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.

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Dori Monson attacks NPI and bashes Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover’s recent work

Last week, the Office of Finan­cial Man­age­ment (OFM) released its analy­sis of the fis­cal impact of Tim Eyman’s Ini­tia­tive 976, find­ing that more than $4 bil­lion in bipar­ti­san and vot­er-approved trans­porta­tion invest­ments would be wiped out by the ini­tia­tive, gut­ting projects and ser­vices at the state, region­al, and local lev­els.

Seat­tle Times reporter Hei­di Groover was tasked with writ­ing a sto­ry about the fis­cal impact state­ment and did an excel­lent job sum­ma­riz­ing the fis­cal impacts and get­ting reac­tion from both sides — the no camp and Tim Eyman, the dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er who is the author and chief pro­po­nent of I‑976.

KIRO’s res­i­dent blovi­a­tor Dori Mon­son — who is one of Eyman’s staunchest allies and loathes Sound Tran­sit with a pas­sion — took notice of Groover’s report­ing over the week­end, which appeared above-the-fold in Sat­ur­day’s print edi­tion of The Seat­tle Times. The seem­ing­ly always grumpy Mon­son trashed Groover’s sto­ry at length on his show today, impugn­ing it as “slant­ed” and not “bal­anced”.

“I don’t like to crit­i­cize The Seat­tle Times,” Mon­son began, before pro­ceed­ing to do exact­ly that. He seemed par­tic­u­lar­ly offend­ed that I was quot­ed in the sto­ry.

Rant­ed Dori:

“They quote a far left group — Andrew Vil­leneuve, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, which oppos­es the ini­tia­tive — [who said] ‘The num­bers are pret­ty dev­as­tat­ing.’ Why do they nev­er call me? Dori Mon­son, local talk show host, says the num­bers are fan­tas­tic for tax­pay­ers.”

Yo, Dori! I know how much you hate Sound Tran­sit, dis­like NPI’s work, and want this destruc­tive Eyman mea­sure to pass. But that’s no rea­son to attack Hei­di Groover’s report­ing. There was noth­ing wrong with Hei­di’s sto­ry. It was fac­tu­al. It was bal­anced. It cap­tured the reac­tion of both sides — your side and our side.

What you real­ly seem to be upset about is that the sto­ry was­n’t slant­ed in favor of your side like a seg­ment on your show would be, or a Tim Eyman email would be.

This is a news­pa­per sto­ry about a statewide ini­tia­tive’s fis­cal impact state­ment. Appro­pri­ate­ly, the sto­ry’s lede con­cerns what we col­lec­tive­ly stand to lose as a soci­ety of more than sev­en mil­lion peo­ple if the ini­tia­tive is imple­ment­ed, as opposed to inap­pro­pri­ate­ly repeat­ing Eyman’s tired, very worn sales pitch.

It would be wrong if the sto­ry was writ­ten from your point of view. As you your­self con­ced­ed dur­ing your rant, you’re a com­men­ta­tor. You have a bias, which is con­tin­u­ous­ly reflect­ed in your drea­ry, unpleas­ant mono­logues.

We, the peo­ple, are the gov­ern­ment of Wash­ing­ton State, and we deserve to know what the cost and con­se­quences of an ini­tia­tive like I‑976 are before we cast our vote. That is why the law requires OFM to pre­pare fis­cal impact state­ments.

The release of the fis­cal impact state­ment was an impor­tant event in the bat­tle for and against I‑976. Rec­og­niz­ing this, The Seat­tle Times chose it for an install­ment of their ongo­ing Traf­fic Lab series, which is always worth read­ing.

Hei­di Groover land­ed the assign­ment of writ­ing the sto­ry. She did a good job putting it togeth­er. Your crit­i­cisms, Dori, are with­out foun­da­tion.

Eyman is quot­ed three times in the sto­ry, which alter­nates between pre­sent­ing the oppo­si­tion per­spec­tive’s, his side’s per­spec­tive, and the per­spec­tive of the peo­ple who are over­see­ing the work that the imper­iled fund­ing pays for.

Addi­tion­al­ly, in the online ver­sion of the sto­ry, there are plen­ty of hyper­links for con­text, so any­one can read fur­ther on the sub­ject if they want.

This sto­ry is unques­tion­ably sol­id jour­nal­ism. It’s not the kind of piece I would write; I’m an advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ist. But it is what I want and expect as a Seat­tle Times sub­scriber who depends on the work of our region’s biggest news­room.

Oh, and by the way, Dori, I said the num­bers in the fis­cal impact state­ment were dev­as­tat­ing because they are dev­as­tat­ing. Imple­men­ta­tion of I‑976 would not just mean that Sound Tran­sit’s Phase III expan­sion would be jeop­ar­dized.

This mea­sure also threat­ens Amtrak Cas­cades, the deliv­ery of new fer­ries, essen­tial freight mobil­i­ty projects, the State Patrol, Seat­tle-fund­ed King Coun­try Metro bus ser­vice, and local roads in six­ty cities across Wash­ing­ton State.

You’re so blind­ed by your hate of Sound Tran­sit and your oppo­si­tion to pay­ing vehi­cle fees that you haven’t real­ly giv­en this ini­tia­tive much thought.

Have you even read the ini­tia­tive? Or the fis­cal impact state­ment?

I have. I went and con­nect­ed the dots. For each sec­tion of I‑976, my team and I ana­lyzed not only where the mon­ey is com­ing from, but where it’s going.

The mon­ey raised by vehi­cle fees is going to things we need. Side­walks. Police pro­tec­tion. The abil­i­ty to get off one of our beau­ti­ful islands and reach the main­land, or vice ver­sa. The fill­ing of pot­holes. The resur­fac­ing of decrepit, bumpy roads. Inter­ci­ty train ser­vice that pro­vides an alter­na­tive to clogged high­ways.

And yes… expan­sion of mass tran­sit here in the Puget Sound region. Which you don’t want, but which vot­ers here have repeat­ed­ly vot­ed for.

Why don’t you and Tim Eyman respect the will of the vot­ers, Dori?

And why aren’t you lis­ten­ing to the cap­tains of indus­try that have warned that this ini­tia­tive would be very harm­ful to Wash­ing­ton’s busi­ness cli­mate?

Busi­ness­es through­out Wash­ing­ton oppose I‑976 because they know it’s a threat to Wash­ing­ton’s future. Even the reli­ably anti-tax Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness has come out in oppo­si­tion to I‑976. They under­stand that cut­ting $4 bil­lion in bipar­ti­san, vot­er approved trans­porta­tion invest­ments is utter fool­ish­ness that will injure Wash­ing­ton’s busi­ness cli­mate and cost us good pay­ing jobs.

At NPI, we believe we all do bet­ter when we all do bet­ter. We emphat­i­cal­ly sup­port pool­ing our resources through tax­es to build the infra­struc­ture and cre­ate the essen­tial ser­vices that busi­ness­es and house­holds need to thrive.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, you, Dori, do not share our cher­ished Pacif­ic North­west val­ues. Instead, you and Tim Eyman rep­re­sent the vices of greed and self­ish­ness.

That’s the kind of think­ing we need to reject by vot­ing NO on I‑976.

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One Comment

  1. This is a sim­ple com­ment. I live in King Coun­ty, and have for all my life, 61 years of it. I have seen Seat­tle suf­fer, most­ly from a lack of mov­ing peo­ple, prod­ucts and ser­vices as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble. To say we are years behind the curve with infra­struc­ture, trans­porta­tion and miss­ing out on more ship­ping abil­i­ty is an under­state­ment. It’s unfor­tu­nate that even the needs of many are lost is par­ti­san blath­er, the new norm.

    If we con­tin­ue to ignore our needs to move peo­ple, prod­ucts and ser­vices as effi­cient­ly as pos­si­ble we will pay the price, far and above what Mr. Mon­son or Eyman can cal­cu­late, busi­ness­es want to be in Seat­tle and the sur­round­ing areas, growth of jobs comes with mov­ing peo­ple to/from their busi­ness­es effi­cient­ly, thus ser­vices and prod­ucts fol­low this same path of least resis­tance if infra­struc­ture, bus, rail both heavy and light, roads ded­i­cat­ed to mov­ing in/out of the port of Seat­tle.

    Mr. Mon­son, it’s not that all you say is wrong, it’s your par­ti­san approach that’s more of the ‘same ole song and dance rou­tine’ than the facts of our region needs. I‑5 will nev­er be any dif­fer­ent than it is now, small, out­dat­ed and inef­fi­cient due to its geo­graph­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions.

    Mr. Mon­son, pan­der­ing to your lis­ten­ers is good for you, finan­cial­ly, I’m sure, but not good for the region as a whole when you only give facts you want them to hear, rather than the big pic­ture.

    # by Al Desart :: July 31st, 2019 at 5:52 AM