The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
SEATTLE PART 10: IT'S THE WATER . . . AND WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE
"It is the unfortunate destiny of the ridiculous to be subject to ridicule."
James Howard Kunstler
From the Cabalmaster:
SEATTLE PART 10: IT’S THE WATER . . . AND WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE
Continuing our coverage of Seattle's monorail plan:
IS SUCH A LONELY WORD,
EVERYONE IS SO UNTRUE
IS HARDLY EVER HEARD
THE MONORAIL NEEDS IT FROM YOU
(with apologies to Billy Joel; unadulterated lyrics are at www.lyricsxp.com/lyrics/h/honesty_billy_joel.html)
We mentioned before that Seattle residents could avoid the monorail excise tax on vehicles by using a post-office box outside the city as their "address" We also mentioned that this would not be illegal ("tax avoidance" and "tax evasion" are not the same things . . .) -- and that ETC did not consider this a problem.
However, a poll, commissioned by monorail opponents, found that more than 20 percent of Seattle residents would consider doing this seattlepi.nwsource.com/transportation/92860_monorail25.shtml.
Are you finished guffawing yet?
A poll commissioned by one side or the other is naturally suspect. In addition, the legislature could always close the loophole if "monorail tax avoidance" became a significant problem. So, there's probably not much more here than entertainment value. (But we thought you'd enjoy it.)
PETITIONS? WE DON'T WANT NO MORE STINKING PETITONS!
Seattle's attack of mindless paranoia turned into a comedy farce at midsummer, inspiring the above weak attempt at humor. Some monorail supporters took seriously a threat by a "political gun-for-hire" to circulate a petition for a shorter and cheaper monorail, in order to split the pro-monorail vote seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/134517115_monoed20.html. This was technically possible (since the state enabling act required fewer than 4,000 valid signatures) -- but politically unlikely.
"We share their concern, and want to alert potential petition signers."
No, no, no, we did NOT make that up. It's a direct quote from a newspaper editorial . . . the "Post-Intelligencer," not "The Stranger." seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/82868_trojaned.shtml
At the end of August, King County election officials announced that monorail supporters had collected enough signatures to place the monorail plan on the November ballot. The speed with which monorail supporters mobilized their troops suggests that "Monomania" will not go away anytime soon even if voters reject the plan http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/85135_initiatives31.shtml.
Another point of contention was the composition of the ETC board. ETC's proposal for an appointed board, with the current board appointing its successors after the election, was criticized as lacking accountability. Monorail supporters argued that this arrangement would avoid the perception of "cronyism" and other sins, and insure that "everyone" would have a chance to serve, not just those interested in running for office archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=elevated22&date=20020722&query=elevated+transportation+company+board. The "current" board would decide whether its successor would be all-elected, all-appointed or "blended" following the election.
In the best tradition of the late Richard Nixon, we suspect that monofoa . . . that's "enthusiastic monorail supporters" . . . have added Washington State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald to their "enemies list." The WSDOT secretary has posted an online report critical of plans for monorail construction along Interstate 5 www.wsdot.wa.gov/transit/monorail/default.htm. (Supporters of this idea include University of Washington Professor Emeritus Folke Nyberg freewaymonorail.org/news.htm; see also archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=folke21&date=20021021&query=monorail) Monorail construction along I-5 would present "engineering nightmares" at the WA State Convention and Trade Center (which is built over the freeway in downtown Seattle), the Lake Washington Ship Canal (which the freeway crosses on a large two-level bridge) and at overpasses. Although MacDonald did not directly challenge the monorail ballot measure, the report presents monorail technology in a less than favorable manner, and states that monorail lines have less capacity than light rail.
(We Opinionated Ones think that such "global" generalizations are worse than meaningless. The Tokyo Monorail, for example, could not carry the same peak-period traffic almost anywhere in the U.S. as it does in Tokyo -- simply because U.S. consumers will not tolerate the crowding that Tokyo consumers do.)
Some monorail foa . . . er, activists . . . regard any opposition as stemming from a "Sound Transit conspiracy."
"On the Rise Above It All e-mail list, which fosters a discussion among a group of monorail buffs, anyone who questions any aspect of the project is instantly accused of being a liar, a spy for Sound Transit (or [Tim] Eyman), or, worst of all, an outsider. People from outside Seattle proper are not permitted to have opinions about the monorail because it is by and for Seattleites only." www.seattleweekly.com/features/0242/news-berger.shtml.
A mid-October debate featured the following exchange:
"If we build the Ballard-to-West Seattle monorail tomorrow, we'll still have the transportation problems we're facing today," [former Port Commissioner and monorail opponent Henry] Aronson said.
"Pressed by moderator C.R. Douglas to state what he would do instead of build monorail, Aronson answered, "Northgate to the airport, absolutely."
"So the cat's out of the bag!" whispered Patrick Kylen, campaign manager for Rise Above It All, as Aronson spoke."
No, no, no, we didn’t make that up, see:
The "cat," of course, is the nefarious Sound Transit conspiracy against the righteous monorail . . . or something like that. Or, as an FOC puts it:
". . . despite widespread and repeated proclamations of replacing LRT with monorail, stopping the Link project, etc., etc., the ETC monorail campaign is not even mentioned as a conspiracy to kill or stymie Link LRT plans ... but the opposition is pilloried as a Sound Transit conspiracy to stop the monorail."
To be fair, the "Seattle Times" reporter merely quoted someone else. But we've noticed that people who express opinions such as that immediately above are seldom quoted in the Seattle media.
And we should also mention that no fewer than four former governors have endorsed the monorail plan: Al Rosellini, Dan Evans, Booth Gardner, and Mike Lowry. They've been joined by Sierra Club Cascade Chapter, although we're advised that this particular endorsement generated lots of controversy within the organization. An FOC tells us that some Sierra Club members have withheld dues payments over the organization's perceived lack of common sense with regard to transit projects.
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