In reluctantly accepting that the King County Ferry District won't be able to expand beyond the West Seattle and Vashon passenger runs for quite some time (if ever), County Councliman/Ferry District Chair/County Exec candidate Dow Constantine has had to deal with being kicked while he's down, both by political opponents and by the Times' Danny Westneat, who wrote over the weekend that Constantine strongarmed his colleagues into voting for the Ferry District's creation, allegedly saying that if they didn't support his ferries, he wouldn't support their flood protection funding.
Constantine denies this version of events. Nevertheless, moments ago he whipped out a political tourniquet of sorts, proposing to loan Ferry District money to the very Flood Control Zones he's said to have threatened to, um, drain."Given that the Ferry District work plan required the creation of significant reserve funds, this interfund loan would enable us to create more flood protection capacity sooner--and at no additional cost to taxpayers," says Constantine, whose campaign canvassed the downtown Argosy dock this morning, handing out a flier to disembarking Water Taxi passengers which touted his support for the vessel while highlighting his opponents' opposition. "I am working with Executive Kurt Triplett to create a scaled-down Ferry District work plan that maintains the two existing, successful ferry routes in West Seattle and Vashon, while shifting most of the district's tax authority to Metro Transit. My initial examination of the flood district proposal shows that such a loan could be made while retaining the ability of the ferry district to meet the business objectives for its two existing routes."
Twelve minutes after word of Constantine's proposal to shift funds broke, ferry opponent Ross Hunter's campaign released a missive criticizing his ethics in the alleged '07 horse trade. "There are ethical and moral boundaries that vote trading should not cross," Hunter said today. "Putting people's lives in danger by threatening to deny support for flood protection for the whole county in trade for a pet transportation project for a single district does not meet the smell test. Councilmembers Constantine and Phillips need explain their thought process to voters."