And by "Before," I Mean Five Seconds Ago

By Erica C. Barnett July 24, 2009


1. CityClub doesn't declare winners at its debates, so we will—the clear victor at last night's forum, held at Rainier Square downtown, was Mayor Greg Nickels, who came across as calm and knowledgeable. This was despite moderator Joni Balter's (of the Seattle Times' editorial board) clear preference for challenger Joe Mallahan, whom she referred to as a "community organizer from Chicago" (he's a T-Mobile executive.) Jan Drago, meanwhile, seemed sleepy, nervous, and off-point. Check out our liveblogging of the whole event here .

(The audience, however, seemed most interested in Mallahan, who Balter introduced as the candidate "you've been hearing so much about.")

2. Light rail service in the downtown tunnel was knocked out yesterday because of a problem with the trains' signaling system. Trains were back in service 11:00 last night. According to reports from downtown commuters, Sound Transit staffers had frustratingly few details about what was actually going on or when trains would be up and running again.

3. King County Council member and KC Executive candidate Dow Constantine fired back last night at his fellow KC Council member and Exec candidate Larry Phillips, who declared yesterday that he wanted to eliminate the King County Ferry District and put that money into buses.

In a statement Constantine sent PubliCola last night (subject heading: "He was for it before he was against it. And by 'before,' I mean five seconds ago"), Constantine blasted Phillips and the other two Democrats in the race, state legislators Ross Hunter and Fred Jarrett:
Until this week, Councilmember Larry Phillips was looking to secure funding for county ferry service in his district.  Today he wants to terminate the entire program.

Meanwhile, State Senator Fred Jarrett and Representative Ross Hunter—who created this problem by each voting 3 times to create the King County Ferry District and prohibit use of these funds for Metro Bus service—are pretending as if they had no idea what they set in motion.

When it is politically expedient, all three of them are more than happy to play political games, apparently without concern for the actual needs of the people they seek to serve.

Constantine wants to defer plans to expand the ferry system and—like Phillips, Jarrett, and Hunter—put that money into buses.

4. Readers—particularly supporters of mayoral challenger Mike McGinn—are  crying foul in the jumping comments thread about the Muni League candidate ratings, which ranked fellow challenger Mallahan as "outstanding" but McGinn only as "good" (two notches below).

The Muni League has released the full questionnaires filled out by candidates, which were used to inform the ratings. We'll take a detailed look at those questionnaires later today.

5. City Council Position 8 candidate David Miller told us at Tuesday's Southeast Seattle candidate forum that he'd obtained the sole endorsement of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587, which represents Metro bus and light-rail drivers. Not so fast: Judy Young, the ATU's recording secretary, told us yesterday that the "endorsement" was only a recommendation. That recommendation will have to go through the union's executive board next Tuesday, and on to the full union membership in the first week of August.

Side note: Miller was the only candidate we saw out in force at last weekend's opening of light rail—both Miller and several campaign volunteers were working the voters on the trains.

This morning's Morning Fizz brought to you by Candidate Survivor .

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