After listing all the reasons that Sound Transit's unsound light rail plan should not proceed, Geov Parrish opines that it still should be>"/>
After listing all the reasons that Sound Transit's unsound light rail plan should not proceed, Geov Parrish opines that it still should be built because "the longer we bicker, the higher the price tag will go" (Impolitics, "In Singapore the trains got built on time," 8/26 ). Parrish needs to repeat Econ 101. By his logic, we should have built a lot of stuff, useful or not, years ago. Trains were much cheaper 60 years ago when rails were being pulled out of Seattle's streets in favor of buses. What Parrish forgets is that the tax revenues supporting a public project increase along with the cost of the project itself. The sales tax increment that would pay for light rail keeps generating more money as everything gets more expensive. That may explain why we hear and see feel-good advertisements designed to make us forget Sound Transit's many problems.
Money is not the issue; finding a real answer to traffic snarls is.
Geov Parrish's piece asking Sound Transit to move ahead with the light rail project in a timely manner (8/26) reported that "Voters also approved a monorail system that nobody's lifting a finger to try to get built." In fact, the public development authority created to cause the monorail to be built (otherwise known as the Elevated Transportation Company, or ETC) has begun substantive talks with private companies who say they want to invest their own money to build Seattle a monorail.
In the fall, we'll be moving another step closer to building elevated transit in this city by asking these private partners to put some of their dollars where their ideas are, by signing on with the ETC as development partners. The big hurdle of the fall will come when we ask the Mayor and City Council to support the idea of awarding franchises to these private firms while we work together to figure out how to make public transit pencil out as a sound business investment.
People who want to know what's happening with the monorail project should hear it from the horse's mouth, by visiting www.elevated.org or attending our monthly Board meetings in the City Council chambers. If there's a way to build this city a monorail using private dollars, we're going to find it—soon!
Kristina Hill, PhD
Chair, Development Committee
Board Member Elevated Transportion Company
What is Geov Parrish thinking of in his Impolitics column of August 26? He said, "Light rail is the most visible, most expensive, and least efficient component of the [Sound Transit] Plan." Then he concludes with, "We might as well build it."
His whole article is devoted to problems and criticisms of the light rail plan. He gives half a dozen reasons why it's a dumb plan. The logical conclusion he ought to have come to is, "We might as well kill it!"
The discussion about light rail and mass transit in general has been driven for over a decade by terrible local traffic congestion. Plopping light rail trolley tracks in the midst of that traffic will do nothing to alleviate it. It will just make it worse.
As we embark on the biggest public works project Seattle has ever attempted, we anticipate spending $1.8 billion to make truly heinous traffic even worse. Somehow it doesn't seem like a bargain.
The dude's suspicious
Eric Scigliano is right to point out that there will be many "unintended consequences" if I-695 passes in November (Quick & Dirty, "695 surprises," 8/26). Would you be just a tad suspicious if you were strolling down the street one day and some dude came out of nowhere, offering to give you some money, if you just followed him a little ways? Well, that dude is Initiative 695 sponsor Tim Eyman—and you should be suspicious.
Eyman is trying to cash in on people's mistrust of government and anger at an unfair tax system with his "$30 car tab initiative". The problem is his initiative will not improve government or make the tax system more fair. Initiative 695 will do a lot of things that Eyman doesn't want to talk about. For instance, it will repeal a key funding source for Metro Transit and transit agencies all around the state. Metro's 1999 budget is about $329 million. About $100 million of that comes from the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), which Eyman wants to get rid of.
How does Eyman propose to fund transit and the many other vital services (medic one, ferries, road maintenance and construction, public health, etc.) that will find themselves starved for money if 695 passes? He doesn't care. Each program, he says, will be forced to "justify" itself. That's a fine theory, but it takes cold hard cash to provide the services that citizens depend upon. The King County Department of Transportation is already making contingency plans for a one-third cut in Metro bus service if 695 passes.
What will this mean for you?
If you are a transit user, your waits are going to be longer, your connections less frequent, your buses dirtier, and your fares higher. If you are a commuter, you are going to be spending a lot more time stuck in traffic, sharing the road with thousands of more cars put there by the Metro service reductions. If you are in business, your goods are going to spend a lot more time (and time is money, isn't it) on the road as well. And if you like to breathe air, the air you breathe will be a lot dirtier thanks to the increased auto emissions. If you are transit dependent, as are many of our youth, elderly, and disabled citizens, you're out of luck.
Should transit have to "justify" itself to a political stuntman like Tim Eyman? No. Transit is good for our community, it's good for our environment, it's good for our economy.
Free money? There's no such thing. I'm voting no on I-695.
Not that funny
I recently read the article "Funny Valentine" (8/26), and was somewhat dismayed. As a personal friend of Valentine's as well as a customer, I felt that an unfair picture was painted of what his shop is about. With statements such as "a barber shop that proudly caters to black and Latino teenagers," you completely misinterpret his whole philosophy. He believes in providing a service, and in his own words, "You can be purple with green hair, I'm going to give you the best haircut." Why is it that just because a lot of young minorities frequent his shop he "caters" to them? If another shop has mostly older, white women as customers, you can bet that an article about it wouldn't mention anything about race or age, of either the customers or the owner.
I also felt that Catherine Tarpley went out of her way to dig things up and insinuate criminal activities. Things are "spooky" because she couldn't see any scuff marks from where he had to clean off some graffiti? And "shades of criminality, real or imagined" is a ridiculous statement, unfair and a product of her overactive imagination.
Valentine is a hard-working, intelligent, and respectful person. Because of this he gets along with almost everybody, and I've seen him hold conversations with a million different kinds of people, from a 13-year-old boy to a 40-year-old man, and even my own mother. Valentine "caters" to a diverse group of people, a fact that he is proud of, and to suggest otherwise is unjust.
"Only a criminal needs an anonymous online identity"?! What a completely idiotic statement for someone to make. Ted Rall ("They've got mail...," 8/26) has obviously never been to any of the newsgroups for sexual abuse survivors or battered partners, or benefitted from the amazing well of information and support found on newsgroups focusing on specific medical conditions. There are excellent job- and insurance-related reasons to remain anonymous as you participate in a group like alt.support.crohns-colitis or sci.med.aids.
I'm sorry that Ted was hurt by a malicious prankster, and wish him well in his legal fight against the jerk. But leaping from that experience to demand that Congress eliminate online anonymity is absurdly self-centered.
Consider it cancelled
Re: The review of Safeco Field food ("Stomach loaded," 8/26)—I'm shocked, SHOCKED, at the Weekly's lack of support for such a fine and necessary piece of civic infrastructure. Cancel my subscription.
Our sad columnists
Kurt B. Reighley ("Two Ears and a Tale," 8/19) and Cherry Wong ("Cherry Pop," same issue) both sound so clinically depressed, I'm afraid that any day now either or both of them will commit the ultimate desperate act and quit writing (or at least do away with themselves), thereby putting the rest of us out of our misery.
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