Last week's scathing city council report on the mayor's costly proposal to fix the Mercer Mess (which concluded, among other things, that the $200 million plan would do "little or nothing" to improve congestion on Mercer) was met Tuesday with a surprisingly vitriolic response from deputy mayor Tim Ceis, who accused the council of using "flawed methodology, jumbl[ing] different scenarios... and present[ing] the council with misleading conclusions." Round three in the increasingly bitchy back-and-forth between the executive and legislative branches came just days later, in a memo from study author Bill Alves and his boss Saroja Reddy, who shredded Ceis' allegations and stood by their conclusion that Mercer congestion will be "much worse" under the mayor's plan than it is today. "We think--based on the [mayor's] own analysis--that the [mayor] overstated what they will be able to accomplish."

Last week, at a city council meeting postponed four days in the hope (ultimately vain) that the state Supreme Court would boot the legally challenged Monorail Recall initiative off the November ballot, a crowd of recall proponents rose, like a T-shirt-clad Greek chorus, to echo the refrain that the monorail-killing initiative was "legal" and "the will of the people." (Which people? Not the sort who can be bothered to take public transit: According to Monorail Recall's campaign-finance reports, the group has spent more than $1,700 driving and parking their cars in the past three months alone.)

Council members Jan Drago and Nick Licata, showing admirable restraint, pointed out calmly that the courts have not decided whether I-83 is legal. Nor, Drago noted, is it "fair to [use] paid signature gatherers" to push a controversial initiative onto the ballot before the courts have spoken. "I respect the initiative process but... it's not fair that rich people have more influence than other people," Drago said.

Speaking of rich, the deep-pocketed recall campaign has reportedly hired Gogerty Stark Marriott Inc. , a prominent downtown consulting firm with a long anti-monorail history, as its campaign consultant. Neither Finne nor firm principal Don Stark would confirm or deny the rumors.

For months, the People's Waterfront Coalition (PWC), headed up by transportation guerrilla Grant Cogswell and lefty landscape architect Cary Moon, has been pushing the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to at least consider its radical viaduct proposal, which would replace the collapsing roadway with fixes to surface streets downtown. Belatedly (and reluctantly), WSDOT agreed to look at the option.

Sort of: The "no replacement option" WSDOT considered includes only "reasonable and achievable" transit improvements (not the total transit overhaul the PWC proposed) and assumes that people won't change their driving behaviors, even when faced with total gridlock.

barnett@thestranger.com

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