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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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September 13, 2005

Propaganda Watch: One


Propaganda Watch: The political mailers are coming in, and it’s time to have a look at the good, the bad and the ridiculous.

The Good: Robert Rosencrantz’s mailer. It has a theme: “For a fiscally fit Seattle.” It takes political positions that relate to the theme, namely:

Rebuild the Viaduct above ground.

Merge our transit agencies.

Build affordable homes to attract families with children back to our public schools.

On the Viaduct, his position is bold: forget the tunnel. There is a big quote: “If we opt for the most expensive solution for everything, pretty soon we won’t be able to afford anything.”

On transit, his statement is intelligent, though voters should note that it does not commit him to a specific project.

Fitting his position on housing into the “fiscally fit” mantra is a stretch, because it has to do with the fiscal fitness of the citizens, not government. But the price of housing is Rosencrantz’s strongest suit. He has been a housing provider in the private and public sectors, and understands them both.

The brochure also tells you a bit about who Rosencrantz is, and links the “fiscally fit” theme with his history of childhood disability. A good piece.

The Bad: King County Executive Ron Sims’s hit piece on opponent David Irons. It shows a picture of Irons holding up a Bush-Cheney sign and says, “David Irons is a George Bush-Dick Cheney conservative who wants to bring his right-wing agenda to King County government.” It makes Bush and Cheney sound like some kind of fringe candidates, out on the “wings” of American political discourse. They're not, at least on any matter that might relate to King County government. And certainly Irons is not at the right end of the political spectrum around here. Boo, hiss to this Sims smear.

The Ridiculous: Paige Miller’s ad for herself, with the picture of her on the waterfront streetcar and the caption, “One woman with courage makes mass transit.” In a box, in large italic type, it says, “With the increasing price of gasoline and our dependency on foreign oil, Paige Miller understands it’s more important than ever to develop effective mass transit.”

The small print does say that Miller is for light rail and monorail, and we can debate whether those things are “effective mass transit” or not. (I’m on the “or not” side.) But the photo of Miller is with the waterfront streetcar, probably because Miller proposed a way to save the streetcar during Viaduct construction. But the waterfront streetcar is not “effective mass transit.” Really it is not transit at all. It is a ride for tourists. That ought to be obvious, but somehow we’ve got to a point in this one-track “progressive” city at which anything that rides on rails is “transit.” Actually, the most effective transit around here is buses, but people don’t really like buses and most transit believers don't champion them.

Reply to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at September 13, 2005 11:53 AM



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