UPDATE 2:27 PM:
Mallahan campaign spokesperson Charla Neuman said her camp’s position hasn’t changed following the McGinn conference. She said Joe Mallahan will continue to oppose the First Hill/Cap Hill streetcar. “He’s going to keep looking for wise investments. We can get more done with less dollars if we invest in bus routes,” Neuman said.
Neuman said McGinn’s bid to drag Mallahan into a fight on the streetcar issue is a desperate ploy to create a new campaign issue. “He says the streetcar is already paid for,” Neuman said. “He’s trying to politicize the issue. We don’t know what this is going to cost yet.”
“Joe knows that there are better ways to spend transportation dollars than on empty streetcars,” Neuman said. “He also knows that voters approved this. If the project ends up being more expensive or is not feasible, the city should renegotiate.”
“McGinn is very smooth at talking about and covering what he doesn’t know,” Neuman said. “He doesn”t have anything else to talk about other than the Viaduct. He’s a one issue candidate.”
UPDATE 12:30 PM:
In today’s conference in First Hill Park, McGinn said, “I believe that when the voters vote for something, and approve something, we should build it.” In an attempt to connect the streetcar issue with the planned Viaduct replacement tunnel, McGinn said that Mallahan supports an issue that “70% of voters disapprove of” yet does not support the street car with “70% voter approval.”
“It shows a difference in values and a difference in vision for the city of Seattle,” McGinn said.
More coverage can be found at CDNews.
A spat over a streetcar that will run from First Hill to Capitol Hill has caused one of the first punches to be thrown in the fall election phase of Seattle’s fight for mayor. Candidate Mike McGinn is holding a conference Tuesday morning in First Hill Park to show his support for the line and call on his opponent to drop opposition to the new streetcar route.
One issue with this first salvo: It’s not clear Joe Mallahan will punch back or that he even opposes the streetcar coming to Capitol Hill.
UPDATE 10:15 AM:
According to campaign spokesperon Charla Neuman, Mallahan’s opposition to the First Hill streetcar is based on his belief that streetcars are an inefficient use of taxpayer money. “And that’s just something we can’t have right now,” Neuman said. “This is about all streetcars.”
This weekend CHS noted a Seattle Times article that pointed out that both Seattle mayoral candidates oppose a streetcar extension along 1st Ave through downtown and Belltown. But the Times article reported that Capitol Hill’s streetcar plans, too, were being scrutinized by candidate Mallahan. Mallahan has not yet issued a statement clarifying his position.
The First Hill/Capitol Hill streetcar project is being paid for by Sound Transit as part of an agreement reached when the original plans for light rail in the area had to be scrapped. Area community groups are already busy advocating for where the line should be built with Boren, Broadway, 12th Ave and even a Broadway-12th Ave loop concept being considered by city planners.
CHS will be at the conference and is also working to get a statement from the Mallahan camp to clarify their position on the First Hill/Cap Hill streetcar line.