Penniless in Seattle
Seattle’s controversial Mayor, Greg Nickels, is facing ethics violations charges for illegally using city funds and a City Hall production crew to record a video promoting a multi-billion dollar tunnel project that the city doesn’t even need.
The costly project, up for a citywide vote this fall, would replace the Alaska Way Viaduct, will cost billions more than the available funding and close one of the city’s major arteries for years. The estimated cost is $4.5 billion and many consider it a tough sell from a mayor who has already made many bad deals.
Nickels, a two-term mayor, has made an array of senseless and costly deals since being elected. Additionally, he has spent over $3.2 billion in regular taxes collected from citizens yet he seeks new taxes to pay for the basic service of repairing the city’s roads and bridges.
A great example of a typical Nickels deal features the world’s richest man, Bill Gates. The good mayor sold a $70 million piece of the Seattle Center for $20 million for the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundatin. Free parking was tossed in to boot.
Nickels also backed a Fire Department Levy after promising that costs for new stations would be capped at around $167 million. So far, the costs have run over $230 million and counting. It gets better. The mayor’s transportation plan features a proposed $1.8 million for roadway improvement from the same taxing source that will fund the Fire Department levy.
Of all the bright ideas Nickel’s has come up with, the multi-billion dollar tunnel he is in trouble for promoting is probably the best. Sound Politics says the mayor’s tunnel boondoggle is an insane idea and City Comforts points out that there is not enough money for any tunnel, much less doing it right.