"The wheels are coming off the bus," one insider confided, as King County Council members continue to caucus in recess, more than two hours after today's meeting was first gaveled to order. At this point, according to my source, councilmanic approval of the $20 congestion reduction fee now appears unlikely.
On Friday, pro-transit members of the council were all smiles as an agreement was announced in which suburban Republican members Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert would support councilmanic approval in exchange for elimination of the Seattle's downtown Ride Free Area, and other reforms. The deal was touted as averting a 17 percent cut in Metro bus service. But word is that Hague and Lambert are wavering after a weekend of political pressure, and are now demanding changes.
Hague, who was for the fee before she was against it before she was for it, told reporters on Friday that there was "zero" chance she would vote against the fee on Monday. Well, today is Monday, and we're still waiting for her to live up to her pledge.
4:30 — Another few hours of my life wasted in council chambers. No end in sight.
4:35 — Recess extended until 4:55. Like I'm buying that.
4:50 — Reagan Dunn and Pete von Reichbauer are very jovial right now. And that can't be a good thing.
5:15 — Lesson learned: Never cover a King County Council meeting without bringing pemmican and lembas. I'm so hungry. Somebody please send me a pizza.
5:24 — PURE SPECULATION: The deal is dead, and the Dems are debating whether to put it on the ballot or not. Why? If Hague loses reelection (and who likes a flip-flop-flip-flopper?) they can approve it councilmanically in January. But if the fee loses at the polls, it'll be dead, dead, dead, politically.
5:41 — I found an almond on the floor of the council chambers. What do you think... eat it?
5:50 — Ohmigod! They're back!
5:54 — And... they're gone! Now they're just teasing us.
6:15 — Tweet and ye shall receive: Pizza!
6:25 — Back in session! Really. I mean it.
6:43 — Patterson just complimented Hague on 8 ride tickets for car tab payers. Weird, if Hague is going to vote against this. Or, you know, kinda savvy.
6:54 — Laptop out of power. Slogging from my fucking phone.
6:57 — Hague supporting it. So it passes! (Lambert too!)
7:03 — Dunn and PvR no longer smiling.
7:06 — Dunn: "I want to confirm that council member Ferguson smells fantastic."
7:12 — PvR talking... But the vote will be 7-2 in favor.
7:18 — Folks still talking. God I hope my dog's bladder hasn't exploded yet.
7:22 — Please stop talking and pass the fucking ordinance already, before somebody else changes their mind!
7:30 — It's over: passes 7-2!