Tomorrow, the Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the possibility of a city-wide ballot measure that would increase license fees and sales tax in order to stave off King County Metro’s bus service cuts. As an added bonus, the Seattle Transit Union plans to host a “Fund Metro NOW!” rally prior to the start of the hearing.
Seattle City Councilmembers can expect activists from Transportation Choices Coalition—a group of liberal activists—to make a strong showing. Although, it appears Seattle’s councilmembers do not have to be told to expect the presence of said liberal activists. In an email obtained by SHIFT, a top Transportation Choices employee wrote to activist organizers and union leaders, “Councilmember Rasmussen requested that the coalition do what we can to turn out people next Thursday night to support saving transit in Seattle…” Looks like we know how Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will vote on the proposal.
Transportation Choices have pushed supporters to attend both the public hearing and the rally via emails, Facebook and Twitter. They ask supporters to help them demand the city council “follows through to save our buses.” Emails go on to explain that—without the support of activists—Metro may proceed with “planned service cuts” that would be “devastating.”
Which bring us to one oh-so-pressing question:
You see, what Transportation Choices truly seeks is not a sustainable, cost-effective transit system but one that best serves unions. By urging King County Executive Dow Constantine to veto Dembowski’s proposal (which passed the King County Council in a 5-4 vote), Transportation Choices revealed their true intentions. They would prefer to see more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money pumped into a broken transit agency than see the implementation of needed reforms that would work to benefit transit riders, but against the pocket-book of unions. Supporting Dembowski’s plan would have upset a top union leader—that’s the last thing Transportation Choices wants to do.
Transportation Choices’ claims that they are for “long-term” solutions for Metro and Dembowski’s proposal was “short-sighted.” This is false. Dembowski’s proposal would have initiated an in-depth audit of Metro to establish a guidelines for future reforms. His proposal would have used Metro’s “unforeseen” wind-fall revenue to prevent “devastating”—and unnecessary—bus service cuts county-wide. Of course, for Transportation Choices, responsible reforms do not present a “long-term” solution—but throwing more taxpayer dollars at a clearly failing transit agency does.
Pictured: Transportation Choices Executive Director Rod Johnson with Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson (left)