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Samples of Letters We've Sent

Letter to King County Executive and Council

June 24, 2002

Metropolitan King County Council
King County Executive
516 Third Avenue, Room 1200
Seattle, Washington 98104

Re: Hearing of 6/24/02
Bus Tunnel/Sound Transit
Proposed Ordinance #0243

Dear Mr. Sims and King County Council Members:

Prior to the hearing, I am hand-delivering an original of this letter to each of you, with one to the clerk of the council for inclusion in the hearing record. I am respectfully requesting that you consider my comments in your deliberative process.

I urge you to vote "NO" on the proposal. I am alarmed over any proposed transfer, or use of, the bus tunnel, in whole or in part, to Sound Transit. I have had an office in downtown Seattle, since 1968, and thus, have had a daily opportunity to observe the traffic patterns, the bus service and the huge, positive impact that the bus tunnel has had on the efficient movement of buses and people in and out of the business district. Since it was built, the bus tunnel has been a great success in alleviating the congestion on Seattle streets. Now, Sound Transit has proposed that it be allowed to take over or share the tunnel, displacing hundreds of buses and thousands of riders, resulting in a giant step backward, with resultant mass congestion on downtown, Seattle streets. Such a proposal is unacceptable and should be rejected by you, because it would have a devastating effect on traffic and Metro bus service.

The bus tunnel is owned by Metro, a division of King County. It is presently, successfully accomplishing the purpose for which it was built; the movement of hundreds of buses and thousands of people, each day, into and out of, downtown Seattle, without congesting traffic on the surface streets of the business core. Shutting it down for any period of time for construction and reconfiguration to accommodate Sound Transit trains would be a disaster for business, shopping and transit of any kind through downtown Seattle. It would cost untold millions of dollars; cause untold displacement of riders, untold congestion on the streets, and very well, could cause businesses, such as ours, to leave the city. Our office employs people, who ride the bus to work from Everett, Shoreline and Renton. We have clients, who travel by bus, as well as automobile to our office. The closure or transfer of the bus tunnel would adversely affect all of us.

Any transfer or sharing of the bus tunnel with Sound Transit must take into consideration the history of poor and incompetent, shocking and shoddy, mismanagement of public funds and the public trust by Sound Transit. Sound Transit, either negligently or intentionally, has miscalculated cost, rider-ship, construction time tables, usage, service areas and many other factors, all in an effort to make itself appear better than it is in its performance and projected performance. I cannot think of one promise or projection concerning performance that has been fulfilled by Sound Transit over its many years of existence. Who among us would ever believe that Sound Transit could improve the movement of people, with less congestion by its management of the bus tunnel? Why would anyone consider damaging bus service through the bus tunnel by turning it over to Sound Transit? Who among us could rely on any representation of Sound Transit concerning its proposed use of the bus tunnel? I, for one, could not.

Procedural Defects In This Proceeding. Recusal of Sound Transit Board Members. I am respectfully requesting and demanding that the members of this Metropolitan King County Council and government, who are also members of the Sound Transit Board of Directors, recuse and disqualify themselves from any participation or vote on the issues presented. They must be disqualified, because of the inherent conflict of interest that they suffer under, by reason of their control of, and affiliation with, Sound Transit.

The spokespeople for Sound Transit, including its chairman, Mr. Ron Sims, have made it clear that the system proposed by Sound Transit will be built, even though it has changed vastly from what the voters approved; that Sound Transit and its board, will go forward, without re-study, reconsideration or re-submittal of their plans, budgets, audits or schedules. They have refused to allow the vastly altered Sound Transit proposal to be resubmitted to the voters. We can only assume that they speak for the Sound Transit Board of Directors.

I submit that they cannot, objectively and fairly, consider the interests of the citizens of King County and Metro, when they are so wedded to the "build it" attitude of Sound Transit and its board. Any participation in this vote of the King County Council by any Sound Transit Board member, would so taint the process, that it would not only be patently unfair, but would violate any appearance of fairness. Such a conflict of interest by these Sound Transit Board members requires that they recuse themselves and that their fellow Council members require them to do so, before any deliberation or vote is taken. I respectfully demand that all Sound Transit Board members, who are members of the Metropolitan King County Council or government, disqualify themselves from any future decision making, regarding legislation and King County dealings with Sound Transit.

Any decision or legislation to give away a valuable county asset, such as the bus tunnel, enacted by Council members, who have such a conflict of interest, and confusion of roles and loyalties, would be illegal, ultra vires and void.

Thanking you for your time and consideration, I am,

Very truly yours,

GRUTZ, SCOTT, KINNEY & FJELSTAD


JAMES A. GRUTZ

JAG:rg


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