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West Seattle Herald
Seattle , Washington
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August 5, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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August 5, 2011
 

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"6 Friday.Augt]st 5,201i West Seatile Herald I I M00MENT Reject Referendum 1, the Tolled Tunnel A terrible deal for West Seattle By Brian Allen I love living in West Seattle. We have the Junction, Alki, Lincoln Park and our community feels like a small town. The Viaduct and solid bus service enable West Seattle to remain connected to jobs and conveniences in the city. But that apparently wasn't on the minds of local politicians when they gamed the process and cut a deal to replace the Viaduct with a $4.2 Billion tunnel. Of course, everyone has seen the nice watercolors of downtown Seattle without the Viaduct and downtown boosters threaten that a tolled tunnel is the only alternative. But something we just can't afford isn't a real alternative, especially when it makes our transportation problems worse. The State claims it can raise $400 million in tolls, but the $9 round-trip toll ($2,250/year for commuters. $500/year more than for North Seattle commuters) is too much for most West Seattle drivers to afford. The Port of Seattle pledged $300 million, but will raise it with property-tax increases. Yet that money still isn't enough: the funding plan already has a deficit of $700 million, before the tunneling machine even begins digging beneath downtown skyscrapers. It gets even worse: tunnel projects go 34% over- budget on average around the world. It's no wonder that the state has refused to publicly disclose its tunnel financing plan. The state is broke and knows how risky this is, so the legislature passed a law making Seattle taxpayers liable for all cost overruns. How much will we be taxed to fix sinkholes or a broken tunneling machine for the largest tunnel ever dug (58 feet) compared to the $200 Million on overruns so far for Brightwater (13 feet)? Nobody knows. However we do know that a 10% cost overrun would bankrupt Seattle. After spending all that money, our transportation options from West Seattle would worsen. According to WSDOT, drives from West Seattle to downtown would take on average 12 minutes longer, bus rides 20 minutes longer, the Seneca Street exit to downtown would disappear and 2/3 of the drivers currently using the Viaduct would back up traffic on 99 to avoid the tunnel. The resulting congestion on downtown streets, I-5 and the waterfront would be the same as just closing the Viaduct tomorrow. So how can tunnel supporters claim the tunnel is needed to relieve congestion? Many of our streets have horrible pot holes, but the billions spent on the tunnel would do nothing for that. Metro is planning to eliminate the 22, 23, 51, 53, 55, 57, 85, 116, 118, 119 and 133 bus routes in West Seattle and cut service to the 21, 54, 56 and 125. But the tolled tunnel budget doesn't include a penny for permanent transit service, while sucking billions away from other vital projects. Why on earth put all our eggs in this basket when it gives us so little for our money? Instead of addressing these problems, tunnel supporters say it's too late and we've talked too long. They ignore the data about the congestion the tunnel will cause and try to change the subject to earthquakes. They even ask the public to get angry at other people, when the problem is their own terrible idea. West Seattle is too wonderful of a community to give in to the threats and propaganda about the tunnel. West Seattle deserves an affordable option that makes our transportation system better and doesn't endanger our basic priorities. We can still prevent this mistake from happening, much earlier than we pulled the plug on WPPSS. Mail-in ballots will be due August 16, and I ask you to join me and Reject Referendum No. 1. It's West Seattle's opportunity to say "we want better!" Brian Allen serves on the Board of Directors of Sustainable Seattle, co-founded Sustainable West Seattle, and is a Homestead Community Land Trust homeowner in the High Point neighborhood. He can be reached care of Ken Robinson at kenr@ robinsonnews.com. Annexation: Would Burien or Seattle be a better deal for White Center? By Jerry Robinson When a Burien City councilman suggested last week that White Center is thriving and that Burien should be supportive of annexation, he failed to mention the empty store fronts on Main Street (16th avenue S.W.) Marv's Broiler, Napa Auto Parts, South End Florist and even the little Thai place up at 112th are all shuttered. If you talk with Donnie Malo and his general manager, Brad Truesdell, over at Malo's Auto Body on 17th you'll get their story. Malo has been through it all for the last 40 years and can speak about urban renewal and decline. While he feels things might be on an upswing in some areas he definitely expressed his desire for Seattle to take up the annexation banner rather than Burien. "1 love Burien and they have a lot going on there", Malo said. He added that Seattle is better equipped financially to support White Center and one particular issue is the boundary at Roxbury Street. This boundary has been the issue for White Center-ires for several decades as it is the city/county line allowing certain business regulations on one side of the street but not the other. It is a good reason why White Center had so many taverns in the 40's thru 70's. The rules are different in the Brad Truesdell and Don Malo of Malo's Autobody in White Cen- ter don't favor annexation to Burien county and tavern owners took advantage of the proximity of city dwellers traveling a short distance across Roxbury to enjoy a drink. Sailors from the Seattle waterfront were not allowed in White Center during WWll due to the rowdy nature of the tavern district. Malo would like to see the city move that boundary down to S.W. 114th Street where there are very few businesses. Former King County executive Ron Sims expressed fiscal negativity when White Center was considered for annexation some years ago. He didn't think King County could afford to keep it. He practically b.gged annexation to take place. Seattle is in a better position than Burien to make that call. Burien is relying on millions of dollars in tax breaks from the state which is crying bankruptcy tears already. It seems to us that Seattle could use the cash the state does not have as least as much as Burien and their police department is a heckuva lot closer. Jerry Robinson is the publisher of the West Seattle Herald/ WhiteCenter News. He can be reahced care of Ken Robinson at kenr@robinsonnews.com. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Initative protects rights Editm', The rights of We The People are being violated in accordance with our Washington State Constitution, Article I Declaration Of Rights Sections 1, 2, 4, 5 and 19. Article II Section 1 Legislature Powers Where Vested. Article I Section 1 Political Power states all political power is inherent in the people and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and are established to protect and maintain individual rights. ARTICLE II, Section 1 explains those rights in detail. Initiative 1-101 does not prevent the state from building highways, however it protects the peoples right to vote by petition as stated in Article I Section 4. The deep bore tunnel is considered as a multi-billion dollar bypass road to nowhere and is not in the best interest of our city and will cause GRID lOCK that this city will take years to recover from. There is a feasible and prudent alternative already in place which better serves the mobility and future transportation needs. Stop this rheto[ic and adhere to the Washington State Constitution and let the voters exercise their God given right. Guy Gallipeau West Seattle We welcome letters to the editor We welcome letters to the editor. Letters are the opinions of NEWS/HERALD readers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the NEWS/HERALD staff or publishers. Please submit letters at least a week prior to the publication date. Mail or bring to 14006 First Ave. S., Suite B; Burien, WA 98168, email to kenr@robinsonnews.com or fax to 206-453-5041. Letters should be no longer than 400 words. The NEWS/HERALD staff reserves the right to edit for length, clarity, or possible libel. Letters must include writer's full name, city and daytime phone number or email for verification.