Remember how—just this morning—city council members, the mayor's office, and representatives from the office of intergovernmental relations had the odd surprise of discussing two similar but competing documents that outline what the city should be advocating for in Olympia this session? And how one document was sent down to council from the mayor's office and includes council input; and how the other was drafted and introduced by council president Richard Conlin but doesn't include the mayor's input?

It was probably just a mistake, says city council member Sally Bagshaw—the mayor's mistake. "My understanding is that we were going to have one deal, one agreement with our primary goals in agreement with council and the mayor," says Bagshaw. "The next thing we saw is an agenda coming down from the mayor's office ten minutes before the meeting and folks from our office saying it was close but not the same thing. One of those moments of 'hey wait a second, we've got to get along here.'"

Bagshaw says that moving forward, the council will be considering and voting on their agenda—the one introduced by Conlin—and will disregard the mayor's agenda.

But the problem, according to the mayor's office, is that the council's agenda effectively cuts the mayor's very specific transportation priorities—restore the state's contingency fund for the deep-bore tunnel, for example—off at the knees (squirt, squirt). Let's take a look, shall we?

Can you hardly stand the excitement? More, after the jump!

Transportation is the third item on the mayor's proposed agenda, and it's pretty detailed (.pdf):

The City of Seattle strongly supports legislation requiring the State to take full responsibility for all costs associated with the State’s portion of the SR 99 deep bore tunnel, including all cost overruns. The City also asks the State to:
Restore the project’s contingency fund;
• Fund METRO as promised in the January 2009 letter of agreement between the Governor, Seattle Mayor, and King County Executive; and
• Fund mitigation for the impact of cars diverted to surface streets by tolling and the lack of downtown exits.

We support a 520 replacement project that is designed from the beginning to accommodate light rail, that is no larger than the existing 520 footprint from Montlake to I-5 and that protects the Arboretum.

Seattle supports efforts to craft a statewide transportation package, for voter approval, that:
• Includes long-term sustainable funding for transit operations;
• Results in expanded transit service;
• Prioritizes safety and maintenance projects, and
• Meets both the City’s and the State’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets.

Conlin's agenda drastically waters down the mayor's priorities for both the tunnel and 520 Bridge (.pdf):

[The city will] defend Seattle and all Washington municipalities against any proposed legislation that would create a legal mechanism to shift the state’s responsibility for cost overruns on major state transportation projects to local governments.

...Secure tolling authority for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and funding for SR 520 and adopt legislation that establishes clear triggers for conversion to full dynamic tolling on SR 520 and for changes to the minimum HOV occupancy levels to facilitate traffic flow, particularly for transit, on the corridor.

There are other differences between the two documents—for example, the mayor's agenda proposes supporting a statewide ban on military-style assault weapons and more hospitalization options for the mentally ill. Conlin's agenda addresses neither of these issues but does propose removing the cap for the utility tax rate, which affects taxes on cable, gas, telephone, and electricity (McGinn's proposal doesn't make mention of the utility tax rate). But transportation seems to be at the heart of this unfortunate mix up.

So what happens now? "It's fairly straightforward," says Marco Lowe, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, which works with council staff, the mayor, and city departments to draft these legislative priorities. "[City Council members] are going to proceed as they see fit—with their own document."

"I just hope we can reach an agreement with the mayor's office," Bagshaw adds. "Olympia doesn't want to see a divided city." But agreements usually involve participation from both parties and at this point, that critical participation has been cut out.

The council's Regional Development and Sustainability committee will debate, tweak and vote on one or both agendas on December 6. The full council is expected to cast their vote on December 13.