About this blog

My name is Bill Hirt and I'm a candidate to be a Representative from the 48th district in the Washington State legislature. My candidacy stems from concern the legislature is not properly overseeing the WSDOT and Sound Transit East Link light rail program. I believe East Link will be a disaster for the entire eastside. ST will spend 5-6 billion on a transportation project that will increase, not decrease cross-lake congestion, violates federal environmental laws, devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, creates havoc in Bellevue's central business district, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate congestion on 1-90 and 405. The only winners with East Link are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.

This blog is an attempt to get more public awareness of these concerns. Many of the articles are from 3 years of failed efforts to persuade the Bellevue City Council, King County Council, east side legislators, media, and other organizations to stop this debacle. I have no illusions about being elected. My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this Web site. If they don't find them persuasive I know at least I tried.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Times Cont’d East Link Complicity New Low in Responsible Journalism

I finally had my “interview” with the Seattle Times.  It didn’t go well.  First a little background.  I initially filed as a candidate for two reasons.  The first was to use the Voters Pamphlet to attract voters to my “stop-east-link-now” blog.  The second was to get the chance to talk to the Seattle Times about East Link.  For three years they had ignored my emails and offers to meet in person to explain my concerns.  I had hoped to use the interview to present my 09/05 post and answer any questions.

The interviewers were simply not interested.  I had barely begun when they stopped me and asked what other issues besides “transportation” I was interested in.  (I thought it was a little like asking “Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln”.)   I talked very briefly about the health insurance reforms in my 8/12 post.    In response to their query concerning the recent Supreme Court decision requiring increased school funding I opined the legislature ask school districts to provide more details on where the 2/3rds of their budgets that doesn’t go to classroom teachers is spent. (also in 8/12 post).  I could tell they weren’t the least bit interested.

From then on it was one long discussion with Rep Hunter about the state budget problems.  They had a great time talking about public employee pensions, school funding, the teachers union, and the various legislative factions involved in prioritizing spending along with Rep. Hunter’s success in dealing with these issues.   

When there was about 15 minutes left I asked if I would be allowed to talk about my transportation concerns.  The response was they were interested in “other issues” but suggested I interject my opinions on these other issues.  Having none, I asked to be excused.  Needless to say I don’t expect their endorsement. 

The interview convinced me the Seattle Times is perfectly willing to go along with Sound Transits continuing with the current East Link program.   They could have stopped it years ago by exposing Sound Transits failure to consider a cross-lake BRT.  Their failure to do so has forced cross-lake commuters to endure years of increased congestion and allowed ST to waste hundreds of millions promoting a flawed light-rail system.  Money that could and should have been used to eliminate the need for 520 tolls.

Their continued lack of interest abets extending the current congestion problems and spending for another 4 years.  That’s when ST finally gets around to adding the 4th lane to the outer roadways, shutting down the center roadway forcing all traffic onto the outer roadways.  ST’s own studies predict the outer roadways won’t have the needed capacity.   ST will spend billions over the next seven-plus years devastating Bellevue to install light rail tracks and 5000-volt power lines for a light rail system that will have a miniscule effect on outer roadway congestion.  The inevitable result will surely be cross-lake gridlock.

My other posts have described Sound Transits actions as giving a whole new meaning to the word “Incompetent”.  The Time’s lack of interest in East Link represents a new low in responsible journalism.

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