Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Times blows it: The Times endorses - A region on the move should vote no on I-912

Actually, the Times blew an opportunity here. What should have been the title and the substance of this editorial was this: An opportunity to send a message: vote yes on I-912.

The reasons to kill this pig are far more numerous and compelling then those that might let it live. The Seattle Times, of course, has a vested interest in the outcome, in that King County generally and those in the area of the viaduct and 520 specifically that are destined to receive the benefit of the entire state’s largess will whine and complain the most if that money is, well, stalled.

I get that. But the Times has a responsibility to put themselves beyond playground politics and to make editorial decisions based on what truly is best for the people.

So, instead of taking the opportunity to focus the rage of the people where it properly belongs, specifically, the governor and the legislative leadership, the Times put that aside and proceeded to endorse a tax increase that ignores the people, ignores reality and serves to do nothing but buttress the status quo.

The campaign those so in love with jacking our taxes up SHOULD have run was a campaign of re-examination and self-critique. They should be looking for compromise. They should take the rejection of this massive increase, examine the reasons for that rejection, address them, and then re-submit this tax for voter approval.

Instead, gas-tax proponents are all about their “all-or-nothing” approach. With neo-comms, there is no compromise. It’s the proverbial “my way or the highway” approach. And I believe that the people of this state are choosing, literally, the highway.

The reasons to reject this tax are well known: the bogus emergency clause (There is no emergency. If the viaduct is in such bad shape, close it down now. That it isn’t closed puts the lie to their so-called “emergency,” a purely political label that was designed to forestall the reaction this tax engendered by doubling the signature requirement. The leftists in charge of this state badly misread the rage they’ve caused… and I-912 is the result.)

The sales tax shift, a criminal enterprise of taking gas tax dollars and shifting them to the general fund and away from transportation projects by the hundreds of millions; the county and city payoffs of transportation dollars to be spent however they like; the $2 billion to be re-designated for whatever projects WADOT may feel are necessary if the people of King County don’t vote a tax increase on themselves in addition to this gas tax; the prevailing wage issue; the ½% for art requirement; the dollars for ferries and mass transit/light rail… well hell, who DIDN’T get paid off by this robbery?

No, the Times and others who see this massive tax increase on top of the highest gas prices we’ve ever known have blown a golden opportunity. They SHOULD have called for legislative action to address these fatal shortcomings with a re-referral to the people of this state. Instead, we’ve found ourselves in a time warp. It’s I-695 all over again.

The leaders of this state sit on their thumbs with the inevitable about to happen and they do nothing. They are incapable of admitting they were wrong, so they risk everything because of their vanity.

Instead of looking for common ground…. Addressing the obvious shortcomings… allowing, even welcoming public determination of these outcomes… we find ourselves embroiled in a divisive, insulting and cynical campaign for gas-tax proponents to call us stupid and save us from ourselves.

Will this teach them a lesson? Will they ever learn?

Sunday, October 9, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
The Times endorses
A region on the move should vote no on I-912

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Initiative 912, which torpedoes badly needed road, bridge-safety and mobility improvements across the state, requires voters to think carefully and then vote "no."

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, voters ought to consider the long-term interest and turn down a shortsighted proposal, which irresponsibly rolls back a 9.5-cent gas-tax increase approved by the Legislature. I-912 is classic instant gratification for a community given plenty of warning about roads, bridges and earthquake preparedness.

Putting off until tomorrow what should be done today on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Highway 520 bridge is akin to what New Orleans did by not shoring up levees.


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