Heading into the primary election last August, Mayor Nickels met with The Stranger editorial board at the College Inn Pub. We had a lively time slugging it out with the mayor about his downtown development plan, his (then) pending strip club rules, the viaduct, the Joint Assessment Team, and the South Lake Union trolley.
In addition to the friendly fisticuffs, we cheered Nickels for beating up President Bush over the Kyoto Protocol, praised him for pushing density citywide, and endorsed him a few weeks later on September 15.
We didn't spend much time at the College Inn Pub talking about the monorail, though. It seemed like we were all on the same page. We wanted a new finance plan and a revote to save the monorail, and Nickels said he did too.
But the mayor's true feelings about the monorail came out on September 16 when he vaporized the monorail's transit way agreement and started campaigning against the monorail's revised plan.
We were furious. We took Nickels to task for pulling city support before voters had a chance to speak; for his Sound Transit double standard; and ultimately for his cowardice. What happened to standing up for mass transit, Greg "Daley" Nickels?
Since then, we've had a hard time getting Nickels back in for another interview. He complained about our "unfair" coverage, bailed on one meeting, and then declined to meet with us at the times his opponent, Al Runte, was available to meet. That's too bad. We've got a lot of questions for Mayor Gridlock.
1) You say you were a monorail supporter. As the mayor, in what ways did you support the monorail? (Follow up: You helped secure $50 million in city funds for light rail; can you name any comparable thing you did for the monorail?)
2) The new monorail finance plan could reduce debt service from $11 billion to between $3.9 billion and $4.9 billion—paid back between 31 and 38 years. Isn't a future mass transit system worth that? (Follow up: Why are you demanding a 30-year payback schedule for the monorail when the city's own debt management policy, Resolution 30345, allows—and even encourages—a slightly longer amortization schedule like one the new monorail plan recommends?)
3) You gave Sound Transit a year and a half to come up with a new plan. Why did you give the Seattle Monorail Project just a month? (Follow up: You say you don't trust the monorail board. You appointed two members of the nine seat board. And the SMP's ballot measure would increase the number of elected spots from two to five. Why isn't that good enough?)
4) When the viaduct closes down, West Seattle will be devastated without the monorail (shout out to the 34th District Democrats for endorsing the monorail plan, despite Mayor Gridlock's attempts to persuade them otherwise!). So, what's your viaduct finance plan? (Follow up: Can you come up with one in a month?)
And finally, do you mind if we start calling you Mayor Gridlock?