In case you hadn’t noticed, one of the more recognizable characteristics of our new president is he knows the difference between a time for talking and the time for action. Barack Obama’s rhetoric centers on the theme that he’s interested in “getting things done” instead of talking or getting stuck in ideologically based party politics and head banging.
Meanwhile locally no one pays attention or draws a parallel apparently. So involved are we in the local art form of ideological bullshitting and head banging known to all as the "Seattle process" you can't even jaywalk in this city without making it a federal case.
Politicians like Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata, and the House Speaker Frank Chopp in Olympia personified this trait and are the perennial champions whenever it comes to “milking the mouse” no matter what the issue or project.
Concerned citizens, stakeholders and bloggers who have caught this disease will seek out every opportunity to mini-manage, talk and pontificating about the finer points of any local civic projects ad nauseam. The desire to repeat and enjoy the experience of complete political constipation has become so much a part of community's digestive system that we are unable to pass any plan for replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct or, for that matter, any other local improvement project of any magnitude, no matter what number of jobs are created in the local economy.
But then eureka! A breakthrough, the Governor, Mayor of Seattle and County Executive, after many costly studies, boatloads of consutants and expert opinions, starts, stops and advisory ballot measures, seem to have come to an agreement to dig a tunnel to replace the crumbling and dangerous viaduct. The only obstacle remaining being the Legislature giving its approval of certain tax funding sources and potentially over coming yet another nuance ballot vote that may be generated by some misguided Magnolia and Ballard residents. Because it's really not about the money, except if your a wingnut like KIRO's Radio's Dori Monson.
All is forgivien and maybe government works after all.
But hold your horses people! They’re certain concerned citizens and politicos who think that not enough hairs have been split or lanes added or environmental concerns over global warming met or talked about yet and I need a group fucking hug here please people!
Even thought the tunnel option would keep the traffic flowing by leaving the viaduct open during construction, one of the major concerns of many citizens. Eventually remove the eye sore waterfront blocking evil and crumbling roadway. Open the waterfront to development of public spaces, promenades, bike paths, surface transit and yes, even businesses; still it is apparently not enough to satisfy the obstructionist, environmental eggheads and delayers. The environmental concerns about your personal carbon score while you drive through the proposed tunnel being raised by the likes of the do no wrong Sierra Club can certainly be addressed and be mitigated while the project is allowed to move forward. It should not be grounds to stop the project, at this point.
These people are bent on their pet visions, elitist ideas of the perfect solution or interested in maintaining political power by not getting things done. They cut off their nose to spite their face. Nothing gets done, time passes, things end up costing even more. Well the reasons for building a tunnel outweigh most objections to not building it, which I wrote about at length two years ago. Now many of the experts agree it seems.
Given the state of our economy, the money and jobs stimulated by the project, that also should be a prime consideration. These are union jobs folks. Estimates are that the ten year long tunnel related projects would begin in 2011 with the tunnel, which would be completed by 2015, followed by surface transit, the Spokane and Mercer Street projects. All in all the estimates are that together this activity would produce 10,000 jobs during the period of construction. That's a lot of sack lunches boys.
Think BIG bold and decisively like people in a REAL city should and let 's build the damn tunnel please!