March 19, 2004
Shoreline City Councilmember and transit watchdog Maggie Fimia has an op-ed in yesterday's Tacoma News Tribune about the multi-billion dollar Sound Transit light-rail scandal: Sound Transit's bait and switch will do long-term harm
State legislators clearly wrote the rules governing Sound Transit. They now must rein it in and hold it accountable by sending this nonapproved project back to the voters. They should also consider changing this agency from an appointed body to a directly elected one.
As I mentioned the other day, House Transportation Committee chair Ed Murray
promised legislation to make Sound Transit's board elected, but then killed the bill in his own committee. Ed Murray seems to have a habit of voting against his promises, so I think the only way we're going to get an accountable Sound Transit is to excrete Murray out of the legislature and/or get a Republican majority in the House.
Hank Bradley e-mails his suggestion to also dethrone the state Supreme Court justices who ruled that it was okay for Sound Transit to pull a fast one on the voters:
Even worse, the Washington Supreme Court in siding with the ST Board has made suckers of the voters all over again. Perhaps this was predictable, since it was the same Court which enabled many of the same officials to force taxpayer financing of the Mariner Stadium by declaring a specious 'public emergency'. However, those two decisions by the Court are the opposite of dispensing justice. The impeachment of all six Justices who supported Sound Transit in this latest case is certainly warranted, whether according to statute or not.
The only one of the six justices who is up for re-election this year is Barbara Madsen
. (Faith Ireland
's seat is also up this year, but she has indicated she will step down
). Electing suitable replacements for Madsen and Ireland, while also re-electing Justice Richard Sanders
, who dissented in this case, should at least give the court a responsible majority next year.
The other justices who should be voted off the court are, in 2006: Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander and Susan Owens; and in 2008: Bobbe Bridge and Mary Fairhurst.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at March 19, 2004 02:07 PM
So, pretty much everybody on the Washington state Supreme Court should be thrown out, right?
Sounds good to me.
Yes, even Sanders. The only reason he is viewed in a half-reasonable light is because of who else is on the bench. Go back and look at his positions before he was elected. Calling him a maverick is akin to calling Sen. Pam Roach unstable.
There's not an honest conservative on that court, and hasn't been for some time.
I digress, but for Stephan's benefit (since he's a WA newbie) the ONLY reason Susan Owens is even on the Supreme Court is that she's of the 'proper gender.' She was an absolute no-name district Judge from Clallam County (Port Angeles) in 2000 against Jeff Sullivan, a highly regarded Yakima attorney who had received the endorsement of every major paper and organization in the state (even the PI!). She managed to win only 5 counties (King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap and Clallam), but that's enough in this state. It's also a big reason why Maria Cantwell is our Jr. Senator. I won't believe a male candidate beats a female candidate in this state until I see it proven otherwise. Unfortunately, that means we may be blessed with Osama Patty as senator again :-(
The Supreme Court justices split 6-3 in favor of allowing that nasty Resolution 75 to tip the decision in favor of the Board who hid it and against the voters who never saw it. It is those six who should vacate their seats.
Why? Here's an analogy: a manufacturer advertises a product to the public, and based on the ad sells mountains of product. Oh, down at the bottom of the ad in the fine print is a reference to a study available elsewhere, whose own fine print discloses that the ad is just a conceptual draft, and the product might not work exactly that way.
In liberal Washington, a manufacturer who tried to pull that would be held fully liable by every Court system in the State, for actual and punitive damages, to anyone whose ad-raised fantasies were not realized.
But liberal Washington is in many ways antidemocratic. It imposed the costs of the Mariner stadium on unwilling taxpayers by connivance of greedy team owners, elected officials and the corrupt Supreme Court. The Legislature enacted, with little notice and less debate, a Growth Management Act which embodied the principles of an Initiative (527 I remember?) that the voters had recently defeated by a large majority. If that wasn't antidemocratic enough, the Act provides for appointed State-level Boards empowered to overturn land use regulations devised by elected governing bodies closer to the local citizens most affected by them.
So liberal Washington is infected by the dubious principle that our oh-so-enlightened leaders have license to rule us, 'for our own good' no doubt, instead of acting as our representatives. And if the Supreme Court is willing to distort the State Constitution in favor of these antidemocratic rulers (yes, they should be voted out as well), its corruption needs to be loudly exposed and its conniving Justices replaced with new ones with respect for misled voters and for the original Constitution.
I'll ask again - what was the right decision wrt public projects that overrun?
There seem to be two alternatives:
(1) Stop at the allocated limit, which means delivering less than promised.
(2) Spend more than the allocated limit to deliver what was promised.
Note that coming in as promised and on budget is not something that a court can decide.
Note that throwing the promising officials out of office and maybe into jail is an option no matter what. I've been thinking that every public works project should have a prominent plaque listing the promised made and the reality delivered, together with the names of folks who made the promises.
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Let's not forget those politicians that have practically made a career out of backing Sound Transit. I'm thinking of Ron Sims. I hope his unwavering support comes back to bite him. The article you cite here was great. The Sound Transit light rail fiasco does make me feel disenfranchised, so much so that I am tempted to vote for unwise initiatives as long as they cut off funds for the light rail farce. This whole thing reminds me of WPPSS blunder in the 80's. I suspect a lot of money has changed hands somewhere, just as it did in the WPPSS debacle.