Seattle's News Elixir

City council transportation chair and tunnel supporter Tom Rasmussen told PubliCola this afternoon that he did not support council president Richard Conlin's call to hold a special council meeting and vote on the tunnel this morning. Conlin initially called the meeting yesterday to consider a resolution that could have indefinitely postponed a referendum on three agreements on the deep-bore tunnel.

Conlin  walked the resolution on to the council's agenda yesterday as a surprise, but didn't call for an immediate vote because he needed a five-member majority of the council to support it—and Rasmussen (in Conlin's pro-tunnel camp) was out of town.

This morning, however, Conlin abruptly canceled the meeting, saying it was not necessary and that the city could state its position in legal filings due this afternoon.

Here's another possible reason Conlin thought better of the meeting: He didn't have the votes.

Rasmussen tells PubliCola he didn't support the idea of holding a special last-minute meeting and vote in the first place. "I just felt we didn't need to have a special  meeting. We made our decision in February. My feeling was that passing a resolution making another statement would only complicate things further. ... Richard and I have different views on how to respond."

Rasmussen says he will wait to hear the city attorney's advice before moving forward on a notice to proceed with the tunnel. Conlin said this morning that he had not talked to Holmes' office.

Rasmussen, by the way, dismissed rumors published on Slog yesterday that he changed his travel plans to rush back to Seattle to vote for Conlin's resolution, noting that he bought a plane ticket (using personal funds) to attend Rahm Emanuel's inauguration as Chicago mayor, and return to Seattle last night, weeks ago, a fact his schedule confirms.

Last week, King County Superior Court Judge Laura Gene Middaugh ruled that just one section of the legislation adopting the agreements, which states the council's intent to adopt a notice to proceed on the tunnel in the future, is subject to referendum; Conlin's proposal would have clarified that the council intends to adopt that notice by ordinance in the future. In theory, only that future ordinance, not the current agreements, would be subject to referendum, forcing tunnel opponents to collect signatures for a separate ballot measure).
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