Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Transportation issues dominate (Seattle) mayoral debate" (with video)

Bryan Johnson (KOMO News), with video of the full debate (56:52):
With just over a week until the election, the candidates for Seattle mayor faced off on KOMO, and the hot topic remains the Alaskan Way Viaduct and how the city will contribute to the pricey tunnel option.
Mike McGinn says Seattleites could get stuck with billions in cost overruns and Joe Mallahan says it's time to move ahead because jobs and mobility depend on it.

The two candidates have differed since day one on the issue.

McGinn says he wants to move ahead with the deep-bore tunnel because the City Council and mayor approved it, but "my position is we shouldn't proceed until we we have an understanding of who is going to pay cost overruns."

Mallahan questioned whether McGinn would ever support building the tunnel.

"I'm not saying I don't trust my opponent in terms of his integrity, I just can't trust that he will manage this project with any vigor or earnestness," Mallahan said.

The subject eventually moved to the State Route 520 bridge, with McGinn calling for two lanes for mass transit, and Mallahan expressing his support for the 6-lanes for traffic project as-is.

"He's anti-additional lanes on 520, and he's anti viaduct replacement," Mallahan said of McGinn. "He has a very clear view. He wants to create planned congestion to force people to other modes of transportation."

McGinn quickly fired back.

"I don't plan for congestion, Joe. Six lanes of traffic is planning for congestion," he said. "Adding light rail is giving people choices."

The two candidates did agree on one thing -- Seattle needs more police.

"There's no way you can go out and listen to the people and not be serious about public safety," McGinn said. "It's perhaps one of the most serious issue we face."

McGinn says he's got an $8 million plan.

Mallahan says 100 more officers will cost $12 million and that's what he wants. Neither said where the money will come from.
Both candidates said the things their supporters want to hear. The big questions are what do uncommitted Seattle voters want to hear, and did they hear it tonight?

The problem with debates, whether they are on TV or at a public forum, is that they're mostly about style.

The candidates didn't answer questions about where they would cut, or how they would pay for all the nice things, or even the necessary ones.
Howie P.S.: Although he wasn't specific, Mallahan did refer to his management experience and record of finding significant savings in his private sector career and promised to improve service delivery by allocating municipal resources with greater efficiency. Jim Brunner (Seattle Times) writes "McGinn and Mallahan duel over who can protect Seattle on tunnel costs." Dominic Holden (SLOG) is getting tired and grouchy on the campaign trail.

No comments: