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Crosscut Week in Review (July 17)

Seattle is starting to get serious about two related questions: What if the tunnel is built? What if the tunnel is not built?

Seattle is finally starting to become more focused on the challenges of constructing a waterfront tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. But it's extremely hard to know where we go with that realism.

Seeing the heavy readership for two Crosscut pieces on Thursday (July 15), it felt like local residents want to begin looking seriously at the way forward. And people showed interest in looking at the very different approaches covered by the articles. Knute Berger's article, "The tunnel: Let's vote," provoked a good, extended discussion (36 comments as of Friday afternoon), with Berger weighing in a couple of times on the discussion's points.

Here are a couple thoughts on both sides from among the comments. First, from Urbanist:

Democracy by referendum is generally not a very good idea and rarely results in optimal outcomes. Look at where Tim Eyman's initiatives have gotten us. Look at California. On major issues related to "collective action" sometimes leaders need to take bold leadership positions. Now is one of those times. I support the City Council and Governor in their effort to actually get this done.

And from cocktails42:

I'm part of the "anti-tunnel crowd." I'm glad that our adversaries now recognize us to be more than just a few oddball whiners with no real support in the community. The fact is, we've got plenty of support — and they know it. That's why they resist having any kind of public vote on this project. When the pro-development, anti-viaduct City Council had such a vote forced on them by the governor back in 2007, they deliberately crafted the ballot language so that the outcome would be confusing and it was. An up-or-down vote on the present tunnel plan would not be ambiguous. Let's get on with it.

In a very different vein, the other Thursday article "The tunnel: McGinn should be careful what he wishes for," took a serious look at what might happen if the tunnel is stopped, by whatever means. Writer Douglas B. MacDonald (the former secretary of transportation) examined what might happen to the state money allocated for a Seattle transportation project if Seattle can't agree to the project.

The tunnel was also how we started the week, with Berger's"How to prevent a boondoggle on the waterfront and beyond." Exploring many angles will be important to reasonable waterfront decisions, and it's good to see readers are set to engage.

Here are some more from this week's wide-ranging selection of stories, from meaty public affairs matters to a look at a where to find a neglected (and sustainable) fish on Seattle menus.

"The Barefoot Bandit: I don't get it," by Berger.

"Can classical radio draw listeners without dumbing down the music?" by Feliks Banel.

"Budgets squeeze child care at community colleges," by Valerie Topacio.

"State unemployment numbers show risk of a double-dip recession," by Stephen H. Dunphy.

"How GM's bankruptcy contains lessons for all," by Anthony B. Robinson.

"How a staffer brought a powerful senator around to reform U.S. Indian policy," by Pete Jackson.

"Time for accountability in M's front office," by Mike Henderson.

Finally, if you're thinking about exploring some of Seattle's restaurants this weekend, you might not be thinking of sardines, unless you've already read this intriguing story from Hugo Kugiya, the Eating on the Edge series's writer, "Why sardines ought to be on Seattle's plate."


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