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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lynn Thompson Typifies Seattle Times Approach to Sound Transit

After my June 23rd “Candidate Evaluation Interview” I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to meet with Lynn Thompson, the Times Eastside reporter, for 30 minutes.   I assumed it was because the Times was interested in more details about my concerns with Sound Transit’s light rail I had discussed during the interview.

Boy, was I wrong!   She started out by saying the voters had approved East Link implying nothing I could say would change her favorable opinion about it.  I pointed out Sound Transit had lied to voters with claims East Link was the equivalent of 10 lanes of freeway when they had recently conceded it was the equivalent of one 74-seat light rail car every two minutes.  She didn’t care.

I had her read the following concerning the judges decision in the Freeman lawsuit that allowed Sound Transit to confiscate the I-90 Bridge center roadway for light rail.

“The court respectfully declines to review the administrative decisions of the State (WSDOT) regarding its determination the center lanes of I-90 in question will not be needed for highway purposes upon the completion of the R8A project and fulfillment of the Umbrella Agreement.” 

I then had her read the following from the “2004 I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations Project Record of Decision” the judge cited in making that finding:

Alternative R-8A will provide HOV lanes on the outer roadways.  It will retain the existing reversible operations on the center roadway

She didn’t care that the document the WSDOT told the judge proved they didn’t need the center roadway “for highway purposes” did nothing of the sort.

I had her read the following from the “Executive Summary, East Link Project Supplemental Draft” Sound Transit used to convince the FTA and FHWA that East Link would not violate Federal Environmental Law requiring any impact on Mercer Slough Park to be de minimus

Preferred Alternative B2M would not impact noise levels in the park.
Preferred Alternative B2M would not substantially affect park use, the park’s features, activities, and attributes, or diminish the park’s value.

She didn’t seem to recognize the “inconsistency” with Sound Transit decision to spend millions shielding homes some 300 feet away and across a major roadway from this non-existent light rail noise. 

I could go on with more examples of indifference that in the end was a major  “disappointment”.   To think that after 6 years of personal appeals to the BCC, 4 admittedly inept candidacies, more than 250 posts on this blog with more than 25,000 page views, my one chance to meet with someone who “could make a difference” wanted to end the interview after 15 minutes.  I guess I should not have been surprised since the editor, Kate Riley, and the other staff members I’ve contacted never showed any interest or quickly "lost" whatever interest they had.

Sooner or later someone is going to write a story about the Sound Transit light rail debacle.  It’s obviously not going to be Lynn Thompson.  Needless to say I doubt my candidacy will be viewed favorably by the Times or Lynn Thompson. 

What I do know is that in the end my concerns will be vindicated.  While the closure of the I-90 center roadway in 2017 may not “gridlock” the bridge outer roadways, it will certainly increase congestion.  The real “East Link debacle” will become evident to everyone in 2023 when ST attempts to force all transit riders to switch to and from light rail for their commutes into and out of Seattle.  The Seattle Times will bear a major responsibility for allowing that to happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment