A new "report card" by Party of the Future, a project of the green-urbanism group Friends of Seattle, gives low marks to all nine members of last year's Seattle City Council, based on the positions they took on three key environmental votes: Allowing backyard cottages behind single-family homes; the proposed waterfront tunnel; and the elimination of the "head tax," which would have provided more than $4 million a year for local transportation projects. The report, which grades each council member on both their "leadership" and their ultimate vote, can be viewed here.

The highest grade overall went (oddly?) to ex-council member Richard McIver, who received a "C+", in part because he voted against repealing the head tax and in favor of allowing backyard cottages. The lowest grades went to Tom Rasmussen and Sally Clark. Both received a "D-"—Clark because she "indulged an overly long debate" in her committee about cottage housing and Rasmussen because he was the most skeptical about the cottage proposal and because he "dismiss[ed] the very real problem with cost overruns on the tunnel project."

Every council member but Bruce Harrell got an "F" on the deep-bore tunnel. Although Harrell voted for the tunnel, the report card says, he "must be applauded for at least publicly questioning the timing of last fall's vote and what its purpose was."

The report card's usefulness is limited by the fact that it considers so so few issues and takes such a jaundiced view of the current council. If everyone on the council votes against the environment, then what hope is there for getting a better council? Roger Valdez, one of the authors of the report card, says Party of the Future limited its survey to those specific key votes because the council dragged its feet on cottage housing while rushing through approval of the tunnel and the elimination of the head tax.

"What those issues crystallized was a sense of not having the right priorities," Valdez says. "They moved as fast as greased lightning on the head tax, but they moved slowly on cottages. There should have been a lot more deliberation on the tunnel."
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