Opponents of the deep-bore tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct have managed to get a petition before a judge. The petition basically requests that, before a tunnel can be built, the people must first approve it in a referendum.
The story and a video can be viewed here:
In my opinion, the petition asks for basic common sense that should have been required from the outset. The tunnel is a massive project, and the people should obviously have a say in the matter.
Not surprisingly, City Attorney Pete Holmes, the guy that ruled that kicking a man in the head while yelling racial slurs was “not criminal” (I am completely serious), opposes the referendum. The fact that this man still has a job stuns me, but here he is, going to bat against the common citizen in favor of those in power once again. What a shocker.
If the judge rules that the petition can go forward, the City Council will then rule whether or not we the citizens, can vote on the matter.
Personally, I hope we get a chance to vote. Such a large project has no business being undertaken without the implicit consent of the people who will pay for it (and under whose city it will run), and it’s extraordinarily offensive that the City Attorney would seek to deny us our say.
If the referendum does make it to the ballot in August, I will vote “no” on the tunnel.
It’s far too expensive for what it does (basically expedites a trip from one side of Downtown to the other just like the Viaduct does), and the money could be put to far better use.
I am eager to see The Waterfront joined with Downtown in a more accessible manner, but not at the ridiculous expense imposed by the tunnel. When the Alaskan Way Viaduct outlives its useful life, it should simply be shut down. I do not think an alternative should be built.
Seattle should not continue to pour money into private automobile usage programs Downtown. Instead, they should be encouraging NON-automobile transit. The money for the tunnel could certainly go a long way toward building out the Seattle Subway, and reducing the need for cars in the area that the tunnel will serve. Those who insist on driving into Downtown could sit on I-5 as many of them do now.
Eventually, they will grow tired of doing so, and they will explore alternate methods of transit through the dense urban core. Build billion dollar tunnels, however, and the incentive to drive only grows stronger.
Of course, I am not going to get to vote on the tunnel, and most likely … neither will you.
I’m going to do what the corporate media will not. I’m going to go out on a limb while shooting you straight.
It’s almost certain that the powers-that-be will not allow a vote. There is simply too much big money at play, and there is no way that the Judge and the City Council will allow the peasants to have a say. In order for corruption to thrive, those in power must have the authority to distribute money to special interests and large developers. The judiciary exists for the sole purpose of protecting this status-quo of corruption, and even if the judge allowed it to go forward, the City Council would not. They will never cede the power to enter into contracts without public approval.
As such, the people’s petition will be ruled “illegal” or some such, and the tunnel will go ahead as promised to the contractors.
No matter how small or large, government in the USA are carefully structured to avoid input from the people in the most important matters.
I appreciate the effort, though. I appreciate what Protect Seattle Now has attempted to do. I hope they succeed, but deep-down, I don’t think even 30,000 signatures are enough to overcome the will of the City Council that has already decided that they want this tunnel.
In any event, I urge you to follow the latest with this initiative here:
Below is a poll regarding the tunnel and viaduct::