The Daily Troll: King County's 24 tons of weight loss. Lawmakers stump for Seattle transit.

In Snohomish County, a slowdown on moves to reduce landslide dangers. GiveBIG progress.

Transit initiative support

Backers of an initiative to preserve Metro Transit bus service in Seattle are moving into a higher gear. Keep Seattle Moving unveiled support from eight local legislators for proposed Initiative 118 today, which would preserve existing bus service in Seattle through a property tax increase of $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed value. The Seattle City Clerk has already accepted the ballot measure, which will be on the fall ballot if the campaign collects enough signatures.

Metro Transit has started work on cuts after voters' recent rejection of Proposition 1 to provide added revenues. According to Keep Seattle Moving, cutting the routes as planned would put another 23,000 cars on the road every day, worsening Seattle traffic. "This initiative will help keep Seattle moving while we craft a long-term solution in Olympia to fund and improve transit in our region,” said Rep. Jessyn Farrell of the 46th District. — H.W.

Healthy results for King County

The Harvard School of Government is honoring King County for its eight-year-old Healthy Incentives program that encourages employees to take better care of themselves. The program, which today received the Harvard 2013 Innnovations in Government award, has saved $46 million in health care costs and improved employee health, according to a county statement. The program allows participants to receive breaks on their insurance payments through exercising, eating better or stopping tobacco use.

"The smoking rate among employees dropped more than half," the county wrote in its statement, "from 12 percent to less than 5 percent, and participating employees combined for a total weight loss of 24 tons." — J.C.

Slowdown on Snohomish County moratorium 

The Snohomish County Council will take at least two more weeks before deciding on any sort of building moratorium on land thought to be at risk of landslides. The county executive's office wants more time to examine other potential measures for dealing with risks, The Herald reports. Council Chair Dave Somers has suggested temporary controls as the county evaluates ways to avoid mudslide catastrophes like Oso's earlier this year. In King County, Executive Dow Constantine has ordered staff to look for federal funding to help with an update of the landslide hazards map, first developed in the 1990s. — J.C.

GiveBIG countdown

If your inbox is anything like ours, we're sure it's overflowing with messages about GiveBIG Day, which can be a drag. But here's why GiveBIG is so important: The Seattle Foundation will partially match each donation made through their website until midnight tonight. As of 2 p.m., their generosity had inspired more than $6.9 million in the form of nearly 30,000 gifts to participating nonprofits. So far, Crosscut is about halfway to its donor goal. In other words, your favorite source for high-quality, civic journalism needs your support. You can donate to Crosscut's GiveBIG campaign here. And while you're there, we hope you'll also consider donating to some of the 1,600 other worthy local participants. — M.C.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

Mackenzie Ciesa is an editorial intern for Crosscut and a graduate of the University of Washington's journalism program. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys seeing live music and wistfully wishing it was football season.

Hailey Way is a Crosscut Editorial Intern and a graduate from the University of Washington’s school of journalism, where she wrote for The Daily and various hyper local blogs around Seattle. Previously a classical company dancer of Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, she enjoys writing on similar topics in the arts and culture beat.


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Comments:

Posted Tue, May 6, 4:05 p.m. Inappropriate


Everyone gets what's wrong with this “tax Seattle property owners for more Metro service” plan, right?
If it passes, Metro would come up with a new service plan that beefs up service outside Seattle using its heavy existing sales tax revenue (mostly supplied by Seattle households), and then use the additional Seattle-only property tax revenue for Seattle service.

It would be a complete ripoff of Seattle property owners.

Metro doesn't use Seattle-only tax revenue just for Seattle service. Apparently Seattle already is paying for some 45,000 hours of bus service from Metro each year using property tax revenues generated by the Bridging the Gap proposition. Try locating anything on the county's website showing how much Seattle is paying each year to Metro of those Bridging the Gap funds, and what Metro actually does with that money. It probably just goes to cover countywide administrative expenses.

crossrip

Posted Tue, May 6, 5:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Agreed. Yes, Seattle overwhelmingly supported Prop 1, but that doesn't mean they support going it alone. It's a regional system, it should be paid for regionally.

MissRuby

Posted Wed, May 7, 5:38 a.m. Inappropriate

This entire situation was brought on by Dow Constantine and Fred Jarrett and their drive to remove 40-40-20 and reweight variables for deciding how services would be allocated through a sham task force and its recommendations. The cash cow finally woke up to the fact that they ( communities outside Seattle) were being milked dry to provide service to Seattle, while their constituents continue to pay higher and higher taxes and fees for empty promises from METRO and King County.

Cameron

Posted Wed, May 7, 9:04 a.m. Inappropriate

It's ironic that Seattle leaders want citizens to get out of their cars but can't afford transit service to compensate for the increased ridership.

Just saying!

Posted Wed, May 7, 10:13 a.m. Inappropriate

It's ironic that the price of a one way ride to Seattle is about 4 times higher by car than by bus and Metro won't even raise the price 25 cents. Car owners that live outside the bus routes are still paying the bulk of bus fares through taxes. Raise the price of a fare to at least cover 50% of the operating costs and put more space and time between bus runs outside of commute hours.

With 500 extra bus drivers laid off and all the idled busses from the 70 odd cancelled routes what is the game plan? There should not be one hour of overtime and no new busses ordered for some time! Lets see the efficiencies and stop pulling on our tabs. They are out of tax milk.

2wheeler

Posted Mon, May 12, 9:48 p.m. Inappropriate

@crossrip, Initiative 118 ballot language directs city council to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to purchase route hours for the pending cuts within the city and any routes that run 80% within the city. Today Executive Constantine announced he is directing an audit of Metro and a website with that information so let's see if your objection is on the list.

Posted Mon, May 12, 9:52 p.m. Inappropriate

@2wheeler, fare increases were not in Proposition 1 language because they are scheduled for 2015. Prop 1 offered low-income riders a discount.
The fixed route buses have a life of 12 years or 500,000. Parked buses can be used as replacements as old buses break down and need heavy maintenance like rebuilding transmissions and engines.

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