Mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon debate how Seattle’s next mayor would address our city’s most pressing issues: growth, affordable housing, and homelessness (via Seattle Channel).

This is an open thread.

20 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Mayoral Debate on “Changing Seattle””

    1. Al, The Titanic got at least one voyage before the helmsman misjudged how near God, disguised as an iceberg, was. And the early British “Comet” jetliners generally needed a couple of flights before metal fatigue blew out a window at cruising altitude.

      When I dispatched for Greyhound, every employee pass came with a strict order never to ride in the front two rows of seats because of what-all could come through the windshield, which I guess counts as the forefront.

      So might be a good idea for Seattle to sit at least midway back ’til the Atlanta program’s got some more miles from forefront to rear posterior.

      Presence of buses whose drivers only know the last thing the dumbest human to touch, or hack, them tells them before contact. Which might make it highly advisable to have a Mayor ready to prosecute everybody from forefront back. Starting with whoever signed the purchase order.

      Come on, somebody ask Jenny and Cary at least that much about transit. I can’t vote in Seattle, but claim some transit-related privileges owing to fact that due to real estate developments in Seattle, I can’t use transit to get anywhere on I-5 during rush hour.

      Change that and you’re rid of me, Which has got to be worth SOMETHING. Hey, maybe if I refuse to squeal on whoever advocates litigation-causing buses, Jenny will have Feds stationed at Angle Lake to escort me a Private(ly owned) pad across the street.

      Like the cafe in thethe Eiffel Tower…”It’s the only place in Paris (read Angle Lake Station) I can’t see the damn thing!”


    2. My guess is that the first driverless bus routes are all going to be speed-limited to something very slow, leaving passengers clamoring for an old-fashinoned human. And they’ll probably further slow down the service by stopping and opening the doors at every single bus stop, since the robot won’t be able to tell whether a random person in the vacinity of the stop is looking to board or not.

      And that’s assuming that they figure out how to deal with fare collection, and wheelchair loading.

      1. The first application of driverless technology for mass transit will probably be for rail and not for buses. Replacing the driver on a train involves a lot fewer degrees of freedom.

      2. The systems like the EZ10 one in the video are generally expected to move at 20 mph or less. The faster the vehicle, the harder driverless guidance would seem to be. Their target market will be 0.5 to 2 miles of a station. With thousands of riders waiting 30 minutes or more for a bus with a driver to get home, there are probably many who would gladly hop a waiting driverless vehicle that moves just a few minutes slower to get to a destination. It’s also going to be cheaper than building free large park-and-ride garages.

        Driverless rail applications appear to also be a function of speed and safety. Because stopping a train takes more distance than a rubber-tired vehicle and because trains can’t serve to miss obstructions, it would seem to actually be harder at an equivalent speed.

      3. Lazarus: driverless technology on mass transit trains is now several decades old. Have you visited Vancouver SkyLink? Maybe London’s DLR?

  1. “Affordabliity”

    Would either of you agree that the best way to make a home affordable to most people is to pay them enough money to afford one?

    Would either of you be willing to state that employers who don’t are creating public costs that their presence won’t cover?

    Do you agree that a large sector of small manufacturing will once again provide an income that will enable people to earn a decent living? After training whose cost does not demand years out of a working life, costing a lifetime in debt?

    Would either of you publicly say that best guarantee of the ability to afford a decent personal life is the return of a healthy labor union movement?

    How close are either of you to being unable to afford to live in Seattle?

    “Growing up, Cary Moon was part of her family’s small manufacturing business that was partly owned by its 100 employees. She worked as an engineer in manufacturing companies and at the US Department of Labor.” -Capitol Hill Community Post April 19, 2017

    Leaving you, Cary, with the least excuse for not mentioning any point above. Especially because doing so would very likely win you the election. Or at least able to set the example your city- and your county, State, and country- have needed for a long time.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Excellent comment. A few particulars:

      “the best way to make a home affordable to most people is to pay them enough money to afford one?”

      Yes and no. The minimum wage is supposed to cover basic living costs, and in the 1950s people were able to support a wife and family on it. Since then it has not kept up with inflation, and housing costs in some areas have skyrocketed. Living in Seattle in a market-rate apartment costs $55K, while the new $15 minimum wage earns $31K. I’ve heard that one of the northern European countries (Norway?) has a $25 minimum wage, which totals $52K at an American 40-hour work week. The purpose of the high minimum wage is so that people don’t have to draw on additional social programs due to underemployment. But we also need to recognize that housing costs have slipped out of proportion, and vary widely across the country. It automation eliminates widespread jobs and we switch to a universal basic income (UBI) and voluntary work (rather than working to survive), people in Seattle would need $55K just for basic expenses. Some believe a UBI at that level is impossible, and it would more likely be $10K or $12K or $20K. That might be enough to live on somewhere in the US but not in Pugetopolis, at least not without subsidized housing. Which gets us back into “additional social programs” or recognizing that housing is unique. Or recognizing that housing policies have led to this situation, and we need to radically upzone and probably extend subsidized housing deep into the middle class (like Obamacare subsidies). So the answer to Mark’s question is, yes wages need to increase, but we also need to recognize that even that may not be enough and we also need to address housing supply and boosting housing subsidies directly.

      “employers who don’t are creating public costs that their presence won’t cover?”

      I have a slightly different question. How should we determine what a company owes the community? Many large corporations pay little or no taxes while getting special tax breaks from the community that non-multinationals don’t get. There is an outcry over this, and conversely a movement for a “business-friendly” climate which appears to support skeletal taxes and giveaways. But that raises the question: what are companies freeloading on, what’s the proper level of community compensation, and what is the balance between “business-friendly” and fair if we’re not going to be a zero-tax tax haven (which seems to be the goal of the “business-friendly” argument, or at least they don’t articulate another limit, as in a Times commentary today).

      “best guarantee of the ability to afford a decent personal life is the return of a healthy labor union movement?”

      This is the most underreported issue of the era. At the same time we can’t just recreate the old union situation, because it was based on large masses of factory workers which no longer exist, and new manufacturers are mostly automated. Tech workers seem to feel a union is infeasable, or that they’re valuable enough and compensated enough that they don’t need a union, and in any case unionizing would make them or their companies unattractive. And how can unions work in a freelance gig economy, which an increasing percent of workers are? So I think we’ll need some kind of different union, and perhaps something different from employer-based unions. Maybe employer-based unions is a temporary stage like employer-based medical insurance? The former head of the AFL-CIO said something similar in a book, that the evolving nature of jobs will need different kinds of unions than we’ve had in the past, but he wasn’t sure what they should be either.

      1. Mike, I think both the labor movement and their industries took same hit around the end of the 1960’s. 20 years after the end of the Second World War, the World got over the War and we weren’t ready. Especially the labor movement.

        Wrong ideas have bad consequences, especially in quarters that should know better. Epitaph for many decent things like possibly our country: Across the political spectrum, especially among the comfortable of all parties and persuasions: “What is, is.”

        Answer could’ve been shooting civil war. In Michigan, the Industrial Unemployed had deer rifles. Resulting in greatest pacification measure in History. Credit cards. Fifty years without decent wages have given our people greatest amount of consumer goods in history.

        So retraining and unions be damned. But fact of debt beloved of creditors: like worst of old peasant Europe, debt turns people viciously cheap and reactionary. And obedient.Because they know that anything anybody else gets from them, they personally have to repay with interest.

        Also, old adage about “Feeding a hooked fish” doesn’t mean useless expense. A well-fed hooked fish soon learns that life has never been so comfortable and effortless. So long as you don’t “make waves”. Though allegory not complete. Most fish don’t channel their inner shark when the food runs out.

        What’s going to happen when likely repeat of Crash of’ ’08 takes both consumer and education creditors along with the mortgage bankers. What just happened with Experian would leave average seismograph needle quivering in the wall. Likely indicator what’s already happening to our bridges and water supplies.

        9-11? More likely, Bhopal. Look it up. But, ill wind, Mike. From my take of the people I meet late 20’s-early 30’s seismographs aren’t that hard to read for those interested and prepared for some serious disaster response.

        Meantime, question for next candidate I catch: “Do you agree that the end of consumer credit is as desirable as it is inevitable?” But borrowing for equipment and training? Worst lie from the right is that loans for repaired and renewed infrastructure and machinery are bad for the budget.

      2. I am fortunate (I think) to still work in a represented public sector job operating Link Rail after nearly 30 years as a bus operator who makes about $80K/ year after a lot of overtime and the prospect of paying market rate rent in the Seattle area scares the hell out of me. Back in 1986 I bit the bullit and cemented my residence in Skyway with a mortgage which was barely afffordable at the time but now seems like a gift even with the nightly gunshots in the neighborhood from who knows who.

        Maybe political activity from my union and occasional donations on my part have extended my comfort zone past what is my due: hard work and dedication to a profession about to be automated – yielding a living affording an existence in Central Puget Sound. Thank God I am only supporting myself – as if I had any progeny, I would not know how to raise them to expect even what I have managed to scrape for myself.

        Is our current situation sustainable over the long term? As I approach the age which I will be forced to retire over the enevitable medical condition brought on by not so good lifestyle choices and ever increasing demands of blue collar work – If I were to start over again at age 21 in transit would it be a wise career choice? Is public service a viable choice for anyone anymore?

        I am proud of my work over the last 35 years – and I am thankful for the life it has provided me. But I worry that those who follow me won’t have the same opportunities.

    2. Yes and no. First, yes, employers should pay people enough to get an apartment or buy a condo or townhouse.

      But… if zoning is creating an artificial restriction so that nobody’s allowed to build apartments, condos, or townhouses, then there will simply not be enough for everyone.

      So, first, we have to actually build more housing. By making it legal to build more housing.

  2. So whom should Dow appoint to replace ex-Mayor Murray? Obviously waiting to see if J. Durkan becomes mayor would be the best solution, as she’d support the mission. If C. Moon were to win (unlikely!) Dow could select from many electeds throughout the county. Any particularly strong candidates?

    1. Appoint to the ST board, I think you mean. Isn’t the mayor of Seattle an automatic position, or is that only for the county executives and somebody in WSDOT?

    2. And if Dow does have discretion, is it politically tenable not to appoint the mayor of the largest city, whose population is almost four times larger than the second-largest city?

    3. I would recommend Seattle Councilwoman “The C is for Carson” Lorena Gonzalez be the appointment. Take Tsimerman Down. Period.

      If Tsimerman can be tamed by the Seattle City Council, the Puget Sound Regional Council and the King County Council I’m sure the Sound Transit Board could do the very same.

      Once that’s done, then we’ll talk about getting whomever is Mayor of Seattle come 1/2018 back on.

  3. Joe here. A few scatter thoughts…

    1) I think the Mukilteo Mayor’s Race is far more interesting than this one…. one I’m calling for Cary Moon due to the, er, situation of one Ed Murray ahd the mishandling of it by Jenny Durkan. In this case, it’s a fight whether Mukilteo even has a Community Transit Board Seat and a star in that chair… or a Mayor Danny that will push and shove away the transit communtiy, starting with me.

    2) Also I hope others take up Seattle Subway’s lead and try to protest at the ballot box this Seattle establishment whamming down the throats of the region a Seattle Mayor and I might add a Sound Transit Boardmember who may not represent diverse Seattle.

    3) It was no secret who I endorsed for Seattle Mayor. The best Sound Transit Boardmember the current system would allow. I am asking all of you to please pick the best candidates for transit board when the opportunities arise on voting for local elected officials folks.

    4) Just putting this rant out there… As a 12 for Transit, I am equally in agony at the Seahawks O-Line & the Sound Transit Lynnwood Link staff. Folks, it was going to rain today and at least Russell Wilson unlike some wide receivers got prepared. The Lynnwood Link project needs a Russell Wilson of their own. The South of Sound Transit has their own Russell Wilson I understand and should learn from observing both the football & Sound Transit versions.

    Some of us want to win ST3 build-out…

    1. Regarding#4….

      To paraphrase a former POTUS, I share your pain. The Hawks’ o-line is still a disaster (certainly not helped by Fant’s preseason game injury) and they won’t win too many games relying upon Wilson scrambling for his life in the backfield play after play. Because of Wilson being, let’s say, “vertically challenged” he’s never going to be the ideal pocket passer. With that being said, they certainly could do more with timing pass plays to alleviate some of the pressure on Wilson until they correct the problems with this porous o-line. Otherwise, there’s a very good chance that Wilson could suffer an even worse injury than the one he played thru last year.

      I feel the same way about ST’s Lynnwood Link project staff. This recent revelation about a $500 million cost escalation (resulting in a minimum of a 6-month delay in delivery date for “value engineering”) isn’t getting nearly the scrutiny it should. People need to keep in mind that this $500 million is the projected overrun on the BASE part of the project, the $1.5 – 1.7 billion in YOE$ the taxpayers were told the project would cost as part of the ST2 proposal (a figure that ST has stuck by until recently). I know ST is trying to push a narrative using the higher figure of $2.4 billion from the New Starts grant application so that the $500 million figure sounds better. But that $2.4 billion included the allocated costs for the fleet expansion*, the project’s share of the maintenance facility*, the O&M costs* as well as some $193 million in financing costs. Again, if you just consider the base costs of the project, this is a HUGE miss and ST needs to come clean as to when this became known.

      *these costs were included in the ST2 proposal project cost details given in the appendix

    1. I’m very skeptical. A normal rear light, mounted in a visible place (I use one on my helmet and one on my trunk bag), possibly operating as a flasher in environments with lots of distracting light, is going to be much more conspicuous (given equivalent power) and closer to overtaking drivers’ field of view. Proper rear-facing reflectors, taking advantage of the power of cars’ headlights, are also surprisingly useful. Red lines projected onto the pavement will not be very conspicuous during the day, nor in the rain — in either case they’d be drowned out by other light reflecting off the pavement.

      I’m not sure what sorts of blind-spot scenarios these people are thinking about, but the most typical vehicular blind-spot is over the shoulder of the driver, so a light projecting on the ground slightly behind a bike isn’t going to help much. There are basically two ways you can end up in a blind spot: the vehicle overtaking you, or you overtaking the vehicle (especially when “undertaking” on the right). When the vehicle is overtaking you, you just need good conspicuity from the rear, as provided by standard rear lighting solutions — drivers that can see you are in a position to decide whether to overtake before passing or to wait. When you’re overtaking, a good (i.e. bright, visible from many angles, but aimed so not to be blinding) headlight, plus an understanding of where vehicle blind-spots are and when to avoid entering them, is the best defense.

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