dow constantine
Dow Constantine Tactical Localist?

King County executive Dow Constantine’s January proposal for a $60 vehicle license fee and a 0.1 percent sales tax increase wasn’t just a last-ditch effort to save bus service. Yes, the state legislature failed last year to pass a transportation funding package, and Metro is facing service cuts of up to 17 percent. But the ballot measure represented something more than that.

Constantine’s DIY move to go it alone on public policy is a similar strain of this new urbanism. Call it tactical localism.

When activists temporarily transform parking spaces into mini parks or turn empty lots into community gardens—agitprop efforts that nudge cities to be more green—it’s called tactical urbanism. Constantine’s DIY move to go it alone on public policy is a similar strain of this new urbanism. Call it tactical localism.

As federal and state legislatures bog down in partisanship, expect to see more progressive cities and counties—which typically drive state economies but fail to get proportional support in return—fund things like mass transit on their own, both as a practical matter and as a new brand of politics. Constantine appears to be leading the charge.