Mar 17 Ross commented on To the Tourists Who Hate Visiting Seattle: You’re Doing It Wrong.
I think part of the problem is that people aren't sure what to do, and if they go to the most famous places, they are usually disappointed. The Space Needle is really not that much fun. There is usually a really long line, and then you stand around (in a crowd) looking at things that really aren't that interesting unless it happens to be a nice day. Then you wait in another long line just to leave.

Pike Place is a lot more fun, but if you wander the wrong way -- the logical way, towards the water -- you run into the park that overlooks the viaduct. That park always cracks me up, because people all do the same thing. They walk towards the water, where the fence is, to get the best view. Then they back up, as the noise gets to them. From there, they might be tempted to down to the water, but it is a long ways down, and not at all obvious how to get there. If they walk north, they could get into Belltown, but the first few blocks are terrible (more viaduct) and pretty soon they figure there is nothing there. Head south and you could easily get into boring business-land.

Meanwhile, the most attractive parts are all spread out. Capitol Hill, Queen Anne and Ballard all have charming spots, but it isn't that easy to get between them. If you just randomly visit places, you are likely to be a bit disappointed, as we really aren't a big, urban city, where a five mile walk will automatically lead to lots of shops, restaurants and nice things to look at along the way. Overall, my guess is that folks are mostly disappointed because of expectations. They don't expect it to be so expensive, or to have so much traffic while offering so little in the way of obvious urban amenities. Unless you hike, you have to wonder why folks live here (and then you remember all the jobs).
Mar 13 Ross commented on First Hill Streetcar: No Firm Plans to Return to Service.
@10 - Some streetcars (like those in Toronto or Paris) carry more riders than a typical bus. For routes in very high density cities, this allows you to carry way more people per trip, saving money and avoiding bus bunching.

Some cities have an established rail system that can be leveraged with streetcars.

That is about it, as far as advantages go. Interestingly enough, our streetcars have absolutely none of those qualities. Our streetcars aren't bigger than our buses. Every mile of rail where they run is new. They have every disadvantage (lack of flexibility, high cost, inability to avoid minor obstacles or go up steep hills, being a hazard to bikes, etc.) while having none of the advantages. It was a stupid idea to build these here, and the extension is just putting good money after bad. We should get rid of them, pull up the tracks, and run buses on those (or similar) routes.…
Mar 10 Ross commented on Congressman Dave Reichert Voted for Trumpcare.
@8 -- Tacoma? He doesn't represent Tacoma. He represents the 8th district, which includes the suburban fringes of Puget Sound (Auburn, Sammamish, Issaquah, Puyallup) as well as the mountainous areas to the east (Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Leavenworth, Wenatchee).

It is still a swing district, though. A good, solid Democrat stands a chance of beating him, especially in a couple years, when I expect a lot of blow back over votes like this. Someone like Inslee, who first represented the fourth (a much more Republican district) would stand a very good chance. Of course Inslee only lasted one term, but I think someone who is willing to knock on a lot of doors and sign up a lot of new (especially Latino) voters could not only win the seat, but keep it. The challenge is finding that candidate.
Mar 9 Ross commented on A Rape Committed Under Any Circumstance Is Still a Rape, and Horrible.
I would think being raped by someone you know is way worse than being raped by a stranger. It is no different than any other form of assault. If I get beat up walking down the street at night, I become more careful after that. I avoid dark places, carry some form of protection or take self defense classes. But if someone I know attacks me -- and then my acquaintances stick up for the guy -- suddenly I don't trust anyone. I'm all alone, and don't know who to turn to. It seems to me that the worst is to get raped by relatives, followed by friends, then strangers.
Mar 7 Ross commented on House Republicans Unveil Their Obamacare Replacement Plan.
He [Obama] had campaigned on national single-payer but once in office he backed a scheme spawned by the Heritage Foundation,

Bullshit. He campaigned on exactly what he delivered, which was a system originally proposed by Nixon. Obama said (just to paraphrase) that if was starting from scratch he would have single payer, but now, given the fact that so many have insurance already, he doesn't support it.

So yeah, if you are disappointed that Obama was too much of a centrist, join the club. But anyone paying attention knew that he was. He wanted to appeal to moderates, and felt like the way to do that was to allow people to retain their current insurance, instead of supplanting it with Medicare.

But that was way down on his lists of mistakes. The biggest failure of the Obama administration was to be concerned about a federal deficit in the middle of a recession depression. Interest rates were zero. The federal reserve couldn't do anything more, it was up to the federal government to pull the country out of this financial crisis, just as they did back in 1939 (by spending shit loads of money on the war). Standard economic theory say the stimulus needed to be huge. But instead of doing that, Obama took baby steps, figuring he could always spend more money later. He didn't realize that the Republicans didn't give a shit about the economy, as long as they could blame it on the Democrats. Next thing you know, your average Joe thinks that Obama (not Bush) bailed out the banks, and this fucked up economy is the fault of the Democrats. Oh, and we didn't get nearly the political, economic or social benefit of a really big stimulus, while the current President is busy trying to build a wartime economy based on locking up people of color. Oops.
Mar 3 Ross commented on Why Are Democrats in Olympia Helping Republicans Undermine Sound Transit?.
@12 -- I don't know about glorious. To me it is just a subway, doing what subways do best -- move people within an urban environment fairly quickly. Unfortunately, most of what ST3 will build is not that. It is what light rail does worse -- serving distant suburban locations in a symbolic, rather than cost effective manner. There is some good stuff of course, and if we keep spending billions and billions, sooner or later we will get something good out of it. But so far, much of the money has been wasted on stupid projects, while much more important pieces (like a subway stop at First Hill, a subway line to the Central Area or a subway connecting Ballard to the UW) will likely never be built. Look to Vancouver BC for a cost effective (much cheaper, much smaller, much more useful) system.

In other words, even after 53 billion dollars -- an enormous sum for a region this size -- the problem won't be solved. Not even close.
Feb 23 Ross commented on Trump Scraps Protections for Trans Students.
@4 -- So you are saying the reports are all lies?
Feb 23 Ross commented on Trump Scraps Protections for Trans Students.
Who knew DeVos was the good one. Anyone? Holy shit, imagine if she would have resigned over this. Lots of people (myself included) would have sent her cards, letter, flowers all basically saying "we were wrong about you -- way to take a stand against mean spirited bullshit". Oh well, she may not have that much courage, but at least she is on the right side of history (unlike Sessions).
Feb 23 Ross commented on Trump Scraps Protections for Trans Students.
@1 -- Right, the left just keeps pushing things too far. What's with that Civil Rights Act, anyway. Eventually the South was going to turn around -- just give them time. Sooner or later the lynching was just going to stop on its own.
Feb 22 Ross commented on CHS: Developers Are Going to Tear Down the QFC on 15th!.
@16 I'm not saying the policy should be "don't invest in development." Far from it. I'm saying the policy should be "change the policy which currently directs all of the private development money into places that are already very, very wealthy"

I agree. The way to do that is to change the zoning laws. Go after the vast majority of land that simply doesn't allow increased density. In fact I would start by getting rid of all references to the population in the zoning code. You can't build a house bigger than the old house, but you can convert that house to an apartment. Or you can build another little house out back. That is exactly what people would do, because that is extremely cheap (compared to building a big apartment building). But all of that is illegal right now.

Even just simple ADUs and DADUs are ridiculously difficult to build. People have tried to change the laws (HALA was an attempt to do just that) but the mayor shot down those efforts.