Morning Fizz

Wrong on Both Counts

By Morning Fizz July 25, 2011

1. On Saturday, Regional Transit Task Force (RTTF) member Josh Kavanagh, director of transportation at the University of Washington, sent a letter to the King County Council disputing a recent Seattle Times guest op/ed.

The op/ed, written by the conservative Washington Policy Center, argued that the pending Metro service cuts—600,000 hours worth if the proposed $20 car tab fee doesn't clear a council vote or win at the ballot box—actually dovetail with a set of wise transit cut recommendations that the RTTF made to eliminate redundant and underused routes. WPC transportation analyst Micheal Ennis wrote: "[Making the cuts] would not be a bad thing, despite what the transit lobby would have everyone believe."

Ennis also wrote that Metro demand has declined over the last two years.

In a WTF-letter, RTTF member Kavanagh said Ennis is wrong on both counts. He wrote:
It was clear to the RTTF that, even with redirection of some existing resources, Metro would actually be under-resourced based on both demand for service and goals for county-wide economic growth and social equity.  The proposed service reductions will seriously undermine those goals.

The WPC article also inaccurately states Metro ridership. Bus and park-and-ride usage have actually been going up in recent months with ridership beginning to return to pre-recession levels.  Second quarter ridership on Metro saw a four percent jump in boardings compared to the same period last year.

As our local economy improves, it’s critical that we maintain or even expand service—not shrink the system to produce more congestion and bus overcrowding.

The council is scheduled to vote on the $20 car tab fee at 3:00 today. Sign-in for public testimony begins at 1:00.

2. On Friday, when the campaign for I-1163, a Service Employees International Union-backed measure to support longterm health care workers, alerted the secretary of state that they'd discovered fraudulent signatures in some of their petitions, conservative initiative activist Tim Eyman pounced, issuing a press release:
For years, SEIU has led the charge in Olympia for anti-initiative laws that'll 'clean up' the system -- but in 13 years and 13,778,244 signatures, the Secretary of State's office has had zero instances of verified forgeries or fraud EXCEPT from the SEIU -- one of their volunteers last year and now their paid petitioners this year. Maybe if SEIU spent more of its time policing itself rather than pushing anti-initiative bills, we'd all be better off.

It's not true that there have been "zero instances ... of fraud EXCEPT from SEIU." Petitioners for Eyman's own I-985—a losing 2008 Eyman measure to open up carpool lanes to single occupancy vehicles—pleaded guilty in Spokane County Court last summer for turning in fraudulent signatures.

3. The Seattle Times has a report on two (unrelated) shootings in South King County this weekend—one at a car show in Kent and one at a casino in Auburn—that left 20 people injured.

4. The Times also has a feature story on Stranger publisher Tim Keck in its Pacific Northwest magazine.
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