NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Monday, October 28th, 2019

I‑976 proponent Dori Monson is at it again with his absurd, silly conspiracy theories

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman has no greater friend right now than Dori Mon­son of KIRO FM, who enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly backs Eyman’s efforts to take a sledge­ham­mer to essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices that he does­n’t believe in, like the high capac­i­ty tran­sit ser­vices Sound Tran­sit designs and deploys with vot­er approval.

Eyman’s I‑976, which is cur­rent­ly being vot­ed upon by Wash­ing­ton vot­ers, would repeal bil­lions in bipar­ti­san, vot­er-autho­rized trans­porta­tion invest­ments at the state, region­al, and local lev­els. Dori thinks that’s a great thing, and he has arguably been even more exu­ber­ant than Eyman has in exhort­ing peo­ple to vote yes on Eyman’s incred­i­bly irre­spon­si­ble, short­sight­ed measure.

Hav­ing attacked Sound Tran­sit so often and for so long, Dori was evi­dent­ly in want of some fresh mate­r­i­al for anoth­er pro-I-976 rant for today’s show.

So he decid­ed to base­less­ly claim that the Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (WSDOT) delib­er­ate­ly closed a lane on the Auro­ra Avenue Bridge, which car­ries SR 99 over the Ship Canal, to ben­e­fit the NO on I‑976 campaign.

Said Dori:

Does any­body — and I mean any­body — believe that the sud­den Auro­ra Bridge repairs are a coincidence?

We got word Sun­day night from the Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion that they have to close a lane on the Auro­ra Bridge because of prob­lems with the steel sup­ports hold­ing up the bridge.

What a coinkidink! It comes just one week before you have to get your bal­lots in, on which the most hot­ly-con­test­ed issue is, of course, the ini­tia­tive for $30 car tabs, I‑976. And bridges have been at the cen­ter of the “no on 976” campaign.

Dori, I have a hard time believ­ing that you actu­al­ly believe this non­sense your­self. I imag­ine you’re just try­ing to rile peo­ple up, as that is how you get ratings.

But in the off chance you do believe what you’re say­ing, then I have a propo­si­tion for you. I hap­pen to own a very nice, six lane bridge that spans the Ship Canal in Seat­tle. It’s a cru­cial facil­i­ty that the city can’t do with­out, and it’s a fan­tas­tic invest­ment that will yield an excel­lent return. It even has its own res­i­dent troll that you could use for toll col­lec­tion pur­pos­es. I’m look­ing for a new own­er who can pay upfront quick­ly. Wan­na make a deal and buy a bridge from me?

Snark aside, it is WSDOT’s job to inspect, retro­fit, and repair state-owned bridges on a year-round basis. WSDOT is respon­si­ble for 3,932 bridge struc­tures, and two hun­dred and eighty of its bridges are eighty years old or old­er. WSDOT’s lat­est peri­od­ic report states that is a six per­cent increase over last year’s tal­ly of eighty-year old bridges, and rep­re­sents 7% of the agen­cy’s bridges.

WSDOT isn’t work­ing on the Auro­ra Avenue Bridge in order to help the NO on I‑976 cam­paign; it’s work­ing on the bridge to keep the pub­lic safe.

Any­one with a brain and the abil­i­ty to think crit­i­cal­ly should be able to intu­itive­ly under­stand this. Any­one with a work­ing moral com­pass should be able to refrain from using their plat­form to cir­cu­late mis­in­for­ma­tion to the public.

WSDOT’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions staff patient­ly explained this to Dori, but he still chose to ped­dle his base­less, absurd, irre­spon­si­ble con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry on-air.

Bart Treece, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ag­er for WSDOT’s North­west Region, told me that the bridge repairs had noth­ing to do with 976, and were the result of a rou­tine inspec­tion that occurs every oth­er autumn.

“Safe­ty is our first pri­or­i­ty … we have a respon­si­bil­i­ty, when we see some­thing that needs to be addressed, to take imme­di­ate action,” he said. He said that the sec­ond inspec­tion was done over the week­end rather than on a week­day so as not to dis­rupt commuters.

They chose not to do any of this over the sum­mer, when there already were lane clo­sures on the bridge because it was appar­ent­ly too much at one time. The out­side south­bound lane was the most impor­tant to close because that por­tion of the bridge is not “han­dling the weight that it should,” accord­ing to Treece.

“By clos­ing that one lane, we can keep traf­fic mov­ing and still reduce the strain until that por­tion is repaired,” he explained.

It should also be not­ed that WSDOT cur­rent­ly has projects under­way to repaint the Auro­ra Avenue Bridge and repave State Route 99 in Seat­tle from Roy Street to North 145th (that stretch of the high­way was last resur­faced in 1999). These projects are fund­ed by gas tax rev­enue, WSDOT’s Tom Pearce says.

Twelve years ago at this time, Wash­ing­ton was in the midst of a bat­tle royale over whether to sus­tain or repeal a gas tax increase passed by the Leg­is­la­ture to fund high­way improve­ments. The Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling coali­tion, which is cur­rent­ly work­ing to defeat I‑976, ulti­mate­ly pre­vailed after wag­ing a ground­break­ing cam­paign, hand­i­ly defeat­ing Kir­by Wilbur and John Carl­son’s I‑912.

I was involved in that cam­paign, and remem­ber it well. I espe­cial­ly remem­ber Tim Eyman con­fi­dent­ly declar­ing that I‑912 was guar­an­teed to pass.

Whoops. 🙂

What made the dif­fer­ence in the fight against I‑912 was that Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling com­mit­ted itself to wag­ing a tru­ly statewide cam­paign that was not con­fined to King Coun­ty. The coali­tion appealed to vot­ers in every cor­ner of the state to pro­tect Wash­ing­ton’s future by reject­ing I‑912.

And vot­ers responded.

The coali­tion secured a vic­to­ry in a third of the state’s thir­ty-nine coun­ties, includ­ing Spokane, Clark, Pierce, Sno­homish, and even Wal­la Walla.

Keep Wash­ing­ton Rolling will need to pull off a sim­i­lar feat this year to bring I‑976 down. This cam­paign isn’t going to be decid­ed by Seattle/King Coun­ty, where the Auro­ra Avenue Bridge is locat­ed. It will be decid­ed in com­mu­ni­ties like Lyn­nwood, Spokane, Puyallup, Mount Ver­non, Camano Island, and Bremerton.

We have about one week left to make our case against I‑976 before the elec­tion wraps up. If you have not yet checked out our I‑976 Impact Map, then we urge you to do so now. Click or tap the but­ton with the arrows belong to enter fullscreen mode and see for your­self exam­ples of projects that could be hurt by the imple­men­ta­tion of Tim Eyman’s incred­i­bly destruc­tive I‑976.

Ini­tia­tive 976 Impact Map

Vote NO on I‑976 by Novem­ber 5th, 2019.

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