1) The Mayor's Race

Conventional Wisdom: The more progressive candidate wins

Our Contrarian Take: Seattleites like Barack Obama more than they like Dennis Kucinich.

Message to Mike McGinn. Watch out. You may be getting rope-a-doped.


2) Taxis

Conventional Wisdom (from the taxi industry): Working-class taxi drivers should be protected from competition by unregulated "taxi-like services" like Lyft and Sidecar, which allow customers to request rides using their smartphones, because those drivers are just making extra money on the side, not supporting families by driving.

As taxi industry advocate Dawn Gerhart put it last night, "This is a conversation about the contrast between those who are making a little extra money for their trip to Brazil and those who are making money to support their families."

Our Contrarian Take: Let's accept the (somewhat absurd) premise that Lyft drivers are just yuppie car owners who want extra money to go on fancy vacations.

Who cares? Saying drivers shouldn't use their profits to go to Brazil is like saying food stamp recipients shouldn't be allowed to use their benefits to buy unhealthy food.

What taxi drivers do with their money isn't the city's business; neither is what Lyft drivers do with theirs.


3) Jay Inslee

Conventional Wisdom (as espoused by us predictable Seattle partisans at PubliCola yesterday): Gov. Jay Inslee, who's only in office because of the wide vote margin he got in Seattle, along with his roads agency cohorts at WSDOT, hates Seattle—as evidenced by the fact that despite Seattle's gargantuan contribution to the state transportation fund, none of seven community meetings on the transportation package are in the city. Unfair!

Our Contrarian Take (amending yesterday's angry Fizz and Erica getting in Inslee's face): It's actually much wiser to have "our" meeting in Bellevue than in Seattle.

Here's why: Having hundreds of Seattleites show up to argue for transit funding will be much less compelling to legislators in Olympia—including swing district Eastside Republicans such as Sens. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island), Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond), Joe Fain (R-47, Auburn), and conservative bloc leader Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina)—than having their suburban neighbors pack a community center to make the case. 

The senate Republicans, under Sen. Tom's leadership, sank the transportation package last time. Getting an earful from their constituents—and getting a surprise about the actual needs of their neigbhors—as opposed to hearing what they already know they're going to hear from angry, please-tax-me Seattle voters is a much smarter tactic.

Well played, WSDOT.


(Contrarian contrarian footnote from Erica: Transit proponents used a similar strategy back in May, trotting out the mayors of several suburban cities to make the case that suburban areas need transit funding. Meanwhile, Seattle representatives, including Mayor Mike McGinn, remained comparatively silent, on the theory that advocacy from liberal Seattle wouldn't do Metro any favors.

And guess what? It didn't work. Transit funding opponents didn't become transit advocates because suburban mayors asked them to; why should anyone expect them to be convinced to support transit just because the meeting is in Bellevue, not Seattle?)


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