When the Monorail Recall campaign prevailed in its courtroom battle to place its (probably illegal) monorail-killing initiative on the November ballot, no one was more surprised--or frustrated--than monorail campaign leader Peter Sherwin. He thought the monorail opposition had been vanquished in 2002, when voters approved the $1.6 billion project. Understandably unenthusiastic about mounting yet another campaign to save the project, Sherwin described his mental state candidly: "I'm just tired."

Like it or not, Sherwin and his pro-transit compatriots are gearing up for battle yet again--this time against an initiative that, if approved, will prohibit the monorail from traveling in public rights-of-way, effectively sinking the project. So far, with less than four weeks until absentee ballots start landing in Seattle mailboxes, things have been pretty quiet on the campaign front. Pro-monorail leaders, distracted by debates over campaign minutiae (the group has already changed its slogan, from "Traffic Stinks--No Recall" to "No Recall--Go Monorail") have yet to produce yard signs, campaign events, or a coherent message. "Go Monorail"? That's a poor antidote to the potent poison emanating from the anti-monorail camp.

The campaign's organizing structure, mean- while, is less than clear--monorail board members like Cindi Laws and Kristina Hill share air time with community activists like Sherwin, while loose cannon Dick Falkenbury fires off embarrassing fundraising e-mails. (Meanwhile, even as "No Recall--Go Monorail" was filing campaign papers, other groups, including Friends of the Monorail, were gearing up to mount campaigns of their own.) With just a few weeks to go, it's time for the monorail campaign to get serious. Here are a few important first steps.

1. Personalize the debate. This campaign isn't about cheerleading for the monorail. It's about a bunch of rich folks who think the monorail is going to hurt their property values. The pro-monorail campaign should focus on anti-monorail campaign supporters--rich downtown landowners like Martin Selig, who's poured nearly $273,000 in cash and in-kind contributions into the anti-monorail cause. Why should one rich developer get to decide whether the rest of us get public transit?

2. Define your terms. Don't let the opposition frame the debate. Fundamentally, the Monorail Recall campaign isn't a recall--it's a revocation (probably illegal) of land-use permits issued by the city council. It doesn't destroy the monorail agency, it merely removes its ability to build the monorail on city streets. All that is too complicated for a campaign slogan, of course, but the pro-monorail campaign shouldn't accept the terms used by the opposition. "Don't recall the monorail"? No. "Build it."

3. They're sore losers. The Monorail Recall folks claim to oppose the monorail because it's a "fundamentally different plan" than what voters approved in 2002. Bullshit. They oppose the plan for the same reasons they always did--they won't use it, and they don't want to pay for it. They lost. End of story. Imagine if voters could undo any decision, from electing a mayor to funding projects like the viaduct. No wonder it's impossible to get anything built around here! Make it clear that what opponents want is a re-vote on the plan voters approved in 2002--and that just isn't the way democracy works.

4. Be specific. The anti-monorail campaign has rolled out 23 "reasons for recall" that range from merely misleading to patently absurd. But whether you agree with them or not, many of them certainly sound compelling. For example: "Preserve historic Seattle Center." The route through Seattle Center, according to Monorail Recall's campaign literature "was NOT on the ballot." Okay--but it wasn't supposed to be. The choice of whether to go through or around Seattle Center was always going to be left until after the election. Be prepared to respond succinctly to the anti-monorail campaign's allegations.

5. Get it together. Get a campaign structure up and running. Fundraisers should have started weeks ago--and where are those yard signs? Distribute thousands of signs and bumper stickers: "Build the Monorail: NO on I-83." Overwhelm the Monorail Recall signs with a strong showing of pro-monorail force.

6. Build it! The single best way to appeal to Seattle voters is to tap into their frustration at living in a city that can't seem to get anything--be it light rail, the monorail, or the viaduct--built. People are tired of sitting in traffic; that's why the monorail was approved by voters three times. Move on and build it, already.