Nickels is finally getting off the Sound Transit train.
Greg Nickels has sat through 378 Sound Transit Board meetings. At this afternoon's--his last--everyone seemed especially deferential.
They politely smiled when he declared--noting the passage of a Sound Transit 2 funding package by Puget Sound voters last year, the light rail ribbon-cutting this summer, and the airport link opening Dec. 19--"Mission Accomplished."
Perhaps it's only appropriate for the outgoing Mayor, who's worked in local politics since the tender age of 19 and was unceremoniously dumped by Seattle voters last August, to quote the much-maligned 43rd President of the United States.Their politics might be different, but they both know what it's like to have poll numbers in the toilet.
Presiding over the Sound Transit Board's final meeting of the year, Nickels quickly got through his opening "I'm gonna miss you guys" remarks and onto the business of deciding what options to consider for sending light rail to Bellevue.
But "Mission Accomplished" may be for Nickels, as it was for the President who made it famous, a bit off. Sound Transit 2 is supposed to send light rail into Snohomish County, Federal Way, and across the water to Bellevue, but it already has a projected $3.1 billion deficit over the next 15 years. This despite the fact that the package passed one year ago and is still in the planning stages.
And while most people the audience and the other board members made mention of Nickels' many years of dedicated service, one civil malcontent couldn't resist getting in another shot at the Mayor. Disbarred attorney and former legislator Will Knedlik of Kirkland accused Nickels and the Board of spending Sound Transit's first 15 years building "Taj Mahal" standard light rail stations in Seattle while the rest of the 'burbs get "plywood and Nickelsville standards."
It might be hard to sustain the "Seattle always wins" complaint given that the new Transit Board Chair is Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon (more on that, swoon, tomorrow), and much of today's meeting was devoted to looking at whether or not to consider a popular elevated train option for Bellevue.
Still, in politics, shit and complaints roll uphill. So you have to wonder if Nickels' won't be a little relieved come Jan. 1, when he turns the reins, the endless complaints, and any unaccomplished missions over to Mike McGinn.