If you took his TV commercials at face value, you might believe David Della single-handedly lowered your electric rates, eliminated debt at City Light, passed the largest Families and Education Levy in history, stopped Mayor Greg Nickels from building a $4 billion tunnel, built the South Lake Union streetcar, and installed red-light cameras throughout the city. Not exactly.
• Claim: "Council Member David Della reduced my electric bill and paid off $57 million in City Light debt."
Reality: Della did vote to cut electric rates—by about 8 percent—along with every other member of the city council. What Della fails to mention is that, after viciously attacking "Rate Hike Heidi" Wills for raising electric rates during his campaign in 2003, Della turned down the City Light committee, requesting the low-profile parks committee instead. But that hasn't stopped Della from taking credit for every accomplishment made by Jean Godden's City Light committee.
• Claim: Della "took a stand against the mayor's $4 billion tunnel."
Reality: Della didn't support the surface/transit option. What Della did support was the bigger, uglier $3 billion rebuild of the Alaskan Way Viaduct—an option 57 percent of voters opposed.
• Claim: Della secured "a new streetcar line and red-light cameras so that people can get around safely."
Della may have voted, along with six of his eight colleagues, to fund the South Lake Union streetcar through Paul Allen's biotech developments, but he was never a leader on the streetcar issue. He isn't even on the council's transportation committee. As for red-light cameras: Nick Licata and Tom Rasmussen sponsored the legislation and shepherded it through the council's public-safety committee. Della does not even belong to that committee, nor did he cosponsor the legislation. He did vote, along with the rest of the council, for the cameras. But agreeing with a unanimous vote is hardly leadership.
The Sierra Club is opposing the joint roads/transit measure on the ballot in November. (The Sierra Club supports Sound Transit, but says its environmental benefits are canceled out by the $6.9 billion roads package to which it is linked.) Last week, the Club sought—unsuccessfully—to get its anti-roads argument included in King County's voter guide. Sound Transit handpicked the committee that will write the opposition statement; predictably, it includes only light-rail opponents whose message (unlike the Sierra Club's anti-roads rap) will be poorly received in pro-transit King County.