Both Greg Nickels and the agency whose board he chairs, Sound Transit, released TV ads yesterday. Let's have a look:
If you're counting, the ad packs 11 endorsements, five conversations with ordinary Seattleites, two Seattle Times headlines, two skyline shots, the arrival of light rail, a handshake with Obama, and one notable opening admission of mistakes--a wise move when you're barely besting Dick Cheney in approval ratings--into 31 piano-accompanied, wide-angle-lens-shot seconds. The Nickels campaign--and city employees, Mike McGinn would say--got its money's worth.
As excited as I am about light rail--and I am very excited--I'm going to take slight issue with this 'Everybody Hurts' inspired spot. Mass transit, especially once it's up and running and popular, isn't a luxurious experience. It's not levitation and spacious cars and dreamy looks. It's an efficiently packed box in which you're able to read a book (it takes some skill when you're standing) or listen to your headphones while not having to find a parking spot, sit in traffic, or feel like you're doing more than your share to contribute to climate change. I guess the commercial got those last two parts right, and I suppose that until the south end sees some more density and the denser north end's line gets running, the trains might provide some room to stretch out after all.