Going Over Mayor's Head on Tunnel, Conlin Signs Off on State Impact Study

Comments

1
Ooooh! Catfight!!
2
This is feeling a lot like when Holmes said that the council could enact an emergency clause to agree to the tunnel contract. Holmes later realized his legal opinion was fundamentally flawed and retracted it.

Did Holmes get his law degree from a crackerjack box?
3
I can't wait for more juicy details - your reporting will help make sure tomorrow stands out among the days of our lives.
4
Bring it around the bar I'm at tonight. I'll sign it.
5
McGinn might have a point if he knew anything about running a city in an orderly manner and if he had shown any capability of making a single effective executive decision.
6
The council doesn't seem to have a problem with granting executive power over the project to the mayor: http://bit.ly/bZZZQV

And the charter seems to direct the relevant department heads (in this case, SDOT and the Mayor) to execute and negotiate contracts (with the EIS process being a part of that!):

ARTICLE VII. Contracting Requirements
Section 1. CONTRACTING DUTIES

The responsibility for the award of all contracts for public works, services, supplies, materials or equipment shall be assigned to such department or departments as prescribed by ordinance. (As amended at November 8, 1977 election, and November 5, 1991 election.)


But, yanno, not a lawyer so let's see what happens!
8
Our mayor is proving an embarrassment to Seattle.
The MOHAI debacle this month was painful to witness.
Now, our mayor is proving he can't work with the city council, state government nor the governor.
Perhaps he should consider stepping down.
9
Maybe if the Mayor had done his job and signed it on time, like he wasn't going to or something, what?, then Conlin wouldn't have had to act - even if he has to retract for the Mayor to do it, why didn't the Mayor do it in the first place? That's the story.
10
Haha! This is awesome!
11
#9: Because Conlin is full of BS and it didn't need to be signed by now. Conlin is desperate and fearful that McGinn will point out the terrible oversights in the environmental report.
12
I'm loving the DRAMA. THIS is what I call a city government. Backstabbing, sniping, bitching, quarrels, in-fighting, fruitless power struggles, dramatic press conferences, vicious accusations flying back and forth, stonewalling, meaningless populist platitudes, I mean, we have EVERYTHING. We're such a meaningless, second-rate city, and yet we really have the drama of a "world-class-city", complete with a city government of bumbling imbeciles (exec and council combined - it's a telenovela miracle!). It's just so fucking awesome. Can't wait to tune in tomorrow.

/snark
13
Mayor slow. Fancy papers take meny weeks to read. Conlin not give mayor chance to lern.
14
1. Where is the DEIS on the known risk factors - particulate pollution, carbon emissions, tidal spawning endangerments of multiple listed species in a known high-risk earthquake zone?

2. Where is the public vote of the Citizens of Seattle?

3. Where is the legally required sufficient bonding capacity - we KNOW it has already been exceeded.

4. Having fun yet? There's still the WTO filing coming down the pike.
15
Another example of stupid and childish behavior by Mayor McGinn. "I was busy with the budget and couldn't get to reading the document." Such BS.

The worst news, actually, is that Peter Hahn didn't have the courage to buck the political grandstanding of his boss and fulfill the job he is paid to do. Instead of being a Richardson or Ruskelshaus, Hahn shows himself to be McGinn's easy Bork. If Hahn as SDOT head sort out political interference and do his job of signing important documents for the city he should resign. Instead Conlin showed himself as the only adult in the room and signed in order to keep Seattle from looking like a City of Fools. McGinn's protests show he is outflanked and irrelevant.
16
Geez, WiS, a post where the words "Billionaire's Tunnel" would actually be germane and you don't use them.

I agree with McGinn's position on the signing; I don't know how Conlin can legally sign any document on behalf of the City. However, I also agree that McGinn is being stupid by trying to delay. If he is truly against this tunnel, then own up and say so in no uncertain terms, and be willing to face the consequences.
17
Someone just put a loaded gun to the temple of their political career and pulled the trigger.
18
Thanks for the update. I appreciate the chance to slack off on my work to watch these late! breaking! details! emerge! McGinn's rhetoric really started to boil for you there:
Is Conlin going to start granting building permits?
Sign fire-occupancy certificates?
Declare Dave Matthews Day?
Post on my blog?
Clip fresh thyme from the Mayor Office deck garden?
Borrow my security, swipe my bike,
Ride against traffic and pinch my wife?
19
Conlin, word to the wise: the internet is pretty damned efficient.

For example, you claim that federal officials (who were they?) said that delaying an environmental impact statement was unprecedented. Here's what I found, for example, within a few minutes:

A federal agency on Wednesday delayed approval of a draft environmental impact statement on TransCanada's $12 billion Keystone pipeline, which will move oil from Canada through several northern and Midwestern state

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/econom…


This follows an April 30, 2010 statement from the Coronado National Forest that the DEIS would be delayed in order to complete an additional plant study and additional groundwater modeling of development plan alternatives.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Augusta-Pr…


The Navy's announcement Friday that it is delaying environmental analysis for a proposed practice landing field quickly turned into the long-awaited debate over Oceana Naval Air Station's future: Specifically, should the Navy's East Coast master jet base host the next-generation fighter plane?

http://hamptonroads.com/2009/08/navy-pos…


It can't be a federal source telling you that a delay of a few days would be problematic, can it? Because, as we can see, the federal government has no problems with delaying environmental impact studies of the by months or years, even the more important and final versions.

You also made the unusually risky move of doing this through your own legal team -- essentially, you aren't acting on behalf of the city's legal counsel, you're acting of your own accord. A fairly calculated risk.

We can talk about McGinn's obstruction or how you were afraid we'd lose out on the contract, but face these facts, Conlin: you jumped outside of your own voter-mandated position, used legal counsel retained for your own personal use, and made a decision pertinent to departments that aren't under your control.

Your sycophants may applaud you nonstop for stickin' it to McGinn, but you also jumped out of bounds and have shown a rather characteristic trend toward reckless behavior in what you've done. The anti-urbanist crowd (hi!) may cheer you on for defeating the new seattle crowd by pushing forward on this, but your questionable actions (let's let the legal beagles get in on this!) aren't going to do you and WSDOT any favors.
20
The future of local politicians is Robert Rizzo.

City of Bell Residents Cheer Arrests Of Officials As Children Punch, Spit On Image Of Ex-City Manager Robert Rizzo

http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/bell/…

Rizzo was among eight current and former Bell city officials arrested this morning for allegedly misappropriating $5.5 million in city funds which included unauthorized personal loans.

Members of the group Bell Association To Stop The Abuse or BASTA created a large poster showing Rizzo being hauled off in handcuffs within hours of his arrest. The word "JUSTICE" was emblazoned boldly in red at the bottom of the poster.

During the rally, children kicked, punched and spat on the large image of Rizzo as adults cheered and clapped in approval.
21
Ooh, anti-urbanist vs. new seattle again, is it? I hadn't realized the lines were so excitingly clearly drawn. Let me get my popcorn.
22
#21

Gloomby Glus,

Youvve ver said.

Pokey de hole in me.

Ouch...u wit so hard.
23
Conlin is just adding fuel to the fire. The more this debate is elevated in the public's attention the more questions they are going to ask and the more they will realize there are not a lot of answers out there. This tunnel is a huge leap of faith and the public's tolerance for risk is not high enough. Conlin's political calculus is not adding up. He looks like a real sucker on this one. Looking like a entitled sneaky manipulative hack for the State is not going to help his agenda during the budget debates. Poor guy.
24
I'm going to see about signing Richard Conlin up for an individual health insurance plan to be paid out of his own pocket.
25
I've signed up Comrade Conlin for a multi-year timeshare condo in Fiji.

Sounds fair to me.

It's only $10,000 per year for the next 20 years.

His deposit is a mere $25,000.
26
By the way, tonite on CBC was a story about the Icelandic CDO collapse and how the people rose up and started harassing their elected officials for putting them all $250,000 USD in debt.

Sounds pretty similar to here. Their population is the same size as our city - we should ask the visiting Icelandic guest of Decibel how they did it.
27
Time for Richard Conlin to be retired.
28
Twenty years of bullshitting over the viaduct is enough. Can we just build the tunnel please. This stalling is what will end up making the tunnel cost more, not the overblown red herring fear of cost overruns. Plus we'd like to actually move into the future.

Unfortunately I feel this mayor is in way over his head and being supported mainly by a bunch of posers.

The argument can be made that we need the jobs and this will be a massive stimulus program for union wage jobs. This mayor often claims he's for working families. He position on the tunnel would seem to show he's out of touch with that claim.

From what I hear from my old contacts in city government this mayor is not the same bill of goods that the Stranger successfully sold the people who voted for him when he was elected. His narrow minded ideologue approach to problem solving makes him rather ineffective at solving the city's big problems.
29
@28 not without a public vote of the citizens of Seattle.

Which part of Democracy is it that you don't GET?
30
@#4 FTW

While Richard Conlin obviously disagrees with Mayor McGinn's position on the tunnel, Conlin has made his own position that much more tenuous and wobbly by going over the mayor's head in this fashion. I am betting that the city's legal dept will pull Conlin's signature off the document and the resulting catfight around this specific issue will drown out any substantial arguments Conlin could bring to the tunnel discussion.

Conlin needs to retire.
31
News flash: Richard Conlin changes lock on Mayor Mike McGinn's door, declares he has full control over the mayor's office. Says he consulted beforehand with City Attorney Pete Holmes.

When asked by the press afterwards, Holmes says, "I couldn't find any law explicitly forbidding a member of City Council from evicting the mayor. I'm sure we'll get a definitive answer one way or another from the courts. I mean, that's why we have judges."
32
It's too bad the "railroading" process is now used more for highways than actual railroads, and it's pretty obvious Conlin exceeded his authority (and probably knew it).

But that being said, all of this is happening because McGinn is a fucking joke. The WSDOT didn't collude with the council so much as decide that the mayor, due to his dogmatic opposition to all things automotive, is a man the state cannot do business with. But it's a good soap opera.

And @31, that's hilarious.
33
This is exactly why I voted for McGinn. I do not want that fucking tunnel. Moreover, I am so fucking tierd of shit being shoved down the throats of Seattle citizens, because a handful of the wealthy control this city.
Stadiums, Benroya Hall, Key Arena, Paul Allens Toy Train, and the list goes on........
34
Action, any action, is often better then no action.

If McGinn honestly wants to block the tunnel then just stand up and say that you will not sign the document. Claiming you didn't have time to review one of the most important documents related to the tunnel is just plain incompetence by either him or his office. He should have had someone from his office reviewing the document through all of it's drafts. The moment it became official he should have been aware of the contents.

Perhaps Conlin over stepped his authority, but a good part of that it the lack of leadership by McGinn.

I understand people don't like the tunnel, or surface street, or another viaduct... but come on! The viaduct will not survive another good shaking. It's a hazard. It needs to be replaced with something. Somebody stand up and provide some leadership! Otherwise you can't complain when someone else does.
35
You know, the EPA just cracked down on five states today for violating EPA regs persistently.

WA and Seattle are next if we persist in this deep bore tunnel which increases both particulate emissions and carbon emissions over the county EPA regulations.

Which it does.

As we all know.
36
@34 the DEIS isn't even complete. Shows how little you know about projects of statewide significance.

And the original EIS has both the rebuilt viaduct and the surface plus transit as preferred alternatives if the primary (not chosen by voters) deep bore tunnel is found unworkable.
37
Just for the historical record: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2…