Several hundred people packed into Burien City Hall for hearing on Metro cuts, including Republican council members Jane Hague and Pete von Reichbauer
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • Several hundred people packed into Burien City Hall for King County Council hearing on Metro cuts, including Republican council members Jane Hague and Pete von Reichbauer

At Monday's King County Council Budget Committee hearing, council member Kathy Lambert made a point of addressing criticism in the press about the absence of some members at hearings on proposed cuts to Metro bus service. Lambert pointed out that these were hearings before the Transportation Committee, and that only members of that committee were required to attend.

True enough. But that was never my point. All council members are welcome to attend any committee meeting, yet only the four Democrats representing Seattle bothered to show up at last week's jam packed hearing in council chambers. Larry Gossett was there, even though it wasn't his committee. Potential swing vote Jane Hague was not, even though she's a committee member.

Well, even though the Republican members weren't there to hear the testimony of voters, they apparently heard the criticism of the press. Both Hague and fellow suburban Republican Pete von Reichbauer are in attendance tonight. Here's hoping they're listening. (FYI, Julia Patterson arrived late, leaving only Lambert and Reagan Dunn in absentia.)

Standing room only at Metro hearing
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • Standing room only at Metro hearing

Hague and von Reichbauer by far provide the best opportunity for obtaining the sixth, supermajority vote required for direct councilmanic approval, particularly Hague, who faces her first tough reelection fight in perhaps ever. Over the 17 years Hague has held office, her Bellevue district has shifted more and more Democratic, electing D after D to the legislature, while providing majorities to numerous Dems in statewide races. Yet Hague has managed to hang on, large based on a dubious reputation for being a moderate.

Well here's Hague's chance to prove her moderation by not rejecting the $20 car tab fee simply because it is a tax. At today's SECB interview (which Hague declined to attend), all three of Hague's opponents came out strongly in favor of the fee while criticizing the incumbent for allowing Metro's financial circumstances to decline to this point. One opponent, Richard Mitchell, is even here in attendance tonight to testify on behalf of approving the fee. And Hague can be sure that whoever survives the primary, her opponent will make Metro a major issue in their campaign.

Unless she takes this issue away from them by listening to the public and approving this fee. And that's the last time I'm giving free political consulting advice to Jane Hague.