Aug 15 Ross commented on What Do You Know: Millennial Voters Flocking to Clinton.
Bernie supporters have a couple of choices. Vote for Clinton or do something else (which includes voting for a third party candidate or simply not voting). If you vote for Clinton, at some point when you write her, you can mention the fact that you voted for her, and helped get her elected. If a substantial number of Bernie supporters do that, then they could influence the president. Those who choose to not vote for her will, on the other hand, accomplish nothing.
Aug 6 Ross commented on Seattle Beats Atlanta in Cars Per Household.
@15 -- Boston's mass transit (arguably the best in the country) carries only 8% of the trips

Citation please (seriously -- I'm curious how you got that number). Typically they cover mode share for commuting, which often decreases automobile numbers. About 35% of the people in Boston take public transport to work, and about 45% take a private car (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_shar…).
Aug 5 Ross commented on The Morning News: Amazon to Fly Plane Over Seafair, the Real Solution to Seattle's Growing Housing Crisis.
There is a huge disconnect between the cost of an apartment in Vancouver versus the cost of a house. So much so that many predict a bubble. But in any event, if Mr. Mudede is suggesting the problem can be solved by the government, I am curious as to how exactly that would work.

Again, the problem is that single family homes (what most people would call "houses") are way too expensive. So, the government buys up million dollar homes, making them available for the middle (and working) class again. Then what? Hold a lottery?

The only way to reduce the cost of housing is to build more. Pick a particular lot (say 5,000 feet). You literally can't build any more houses on those lots in a city like Vancouver. They are already built. The same is true for Manhattan. Those dreamed of living in a tiny little bungalow on the lower east side will just have to make do with an apartment. I know, it sucks.

The only way to provide more homes (as in places to live) is to build more apartments. Build higher, or, at the very least, reduce the size of lots (e. g. Brooklyn). That has happened quite a bit in Vancouver, which is why (again) there is such a big disconnect between the cost of an apartment versus the cost of a house. Seattle hasn't done that. Seattle hasn't even taken the minor steps that Vancouver took years ago, and allow for back yard cottages and basement apartments. Seattle is fixated on preserving the single family house on the (fairly big) lot, which (of course) leads to increases in both the cost of houses, as well as the cost of apartments.

That doesn't mean the problem will necessarily solve itself if we liberalized our zoning rules. It just means that the problem is made much worse because we haven't. The middle class is driving out the middle class. Change the zoning, and the lower classes still can't afford to live in the city (they never could). At which point, you need more of what what we just passed -- subsidized housing (and by housing I mean small apartments).
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Aug 4 Ross commented on Seattle Beats Atlanta in Cars Per Household.
@14 -- Believe it or not, we have one of the most heavily used bus systems in the country.

I agree, and it is better than average. It is bogged down by increasingly bad traffic, though, in the city (where transit matter most).

Light rail usage will gain exponentially as the system grows, we have already witnessed this with the opening of the Capitol Hill and UW stations.

That section is rare. There are very few corridors that hold as much potential for light rail as that piece. For Sound Transit, it is a once in a system development. A Metro 8 subway would be similar. Ballard to UW would also lead to a huge increase in transit mobility (but more because of bus integration). But neither are on the table, and it will be a very long time before we build either one (ST4? ST5?).

It is crazy to think that some of the pieces (e. g. Lynnwood to Northgate) will come even close to improving transit the way that U-Link has. It is pretty obvious when you look at a census map (like this one). The most densely populated areas are right within this section. You also have the biggest downtown as well as the biggest university (which has a sizeable and growing office sector). You really can't miss with this, even if you make plenty of mistakes.

They did, of course. They left out the First Hill station, and the bus integration is terrible. The result is that while it works great for areas close to the station, it does nothing for areas not that far away -- areas that are very populous by Seattle standards.

The system will improve, of course. Adding the station in the U-District will be huge, and extending to Northgate and the east side will be great. Meanwhile, Seattle itself is doing some very good work with what little money it has to improve the bus service.

But without spending money on the right projects, it is bound to level off. In many cases, you just can't "get there from here" when it comes to transit, even if ST3 is built and even for the areas it purports to serve.
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Aug 3 Ross commented on Seattle Beats Atlanta in Cars Per Household.
Poor transit is the biggest reason. Not that we are terrible, just not very good. Our buses are better than average (but that just shows how bad it is for most cities). Our rail is full of flaws. It doesn't go where it should go, nor does it have enough stops. The one section that really makes sense (UW to downtown) has only one stop. One! It is really hard to find any metro anywhere where they manage to put only one stop in the most important, most densely populated and most popular section. In contrast, Forward Thrust (proposed a long time ago, when the city was much smaller) had three stops between there.

This will likely continue, unless so called urbanists wake up, and realize that where you put a subway is just as important as building it in the first place. Don't send half empty trains out to distant, sprawling suburbs (or even relatively close ones). Build urban lines, with good bus integration. Vancouver (our closest neighboring big city) is a great example of how to build a relatively small, cheap system that manages to do wonders for transit mobility. Even in the suburbs, where folks probably do own cars, they don't use them nearly as often as we do. Vancouver has roughly three times the transit ridership per capita that we do, and most of that is on buses.
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Aug 3 Ross commented on Presidential Endorsement Game Turning into Bitter Fistfight.
Wait, what? The Republicans control 2/3 of the elected federal government, most state legislatures, and most governorships. But you somehow think the Republican party will implode, and that -- at the exact same time -- the Democratic Party will be controlled by wealthy interests who don't give a shit about the poor? That is nuts. The Republican Party shows no sign of imploding. Even this year -- a year that is absolutely terrible for them -- they will probably continue to control the House (e. g. Reichert seems poised to cruise now that he will run against someone who has already dropped out). But if it did implode, the Democrats would of course quickly move way to the left, just as the Republicans would move way to the right if the Democrats were out of the way.
Aug 2 Ross commented on Sound Transit 3 Foes Will Get Help from Tim Eyman—Even Though They Don't Want It.
This is crazy. Might as well have a park hater write the opposition to initiative 123. Absolutely no nuance.

I must admit, though, I am impressed by the way that the ST board handled it. It is consistent with their strength; they have demonstrated great political skill, while at the same time shown incompetence when it comes to building a good transit system. That stands to reason, since they are run by politicians, and not transit experts. This doesn't guarantee failure -- the politicians could always simply defer to the experts. In this case, though, since they never deferred or even conferred with the experts to question their assumptions. The result is a project that only achieves their stated goal (build a spine) instead of the inferred goal (improve transit in the most cost effective manner).

They have managed to produce a package that superficially sounds wonderful, as it "covers" so many areas (Issaquah!, Kirkland!, Ballard!, West Seattle! -- even South Lake Union!) while at the same time doing very little for most of them (at great cost). There is no way in hell that an independent transit agency would have come up with this turkey. Even if they had to follow the stupid subarea equity rules, they would never build anything this bad. It is really hard to think of building anything worse, frankly.

But from a political standpoint, it probably won't matter. You have idiotic, simplistic pronouncements everywhere you look. You have Eyman, who simply hates all taxes, and has publicly stated that "You’ve got to absolutely focus on the massive public tax on the ballot. Past campaigns have digressed into debating various transportation methods, or other angles". In other words, stop debating how best to move people around, or whether this is a terrible plan, just focus on taxes.

Then you have people like people like Smarter Transit, who think that buses are the answer to everything, as well as people like cressona, who think that as long as you build trains (anywhere) it will work out great (I guess Sedro Woolley should start investing in light rail soon). No one bothers to state the obvious -- rail makes sense in some areas, while buses make sense in others. Oh, and they both work really well if they are designed to work with each other.

Of course no one actually does the hard work to determine where those places would be. Not the Seattle Times, whose opposition to Move Seattle simply epitomizes their idiotic editorial staff. Probably not The Stranger, which is really depressing. I mean, I get it. Dan is too busy fighting the big fight(s). He really can't be bothered with digging into what is the biggest capital project this area has seen in a very long time (if ever). He, like a lot of people, can't be blamed for assuming the folks in charge know what they are doing, and those who oppose this turkey do so because they hate taxes, or love buses (or some such nonsense). Most of the really bad ass writers for The Stranger -- the ones that are not knee jerk leftists, but knew when to call a supposed liberal friend an idiot -- have left the paper. We are left with a staff that has trouble figuring you who is running and who has dropped out of the race to defeat Reichert, arguably one of our best chances to flip a seat in this state (if not the country). What a pathetic state of affairs.

It isn't over, of course. Someone (at The Stranger or some other progressive organization) could actually do the hard work required to figure out what works and what doesn't when it comes to transit. They could try and look at this proposal, and ask why the Central Area once again gets nothing (not even a stop that interfaces well with buses) while Fife gets a shiny new station. They could discuss 3 seat rides from Issaquah to Seattle, or 2 seat rides from West Seattle to downtown. Too much work, I suppose. Better to just report what real papers report (and do so a few days later, with less information).
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Aug 1 Ross commented on Kochs Urge Billionaires to Abandon Trump — and That's the Bad News.
This is good news. The Kochs have thrown in the towel (for now) in terms of winning it all. Had, say, Marco Rubio won the nomination, then my guess is they would have poured money into the campaign, and gone for the sweep.

What remains to be seen is whether the Bernie supporters can pivot, and start working on down ticket races. The only way to combat big money is with enthusiastic volunteers willing to knock on a bunch of doors and call a bunch of people. Taking the House or the Senate would of course be more important than which Democrat gets elected (Sanders, Obama, Clinton, Kucinich or Jesse Jackson would all do the same thing dealing with this congress -- not much). Whether the folks that busted their ass for Bernie realize this and have the energy to fight another fight is the big mystery left this year (assuming Trump doesn't rally).
Aug 1 Ross commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Just Say No.
Anesthesia done right (by a professional, in a hospital) is extremely dangerous. A lot of people don't wake up. It would be crazy to risk that just for kicks. As many have said, you really can't overdose on weed, so why not get really, really wasted and then have some fun.
Jul 28 Ross commented on Last Night at the DNC: Live-Slogging Hillary Clinton's Speech.
@7 -- I disagree. I listened to most of the speech (I didn't see it) and was impressed. It wasn't the zingers (those were good, but don't matter). Nor was it her reveling in the history of it all (although being the first female candidate for President was big, and made me a bit teary eyed). It was the personal stories -- of her -- that mattered. She is known as a policy wonk, and being tough to relate to. Cold, calculating, and one might assume, heartless.

She painted a picture that was exactly the opposite. In an hour long speech, you can't be expected to remember much, but this is what I remember: She came from a working class family; her mom was an orphan and had a huge influence on her; she has spent most of her life trying to help those who had a tough break in life (like her mom). She mentioned her religion, and how it fits in with all of that. She knows what gets results, and what is cheap talk. She does have the policy to back it up (and is proud of it) but more than that, you can see what motivates her.

Tonight wasn't about the policy details. You can read all of that online. Everyone can, but few do (because Americans are lazy). This was about explaining who she is, and why she is the way she is. I think anyone watching that speech has a lot more empathy for her, and can feel more comfortable with her being President. In that way, I think she did a great job.
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