McGinn Challenges Conlin to a Tunnel Debate


Boo ya!

Conlin said Bring It.

It done been BROUGHT!

This is going to be FUN!
Yeah it should be fun...

It should be kept in mind that:

McGinn stated quite clearly c~Oct2009 that he would cooperate with the extant tunnel agreement (… "If I'm elected mayor, though I disagree with this decision, it will be my job to uphold and execute this agreement," McGinn said. "It is not the mayor's job to withhold the cooperation of city government in executing this agreement."

The whole "seattle on the hook" thing (which hey..*I'm* not pleased with) is a *Frank Chopp* invention designed to get what Frank Chopp wants, and McGinn really couldn't hardly care less about it, he just believes that it is useful FUD.

OK... after that trivia, let the games continue!
@2: Can you please remind us what McGinn's full statement was regarding the 9-0 vote? And can we go ahead and get a refresher on what McGinn opponents said to his statement regarding that vote?
there is a reason nothing ever gets done in seattle.
I don't understand it. If the concerns about the city being on the hook for state cost-overruns is so overblown, then why can't they just put it in writing?
Wake me when McGinn actually accomplishes something.
Amen giffy.
Richard Conlin is the Exhibit A prototype of the classic Seattle politician who keeps tossing out press releases about his harmless, little, small-bore initiatives, keeps teasing us and teasing us about how progressive he is, but whenever the chips are down on the big stuff that matters, he abandons any progressive stance in a heartbeat. I remember after he helped kill the monorail project, he talked about bringing light rail to West Seattle. It's been how many years and did he ever follow up on it? No, with Richard Conlin talk is cheap.

This is someone who could serve another 20 years on the Seattle City Council and I can absolutely guarantee you, looking back on his service, everyone will be scratching their heads to remember one instance where he did some serious heavy lifting to make Seattle a first-class city.

So when Richard Conlin and the rest of the Washington political establishment says we should just trust them that Seattle is not going to be on the hook for cost overruns, I ask, "Why should we trust you when it's obvious that the tunnel is what you want and you'll do whatever it takes to get it?" Believe it or not, most of us voters have lives, we're not experts on Olympia politics.

And when we hear all these insiders insist that that law about Seattle being on the hook for cost overruns is really just a wink-wink, nod-nod thing that can't be enforced, I'm reminded of the insiders in the other Washington who desperately wanted to invade oil-rich Iraq and told us to trust them that Saddam Hussein had--to use that manipulatively vague term--"weapons of mass destruction." How did that turn out?
giffy @6: Wake me when McGinn actually accomplishes something.

Something tells me that the last thing you want is for Mike McGinn to actually accomplish something because that would mean he's actually fulfilling his agenda. Just like 90% of the people who kept saying--"What has Obama accomplished? What has Obama accomplished?"--were advancing that meme precisely because they didn't want him to accomplish anything.

So let me ask you, what has Richard Conlin accomplished? What has Nick Licata accomplished? What has Tom Rasmussen (someone I generally support) accomplished? We have all these goddamn status quo politicians whose modus operandi is to never actually change anything, and yet the one politician who comes in with the express intent of changing things is just the one everyone wants to go after for being a do-nothing.

I mean, where was the City Council all these years while 520 was being planned? Suddenly now, at the last moment, they get off their duffs and put some pressure on Olympia to make the project more transit-friendly. And God knows--if Mike McGinn hadn't totally opened the Overton window on what a transit-friendly 520 means--if they would even have bothered to push for the little they did.
@9 What makes you think I like any of them?

I want more bike infrastructure(though I am not a cyclist). I want more spending on parks. I want a solid commitment to walkability. I want more density. I want a renovated and pleasant Seattle Center. I want more light rail. I want to pay more taxes.

There are things I disagree with McGinn on, like the tunnel, but my opposition to him is based more on his personality and abilities than politics.

Nationally I wanted a public option. I want an end to DADT and DOMA. I want us out of Iraq sooner rather than later. I want an end to warrentless wiretaps and the like.

McGinn and Obama get flak precisely because they claimed to be something different but are sadly showing they are not.

So no, its not about that I don't want McGinn to fulfill his agenda, its that I know that he is full of hot air and that he and his staff has no fucking idea what they are doing.
Thunder Dome Rules!
Richard Conlin, et al., on this side and Michael McGinn, solo, on that side - if done by CR Douglas or Ross Reynolds, this could be informative, revealing, fun, and a pretty interesting debate. No?
As a citizen activist from West Seattle, I'd love to moderate this debate.
I challenge your mom to a tunnel debate.
I mean, CR and Ross are really good and almost squeaky clean, but I'm actually going to feel the consequences of both points of view. I can tell you that in 6 years my real estate taxes have climbed about 30 percent, making what was a decent mortgage into one which is beginning to take a toll on what used to be discretionary income.
Giffy @10, forgive me for mistaking your intentions. But for someone who supports Mike McGinn's agenda, you've got a strange way of showing it. The most important thing the "keep Seattle stuck in the '70s" crowd can do now is to relentlessly brand McGinn as a nincompoop neophyte who's out of his league and doesn't get anything done. And then, God-willing, Tim Burgess can come in in 2014 and not get anything done for real.

Typical Seattle Insider Bullshit.

Have a "debate" on a fait accompli.

Is the public going to be screwed for $5.1 billion for an unnecessary tunnel, or $5.2 billion?

Ooo....lookee all the choices there are, once Insiders put their tentacles into the Tax Basket.


It may have been a poison pill in Chopp's view, but if Seattle hadn't agreed to eat the overruns the rest of the state would have rebuilt a new elevated SR-99 (and there would have been a large number of Democratic votes for that option including several key Seattle legislators).


They put it in writing in the project legislation (albeit in a manner that will likely provide dental care for the progeny of several generations of lawyers)


You're not necessarily wrong about Conlin, but in a debate against McGinn on this issue I think that McGinn boosters underestimate him at their peril. McGinn didn't win because of his tunnel opposition (though there certainly is a plurality of Seattle voters that love it), he won because he stepped away from it. No matter which position you take in this debate a majority won't like it (though a rebuilt or retrofitted AWV probably still gets a few more points in an honest vote). I think the only clear majority position out there is that people are sick of hearing about this issue, and Conlin wins that argument.


Among other things, Nick Licata kept Seattle taxpayers from footing the bill for and dealing with the massive hassle of hosting the 2012 Olympics, prevented Greg Nickels from caving to the Sonics' demands for yet another stadium that was both absurdly expensive and an absurdly bad deal for the public, led the opposition to a new jail that has since proved unnecessary, and most recently rallied the Council to stop Tim Burgess' Sidranesque attempt to make political points beating up on homeless people. Stopping bad ideas is just as important a part of governing as is cutting ribbons on unnecessary streetcar projects for billionaires (and he did do plenty of positive stuff during every year of his tenure in the budget process, as well as in strengthening the OPA to the extent politically possible)

Also @ 9 - Sorry, but urban environmentalists don't get to unilaterally define what it means to be a progressive. You might want to check out a book by a noted linguist and political analyst named George Lakoff called "Don't Think of an Elephant." He defines several strains of progressivism - socioeconomic, identity politics, environmentalists, civil libertarians, spiritual (ie - religious), and anti-authoritarian. There is a lot more to being progressive than supporting density.


Phil Fuji knew - that's why he left.


One of the things that likely drove the tunnel decision is that West Seattle property values are already at risk because of the reduced access that will result just from the long construction process (at least, the one that will occur as a result of every option except a retrofit of the existing structure). So with any luck, when you can't get to your W.Seattle house anymore, your property taxes might eventually drop within 4 or 5 years of your property values already having done so. (However, since Capitol Hill hipsters and the "new urbanist" fetishists who populate Slog and Publicola will be happy that you bad suburbanites can't drive anymore, you and 80,000+ other Seattleites will just have to suck it up.)


That, or McGinn might actually be a neophyte nincompoop who can't actually get anything done (though I did like his veto of Burgess' proposed legislation, even if my cynical side thinks it was to get votes from people like me when he faces Burgess in the next mayoral election).



Speaking of magalomaniacal dictators.....
@16 In my fantasy Steinbrueck comes in and saves us all.
@19 - lol. Good stuff right there.
Cressona @8: Excellent post. You nailed it.
The American politicians who've managed to carry a "don't be scared" message to victory over a "be scared" message tend to be the ones with outsize personalities, Roosevelt, etc. Whatever his virtues and vices, it's safe to say, er, Conlin does his best work in writing.

Contrast McGinn's spotlight hunger and catchy "be scared" stance--both catnip to voters and trailing media during a recession--so this throwdown is a total win for him.
Mr. X @18, fair enough that your definition of a progressive agenda is very different from mine. And I agree with you that: McGinn didn't win because of his tunnel opposition (though there certainly is a plurality of Seattle voters that love it), he won because he stepped away from it.

But I think the most important point you make is this about the murky legislation for Seattle to eat the cost overruns: It may have been a poison pill in Chopp's view, but if Seattle hadn't agreed to eat the overruns the rest of the state would have rebuilt a new elevated SR-99...

If there's one thing that people on my end of the progressive spectrum can agree on, it's that the absolute worst case scenario is a new viaduct. A downtown-bypass, deep-bore tunnel is bad, but it's nowhere near as bad as a new viaduct. So if there's still a serious risk that McGinn is overplaying his hand, if his insistence that the tunnel project not be financed through Lehman Bros. accounting is going to backfire, then yeah--maybe we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

But is there really a risk at this point of the state shoving a new viaduct down our throats? The political ground has shifted just the way it's no longer a serious option for the national Republicans to keep talking about preventing health care reform. So as long as he doesn't slip into "stop the tunnel at all costs" obstructionism, I'm grateful that Mike McGinn is trying to hold the project accountable and save Seattle taxpayers from the gift that keeps on giving.
gloomy gus @23:
The American politicians who've managed to carry a "don't be scared" message to victory over a "be scared" message tend to be the ones with outsize personalities, Roosevelt, etc. Whatever his virtues and vices, it's safe to say, er, Conlin does his best work in writing.

Uh, the critical difference between FDR and Richard Conlin (never thought I'd be writing that) isn't about personality. It's that FDR actually stood for something. I have no doubt that Richard Conlin has done all his best work in writing, and you might notice that his writing politically amounts to nothing.

But gus, feel free to cite all Richard Conlin's wonderful legislative achievements and courageous political stances...
Cressona, I menat the "er" to signal an attempt at Conlin-deprecating humor. That I have to explain that means I failed, certainly (to the surprise of no one) with you.
Let Seattle have a vote -- not an "advisory vote" in which the tunnel option came in LAST -- but a real binding mother f-er. It's the only way to get things moving. The state had the money to rebuild & upgrade the viaduct 8 years ago, and it's been stall, stall, stall ending with the most corrupt back-door deal ever perpetrated on this city. Now we (Seattle) are on the hook for 2 billion to bury a State through-way (not including overruns!) and no one even mentions that! Th budget for the tunnel 4.5 billion. The state is only kicking in 2.2, the same amount it would have cost 8 years ago to rebuild & expand it.

McGinn is actually a hero on this. He'll lose because Seattle is too stupid to figure out the fraud that they're caught in, but at least 5 years from now, when you've got a congested 4 lane tunnel with no exit in downtown, a toll to pay, and a 10 billion dollar debt, he will at least know he TRIED to do the right thing.
Gus @26, next time you take a shot at irony, try not to wrap it in a ham-fisted defense of Conlin and another dig at Mike "be scared" McGinn.
Thanks, cressona. I'll remember that as long as I can.
Oh great, more fucking talk. I'm on the viaduct every day. You can see visible rebar through the cracks in the concrete. Since they started inspecting the thing, they've painted whole supports safety orange around Yesler and King (that CAN'T be good).

When I'm crushed to death on that decrepit monster, I'll take consolation in the fact that the city leaders decided that territorial pissings and a "vision of a world class city" took precedent over actually doing anything about it.
Could be worse, you could be drowned in a tunnel when Rainier goes.