As more than 20 mayoral candidates line up at the primary starting gate, only two will make it to the general election, meaning your vote in the upcoming primary election is essential because we are past the point where we need a true taxi advocate in the mayor's seat. While outgoing Mayor Ed Murray has, overall, been a decent mayor, rating a C grade from me, he was a complete disaster in how he dismembered our local taxi industry and promoted TNC/Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft over our needs and interests.
That he, like so many municipal and county administrators, by simply not comprehending in any real way the menace posed by the monster Uber, miserably failed both the American taxi industry and similar taxi-like services and their passengers and customers, thus creating a situation seeking uncertain resolution toward a problem not of our own making. When considering your mayoral choice, please consider if that particular candidate will be at best neutral in their overall policy decisions, and not making things worse, as the past five Seattle mayors, Rice, Schell, Nickells, McGinn and Murray have, comprising a 27 year long span of at best mediocre, and at the worse, complete incompetence---the WTO and Pioneer Square Mardi Gras riots and the giving away of an invaluable NBA franchise heading the sorriest examples of an abysmal list.
Public policy should not, and I repeat, should not be some conflated version of "pin-the-tail-upon-the donkey" because too often the administrators involved end up looking like the proverbial "horses' ass," with the voting public kicked squarely in the buttock. While slapstick comedy worked quite well for the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy, public and governmental policy is neither a movie script nor comedic routine. While trying to find a serious candidate who understands this obvious point will be difficult to locate, still, despite the low odds, we must continue attempting to both find that correct candidate and keep communicating our thoughts and political aspirations.
Already there are two mayoral front runners: former United States Attorney Jenny Durkan and former mayor Mike McGinn. The big money is pouring in for Durkan, ensuring she will reach the general election. The second slot is more uncertain, with McGinn being penciled in due to his familiarity with the voters.
While McGinn is clearly a nice guy, he is the mayor whose bike-lane polices have clogged the already un-drivable streets, McGinn somehow not noticing that Seattle now has 200,000 more permanent residents, translating into at least a 40-50 percent increase in citywide car ownership. Where are we going to put all these cars when lanes have been eliminated and on-street parking greatly reduced?
If interested in viewing his handiwork, trundle down to the east-bound Pike Street at First Avenue and see for yourself McGinn's failed version, how the heavy traffic is now funneled down one narrow lane. Just as the pin-the tail game is played with a blindfold on, that is good description of McGinn's governing style, closing his eyes and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, for those of us who can see beyond our nose, remain appalled at the results, McGinn destroying reasonable traffic assess at one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations.
Again, if this were comedy, it would be funny. But since it is governmental policy it is farcical. Something called the INRIX Parking Ranking announced today that Seattle is the fifth hardest city in the entire country to find a parking space, saying the average Seattle-lite spends 58 hours per year looking for available parking. If you find that to your liking, then do vote for McGinn because he is the individual who eliminated miles of on-street parking.
And if you are curious, there are over 35,000 recognized American cities and towns, meaning a fifth overall ranking means you have truly screwed up, a kind of reversed efficiency. I personally at this point have no one to recommend but remember the name of Washington State Senator Bob Hasegawa because he might be the one candidate who is not sold out to special interests.
The reason I entitled this week's posting the way I did is because I know, beyond any doubt, that the majority of folks managing the City of Seattle, are clueless, and dangerously clueless at that. This point was reinforced Monday when I took a passenger from the train station to the 2300 hundred block of1st Avenue. Given the amazing congestion now clogging both directions north and south-bound on 1st, I chose to take north-bound (its one-way) 4th, turning left (or west-bound) to access that part of 1st Avenue.
Five years ago this would have been an easy task but no longer because those idiots in Seattle City government decided to transform the arterial Bell into a glorified park, restricting access and the ability to turn both left and right. Avoiding that mess and a myriad of potential moving violations I picked Wall Street to turn west but even that wasn't the best choice due to the no-left turn sign posted at 1st and Wall.
Even what would be the final choice, Clay Street, doesn't work either since it now closed west-bound due to construction at 3rd. The only legal option left then is to go 6 blocks out of your way and turn left onto Broad Street off of 3rd Avenue. I would wager any amount you suggest that NOT ONE INDIVIDUAL in the entire Seattle City government knows they have created this kind of complication for what used to be a very simple matter.
The best thing about this particular fare is that the old soldier told me that the US Army in 1955 were taking him somewhere downtown Seattle when he saw a red convertible being chased by a motorcycle cop who suddenly flipped into the air after colliding with a seat cushion tossed out of the car. Now that was when Seattle was a real rough and tough city, and not the wimpish suburban center is has now become. Could you imagine anyone in Seattle now disobeying the good officer? No, neither can I.
And do I want to be mayor of Seattle? No, but if I were you can bet I might understand just a little bit better the real down-to-earth issues facing the Emerald City. Instead I would rather run for Congress in Toledo, Ohio, representing the honesty of a rough and tumble, Rust-Belt City. Both of my grandfathers worked in the local factories there, supporting as well as they could their large families.
Back then life was more black and white sans the grayer areas now known as excuse and obfuscation. In the other words, my grandparents lived in the good old (and bad) days when corruption was shoved in your face minus pretense. Back then, you knew exactly what they were thinking and doing to you, which is quite unlike today when simultaneously government says "I love you" while cutting your throat with high property taxes and of course, no parking spaces for the car whose licensing just cost you a King's random. Just be glad you will have access to better public transportation in 2022! Isn't that great!
Postscript Wed July 13th, 2017
Today's Seattle Times On-line edition has a very helpful guide to all 21 mayoral candidates. I encourage everyone to check it out.