Transportation Jan 29, 2024 at 2:08 pm

There are No Buses, There Is No Money for the Public, and the City Council Caved to Corporate Overlords—Seattle's Public Spirit is Dead

Waiting for the bus today... Charles Mudede



Ugh, this is why I always drive everywhere.


The city definitely gave up in the summer of 2020. Gave up arresting criminals that burned, trashed and harassed my neighborhood. Gave up even trying to pretend that it cared about keeping the city operating for the benefit of everyone that lives and works here, instead of just a small minority of activists, drug addicts and criminals. Seattle became the first city in the US in at least the last 150 years to surrender territory to a hostile insurrectionary force. It's a very good thing that nearly everyone that was part of city government for the last four years has been shown the door. They tried hard to destroy the city.

As for transport, everything other than making it both actually safe and have a perception of safety is crucial. Every office worker I know that used to use public transport have abandoned it for fear of their safety. And you can't claim to be pro-labor while you insist Metro drivers be subject to violence and fentanyl smoke.

You have it backwards...the city gave up for the last four years. It's finally trying again.


Just like the Trumpers they emulate, The Seattle Times Editorial Board has, at long last, "owned the libs." But, with progressives (and "progressives") holding zero levers of power in the city any longer, to whom will the editors and politicians direct blame? Everything that happens now is on them. Everything. Every single decision, every single choice, every single outcome. No longer is Kshama Sawant a scapegoat for Seattle's dysfunction. The dog has finally caught the car. The glorious future is now in their hands.

Homelessness? Crime? Shoplifting? Drug use? Traffic congestion? Inflation? We relentlessly heard that the root causes of these issues weren't complex and difficult; instead we heard constantly that, actually, this is the fault of the "Clowncil" and Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold, etc.

So, yes, I can see Charles your idea that the new strategy will be "oh well" and "we give up," because, now that they actually have to govern, maybe they'll see that Kshama Sawant wasn't the city-destroying bogeyman they thought.

They promised to eradicate the looney "progressives" and that all would be saved. Now, get to saving! You promised! There is LITERALLY NOTHING STANDING IN YOUR WAY NOW.


Mudede's version of Seattle is Dying. The common thread being "doomsaying as a means of discrediting your political opponents when they hold power."


Jesus, Charles, give the new council a chance. The new batch just arrived and you’re preemptively written them off.

The transportation situation, however, is indefensible. ST really has thrown in the towel. Hopefully the new boss can bring more efficiency and imagination.



it'll take
Eons to clean
up the Mess Pro-
gressives did to things
like the Minimalist Wage

at least that's
what Neolibs
& Cons keep
telling Us

but I Expect them
to Wrap the Homeless
Crisis in about - watchcheck
three or four Hundred Years or so

see what the Likes
of FDR've wrought -
all this Inequality etc?

at least the
have all


*one a day and
All one-way:
Straight to
the Poor-


I'm pretty sure most of the transit disruptions are due to construction. you know, the thing cities and towns do to invest in themselves. Thats not giving up. Thats a short term inconvenience for a long term gain. Something a lot of people don't seem to comprehend. As for the sign being out, call it in. Stuff breaks. Doesn't mean the world is ending. Sheesh.


It’s been 29 days already! Why haven’t the new leaders fixed the problems the old leaders couldn’t fix over the last four years???!!!


This is like a stream of consciousness trying to find a point. The city has no control over Sound Transit or King County Metro so the funding/service and lack there of has nothing to do with the council. Taxpayers have voted again and again for the Move Seattle Levy and ST so complaining about funding is ridiculous. There were many people who had real concerns about creating a separate agency years ago and giving them massive tax dollars without any oversight or accountability. Dori Monson used to have a whole tirade about them every now and then. And now we see the fear become reality. You have an agency who doesn't meet any of their targets but just continually keeps asking for more and more dollars and the urbanists will bend over backwards rather than admit this is messed up. Somehow in all of this the takeaway is the council should have put a homeless person on the dais? How did that work out the last time we tried it? Spoiler alrert...not very well


“Hiring freeze? Budget cuts? Fiscal challenges? What exactly is our mayor running? Clearly, he thinks it's a business.”

No, he’s a Mayor that has to present a balanced budget for the City Council to consider and pass, each and every year, not 30 years from now. Now if you want to argue how he wants to balance it, go ahead, but at the end of the day, revenues have to meet expenditures.

As for the rest of your typical paid by the word post, as @5 noted, you’re just on the other side of the Seattle is Dying coin.


Just to echo @11, the city cannot run a deficit (that’s why it’s important to build up reserves when times are good - something the previous council never thought to do).

Can’t wait to have Seattle is dying from the progressives (it wasn’t true when komo ran with it, it isn’t true with TS running with it). Sad


Seattle isn’t dying. It’s dead.


If this rant were tweaked just slightly it would fit right in on right wing radio. Why, exactly, are the services that Sound Transit, the county, and the city so bad given the billions of tax dollars they raise and spend every year. Is the problem not enough money, or money poorly spent on overhead and inappropriate, wasteful areas?


Charles, the Black Live Matters Garden was nothing but an illegal land grab by a marxist group that misconstrued an idea from the Black Panthers and just said "fuck the housed residents of Cap Hill and let's see how many white liberals I can guilt into taking my side".

With regards to the budget deficit, we were made aware of this late 2022/early 2023. Let's actually reduce the amount of money that we give LIHI, DESC, and KCRHA and allocate that towards the departments which matter to the majority of the residents of Seattle, the housed tax-paying residents contributing.

Light Rail is part of Sound Transit, which falls under Pierce, Snohomish and King Counties. Unfortunately, ST is dealing with the fact that the train and the buses shared the same tunnel for almost 10 years with the tracks taking on heavy wear and tear due to buses constantly driving directly directly on top of them.

Oh I love this piece about city council. "And one must keep in mind that the new city council could have made a daring democratic move and placed a homeless person in the vacated seat."

Would you like to repeat of what KCRHA had to deal with by trying to place a known sex offender within their ranks?


I’m impressed that Charles was able to continue The Strangers is new tradition crying about Tanya Woo.
I had thought maybe TS had moved on Tim something new, but they haven’t.


“It's also one of the most diverse routes. It's not unusual for a trip to have no white passengers.”

Behold, the woker-than-thou definition of “diverse,” right there. Anyone see a problem with it? Charles and the Stranger sure didn’t.


Only 30% of riders pay for Metro and Sound Transit.

Consequently, they are bleeding money. Despite Mudede's racist comments, if you don't pay, more routes need to be shut down.


City government's recommendation to people who live here :

"If you don't like it here, move to Russia where you belong".


Japan bus stops had indicators 30 years ago when I lived there. They also had fewer seats to pack in more standing riders much like the trains there. And to rub it in more somehow all the busses and trains were on time, often down to a window of a few seconds.


Progressives had 10 years of majority to "try[ ] to do something in the social direction," as Charles put it. The last six were veto-proof majorities (which they used to veto Durkan numerous times).

So where was the change in spending? The shifting of funds from police to social services? What programs did they stand up to treat the upstream problems that lead to crime and social disorder?

They substituted virtue-signalling for substance. As a result they did not test their theories for positive change.

The record they had to run and retain their majority on was more social disorder and decay, not less.

No wonder they lost.


Can't wait to see how, with all their favorite scapegoats off the city council, the conservatives manage to fix the many messes in this city that they spend so much time complaining about in the comment sections of places like this. Should be any minute now.


The commenters are cutting close to the truth here which is both Seattle liberals and progressives are ineffective, it's really something in the water. A complete lack of common sense but a high sense of entitlement and propriety. This is how we do nothing.


@23: “Should be any minute now.”

Exactly! If ten years of disastrously unmitigated failure in addressing homelessness, housing availability, drug use, etc. are not completely fixed within microseconds of the first Council meeting Tanya Woo attends, then liberal Democrats (sorry, “conservatives” to you) are compete and total failures, every last one of them.

No backsies!

(On the lighter side, the Stranger and supportive commenters can now actually start noticing these problems have yet to be solved.)


@25 I would also add many of these problems are not solvable, at least not a micro level, something which progressives conveniently ignore. Examples of this include, we should not jail criminals and instead solve poverty, we should provide housing for everyone and anyone who shows up asking for it, we should pay everyone a "living wage" despite what their labor is actually worth. All noble sentiments to be sure but at no time in human history has any of those statements been true, not even close. The best we can do is try to make things better but at the same time acknowledge bad actors and the need for some sort of social contract to have a functional society. You can't make perfect the enemy of the good, so these problems won't be solved but hopefully things will become measurably better on a daily basis for the greater whole.

I honestly think @5 nailed it. All this bellyaching is the progressive version of Seattle is Dying


@14: “Bruce’s has been in office for awhile and 3rd still has tents on it and misery abounds.”

And now, with Tanya Woo on the Council, the city can’t just dump all of those campers on the CID! What will they do?!?


@26 it's interesting you mention the "social contract" in the same breath as suggesting it's not possible for everyone to have housing or be paid a living wage. Why should anyone who is unhoused and/or not compensated for their labor in an amount that enables them to secure necessities of life ever adhere to any social contract? Why would they follow rules that result in them losing? And why wouldn't a just society do what it takes to ensure everyone's needs are being met?


@28 I didn't say you couldn't try, I just said no society in the history of humanity has completely eliminated those issues and certainly no one lets the issues that come with not adhering to the social contract fester until such time that there is a perfect fix. People are only going to pay you what your labor is worth. You will never find a place where you will get paid more than what your labor is worth simply because the value of your labor doesn't equate to a living wage. If you don't like it that's understandable and you can be upset but the minute you act on that impulse by stealing from others or victimizing someone because you want more than you need to put in timeout. As I said don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.


The question is who decides what the labor is worth. Does it make sense that Elon Musk is the world's richest man for making smart bets with his emerald mine fortune while numerous people along the food supply chain live in squalor? Does it make sense that for many people growing up in under resourced neighborhoods their labor is worth significantly more if directed toward the drug trade than any available pro-social employment?

Relatedly, are society's finite resources better spent arresting and jailing people for crimes of poverty or despair than just giving those people a living wage and/or housing? If we're gonna spend the money anyway why not direct it toward something positive than compounding misery?


@30 no one person decides what labor is worth. the labor market tells us what it is worth. You can not arbitrarily pay someone $75K per year if their output only generates $35K a year. It's clear like many of the socialist, progressives who live in this area that you also don't understand the difference between income and wealth. Musk is the world's richest man on paper, he doesn't actually have assets that can be seized as you suggest. A flaw could develop tomorrow in Teslas models, he could lose all his wealth and nothing would change for anyone but him. You really should do some research on economics and wealth vs income.

I'd also invite to read the book on Mindset while you are at it, you exhibit fixed mindset thinking and that really limits your view of the world and what is possible. Income and wealth are not finite resources. You can grow the pie so to speak and create scenarios where all people grow, not necessarily in equal parts but grow none the less. I hope at some point you expand your worldview and realize you don't have to hate successful people for being successful. You too can be successful without tearing them down and in doing so can lift up those around you too.


If folks (including Charles) are interested in transit issues, I suggest checking out The Seattle Transit Blog. While a shadow of its former self -- a lot of the great articles have moved to The Urbanist -- it has a lively comment section (while The Urbanist does not). With few exceptions, everyone on there really cares about transit. Many are very knowledgeable and quote various national transit experts (Jarrett Walker, Yonah Freemark, Alon Levy, etc.) to make their point. There are several themes that show up on a regular basis:

1) The driver shortage sucks. It may be more permanent than assumed, and agencies will have to raise salaries to attract drivers (which means less service or higher taxes).

2) Metro needs a major restructure, and has struggled to do it themselves. Our bus routes are out of date. They assume everyone is going to a handful of locations (like downtown). As a result, the buses are way too infrequent or indirect. We can do better (e. g.

3) ST3 sucks. So much of ST3 was poorly designed, and has only gotten worse. There are various ideas for fixing it (e. g. automated trains from Ballard to First Hill) but plenty of people would be OK with just starting over. Build the rail that has been started (Lynnwood, Federal Way, Redmond) and then rethink everything.

4) Sound Transit should focus more on operations than expansion. This goes with the last item. It isn't that important that we have trains connecting Ash Way with Fife. It is essential that the trains run frequently and reliably through the most urban part of the region.

5) SDOT is doing good work improving the bike and transit network, but they are moving too slowly. The plans for the 40 are great. They have started working on the 7 but need to speed them up. The 8 is desperately in need of major fixes (the work they did -- while laudable -- was simply not enough).

6) Most of the opinion pieces on transit are ill informed. The Urbanist stands as a rare exception. But neither The Seattle Times nor The Stranger seem to care about the details. The Seattle Times Editorial Board is anti-tax. They reject any major investment in transit. The Stranger is the opposite. All transit is good. The result is that light rail from the UW to Downtown is in the same category as rail from Issaquah to the South Kirkland Park and Ride. Neither publication will write what every transit expert in the country would: The first project is essential, while the second project is silly.

It is easy to assume that the problem is lack of money, but a country like Norway wouldn't build half the shit we are building. They just wouldn't.


@31 I didn't say Musk should have his wealth seized I suggested that he being the highest valued person in the world indicates the way we value people's contributions is flawed. Further, you say we can't pay someone $75k if they only "generate" $35k, but many contributions are not easily quantifiable if at all. How much does an elementary school teacher "generate," or a psychotherapist? And like I mentioned in my last comment, drug traffickers are highly compensated (and they "generate" a lot of economic activity); does that at all cause you to question the philosophical or pragmatic basis of the economic system you take for granted? Speaking of "fixed mindset thinking."


@33: The number you reference isn’t Musk’s income, but net worth, and it’s not real. It’s just the potential value of his assets if they were all to be sold at a specific moment in time. But they can’t be, and his act of starting to sell would cause their prices to drop rapidly.

“… drug traffickers are highly compensated…”

Some are, some aren’t. But you’re hinting at why that commerce is illegal. What is your basis for assuming d13 was talking about illegal commerce? Illegal commerce is itself a violation of the social contract of which he wrote.


@34 no shit, and wow great point: if Musk liquidated all his assets he'd only actually have a couple billion in cash not hundreds. Guess the system is just and equitable after all!

With regard to drug trafficking I'm responding only to D13's idea that value of labor should, or maybe even can, only be determined by the market. Of course that's absurd as even in our capitalist system moral judgments are pronounced about certain forms of labor, including (as you reference) by making some illegal. There's absolutely nothing preventing us from modifying the social contract and government policy to provide a living wage to all workers, the problem is only that the haves don't want to share with the have-nots.


@35 saying stuff like that just shows you are economically illiterate. The thing preventing us from modifying the social contract is human nature. Quite simply people will not work if they are not compensated for their labor. Whether you believe it or not the market does set the standard for labor even if it’s not measured in tangible output. If it didn’t teachers in Seattle would be paid the same as teachers in walla walla, after all they are don’t the same job. I’m not sure if you’re just young or naive but I hope you experience the real world at some point.


@36 "Whether you believe it or not the market does set the standard for labor"

To some extent yes, of course--we live in a (mostly) capitalist society. What I'm contemplating is changing that to create a more just society. The fact you apparently can't even wrap your mind around that concept makes you calling me "young or naive" especially laughable.

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