Ben Schiendelman (above), the man behind the "Keep Seattle Moving" measure to save Metro, is a happy fellow right now.
"This is a good day," he says, "Last week it was 'we are not Hobbiton' so this is a welcome change."
Schiendelman is excited because this morning, Mayor Ed Murray officially announced a plan to save metro after last month's failed Prop. 1 county measure. The plan is essentially a Seattle-only reboot of the county-wide Prop. 1—it features a $60 car tab fee and .1% sales tax increase to raise $45 million per year to preserve Metro. The Mayor had danced around the issue since the initial failed measure, taking flak for criticisizing Keep Seattle Moving's proposed property tax solution, which was the first solution out of the gate.
On Friday, word leaked out that the Mayor would finally be proposing his own measure, which prompted Schiendelman to put down the clipboards and cease collecting signatures.
"We suspended our signature gathering because we knew then that we had totally won," Schiendelman says. "The mayor and council are now doing approximately what we needed them to do, and we certainly don’t want to have two measures on the ballot. Now that they’ve committed to put something on the ballot, the best thing we can do is work with them to make sure it's as progressive as possible."
Murray will be developing the measure over the summer in the hopes of landing it on the November ballot. In the meantime, Schiendelman is looking forward to the public process to further shape the measure.
"We've just shown that a fairly small amount of organization can have a fairly large imapact on what city government does," he says. "Progressives seem to have figured out all the sudden that they can use the same tactics as Tim Eyman, and it works for us too."