19 Replies to “Podcast #49: Endorsements”

  1. Thank you to Cary Moon for agreeing to face your tough questions. I wonder who advised Durkan not to answer your questions.

    1. Probably same adviser who told Jenny that because the last cells at Angle Lake were full of my young neighbors locked up without a trial to compel testimony for a crime they were nowhere near… no room- or law- to rid society of her future voters and contributors who destroyed Washington Mutual.

      Considering the ugly, money glutted place Seattle has become, I grudgingly have to thank these people for “compelling” me to get out of there. But they’ve also robbed me of an equal motivator, the chance our Founding Fathers would’ve understood perfectly.

      Even though they’d recently passed the law that made Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton accomplices in the same crime. My first week in Olympia, I asked a lady neighbor of mine, wearing “camo” and desert boots, if she was stationed there for the defense of Olympia.

      Answer: “Frankly, I don’t think Olympia would want to be defended!” Anybody rats on me ’cause I did it, I’ll borrow enough money to donate to Jenny’s campaign that she’ll give you a view of Angle Lake Station because you know me. My Texas birth certificate says I can put a locational fill in blank after “Don’t Mess With.”

      Car preference? Bet Prosecutor Durkan’s main contributors are most car-NIMBY in the city. With emphasis on the “M”.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Probably same adviser who told Jenny that because the last cells at Angle Lake were full of my young neighbors locked up without a trial to compel testimony for a crime they were nowhere near… no room- or law- to rid society of her future voters and contributors who destroyed Washington Mutual.

        Can anyone translate this? I’ve read it about four times. Trying to read some of Mark’s comments makes me doubt my interpretive skills.

      2. I *think* it’s something about Durkan being in the pocket of Wall Street types and the relative lack of punishment for people who caused the recent recession while less well-connected people are locked up for refusing to testify about something and I don’t even know…

  2. Guys, that was the most tepid “endorsement” imaginable. If I were Cary Moon’s campaign, I’d be apoplectic and doing damage control.

    I appreciate that you discuss things with nuance, but basically, the interviewer pretty much had to spend far too much of the the interview saying something like, “Yeah, but you are at least a little bit glad to endorse her, right?” And these “yeses” to even this question were preceded by long introductory clauses articulating everything that is or might be wrong with her.

    I had taken the strong written endorsement of Cary Moon as significant, but I can see that the editorial board is either divided or incredibly ambivalent, or at the very least that today’s guest has very little verbal discipline. Given that I am somewhat new to urbanism, and so my domain specific analytical chops are underdeveloped, I was weighting your endorsement heavily. But given that it is so tepid in this area, I’m not sure why I should vote for her.

    I don’t mean to say that I think everything should be sound-byte ready. I think endorsements with nuance, qualification, and discussion make sense. But this, “there are four narratives that favor Durkan, but the (just barely) most plausible one is Moon, and, I mean, well, our primary endorsement was amazing, oh, if only, but anyway, Moon, yeah, so I guess she might be better, but I mean, those other three narratives sure are worth spending a lot of time talking about, and I mean, Moon has never really done anything, and, and…” will be seen as an accidental hit job if anyone actually listens to it.

    At this point, I don’t believe the endorsement, and I have lost a bit of faith in the organization’s ability to advocate effectively.

    1. Thanks for the input. I would say that the editorial board was more tepid on Moon than the staff at large, for idiosyncratic reasons — hence Frank is a bit more excited about her than me.

      However, my judgment is that that transit and land use will likely end up much better off under Moon than Durkan, but we are much less sure of this than we usually are.

    2. Did Moon ever give any evidence (even anecdotal) that Seattle has the same issues like Vancouver in terms of empty homes or foreign investors?

    3. These are the regular podcasters and the STB leaders. Martin is the editor in chief; Frank is the general manager. Both of them tend to be “this, but maybe that”; i.e., trying to articulate the best case for every side so as to be fair to all of them. I appreciate that, and that’s how I think too.

      My own belief is that they are both good candidates, and we’re lucky in that. We’re lucky that we don’t have to fight off a bad candidate and fear that the majority might vote for them. No matter how the vote goes, either Moon or Durkin will be at least as good as Schell/Nickels/McGinn/Murray. I can’t say the same about some suburban and state races. So the only thing left is to decide which one is marginally better. Neither candidate is exceptionally outstanding for a loud cheer and an army of door-knockers, if that’s what you’re looking for. There are tradeoffs and uncertainties about what they’d actually do and how effectively they might accomplish them, and that’s what you may be hearing in Martin and Frank’s “tepid” endorsements.

    4. I appreciate honesty more than false enthusiasm. “Each candidate has strengths and weaknesses, but on balance we think the particular mix of strengths and weaknesses point to this one” is a fine way to make an endorsement. Vastly preferable to The Stranger’s endorsement of Moon and subsequent effort to make Durkan seem like a Trumpian figure.

  3. I was really struggling to see any depth in the streetcar discussion. While building exclusive right-of-way is generally a good thing for streetcars as your discussed, I think that the issues around continuing this project involve its need given the significant changes to other transit service funded by Seattle Moves and ST3 since the project was put into motion in 2014. Even the forecasts were from 2014 and don’t assume that these other major transit capital and operations changes would be occurring. Further, South Lake Union streetcar ridership is way down, thanks to RapidRide C into South Lake Union as well as other transit improvements. You didn’t discuss the timing and assumptions factors at all.

    1. That was my takeaway too with this final segment of the podcast. It was truly disappointing in that it lacked any depth on the valid criticisms of the project, including no discussion at all on the capital or operational financing issues. Martin’s throw away line about criticisms that involve a hypothetical $10 billion transit proposal and a project that amounts to 2% of the total (paraphrasing here) being the worst kind is not helpful at all, and frankly reeks of condescension. That’s a lot of money and government entities and agencies have a serious responsibility to spend their limited resources wisely.

      I was also perplexed by Frank’s comment in the same segment:

      “The best case you can make for a streetcar is that it gives you the political capital to overpay for ROW using someone else’s money.”

      Huh? The segment regrettably wrapped up shortly after that comment. I sure would have liked him to expand on that thought. Oh well.

      Yeah. Disappointing.

      1. Let me expand on the thought above, in the hope of mitigating some of your disappointment…

        Taking ROW from cars (for bikes, transit, or peds) is extremely politically difficult. You can find plenty of examples of this in Seattle’s recent history (RapidRide, bike master plan, the list goes on).

        For whatever reason, rail transit magically wins more support for exclusive ROW than buses. As Martin noted, 1st ave will have dedicated transit lanes but 3rd ave still won’t, despite the fact that it carries a huge number of people by bus and has for decades. This makes zero sense, but it is the reality.

        On a cost-per-mile basis, rail is expensive, which is what I mean by “overpaying.”

        Finally, rail wins grants. Sound transit paid for the FHSC, Paul Allen paid for the SLUSC, and the Feds are paying for a big part of the CCC. i.e. “someone else’s money.” (obviously operating costs are borne by the taxpayers).

        It’s worth noting these pots of money are going away. ST will not be paying for any more streetcars. Capitol Hill businesses are balking at a LID to pay for the Broadway extension, and the Trump administration is less enthusiastic about streetcars than their predecessors.

        Does that make sense?

      2. “Sound transit paid for the FHSC”

        Um, that means we paid for the FHSC, and it was taken out of other potential enhancements to ST2 in North King. Like maybe that belated 130th station, or getting the Northgate pedestrian bridge done sooner, etc.

      3. Totally fair. My only point is that their funding wouldn’t have materialized if it had to be approved by the Seattle City Council.

  4. Have you guys lost your mind on the streetcars? Did Paul Allen offer a $1 million sponsorship if you endorsed the CCC? To recap, the most effective transit network runs where the widest cross-section of people are going, and is fast and frequent, for a long enough straight distance that walking is out and it’s starting to compete with driving. Yes, I applaud the excluseive lanes, but the more important question is, “Does it put transit where it’s needed?” First Avenue has a limited walkshed: 2nd Ave to the waterfront — and the wasterfont is iffy with the streep hill. The bulk of downtown travelers are between 2nd and 7th Avenues, where 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue transit can best serve them. Those are also positioned for the huge numbers of people coming from the northeast and southeast (including everything from the U-District and Wallingford on north, Rainier/Beacon/SODO on south, and the Eastside). First Avenue transit could only optimally support the much smaller number of people from the southwest and northwest. If buses from the northeast or southeast are diverted to 1st Avenue, that’s out of the way for them. First Avenue needs some transit, but not the major thoroughfare you’re advocating with the exclusive lanes and the option of diverting buses to them.

    Also, the 5-minute frequent overlap is only between Pioneer Square and Westlake. That means it’s really short, especially from the maximum ridership point in the middle. You can easily walk from Westlake to Pike Place, and Pike Place to Pioneer Square is not out of the question (I’ve done it before in ten minutes). The biggest issue is, if you make a list of the top ten transit needs in Seattle, 1st Avenue would not be on it! Nobody has articulated why there’s such a major transit need on 1st Avenue, they’ve just said “Cool, we can connect the streetcars where they happen to end, and we’ll get some more mobility.” What 1st Avenue needs is a modest amount of transit, and it would be even better if it continued south to SODO and north to Belltown and Seattle Center. Not turning away just when you’re getting going. (The same problem as the Broadway segment.)

    “Show me a plan.” : The plan is already there! Six RapidRide+ corridors that are constrained by their limited budgets. Put the money into them for higher-quality lanes and stations. Improve the transit mall on 3rd Avenue which will be home to at least six of the lines (C, D, E, Delridge, Roosevelt, Rainier). Why is the Roosevelt line not going to Northgate and not getting transit lanes north of the Ship Canal? Limited budget. How many compromises will the 45th line have due to its limited budget? These are how people will get to downtown and through downtown, not on a little streetcar that only goes a short distance and resembles an egg-dropper shape. Especially since our streetcars don’t have the capacity or multi-car consists that really effective streetcars in other cities have.

    I’m not totally against the CCC. I can go along with it if Seattle as a whole chooses it, and appreciate its minor contribution and forward-thinking transit lanes. I hope it will be good enough that I can recommend it to visitors. But we have to weigh it in the context of the overall transit needs in the city. It’s perfectly right to point out that the money could be more effectively spent on other transit. that’s what a visionary mayor or councilmember would do, and what transit advocates should to. Argue that the money should be put into other transit. That doesn’t mean looking a gift horse in the mouth and refusing the streetcar if the majority wants it, but it means pointing out that we could do better. That’s effective both if you win the argument and if you lose it. Of course, we don’t want the third outcome where the city declines the CCC but doesn’t invest in other transit either, and that’s a risk if they kill the CCC, but we can’t base everything on that. We have to continually advocate for the highest-quality transit, while still cooperating with those who will bring the second-highest quality transit into reality.

    1. “Also, the 5-minute frequent overlap is only between Pioneer Square and Westlake.”

      The five minute frequencies (overlapping streetcar lines) will be from Westlake Ave and Thomas St, to 7th Ave and South Jackson. It’s not just the new section that gets the increased frequency, also much of the existing route.

  5. I cant tell the difference between the two. Just saw ads on TV for each calling each other in the hands of developers, which turns me off both of them because developers ARENT the problem. Cary Moon’s supposed urbanist credentials have never excited me.

    They are both running on a left wing NIMBY+SJW anti-development platform. The politics and politicians in this entire country are a disgrace, its a choice of right wing extremists or left wing extremists.

  6. In terms of the closing spiel about when the next episode is, I’d be down for a STB election night party with a live recording of the podcast. I hear live podcasts with audiences are all the rage nowadays, and a great fundraiser too (though of course one should do market testing beforehand).

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