NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Rodney Tom and Curtis King’s transportation “listening tour” doesn’t have a Seattle stop

The Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus today unveiled a list of dates and loca­tions for the trans­porta­tion “lis­ten­ing tour” they’ve been promis­ing to hold since the end of the con­tentious leg­isla­tive ses­sion back at the begin­ning of the sum­mer. The “tour” will con­sist of sev­en pub­lic meet­ings — one each in Belle­vue, Van­cou­ver, Taco­ma, Spokane, Yaki­ma, Wenatchee, and Everett:

  • Sep­tem­ber 17th – Seattle/Bellevue (North­west Region): Steven­son Ele­men­tary School, 14220 NE 8th St., Belle­vue, WA 98007
  • Sep­tem­ber 18th – Everett (North­west Region): Sno­homish Coun­ty, Robert Drewel Build­ing, 3000 Rock­e­feller Ave., 1st floor, Everett, WA 98201
  • Sep­tem­ber 23rd – Wenatchee (North Cen­tral Region): Chelan Coun­ty PUD Audi­to­ri­um, 327 N Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801
  • Sep­tem­ber 24th – Yaki­ma (South Cen­tral Region): Yaki­ma Area Arbore­tum, Gar­den View Rm., 1401 Arbore­tum Dr., Yaki­ma, WA 98901
  • Octo­ber 2nd – Spokane (East­ern Region): Greater Spokane Inc., 801 W. River­side, Spokane, WA 99201
  • Octo­ber 7th – Van­cou­ver (South­west Region): Van­cou­ver Com­mu­ni­ty Library, Colum­bia Room, 901 C St., Van­cou­ver, WA 98660
  • Octo­ber 9th – Taco­ma (Olympic Region): Ever­green Taco­ma Cam­pus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave., Taco­ma, WA 98405

No stop is planned for Seat­tle, the state’s largest city, although bizarrely, the Belle­vue stop is list­ed on the Sen­ate Repub­li­cans’ web­site as “Seattle/Bellevue”, as you can see above. This is mis­lead­ing, because Steven­son Ele­men­tary School is just down the road from Cross­roads in the east­ern part of Belle­vue.

The school is clos­er to Red­mond or Kirk­land than Seat­tle, yet it’s being adver­tised as the “Seattle/Bellevue” meet­ing loca­tion. Huh? “King Coun­ty” would have been accu­rate. But it seems as though the Repub­li­cans are try­ing to cov­er for the fact that they did­n’t both­er to sched­ule a meet­ing in Seat­tle prop­er.

Nice try, guys, but that won’t do.

The Emer­ald City, Wash­ing­ton’s largest munic­i­pal­i­ty, is big­ger than Spokane, Taco­ma, and Van­cou­ver com­bined… so why does­n’t it have its own stop?

Maybe it’s because, as we saw dur­ing the ses­sion, Repub­li­cans seem to have noth­ing but con­tempt for Seat­tle. From their anti-Emer­ald City rhetoric to their spon­sor­ship of bills aimed at over­turn­ing the city’s pro-work­er ordi­nances to their fail­ure to pro­vide King Coun­ty with the author­i­ty to raise rev­enue for Metro, they’ve done their best to stiff Wash­ing­ton’s largest city.

The Repub­li­cans claim that the meet­ing loca­tions cor­re­spond to the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s six regions. While that may be the case, they could have done a bet­ter job of pick­ing meet­ing places (or sched­uled more meet­ings).

Notice that three of the meet­ing loca­tions are in fair­ly close prox­im­i­ty to each oth­er on the main­land. This is where the major­i­ty of the state’s pop­u­la­tion lives, but because no oth­er meet­ings are sched­uled for the north­west­ern part of the state, it means any Wash­ing­to­ni­ans who live on the Olympic Penin­su­la, Kit­sap Penin­su­la, or any of the state’s major islands — Vashon, Bain­bridge, Whid­bey, the San Juans — will need to pay a toll or fer­ry fare to par­tic­i­pate in the “lis­ten­ing tour”.

(Either that, or do a lot of dri­ving to cross a bridge that isn’t tolled).

Trans­porta­tion is a major issue for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans who live in fer­ry-depen­dent com­mu­ni­ties, which leads us to won­der: Why was­n’t a meet­ing sched­uled in, say, Bre­mer­ton, Port Townsend, Fri­day Har­bor, or Ana­cortes?

And what about peo­ple in south­west or south­east­ern Wash­ing­ton who don’t live near Van­cou­ver or Yaki­ma? There’s no meet­ing being held at a loca­tion with­in rea­son­able dri­ving dis­tance for many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans. Was any thought giv­en to sched­ul­ing meet­ings in Belling­ham, Aberdeen, Pull­man, or the Tri-Cities?

We also won­der whether this “lis­ten­ing tour” will live up to its name. The NPI team are polit­i­cal town hall vet­er­ans, and we know from expe­ri­ence that politi­cians tend to dom­i­nate town hall-style pub­lic meet­ings and do most of the talk­ing.

It would be some­thing if Repub­li­cans actu­al­ly did open up the floor for pub­lic com­ment from the get-go, and put the focus of the meet­ings on the tes­ti­mo­ny, as opposed espous­ing to their own views.

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2 Comments

  1. Just a cou­ple things…I want­ed to point out that in Sen­a­tor King’s orig­i­nal request (http://src.wastateleg.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/MCC-Transpo-Letter.pdf) he asked for Seat­tle to be one of the tour loca­tions. It was WSDOT that decid­ed to hold the event in Belle­vue instead. Also, the three-hour pub­lic forums at each loca­tion will devote a *min­im­i­um* of an hour and a half for pub­lic com­ment. Most loca­tions will like­ly see clos­er to two hours of pub­lic com­ment. And final­ly, while there are a num­ber of Repub­li­cans involved in this endeav­or, there are also sev­er­al Democrats…including Sen. Tracey Eide, Rod­ney Tom, WSDOT Sec­re­tary Lynn Peter­son, and oth­ers. We sin­cere­ly hope all mem­bers of the pub­lic will turn out for their near­est forum loca­tion.

    # by Erich R. Ebel :: September 6th, 2013 at 9:44 AM
    • Erich, thanks for adding that con­text.

      Rod­ney Tom is not a Demo­c­rat. He may call him­self that, but he does not cau­cus with the Sen­ate Democ­rats and he does not agree with most of the planks in the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s plat­form. In the eyes of his own dis­tric­t’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tion and the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, he is not a Demo­c­rat, and there­fore, we do not con­sid­er him to be a Demo­c­rat.

      # by Andrew :: September 7th, 2013 at 11:06 PM