Call Him No-Win McGinn

When it comes to the tunnel, the city council's damned if they do, and damned when they don't.

  Call him No-Win McGinn. After criticizing the City Council for months over its plan to sign final agreements with the state on building the waterfront tunnel, and promising a veto, Mayor Mike McGinn this week is criticizing the council for not signing the agreements.On Monday, council members introduced a resolution [This story has been corrected since it was first posted; it originally said the council had passed the resolution] saying only that they intended to sign. But they're putting off actually doing so until early next year, allowing time for issues such as the much-vaunted "cost overruns" problem to be worked out. The resolution is nonbinding, meaning the city could still back out. And it explicitly states that the council will sign off on the tunnel only if "nothing in the proposed agreements imposes any obligation on the City to pay costs or cost overruns."Based on the text of the resolution, you'd think McGinn would be jumping for joy. He's insisted for months that his primary issue with the tunnel is the provision in state legislation that calls on property owners who benefit from the project to pay cost overruns if construction goes over budget.But gaining time to work out that problem is apparently no good in the mayor's eyes. Now he's upset that the City Council didn't sign the agreements, because that means there's nothing for tunnel opponents to create a referendum on.McGinn is now actively encouraging efforts to put the tunnel up for a public vote. It's a complete abandonment of the pledge he made during the final weeks of the mayoral campaign last year, when he said the city was "committed" to the tunnel and he would not stand in its way.Instead, at a press conference on Tuesday, McGinn said the council was trying to subvert democracy by putting off final approval. "They don't approve the agreements...because they don't want a public vote," he said. "I think there's a fair question of whether the council would ever let the public vote on it."It seems that in McGinn's eyes, the only way to uphold democracy is to stop the tunnel altogether.

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