Washington transit system: Our roads got a grade of D , light rail reduced and now our bridges


Dear Washingtonians

Below is a snippet of an article and petition you should sign from the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club. I put it in a separate post.

Senator Curtis King, Co-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, is promoting a new transportation funding proposal that will set us back
decades. This new budget proposal fails to fund over $900 million worth of projects that are necessary to operate our transit system, provide
street improvements for bikes and pedestrians, and address polluted water runoff associated with roads.

Our bridges are literally crumbling around us. Workers can’t get to jobs because their bus service has been cut. The new road “mega-projects”
being considered in the transportation funding proposal would dramatically increase climate changing pollution and increase sprawl.
The Senate transportation funding proposal is simply unacceptable.

The reason I attached it to my old write up from 2012 is because Washingtonians need to ask … what did our savings of $2 million with the elimination of the “Free Zone” do for our transportation when our bus services are still being cut !!!

TO: Seattle City Council

I wrote about The “ride free zone” ending way before the September 29th deadline hoping they would rescind the order to end it. Today, the local media showed and interviewed the people who have suffered from the new change and not in a good way. The thing that struck me most aside from the obvious was the comment about “a one time set-aside for bus tickets,” of $250,000 in emergency money for homeless people to ride Metro.

Below is a video and article that is heartbreaking

Homeless hopes public helps with discounted Metro bus tickets … click on the link below for the video and article !


It was a nice surprise to hear that people are still protesting the elimination of the “Ride Free Zone”  giving full exposure to the real reasons why the Seattle King Council voted to eliminate the “Ride Free Zone.”  Yes, we all know about that 2million dollar savings but the mission to make the downtown and the transit look and smell beautiful by leaving the homeless, disabled and those needing services out in the cold, which btw are all located on or near the “Ride Free Zone.”

In 2011, king county hit its residents with a two-year vehicle license fee that was supposed to help keep metro alive. Now, Metro Bus Riders find out that a deal done with Republicans will eliminate the “Ride Free Zone,” a Merchant straight away and beautiful feature of the City of Seattle – free for over 35 years.

The facts are; that more than 10 million boarding’s are logged each year inside the Ride Free Area; another 9,000 rides are taken each day without fare. There are reports that without the compromise reductions in Metro would have affected 80% of all bus riders including the poor. Unfortunately, balancing budgets off the backs of the middle and poor has been a Republican mission since 2010. It is with great sadness to think and or believe all that King County Officials seemed to have forgotten or sacrificed for that 2 million “Ride Free Zone” cost savings per year. This includes tourists, people commuting home from across the water, downtown workers accustomed to hopping on the bus to grab a quick bite, or get some dry cleaning, pop into a store all within an hour and low-income folks who, if you ride in the zone now; know they use it to get around daily.

King County Officials say the “Ride Free Zone” will end after Sept. 29; tell them that making deals with Republicans to phase out an urban mainstay for so many, is bad for Seattle.

If, this new mega-projects monstrosity is real yet will create an environment for more pollution and increase sprawl …

We must say NO

challenge who was in charge of spending

demand accountability


What grade would you give your roads?

Washington’s roads, transit rate a D+, engineers say

Posted by

Washington state road and transit systems deserves a D+ grade, and overall infrastructure a C, says a report issued Tuesday by the Seattle chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.The good news is that “Washington state has got a very good track record in safety, in both road and transit systems,” said Shane Binder, one of 15 co-authors. The state’s goal of zero road deaths by 2030 is attainable, he said.  Road deaths declined from 633 in 2006 to 424 in 2011, a 28 percent drop, federal statistics show.But the ASCE scored the state low because of its tenuous funding systems.  Pierce Transit and Community Transit have cut service, while King County Metro begs for new taxing authority to replace expiring sources and to grow with demand. On the other hand, Sound Transit is moving forward with most of its $18 billion expansion, including three rail lines, which voters approved in 2008.

Laura Ruppert, co-chair of the report-card committee, called the C score mediocre.

The group said Washington state highways are average, but city and rural streets are worse and drag the score down.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is considering a gas-tax hike of up to 10 cents a gallon along with other fees to fuel an $8.4 billion program — mostly highway expansions. Only $900 million is earmarked for maintenance and preservation. The plan has been blasted by retired WashDOT Secretary Doug MacDonald. Among other problems, it puts off a full redecking of Interstate 5 to some future round of tolls or taxes.

The Seattle ASCE’s report suggests gas taxes that keep pace with inflation, along with public-private partnerships that might save money. But the group wouldn’t judge OIympia’s 2013 package, when asked Tuesday. “We’d like to see a good balance between maintenance of projects, and new projects,” said Larry Costich, legislative correspondent for Seattle ASCE.

Washington’s scores by category were: aviation C, bridges C-, dams B, drinking water C-, rail C-, roads D+, schools C, hazardous waste C, and transit D+.

Seattle ACSE issued the report to mark its 100th anniversary. In March, the national ASCE declared U.S. infrastructure a D+ and in need of $3.6 trillion investment by 2020, to help the U.S. economy stay competitive.

Prevent Metro Transit cuts

Again, my point to posting this is because Seattleites are being asked to help stop Metro Cuts again.  I just don’t understand where the $$ went with all the changes cuts that were made since this petition (2011)? Now, an increase of approximately $60 on our Washington State tabs to help roads  and infrastructure etc. is being requested. I normally am not this vocal because I support any infrastructure work, but after all that has transpired, tax payers need more information re: any savings from eliminating the ride-free zone  and why we are being asked to contribute more.

Below is an email from Seattle MoveOn member Julia Deak Sandler, who created a petition at SignOn.org that is getting a lot of attention and may be of interest to people in your area. If you have concerns or feedback about this petition, http://civic.moveon.org/signon_feedback/?id=28841-17809870-3sqpZSx&t=1  – The petition no longer exists but the attempt to help was made and the charge on tabs went from 20 to $60

Dear King County MoveOn member,

Due to declines in tax revenues, King County Metro will have to cut public transit services by 17% unless the King CountyCouncil votes to implement a two-year $20 congestion reduction charge on vehicle licenses.

The right choice is clear—ask drivers to pay less than the cost of a tank of gas so that public transit can continue to serve those who rely on it to get to work, serve those with limited mobility, and allow us all to lower pollution and traffic congestion.

So I created a petition to the King County Council on SignOn.org that says:

“We value King County Metro service and do not want to see it cut. Please use the $20 congestion charge option to keep services running and keep King County green.”

Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:



–Julia Deak Sandler

The text above was written by Julia Deak Sandler, not by MoveOn staff, and MoveOn is not responsible for the content. This email was sent through MoveOn’s secure system, and your information has been kept private.

the other Washington … in the news Jan 2014

PDF of today's Seattle Times front page

Wall Street plans on:”SocialInvestments” to reduce inmates-pilot prog2016 like Rikers-Goldman Sachs…written by Austin Jenkins

Boeing raked in $1.23billion

State ‘Dream Act’ set to pass after Republicans’ about-face



Starbucks – Recall for coffee presses

Guest: Providing for the health of urban American Indians 

WA State Senate: It looks like Washington’s Democratic Party, which has said it would mount a challenge to Rodney Tom—the Democratic senator who cast his lot in with the Republicans this session to give them the majority, in exchange for becoming majority leader—are seriously following through. The buzz is that Joan McBride, the former mayor of Kirkland (pop. 49,000, though only part of that is in LD-48),

will announce a run this week.

That’s only part of the battle, though. Given Washington’s top-two primary format, a solid GOP opponent may also be necessary, in order to block Tom from surviving the primary. Even though Tom’s 48th District went 62 percent for Obama in 2012, a McBride vs. Tom general election runs the risk of being a reprise of CT-Sen ’06, if Tom can vacuum up all of the district’s Republican votes, plus enough centrist Dem and indie votes to win. (David Jarman) dailykos.com

State Will Need to Find $2.4B to Ease Salmon Barriers | Public Data Ferret

Japanese Woman Dies after Heavy-Set Police Officer Sits on Her

Mariners, MLB will start using metal detectors | NW Briefs

There have been many reactions to Governor Jay Inslee’s call this week to increase the state minimum wage. Some skeptics believe that raising the minimum wage will cause low-wage jobs to be lost. However, Arindrajit Dube, a University of Massachusetts economist and a leading researcher on minimum wage, shares his findings on the effects of raising minimum wage. Dube and fellow economists, T. William Lester and Michael Reich, looked at minimum wage differentials in bordering jurisdictions over a period of two decades. Their conclusion, Dube says: “There is very little evidence of job loss.”

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Invested Millions in Scandal-Plagued Private Prisons, Defense Contractor

Pension proposal draws fire

Bill would move some state workers to 401(k)-style plans

 Boeing to pay $320M Machinists this month

Boeing puts all pensions at risk | Danny Westneat


Judge:   SeaTac’s $15 wage floor    can’t include airport workers

 Make sure your Youth Athlete gets a Complete Check UP

Judge gives go-ahead for charter schools, but raises funding question

A disturbing look at where, how people die in King County

Settlement Agreement Implementation

A day after lawsuit, railroads to offer same-sex benefits  In a reversal, the nation’s largest freight rail carriers announced they will provide health benefits to employees’ same-sex spouses. But the announcement will not stop a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Seattle.

Judge: Skagit County towns shortchange poor defendants


U of WA to screen applicants for criminal records

University of Washington Officials and Admissions Department: Do not include criminal history record screenings on college applications

Quick Overview

Petition by

Huskies For Fairness

We oppose the idea of adding criminal background questions to the undergraduate admissions process, because:

Research shows criminal background checks do not reduce crime or make university campuses safer; in fact, college campuses are far safer than the general community.

Research demonstrates education is strongly correlated with a decrease in criminal activity and reduced recidivism (46% less likely to re-offend).

Excluding students with a criminal history from participating in postsecondary education not only increases chances of recidivism, but has serious implications for racial equity.

People of color have historically been and continue to be arrested, detained, and charged at significantly higher rates than the rest of the population, due to unjust policies and an inequitable/unfair criminal justice system. This policy would target and further marginalize applicants from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and students of color.

This policy would further increase institutional racism. Institutional racism occurs where an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that, although it appears neutral, has a disproportionately negative impact on members of a racial or ethnic minority group (Randall, 2006).


Huskies for Fairness is a group of University of Washington (UW) students, faculty, staff and community members opposing the idea of adding criminal background questions to the undergraduate admissions process. The proposed policy by UW officials would potentially disqualify students with criminal histories of violent crimes or sex offenses from admission into UW, but the policy could also result in exclusion for ANY past criminal offense. While much discourse surrounding universal background checks for students aims to promote safety on campus,we know the impact of such policies does little to decrease violence on campus. Instead, this policy would further increase the number of obstacles preventing students of color, low-income, formerly incarcerated, immigrant, refugee, and nontraditional students from accessing a college education.

Education should be available to everyone so they may bring their creativity, innovation, talents, experience and authentic selves to the classroom and learning environment. Punitive and oppressive policies disproportionately targeting certain groups of students exclude valuable voices necessary for building a socially just and equitable campus. Huskies for Fairness urges you to support a truly SAFE campus by supporting actions that work toward ending racial disparities in our education system, and allow each of us to thrive and participate in our communities.

The facts about campus safety and recidivism

Proponents of this policy assume inquiry into university applicants’ criminal histories will “weed out” prospective students with criminal backgrounds and ultimately reduce criminal activity on campus; this is an unsupported and unjustified association. Research indicates these procedures do little to prevent campus crime (Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice, 2010). The only study that has investigated the direct correlation between criminal history screening of university applicants and incidences of campus crime found no statistically significant correlation (Olszewska, 2007).

On the contrary, research indicates university campuses are remarkably safer places compared to the greater community (Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice, 2010). The U.S. Department of Education (2001) reports, “students on the campuses of post-secondary institutions [are] significantly safer than the nation as a whole,” and “college students are 200 times less likely to be the victim of a homicide than their non-student counterparts” (p. 5). The few crimes that do occur are mostly perpetuated by off-campus strangers, most notably instances of rape and sexual assault which show no statistical differences between college students and non-students (Hart 2003; Baum & Klaus 2005). The WA state Department of Corrections conducted the Government Management, Accountability and Performance (GMAP) study , which showed 92% of the 3,570 sex offenders studied between July and December of 2005, committed no offenses after leaving prison for the community. Of the 289 who did re-offend, only eight committed sex offenses (GMAP, 2005).

Research also indicates education is strongly correlated with a decrease in criminal activity and reduced recidivism. As the Wesleyan Center For Prison Education (2011) indicates, “a comprehensive analysis of fourteen different studies, completed by the Institute for Higher Education Policy on behalf of the Department of Justice, revealed that prisoners who merely participated in postsecondary education while in prison were 46% less likely to recidivate than members of the general prison population.”

As criminal activity is shown to decrease with access to education, and safety to remain largely unaffected, requiring background checks for university admission undoubtedly raises concerns about racial equity and opportunities for higher education. Implementing this policy will likely hinder those with minor criminal records from applying to UW, regardless of how long ago a criminal incident occurred or its severity (Halperin & Garcia, 2011). In addition, requiring background checks may ultimately deprive students with a criminal records from admittance into UW. This barrier from participation in postsecondary education not only increases chances of recidivism, but has serious implications for racial equity.

Racial inequities in the criminal justice system

By excluding students with a criminal record from our campus community and learning environment, students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are further subjected to the inherent discrimination imposed on them by the criminal justice system. People of color have historically been and continue to be arrested, detained, and charged at significantly higher rates than the rest of the population. In this striking reality, African Americans make up 15% of the youth population and account for 26% of the youth arrested – but of those arrested, African Americans make up 44% of those detained, 46% of those judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of youth in prison (Halperin & Garcia, 2011).

The likelihood of incurring a criminal charge when encountering law enforcement is largely a function of race, socioeconomic status, and location, resulting in people of color and members of disadvantaged groups being more likely to have a criminal record. This is not because these individuals are more likely to have committed a crime, but because they are more likely to be targets of unjust policies and victims of an inequitable criminal justice system (Alexander, 2010; Garcia & Halperin, 2011).

Why say NO to this policy? Disproportional disciplinary actions in the classroom and in the criminal justice system sustain racial disparities in education.

The increased racial disproportionalities in UW enrollment we can expect to see as a result of this policy, will further compound an existing lack of racial equity in our education system. Both the education and criminal justice system enact discipline while using a racial lens of prejudice — by which a student’s racial background significantly alters the severity of  the disciplinary action.“The problem [of racism] is deep and pervasive. Suspension rates for black students are three times higher than rates for white students, from elementary to high school. One-fourth of black middle-schoolers have received short-term suspensions every year since 1996” (Nelson & Nguyen, 2013, p.1). While disciplinary recourse surges ahead for students of color, reading levels and high school graduation rates show they are falling behind.

Sign this petition and PLEASE, keep the conversation going.

Although this proposed policy may appear neutral, it would have a disproportionately negative impact on members of racial/ethnic minority groups and would thus contribute to institutional racism. Institutional racism is difficult to eliminate because it is so insidious and hidden from those who do not constantly struggle against oppressive and inequitable policies and practices. “Those of us who are white often don’t realize the unintended privileges we receive. We often get the ‘benefit of the doubt,’ or the trust and confidence of people who do not yet know us, or other benefits that are invisible to us as white folks” (Racial Equity in Seattle 2012-2014 Report, p. 2). Institutional racism occurs where “an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that, although it appears neutral, has a disproportionately negative impact on members of a racial or ethnic minority group” (Randall, 2006).

A multitude of barriers already exist to obstruct students of color on the pathway to educational success. This additional obstacle to attaining higher education must be stopped. We urge you to not only sign this petition, but continue this critical conversation with your peers, friends, classmates, professors, and administrators in the classroom and beyond the university community.


Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: New Press.

Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice. (2010). The use of criminal history records in college admissions:Reconsidered. Retrieved from: http://www.communityalternatives.org/pdf/Reconsidered-criminal-hist-recs-in-college-admissions.pdf

Erisman and Contardo, (March, 2005). Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50 state Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy. Washington, DC: The Institute for Higher Education Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.wesleyan.edu/cpe/documents/CPEFactSheet2011.pdf

Garcia, G., & Halperin, E., (2011). Criminal Background Checks Upon Acceptance to Medical School: The Wrong Policy at the Wrong Time. Academic Medicine, 86(7) 808 doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31821e4176

Gunawan, Imana. (February 7, 2013). UW considers adding criminal background question to undergraduate application. The Daily of the University of Washington/ since 1891.

Nelson, J., & Nguyen, M., (April 4, 2013). Guest: Addressing racial disparity in Seattle school discipline. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from:http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2020712915_julienelsonmichaelnguyenopedxml.html

Olszewska, M. J. (2007). Undergraduate admission application as a campus crime mitigation Measure: Disclosure of applicants’ disciplinary background information and its relationship to campus crime. Unpublished Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education, East Carolina University.

Race and Social Justice Initiative. (2012). Racial Equity in Seattle 2012-2014 Report. Retrieved from:http://www.seattle.gov/rsji/docs/RacialEquityinSeattleReport2012-14.pdf