Why Now?

By Morning Fizz October 26, 2009


1. Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn squared off in their final TV debate on Saturday night. Watch it here.

2. WSDOT has released video simulating a Viaduct collapse, and it's up on TV.

WSDOT made the video two years ago, but didn't release it because—according to a letter that went out last night to a Viaduct project stakeholders group: "We felt that it may unnecessarily frighten the public as well as distract from the progress underway."

So, why now, a week before the election where moving forward on the tunnel project has become the No. 1 point of contention between candidates Joe Mallahan (move forward) and Mike McGinn (not until we know the price tag) ?

The letter explains: "Last month we received a public disclosure request. Many documents were requested, including the earthquake simulation video."

It's not standard operating procedure, however, for WSDOT to release responses to public records requests directly to the general public (it's up on their website). For example, Erica's big story last week about how WSDOT tweaked its Viaduct study and worked behind the scenes with tunnel proponents to advance the tunnel and kill the surface/transit option didn't come to us from WSDOT. WSDOT was mum about that until Erica got a hold of it and called WSDOT about it.

In this instance, however, they claim they had to release the video to the public at large, telling KING 5 about  "the urgent need to move forward in replacing the Viaduct"—a Joe Mallahan speaking point. Governor Chris Gregoire has endorsed Mallahan largely because of McGinn's anti-tunnel position

We'll follow-up to see who did the public records request.

3. The recently formed Transit Riders Union asked all the candidates for city and county races last month where they stood on issues of concern to transit riders.

Of interest: Every candidate who responded said they would support getting rid of "40/40/20," the rule that allocates most new Metro service outside Seattle and Robert Rosencrantz, running against Mike O'Brien for council Position 8, expressed a "strong preference" for rolling Metro, Sound Transit, and other transportation agencies into a regional super-agency overseeing roads and transit.

Of all the candidates, only Joe Mallahan, running for mayor, and Susan Hutchison, running for county executive, did not respond.

Transit riders union steering committee member Michael Taylor-Judd says the group gave both candidates "AMPLE amounts of time for campaigns to respond and conduct[ed] numerous follow-ups," to no avail.

This morning's Morning Fizz brought to you by Kay Smith-Blum for School Board:

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