’s why mining anti-Sound Transit resentment has been such a profitable path for Republicans this year.

      4. “Just” 54 percent? Read up on your electoral history.

        And the “self-selected subset” are still, you know, voters too.

      5. “It’s not controversial to note that legislators felt misled.” – it’s certainly common, but I don’t think that makes it uncontroversial. I find it deeply insulting as a voter that legislators that failed to correctly understand the legislation they voted on are blaming a 3rd party.

        If Hesegawa was honest, he would say something like, “I misunderstood the funding mechanisms in the ST bill, and going forward I would like to make X changes for Y reasons.” Instead we have to listen to them abandon all pretense of culpability. It’s embarrassing for them and insulting to us, the voters who hired them to work hard to understand these things on our behalf.

      6. “I find it deeply insulting as a voter that legislators that failed to correctly understand the legislation they voted on are blaming a 3rd party.”

        It’s not that legislators didn’t understand they were authorizing a flow of revenues that could, with voter approvals, continue far into the future. Of course, they did.

        What was not understood was that Sound Transit would use that revenue authority for the maximally-leveraged 25-year program. Legislators took ST at their word that they would ask for the voters for a 15-year program (with, yes, ST4 and maybe others to follow).

        Was the go-big ST3 program better than the ST3/ST4 program most expected? In Seattle, one can make a fair case that the second tunnel yields a more coherent long-term network than one could have gotten with several incremental steps (I’m assuming it would have been much more difficult to add the tunnel in a multi-step series of programs).

        Outside Seattle, the 25-year program just fostered a lack of discipline. It appealed to suburban leaders, if not suburban voters, because it meant never having to make a choice about priorities. We could do *everything*. Paine Field and Issaquah and Dupont and all the other dubious commitments at the end of the program.

      7. ‘Not clear how 25-year ST3 goes “faster”.’

        It’s not so much for the 15-year projects as the ones beyond them. A larger package can possibly get a better bond rating and lower interest rate, which would allow ST to advance some of the early projects a bit. But most of the benefit is in the later projects because ST can steam full speed ahead into them, and possibly advance parts of them. Otherwise ST would have to ramp down and wait for the ST4 vote to proceed with them, and it couldn’t (or at least wouldn’t) advance any large projects that haven’t been voter-approved yet. That’s always the barrier we get with the Ballard-UW line and the UW Station transfer interface: the Ballard-UW line hasn’t been voter-approved yet so it would be inappropriate to spend money on it. In the context of a 15-year plan, Ballard-downtown would be stunted, and there would be no way to upgrade it in ST4 (because major decisions would have already been made based on the lower budget). ST has said it can afford more in a 25-year plan than a 15-year plus 10-year plan, however it works; you can ask ST for details.

      8. Profitable how?

        Also, everything Mike said.

        You’re giving our representatives a total pass for blaming others for not understanding legislation they voted on.

      9. Why didn’t the legislature cap it at 15 years if they felt so strongly about it?

      10. “Why didn’t the legislature cap it at 15 years if they felt so strongly about it?”

        Because even a 15-year program has funding needs that go beyond 15 (ST3 taxes are forecast to start going down in 2047, not 2041), and you still have operations funding, and bonding requirements.

        And there was no particular reason to make Sound Transit go back to the Legislature for ST4.

        But, if anybody had thought Sound Transit was considering a 25-year program, maybe there would have been a discussion about that. Several legislators have said it would have been different if that question had been asked.

      11. There’s some inevitable blowback to taking this path, apart from the narrowing margin of support from the voters.

        Again, this seems to be an assumption wholly without evidence. The drop off between ST2 and ST3 was the same as between Obama and Hillary. It seems wishful thinking on your part to assume that ST3 was due to length and not to progressive turnout.

      12. “Again, this seems to be an assumption wholly without evidence.”

        This. Again, the claim that 54% of the vote is not a mandate-y enough mandate or somehow reflects a skeptical electorate because something kinda similar received 58% in Obama’s first election is frankly more than a little bizarre.

        Best-case scenario, for Bob, is that he’s being honest and thinks Seattleites would care that a transit agency successfully gamed our anti-transit and anti-Seattle legislature…to fund transit in Seattle.

        That’s not a good argument for the functionality of Bob’s neurons. Unless he’s just out to pocket some cash from the Faye Garneau crowd. Take your pick, though the fact that he shirks all responsibility for his own vote and uses the inflated $54 billion number might tell you something.

        Unrelated: I’m selling horse-sized naiveté pills if anyone’s interested.

      13. Some people are going to keep insisting there’s no such thing as overreach. Right up to when the Legislature takes your MVET money away. Or worse.

        How many votes did you have in the House for preserving the inflated MVET schedule again? Why do you suppose that was? You think nobody in the Legislature knows where the voters are at?

      14. “The voters were evidently more skeptical. ST2 got 58% approval as the economy was going over a cliff in 2008. ST3 got just 54% with a booming economy, more traffic, better demographics etc.”

        First of all, the voters clearly wanted it, it won easily. That they wanted a previous (and, I think everyone agrees, far more urgent) package doesn’t change that.

        But the election to election comparison without accounting for the fact that 2008 was historic Democratic wave year, whereas 2016 was a fairly neutral year. Do you think the hopeful young people who generally never turn out weren’t going to vote for transit? I’m skeptical about this strategy for comparison to begin with, but to attempt to generate useful information from the 4 point drop without mentioning that rather important fact about turnout and the composition of the electorate is deeply dishonest.

        This effort to try to find some sort of way to frame a clear 8 point victory in an election where the agency was entirely upfront and honest about the income sources and projects is something I expect from Republicans; that so many people who present themselves as “transit supporters” are joining in the fun is deeply dispiriting.

      15. No, some people are simply going to keep insisting that you support a claim that voters responded to alleged overreach with some sort of meaningful fact. Trying to throw shade at a 54% win with no more evidence than what ST2 did in 2008 would get you thrown out of a first-year polisci (or journalism) course.

        My supposition is that the MVET is under attack because of the furor successfully created by the Seattle Times, and the tsunami of angry phone calls and emails that ensued. But anyway, you’re conflating whether Hasegawa and other politicians are being sincere (or, I dunno, grandstanding and distancing *because* of the MVET furor) with whether the election results reflected a voter response to so-called overreach.

      16. Well, they could back up their statements of opinion if they can prove that 50,001 individual “Yes on ST3” voters have contacted them.

      17. “You think nobody in the Legislature knows where the voters are at?”

        C’mon, man: The legislature is fully aware that much of the public has been in an uproar over the MVET since the Seattle Times published its first story in late February. Elected officials are responding in kind, as politicians who like their gigs are wont to do.

        But trying to break the space-time continuum to suggest that spring anger over the MVET somehow proves voters were dissatisfied with the size of the package in the fall — in the face of clearly contrary electoral results — is disingenuous at best.

      18. Legislators are upset that ST took a bigger, longer package to voters than they expected, robbing them of another opportunity to bundle more freeway expansion money into a bill authorizing another referendum. Why should the voters care? We passed it with full knowledge of what it was. The legislature and WSDOT and the happy motoring lobby can throw themselves a pity party, but don’t bother inviting the people.

    2. Bob and other legislators must not understand what they voted on. They voted on funding tools for ST3. ST took that authority and extended the ST3 program to meet the region’s needs.

      1. It’s all about interpretation: whether ST gave the impression it would not go beyond 15 years, and whether it was reasonable for some legislators to silently interpret it that way without asking ST for definitive clarification. I think the legislators knew full well that ST might enlarge the package or use the authority multiple times, and if they wanted to prevent those possibilities foreclose that option they should have written it into the law.

        They don’t give Seattle a billion-dollar tax authority and then say the city implicitly promised to use only a million of it. The whole reason we’re going through ST for Seattle’s rail lines is that the legislature won’t give Seattle enough tax authority to build them itself. That’s a case where the legislature did cap Seattle’s ability at a low level so it has to ask for every little thing individually and not expect any big things. If the legislature wanted to do that to ST, why didn’t it do so?

    3. Senator Hasegawa has been in office for 11 years now.
      It’s really disingenuous for him to pretend not to understand the legislative process at this late date.

      His candidacy looks like a cynical attempt to raise money from people who dislike transit.

      1. The money Hasegawa would raise would be for the purpose of getting elected mayor. Some of it might be eligible for office support if he somehow finds a way to win, but the money can only be used to run for mayor.

        Why would he run for mayor, except to get elected? He isn’t running to raise money. He’s raising money to run.

      2. Hasegawa can’t raise money while the Legislature is in session. That may hurt both him and Jessyn Farrell depending on how long it takes for the Legislature to pass a budget. We’ll see.

    1. What really mystifies me is why is Hasegawa still in the Senate? Why has not a true progressive urban challenger knocked him out yet.

      There is an ongoing mismatch of Seattle leg reps, where they are to the right of their districts, especially on urban issues. My theory is that hanging out in Olympia with a half-republican crowd moderates their view of what is possible. In which case Seattle districts should routinely vote in fresh blood who will fight passionately for what their voters care about.

      1. The 11th is a gerrymandered district that covers a small part of Beacon Hill, then runs south through suburban Tukwila and Renton.

        It appears to be the partisan redistricting committee’s attempt to make two majority-minority districts out of southeast seattle, while keeping Hasegawa safe.
        He no longer represents Seattle in any useful way.

        See this map. Looks a bit like a dragon.

      2. There are a lot of old-time Seattle residents who are not particularly liberal. They are quite wealthy (although many don’t have high incomes), thanks to timely home purchases in the 70s-90s, a generally rising stock market during their working careers, and generous retirement benefits. Importantly, they vote and donate to campaigns.

        Literally every one of the old neighbors on my childhood block is a millionaire from real estate alone. I’d characterize the collective political leanings as “country-club liberal”: socially moderate/liberal, fiscally moderate/conservative, and elite-level NIMBY.

      3. There are a lot of rich people living in Seattle, but very few of them in the 11th Legislative District.

    2. I’m willing to revote on ST3 if we can have a national revote on the Presidential election. /snark

  3. I don’t see how you can believe this about ST3 and serve as mayor of Seattle. He’s putting rail to Ballard and West Seattle in serious jeopardy with this stuff – and fueling right-wing State Senators who are attacking ST3.

    1. West Seattle voters may want to chime in. (Not necessarily here, but in general.) They really, really wanted Link. Do they still want it that much?

      1. I live in the City’s 1st Council District, and also in Hasegawa’s district. I’m hungry for rapid transit even while I live miles away from it.

        He only responded to one of my requests to talk with him once. He then flaked on the in-person meeting, and his staffer apologized for his failure to notify me he was cancelling.

        If he can’t respond to constituents as a state senator, how is going to be any better as mayor?

  4. Mike Orr – Just a heads up, Felsen was referring to Nikkita Oliver when he said “Sawant clone”. Sawant herself is not running, as far as I know.

  5. “He is deeply concerned about “impacts” on low-income people from transit taxes that the voters had to approve, but is just fine with a gas tax increase for highways with no voter approval.”

    He is not as inconsistent as it may seem on that issue. Car tab fees hit people who own cars but don’t use them heavily. A lot of lower-income workers need a car to work a non-standard job shift where using transit is impractical.

    A hypothetical $48 bump in car tab fees (0.8% on a $6000 car) is the equivalent of 400 gallons of gas with a $0.12 tax increase. 400 gallons of gas could take that car ~12,000 miles. Many people don’t drive anywhere close to 12,000 miles in a year.

    I think voter approval for ST makes it easier to win – Seattle tends to vote heavily for most tax increases, and even with the suburbs mixed, it still wins. If it was left to elected officials, some ambitious politicians may not want to vote for a big tax increase, lest it be used against them in the future, but are happy to let voters do it.

    1. I don’t get why he’s been so worried about parking around Sound Transit stations. It seems like it has permanently turned him against the organization. There are none in his district, though there will be one, BAR, if ST3 is allowed to finish by him and his meddling Republican friends in the State Senate. So where did he get this bee in his bonnet.

      1. I was wrong when I said “none”. Lander is in his district, but “residential parking” is a complete non-issue there. The 11th LD does come close to Beacon Hill Station, but no closer than three blocks.

    2. Park n rides have been a perennial demand by some Rainier Valley residents ever since Link opened, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re active on Beacon Hill too. The argument is that people can’t get to the stations without P&Rs because the feeder buses are inadequate, so they can’t use the train they’re paying for, unless they park a long way from the station wherever they can find street parking. They don’t know about or aren’t interested in the private pay lots near some of the stations. Some of them live in the valley (e.g., east of Rainier), so they have a stronger argument for being in Link’s cachement area because Link is supposed to “serve Rainier Valley”. Others come from south of Rainier Beach station so it’s more questionable whether they’re in Link’s cachement area but in any case they have fewer bus choices. These are the people that Hasegawa is responding to.

    3. When the legislature chose to give sound transit only regressive forms of taxation, they have no right to act shocked and appalled that the working class is hit the hardest. They are very careful to disallow taxes of any kind.

      1. Disallow *progressive* taxes of any kind.
        My phone started freezing in the middle of that comment.

      2. Actually, the ST3 authorizing law included head taxes. ST opted not to go there. ST probably would not have opted to do the MVET either, except it was the only path to doing everything in ST3 in a reasonable timeframe.

    4. Hasegawa was unaware that there was a low-income RPZ option during one of his episodes of committee testimony. He continues to claim that RPZs are imposed on neighborhoods during his testimony. Given his lack of knowledge on the subject matter of one of his top three signature issues in the legislature, he really can’t claim to be more of a “detail” person than Oliver.

  6. Just out of curiosity, what can the next mayor do to ST3? Can he or she change the routing, the timeframes, the stops, delay the EIS, etc.?

    1. Yes.

      With the accelerated timeline for planning, much work will be completed during a 2018-2022 mayoral term.

      There will be major battles (and regrets from some former supporters) once ST publishes real-life station locations, profiles, elevations. Light rail sounds great in theory but in practice it will be very controversial.

      1. The next mayor needs to streamline the permitting process for ST3 projects in Seattle as much as is possible.

        Bob is a very bad choice for this reason.

        Rep. Jessyn Farrell is heavily rumored to be considering a run for mayor. She’s nearly an ideal candidate from a pro-transit and pro-density perspective.

    2. The next mayor is unlikely to revoke any projects or dramatically change their timelines or order, because he’s one boardmember out of 18. But most of the details aren’t decided yet. The Ballard-downtown line is really just a promise to build something that serves the downtown to Ballard transit market, however ST defines that. The line on the map is a “representative alignment”, which means it’s just a concept that can be changed. To be eligible for federal grants the EIS requires an Alternatives Analysis of all reasonable alternatives, and ST must fairly consider all AA alternatives before choosing a “preferred alignment”. For Lynnwood Link the alternatives were as wide as Aurora, I-5, 15th Ave NE, and Lake City Way, both light rail and BRT options. In the end ST chose the original alignment in the ballot measure, but that was not essential. What the ballot measure promises is essentially “first refusal”: if ST deviates from it by omitting or sustantially moving a station, it has to write a statement justifying the change. That’s all. The statement can cite any strong or weak reason as long as it’s some reason.

      Applying all that to the Ballard line, West Seattle line, and DSTT2, ST has wide latitude to make something only vaguely resembling the ballot map, with stations possibly a mile or two sideways from the map alignment, thus serving different transit markets, as long as it adheres to the top priorities of “downtown to Ballard” and “downtown to West Seattle”. So if ST wanted to do e.g. a Queen Anne-Fremont tunnel or a Delridge line instead it could. In making these decisions ST defers mostly to city governments, so that’s where the next mayor will have a powerful hand.

      Beyond tweaking the alternatives, the mayor can speed up/slow down the process and increase/decrease the cost, by expediting permits, dragging its feet on them, or demanding several more alternatives in the EIS and particularly costly alternatives. ST3’s timeline is based on the average experiences in ST1 and 2, but cities and stakeholders can speed it up a year or two by asking for only one other alternative, prepermitting it, and declaring light rail a blanket permitted use so it doesn’t have to get a zoning waiver. Redmond has done the latter already, and Murray promised to do it last year in Seattle, I don’t know if it was completed. But the next mayor can add or shave off years from the timelines and make the alignments better or worse according to hir choices. (‘hir’ = gender-neutral posessive pronoun.)

      1. Not to say you’re wrong, Mike. But I think this discussion has got to start including the technical considerations of both these corridors, as well as the political.

        Depending on rocks, soils, and water, I think Ballard to UW will be a straight easy bore. And, based on tunneling technology to date, with much faster machines when it’s time to start digging.

        Ballard through Downtown and West Seattle, a lot harder on many scores. I don’t know enough, or foretell enough to say which should be built first. But I do think these elements will probably outweigh the political ones.


    3. By the way, the monorail had the opposite approach. Instead of specifying a “representative alignment”, it wrote into the bill the exact streets and station locations it would serve. That gave it no ability to make changes if further engineering studies showed an alternative was better or revealed fatal problems with the alignment. So it was premature, an alignment set in stone without a detailed engineering assessment.

      It also wouldn’t have passed muster for federal grants because they chose an alignment before considering all reasonable alternatives in an EIS. That didn’t matter to them because they didn’t intend to ask for federal grants anyway: it was going to be a “100% locally funded” project, less expensive than ST’s “extravagant” budget that was based on grants.

    1. Good for you, Joe, but don’t expect ST3 “faster”. Pray that the anti-transit ghouls in the Other Washington and Olympia are frustrated in their attempt put up so many roadblocks that it takes fifty years.

  7. When any elected representative tells me they either didn’t understand the implications of legislation they voted for, I’d say the same for both them and their constituents. Read it before you sign it. Or elect it.

    But word to the wise, Joe: If ST gets an elected board, I’m going to move somewhere across the Nisqually River and run for office. Painting the Route 7 blue and white and wiring it to Ellensburg is only the beginning.

    Since Russian connections are now Presidential, maybe I can demonstrate that by allowing wealthy passengers to shoot endangered animals and throw lit cigars out the window into old-growth forests on their way to see their strip mines, I can also make a deal for a hotel for them to stay at. West Seattle?

    At least if dishonest STB can do something about these leakers. Almost as bad as the CIA and reason head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff got thrown off the National Security Agency. Grandstander! Sad.

    However, at ceremony where we both get sworn in, I’ll help you get the Skagit River dredged so it can run steamboats, like it used to. And new Board’s first business will be to see how much Bob will give us when we sell him the I-90 Bridge. Like they said about West Seattle in Doc Maynard’s day: “New York Alki!” Google the word.


    1. Ah, the New York Alki days. That must have been when this “livability” thing was at its height. I think that was right before the last of the longhouses were swept, er, burned down.

  8. I think a lot of people can agree who NOT to vote for, but who is the pro-transit pro-urbanist candidate?

    My feeling so far is that McGinn is the most obvious choice.

    That said, with this many candidates in the field the risk is the vote will get divided in such a way in the first round that NO pro-transit pro-urban candidate makes it into the second round of voting.

    I would like to see STB and The Stranger settle on a common pro-urban candidate to endorse before the final round of voting.

    I think the nightmare scenario is we have the Seattle Times endorsed anti-transit candidate facing off against Oliver in the final round of voting. In other words a choice between an anti-transit person and a NIMBY.

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