The Seattle City Council was all set for a hastily arranged meeting today in which a vote would be held that could have killed a public vote on whether to build the proposed deep-bore tunnel under the city. That was, however, until council President Richard Conlin walked in "in a T-shirt" and cancelled the meeting in an even hastier fashion than it had been arranged.
City council member Mike O'Brien, the council's only tunnel opponent, says he and his staff "were literally just finalizing what we were going to talk about and three minutes before the meeting, Conlin walked in in a T-shirt and said it was canceled." Yesterday, O'Brien objected to Conlin's proposal to hold a separate council meeting just to vote on the resolution, arguing that the last-minute meeting violated the spirit of public process.
As it stands (and despite Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes' lawsuit that claims the contrary), the public has the right to hold a vote on whether or not to build the tunnel. That opinion was handed down by King County Superior Court Judge Laura Gene Middaugh last week in what's been pegged as a major win for tunnel opponents.
Tunnel opponents, however (Mayor McGinn and Mike O'Brien notwithstanding), are grossly outnumbered by supporters on the council, and the meeting itself would have been a tidy bit of procedural wizardry that would have let the councilmembers overrule a public vote by holding their own vote.
Of course that was before Conlin thought better of the idea.
Now the council is apparently satisfied to argue their points through legal briefs that will be filed today.
Bottom line: It still looks as though the public will get the chance to vote on the tunnel--unless of course the council finds perhaps subtler ways of circumventing that process.