I know we all have to limit our skepticism and cynicism sometime, but today I don’t feel like it. I’ve been perusing the Proposition 1 overview pamphlet I received the other day and I find it annoying.

Proposition 1 to me seems like a lot of the same rubbish I’ve noticed in Seattle for the ten or so years I’ve lived here. Briefly, here’s my take. I’ve read the bit in the papers about it, and maybe it was just the PI or the Times depiction of it, but the few things I noticed about it really has the hairs on the back of my neck raised.

1.) …of all the various debated “actual” costs of this thing, each projection is A LOT of money. Too much money honestly—likely too much paycheck padding for some undeserving bureaucrats. Of all the proposed quantities of money collected through taxation, they all just about indebt several generations of Seattleites.

2.) …it’s not even definitive. I can admit that nothing in life is definitive, but couldn’t we at least try? Prop 1 doesn’t really give a quantifiable amount of the money needed for these proposed projects. These projects, outlooks, estimates, and supposed benefits: they’re all proposed. That’s why it’s called a PROPOSITION. The government is merely proposing these roads, transit, ease of life, commute benefits, environmental gains, etc. Proposing doesn’t mean promise, no guarantee. Proposing doesn’t mean anything has to be done, let alone began or ever completed. There are no guarantees with Proposition 1. Trust the government? I don’t think so, these people are literally trying to sell us a bridge.

3.) …the only thing that IS guaranteed with Proposition 1 is my point #1 above. The fact that we will be taxed and that they will collect whatever quantity of taxed dollars they want. There’s our guarantee.

I haven’t even mentioned the fact that while it touts environmental benefits it is still endorsing and supporting more roads and how this fact contradicts these environmental gains. They plead with us stating that it’ll move us forward into the future, the future is going to happen with or without Prop 1. Envisioning an actual change on our streets is a real vision of the future: having fewer cars on the roads is the future I would like to happen. Adding more roads ALWAYS puts more cars on those roads—that doesn’t sound like reduced congestion. According to the pamphlet it’s not even aiming high with the road improvements. Their key corridors are proposed to be reduced in travel time by “up to 15 minutes.” What’s the rush? If I’m going to be part of spending billions of dollars on something that’s going to save me time, it had better save me more than that and I had better not have to sit in a car while I’m at it.

Let’s not guarantee the government a pile of money for something they cannot even guarantee in writing themselves. They don’t need a blank check, these taxes are not ever going to go away if they’re enacted. There’s differing statements as to how long this debt will last, I’ll either by 67, or 87 years old when it’s “paid off” by two accounts. Either way, I’ll still be riding my bike to get around. Besides why write a blank check to someone with an already bad track record. Let’s not forget this city’s history of “indecision”: did we want those paired stadiums in Sodo? Where’s our monorail? Are we going to have bike lanes on Stone Way or sharrows, evidently this decision hasn’t been made yet, regardless of the fact that the street has painted one method already. I’m sure there’s copious other examples.

(…this message is paid for by Cranked Magazine).

7 thoughts on “Semantics”

  1. I agree with you that Prop 1 is not perfect, but come Tuesday I will be voting in favor.
    We have been trying to do this for a long time, starting with light rail props back in the 50’s and 60’s before I-5 came in, and it just keeps on getting more and more expensive. (we could have put rail on the I-5 corridor during its construction for super cheap, now it is going to cost us a fortune) Prop 1 is a compromise, or a middle ground. It is the first time that a proposition is offering something for everyone and I see it merely as a tool to get the ball rolling. It is not definitive, and I think that is good because we will be able to augment the plan as time goes on.
    I agree that roads are bad but I think we need this in order to start strategically planning for the future, otherwise it is going to be 3-4 more years of unplanned sprawl.


  2. The assertion that you don’t trust the government to actually spend the money being earmarked for Proposition 1 road and transit enhancements is spreading FUD, as far as I’m concerned.

    And not to be confrontational, but what qualifies you to make the statement that Prop. 1 costs “too much”. Building bridges and light rail lines cost a lot of money, and could cost a lot more if we wait. I’m not expert enough to know what a proposal like this should cost, so I’m curious to find out how you can be so certain that it’s too much money.

    Personally, I think decisions such as this should be made by elected officials but they’re apparently too chicken shit to accept this responsibility, as our electeds are constantly punting important issues, such as Prop 1, to the voters. I’m voting for the Proposition because from what I’ve read (and I’ve tried to read pretty much everything on the subject), it could be a long time and a lot more money before any transit proposition becomes a reality if we reject this one. Most all of the environmental and conservation groups agree.


  3. I never stated I’m qualified, but was merely stating my opinion. If a debt that is going to last for fifty years, putting your children’s children in debt doesn’t sound like a lot of money then I’m not sure what’s considered expensive. Again, I’ll reiterate, I’m no expert either, but am stating my opinion.

    I agree the elected officials in this area can be chicken shit, irresponsible, flip-floppers. I agree Prop 1 is a compromise and that’s a start, but I’m not a fan of a compromise from those officials who can’t guarantee anything for us and can only suggest such short sighted “proposals”.

    I’d rather spend gigantic sums of money on ideals that would be actual progress than on a reality that likely will not pan out the way it’s advertised. Call it aiming high. Prop 1 doesn’t, in my opinion, satisfy enough of those ideals for me. Ideals that consist of actually fewer cars on the road, not more.

    And simply reading the pamphlet I got in the mail, and checking the Prop 1 website was enough to inspire fear, uncertainty, & doubt that the government is actually going to do what we want them to with our tax dollars. I don’t think sharing my thoughts is an act of treason.


  4. I wonder why you are voting at all, Dave, if public policy should be left to educated elites? I agree with you, we should do away with as much democratic process as possible. People who have said this in the past include fascists, dictators, and assholes in general.


  5. All I’m saying is that we elect politicians to lead us. Presumably, if they don’t lead in the manner we wish, then we don’t reelect them. This is the founding principal of the democratic republic in which we live. Last I checked, we do elect our leaders, have a political system which includes a rigorous set of checks and balances, and therefore should never live under dictatorship or fascism. On the flip-side, ruling by the popular majority, which is essentially how the initiative system works, can lead to tyranny:

    Tyranny of the majority

    Thank goodness we strive to elect educated leaders. All it takes is a little gander over at the Sound Off comments in the Seattle P-I related to any article about bicycling ( to realize that there are a bunch of uninformed morons amongst the voting masses.

    Do you think the average joe off the street really understands the implications on our economy, zoning, infrastructure needs, transportation budgets, etc. of Proposition 1. Do you yourself? Ideally, intelligent leaders that we elect should be making these tough decisions. Don’t like how they vote, don’t trust them… then don’t reelect them but don’t leave important and difficult decisions like this to the largely uninformed masses. I understand that the public has to approve new taxes, but I think this system is broken (which is partially attributable to the Tim Eyeman’s of the world.)

    And clearly I don’t deserve your backhanded asshole insult, get a grip man… it’s a cycling blog.


  6. I admit loads of idealistic thoughts and actions exist in my posts. I think they should be positive influences in my life, when they’re not realized, I have frustration in my life. I can have a lot of frustration in my life, if I’m not careful.

    That said, you’re either a some mindless republican that’s completely satisfied somehow with the way this current democratic republic is being run, or you’re more idealistic and starry-eyed than I am. Living by your ideals is a good thing I believe, I try to everyday. But when reality shows that the current democratic system is broken—and it sure feels like it is in more ways than tax approval—what are we supposed to do? Follow the herd? Be a mindless consumer? Trust everything suggested to us? I do not agree with some of the decisions being “proposed” in Prop 1, nor the BMP, so I am demonstrating my right to express that as such (I am thankful of that democratic right). I believe it is also my right to demonstrate my opinions to that “average joe” that just what the government is telling us might not be the whole truth—I don’t know the whole truth, but am questioning [their truth] in the hopes that others will too. The more questioning, the more accurate an explanation should be. (I am acutely aware of the flaws in this system; more idealism on my part, ergo more frustration.) Count me in as part of these uninformed masses, we all are, that’s the way it is supposed to be. Do we like it? I don’t; I’m asking the few people who check this site to maybe look at these things another way than it’s initial presentation.

    Ideally, we would actually have intelligent leaders that actually are elected, yes. But speaking locally, I don’t see the connection between not re-electing them and suddenly having that decision left in the lap of your so-called uninformed masses. But you’re not so wrong, you and I might agree, I’ve always thought some of these decisions could be made by more educated individuals in the specific decision’s area—not the hoi polloi and not elected mouthpieces. We also know that there exists something outside of that democracy: our many special interest groups and other manipulators of the public realm; they’re not exactly elected are they? Because of these wild cards, aren’t our “uniformed decisions” usually pre-empted and basically just a placation already? Perhaps our votes locally are just as flawed and “pre-determined” as they are nationally?

    And as far as being called an asshole, such is life, right? We can’t expect everyone here to be the friendliest and most positive people we know. Glad you check out the site and consider it among the copious cycling blogs out there.


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