The Hypocrisy of Many Nikkita Oliver Supporters

It’s the stock in trade of many Democrats to blame non-voters for their losses in midterm elections. This is not an accurate description of what’s happening or why, and it’s a terrible strategy for trying to win elections or just treat other people with basic respect. You can’t shame and blame people into voting the way you want–ask Hillary Clinton. Moreover, this strategy ignores the myriad of real problems that lead people to abstain from voting, in which Democrats are often complicit. Research shows that the #1 reason people don’t vote is lack of time. But no matter how thoroughly and patiently you explain this and the political science behind it, Democratic voters and many politicians and “pundits” insist on ignoring real problems, blocking reforms, and blaming people who don’t vote in midterm elections. Because it’s easy and absolves them of responsibility.
Now Seattle has an open mayor’s race. There are 21 candidates on the primary ballot. Many of these same liberal/progressive people who insist on blaming non-voters are now flocking to Nikkita Oliver–a young black woman with an uncommon name who has failed to vote in 75% of the elections for which she was eligible. Not only have these same blamers fabricated intellectually amazing excuses for this, but some even accuse you of sexism, racism, or classism for pointing it out or questioning it. I have never missed an election since I turned 18 in 1994. I am not black or female, but I am poor and disabled, and I have moved a lot. You don’t have to have a perfect voting record, but you can’t fail to vote 3/4 of the time and expect to run a major city with no political experience. 
For her supporters, who seem less concerned with substance or policy than anything else, you can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to blame people for not voting, you can’t support a candidate who votes 25% of the time. And if you’re going to support the candidate with the worst voting record, you have absolutely no business ever blaming anyone for failing to vote.

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A Brief Relief?

I saw a doctor and got temporary psych med prescriptions. I’m waiting for them to be ready. That should bring some relief by tonight. This doctor wanted me to alter an existing appointment, I forget why, so I go back Friday to see the kind, understanding, pretty doctor (locum) again. My regular doc is back soon, so she’ll be gone. 

Today’s doc was naturopathic and suggested cranio-sacral therapy (?) for PTSD in Wallingford. I’ll look it up. She says they found a way to get Medicaid to cover it. She also wants to believe my toe numbness is due to high blood sugar, but I’m seeing diabetics online who have the same side effect from the med I take and say it goes away as soon as they switch meds, so I want to try an alternative. I’ll try to do the intake for longer term psychiatry tomorrow. 

A small present I got myself arrived, so hopefully I can get the broadcast TV channels well and watch Jeopardy regularly. 

I got an email blast from a temp agency I worked for years ago, seeking an executive assistant. They’re interviewing me Monday morning. I expect absolutely nothing out of this. They treated me pretty badly in 2012-13 after I did a great job for them in 2011. I mentioned the idea of unionizing temp workers, and they banned me from their Facebook page. It rubs me the wrong way that they’re even open on MLK Day, let alone having people interview then. 

I emailed a bunch of information to the community mental health ombudsman, and he claims interest in helping but won’t deal over email. I’ve emailed and left phone messages for Larry Gossett about a few things, but the man never answers. I’m ready to vote for someone who responds to constituents, rare as that is. 

So call this all cautiously relieved. Never count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

UPDATE: Two meds filled, one not ready until tomorrow.

Angle Lake Station a Near Total Waste of Money

Go visit the 1120 “free” parking spaces you’re subsidizing! They’re a top contributor to air and water pollution and cancel out the environmental benefits of rail. This station was expedited to placate Federal Way politicians upset that their extension got delayed due to the stupid “subarea equity” policy. This station won’t have 1/3 the daily riders of UW station, thanks to it being surrounded by parking instead of homes or jobs. That also means most of the investment in trains, tracks, and the station will be wasted because it won’t collect much in fares. It will also make it harder, and take longer, to run more 3-car trains. And it totally duplicates the existing A Line. This is what the vast majority of ST3 does.

Sound Transit: Vaccine Too Expensive; We’ll Take the Disease

Alignment (and Philosophical) Battle at Sound Transit Board Meeting (Publicola)

Futurewise​ and Mike O’Brien​ (Seattle’s best City Council member) are right. Sound Transit​ is poised to make yet another penny-wise, pound-foolish decision. If we want to create walkable communities where lots of people can live without cars (reducing their housing costs), we need TOD. If we want to run trains that are used heavily all day–not just at rush hour–we need TOD. If we want to conserve land and minimize air and water pollution, we need TOD. If we want transit to be cost-effective, so it needs smaller subsidies, lower taxes and fares, and/or expands the system more rapidly; we need TOD. If we get this wrong now, just to pander to suburban politicians and save $300 million (the 2008 Mass Transit Now package is $18 billion), it will be nearly impossible to fix for generations, and our capital AND operating investments will be mostly wasted. Just look at DC’s Orange Line in Fairfax County, Virginia (it runs in the median of I-66), among myriad other places that have made the same error.

Will we do what’s easy, or what’s right? I’m not holding my breath.

Like Futurewise, Seattle City Council and Sound Transit Board member Mike O’Brien looks at the issue in the long term. “We want to think holistically here. It would be shame to save a few dollars today at the cost of huge benefits decades from now,” said O’Brien. “What I see from public comment and places like community-based organizations and the Highline Community College is that they would all like to see it on SR-99. So there’s a disconnect between what I’m hearing from the constituents in the community and what I’m hearing from the elected officials who represent those constituents,” O’Brien added.

Mayor Tory: Tear Down This Waterfront Highway!

Why Toronto Should Tear Down Its Urban Expressway (Citylab)

Tearing down the Gardiner Highway in Toronto is even more of a slam dunk decision than tearing down the Viaduct in Seattle. They don’t have a major port like we do, they have one citywide grid instead of two competing ones, their downtown isn’t tightly hemmed in by another highway on its exterior like I-5 did to us, and they only have water on one side instead of two so they lack our very constricted geographic “waist”. But in 1995 the Conservative Ontario government forced Toronto and its suburbs to “amalgamate” into one huge municipality, so city decisions are now dominated by what are really suburbs. Thus we lost this vote 24-21. Suburbs don’t make good urban policy. We see this with Sound Transit as well (good transit decisions require transit users to be making them. The silver lining is that these merged cities tend to get more urban and progressive over time. See Indianapolis, which has been building great bike infrastructure and whose Republican mayor spoke out recently for marriage equality.

In 1971, then-Mayor Richard Lugar (R) spearheaded Unigov, which merged the old City of Indianapolis with Marion County and most other municipalities in the county. For 30 years, it always had GOP mayors and council majorities, but now it’s more competitive and has had both a Democratic mayor, Bart Peterson, and Democratic majorities on the City-County Council on and off. Similarly, my other hometown of Columbus, Ohio has shifted from red to blue (at all levels, really), though both very sadly continue to be among the nation’s biggest metro areas (by 2020, Franklin County will be Ohio’s biggest–surpassing Cleveland and Cincinnati) without heavy rail, light rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), or even streetcars. Both redeveloped their old Union Station sites with no transit and in ways that make it very hard to return them to rail uses. Even worse for the environment, both rely heavily on coal for their electricity. (Former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, now running for US Senate, always promoted coal; he represented the Appalachian coal region of Ohio in his 12 years as a congressman) Ironically, both cities grew up largely as major rail hubs. Statewide, Ohio ranks 7th in population but 4th in miles of railroad. Columbus, and probably Indy too, have a lot of unused or underused rail right of way that could pretty easily and cheaply be modernized for use as 21st century urban transit. Some mid-sized Midwest cities like St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul have built decent light rail networks (even Detroit is finally building its first line, while Kansas City tries a dubious streetcar), but the political will just still doesn’t seem to exist in Indy or Cbus. It makes me sad. There are a few reasons why I couldn’t live in my hometown(s) anymore, but the first is that you really can’t do so without a car, and I refuse to own one.