Campaign Fizz: Regurgitating Questions that Were Dismissed

By Erica C. Barnett October 6, 2011

Your one-stop shop for today's local campaign news, gossip, and analysis.

• Regurgitating questions that were dismissed by an outside investigator earlier this year, Bellevue City Council candidate Patti Mann, running against pro-light-rail incumbent Claudia Balducci, questioned Balducci's independence as a member of the Sound Transit board.

Here's the supposed connection: As director of the King County Jail, Balducci works for county executive Dow Constantine. In a story by the Seattle Times' Keith Ervin yesterday, Mann all but accused Balducci of doing Constantine's bidding on the Sound Transit board, asking, " is she merely a mouthpiece for the county executive?"

Balducci supported Sound Transit's preferred light-rail route through South Bellevue; Mann, who is backed by Bellevue megadeveloper and light rail opponent Kemper Freeman, supports an alternative route that costs hundreds of millions more, crosses an endangered wetland, requires the construction of a new park-and-ride, and serves fewer people than any other south Bellevue alternative.

Mann has raised $29,000 to Balducci's $66,000.

• In a major blow to Freeman, the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce endorsed a "No" vote on Tim Eyman's anti-tolling, anti-light-rail Initiative 1125 yesterday---a weighty endorsement, given rail opponent Freeman's outsize influence in that city. Additionally, the chamber endorsed a "Yes" vote on Initiative 1183, Costco's liquor privatization initiative, which would allow stores larger than 10,000 square feet to sell hard liquor in addition to beer and wine.

• In a Q&A with HA Seattle, city council challenger Dian Ferguson, running against council incumbent Sally Clark, reiterated her opposition to the proposed $60 car-tab fee, calling it "an extremely regressive flat tax that will disproportionately hurt the poor and unemployed" while focusing too much on "nice 'wish list' projects" like transit and bike-safety projects "that pale in importance next to the over one billion dollars in backlogged road and bridge repairs."

In reality, only about half the money from the car-tab fee would go to transit projects, and those projects include improvements, like upgrades to bus speed and reliability, that would help all roadway users, including drivers. Just 22 percent of the proceeds, meanwhile, would go to all biking and pedestrian projects combined.

• In stark contrast to Ferguson, Seattle Transit Blog argues vociferously that the proposed license fee doesn't go far enough, arguing that a better approach would be for Seattle leaders to go head-to-head with transportation leaders in Olympia to get funding for large transit projects, not just maintenance projects and minor road improvements that nibble around the edges of Seattle's massive transportation needs.

• On the heels of Republican King County Council incumbent Jane Hague's endorsement by Democratic state Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48) Hague's Democratic opponent, Mercer Island attorney Richard Mitchell, announced several environmental endorsements today, including the Washington Conservation Voters, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Earth Day founder Denis Hayes.
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