May 21, 2024 9:14 pm

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Letter-to-Editor: Who do you think you want to be Sound Transit?

I am really upset at the Sound Transit I cheer on right now.

Why?  Let’s start with I’m an open government guy so gotta ask: How dare Sound Transit think in all your wisdom to create a public document and then try to deem it “Board Only”?

Quoting a The Urbanist tweet reluctantly: “Sound Transit took down the link to the presentation showing detailed guideway and station alternatives. The agency says this information was supposed to be for the board only.”

We’ve published it here for the public:

We being… The Urbanist.  A small, passionate news outlet well known for equally hot takes and proposing bold, cunning new ideas to improve our cities.

I’m hurt that some think multiple cities’ council members should not know about any property condemnation proposed for their city.  I, for one, do NOT want to have to explain to the likes of a dear friend after our championship work on 2022’s ESHB 1329 how I let her former staffer on the Everett City Council get caught unawares by something that will fundamentally change Everett.  If the shoe was on the other foot, a word comes to mind: Unconscionable.

Ranks up there with the ORCA Joint Board having social media staffers insert ORCA’s brand into the whole Trump classified documents thing without apologizing.  This misbehavior is totally beneath the Sound Transit I know and admire.

Then there’s celebrating a “free” parking garage.  Instead of housing for the disability community, so disabled folks can use fixed-route transit and light rail instead of highly expensive paratransit.  According to Community Transit’s 2021 National Transit Database submission, that’s $90.82 per unlinked passenger trip or $9.31 per passenger mile.  Better to just build housing not “free” parking close to transit at that rate.

Then there’s Sound Transit Board Members chairing meetings [allegedly] appeasing Alex Tsimerman hate speech that I find sickening nonsense.  Creates the impression the Sound Transit Board has no or very low standards – and yes, appeasing Tsimerman is a barometer of the leadership of a board.

So I’m asking… Just who do you think you want to be, Sound Transit?

Sound Transit, you’re supposed to be the role model in the room.  The dream job.  The best of the best.  The cream de la cream.  People should be cheering you on and attempting to emulate you.

Sadly you’re setting examples left and right of what NOT to do right now.  Give your heads a shake and yourselves an organizational gut check.

I can’t be your mirror or conscience or superfan at every meeting – especially when I must be virtually at the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) at the exact same time to deal with Tsimerman’s campaigning during public comment.  Helps also that I implicitly trust Mayor Cassie Franklin to handle Everett Link.

See… I want Everett Link to happen.  I want Paine Field amply served by transit.  I want Community Transit to merge with Everett Transit.  Penultimately, I want people to believe in Sound Transit.

I also request, most of all, one thing: Open, democratic government everybody and everyone believes in.  Too many have fought and died for democracy, risking their lives and health for our way of life.  Attempting to hide a key document that you created… betrays that – and the public service of every single public records officer in this state, putting their reputation on the line with every public records request I make, every board agenda packet I review.

Usually, I would say, “Go Sound Transit” at this point but instead, I’m going to have to sadly say something else…

Do better Sound Transit.

—Joe A. Kunzler, Snohomish County Resident

DISCLAIMER: The views and comments expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Lynnwood Times nor any of its affiliates.

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