Homeland Security, Monorail

Homeland Security

Slade Gorton, the sharp, shrewd, and rightward-moving Republican during his long U.S. Senate career, has emerged from the 9/11 Commission with a bipartisan glow. Speaking in an interview after a talk hosted by CityClub of Seattle last week, his first public appearance since the commission released its 567-page report, Gorton confided that his best friend on the commission was a Democrat: Jamie Gorelick, who served as assistant attorney general under President Clinton. "Somehow we seemed to think similarly," Gorton said. On the 10-member commission that he conceded was "picked in the most partisan fashion"—with onetime Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Vensite "probably the most partisan of the Democrats" and former Illinois Gov. James Thompson likely the most partisan of Republicans—Gorton said his meeting of the minds with Gorelick helped the commission come together. "When Jamie and I agreed, it tended to become the decision of the commission." In his talk, Gorton admitted to making two "misjudgments." One, he initially opposed public hearings. The more than a dozen ultimately held "put us on the map," he said. His second mistake was arguing that the report be released after the presidential election. As a result of the current timing, he said, George W. Bush and John Kerry have been battling over who can adopt the report's recommendations fastest. At the same time, Gorton ruminated after his talk, the recommendations, while grabbing attention now, "will have a short half-life." It's what he calls the report's "definitive" narrative of 9/11 and what led to it—the first nine of 13 chapters—that he thinks will be around in 50 or 100 years. The CityClub event had to be gratifying for Gorton, who lost his seat to Democrat Maria Cantwell in 2000. Now a lawyer with Preston Gates & Ellis, with a stiff gait serving as a reminder of his 76

years, the 18-year veteran of the Senate found his hometown public full of renewed appreciation. "Let me move off neutral ground to say that I hope the commission is reconstituted, and I hope you take part in it," said moderator and KING-TV news anchor Don Porter to enthusiastic applause. As he walked back to his office, seeming genuinely uplifted by his experience on the commission, Gorton said, "I'd be happy to." NINA SHAPIRO

Monorail

Public records show that wealthy Seattle developer Martin Selig has turned the grassroots Monorail Recall drive into his artificial turf. He infused the struggling campaign with close to $137,000 in cash and (mostly) in-kind contributions, helping hire signature gatherers to put an anti-monorail measure on the November ballot. But who is bankrolling the pro-monorail effort? You, if you own a car. The $1.6 billion Seattle Monorail Project, funded by a vehicle license tax, is spending thousands in public money from its $7.7 million advertising/promotion budget to battle the recall effort. It is spending thousands more on legal challenges to the recall petition, signed by more than 36,000 Seattleites, seeking to have their signatures invalidated by a court rather than letting the public decide if today's planned monorail, with less track and more bulk, is really the system they approved. At least Selig is putting his money where his mouth is. RICK ANDERSON

info@seattleweekly.com

 
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