Jolt: Inslee inconclusive; Cascade compelling

The day's winners and losers.
Sound Transit built a parking garage in Burien.

Sound Transit built a parking garage in Burien. Michael@NW Lens/Flickr

Today's Loser: Jay Inslee.

The Associated Press' Mike Baker, who recently busted Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna for allegedly campaigning for office on the county dime, trashed the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Jay Inslee, today calling his positions on major policy questions "vague." 

Here's the typically even-keeled AP's lead on Inslee: 

Jay Inslee launched his campaign for governor 11 months ago with some vague and inconclusive policy statements. He’s still leaving a lot to the imagination.

With just three months before Washington state’s primary election and six months before voters will choose the next governor, Inslee demurred on several issues during an interview with The Associated Press, leaving uncertainty on how he would handle taxes, transportation, immigration and marijuana policy.

Baker also reports that McKenna is more forthcoming on the issues than his opponent. 

For example, on tolling, Baker writes: 

Inslee wouldn’t commit to a position on whether the state will use more toll roads, though he said they can’t be taken off the table. McKenna said tolls will be necessary to rebuild large transportation facilities, specifically mentioning the 520 bridge.

But one beef with the AP story: They make a big deal about education reform group Stand For Children's decision to endorse McKenna over Inslee because the group found Inslee "lacked detail" when discussing education. For starters, they say Stand For Children usually backs Democrats. While it's true that Stand mostly goes for Democrats, Republicans are hardly a leap for them. For example, in the 2010 state legislative races they endorsed Sen. Steve Litzow and state Reps. Cathy Dahlquist, Glenn Anderson, Bruce Dammeier, Mike Hope, Kevin Parker—all Republicans. 

And it's worth noting that Stand's biggest rival is the teachers' union (the National Education Association and its state affiliate, the Washington Education Association), Inslee's biggest lifetime donor at the national level. 

And frankly, Inslee's calibrated position, as opposed to McKenna's, has won support from both sides in the heated education reform debate.

Today's winner: Cascade Bicycle Club.

After a tumultuous few years, Cascade Bicycle Club is back with a catchy (and compelling) new campaign against the proposed new parking garage at Northgate, which could include as many as 900 new parking stalls. Their slogan: "Northgate's 92 percent deserve a fair deal." 

Seizing on Occupy's "99-percent" rhetoric is a smart move, not just because the parking garage will, as the phrase implies, serve just 8 percent of Northgate station users, but because the garage will cost — by Sound Transit's estimates — as much as $30,000 a stall. (Opponents put the estimate higher, at as much as $40 million, based on a recently built Sound Transit parking garage in Burien that cost more than $40,000 a stall). In comparison, building a pedestrian bridge across I-5 that would serve far more station users would cost as little as $20 million, proponents estimate.

The goal of the garage, both Sound Transit and opponents agree, is supposed to be serving as many Sound Transit users as possible — not providing the maximum possible number of spaces for drivers. Hence the new campaign's kicker, as the flyers distributed last night's open house put it: "Sound Transit should spend at least as much on making it sfe and convenient for the 92 percent of people who will access the station on bike, foot or transit as they are for the 8 percent." 

Erica C. Barnett was the news editor for Seattle's online news site, PubliCola, where she covered city hall, transportation, land use, and state politics. She had also been the news editor and city hall columnist for The Stranger. In 2007, the King County Municipal League named Erica its Government Affairs Reporter of the year. She can be reached at erica.barnett@crosscut.com.

Award-winning journalist Josh Feit founded and edited the online news site PubliCola, where he also did double duty as the state house reporter, covering the legislature in Olympia. Before that, for nine years, he was the news editor and political columnist at Seattle's alt-weekly, The Stranger. He can be reached at josh.feit@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Wed, Jun 6, 7:13 a.m. Inappropriate

Cascade Bike sounds just like Kemper Freeman, who likes to say that it makes no sense to spend half our transportation funds on transit, which serves just four percent of the trips.

Freeman likes to remind people that 96% of all trips are automotive, and that spending should track more with usage.

Most people see through this sort of gamesmanship.

Jan

Posted Wed, Jun 6, 8:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Every community member who spoke at Monday's hearing saw right through Sound Transit's snake oil sales job and demanded that they invest in making it easier to walk, bike and take the bus to the station. People were offended that Sound Transit wanted to construct a mammoth parking garage in their neighborhood that did not align with anyone's vision for the future of the community.

Posted Wed, Jun 6, 5:24 p.m. Inappropriate

Jay Inslee......sadly so. Inconclusive is a polite way to frame his lackluster effort so far. He has to be clear as to what he stands for and is willing to work for, not to quibble over nuanced positions that we the general public neither understand or care to dive into. C'mon Jay. Act like an adult!

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