That's because the machine came to life on channel 5 and last Monday's city council meeting was on. And under debate was the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) - which is what the much talked about $20 vehicle registration fee would fund. The TBD is a revenue mechanism for helping to improve our streets.
But that wasn't the compelling part. The compelling part was the discussion around a proposed ammendment to use 10% of the TBD revenue for sidewalk improvements. As I tuned in, a bunch of respected people were providing testimony in favor of the ammendment - like bike activist Barb Chamberlain, a heart surgeon, a public health official, and many others. (I think Eileen Hyatt spoke before I tuned in.) I didn't catch the whole thing, but I didn't see anyone testifying in opposition.
The sides being taken on the council were no big surprise. But oy, the way they were taken. It's just one of those events that burns indelible images on your brain. There was so much attempted smoke and subterfuge, but the veils were thin, and the positions of our council members on active transportation were made crystal clear to me.
Apple. ANTI active transportation, with an axe to grind, as a bonus. Bob couldn't resist the opportunity in the middle of a sidewalk discussion to declare that he has nothing against bikes on the roads (an utter joke, given his semi-private and downright-public vitriol over the past six months) and then without taking a breath proceeded to get himself, by himself, all worked up and declare that he will never, ever, ever support bike lanes on main arterials. Yeah, Bob, we know. (He got reeled in for going off subject. Ha!)
Corker. ANTI active transportation, and a rambling mess, to boot.
Shogun. ANTI active transportation. Our Spokane City Council President sure
McLaughlin. ANTI active transportation. Non-compelling. Sparing you the picture.
Rush. PRO active transportation. SOLID. Smart. Speaks when he should. Doesn't when he shouldn't. Uses protocol to his advantage. A great voice of reason on the council. Frequently makes the president look
Snyder. PRO active transportation. Flippin rock star. Bright as hell, articulate and highly worthy of public respect. He's bound for much bigger shit IMO, but for now, we're so lucky to have him and his integrity and energy on the council.
Waldref. PRO active transportation. Not the best-ever persuasive speaker. Pretty sure she has our back, though. No question whatsoever about her personal integrity.
It's hard not to be a little discouraged by some of the garbage that went on, but I'm way more encouraged by those of our elected officials who have the vision, passion, energy and smarts to chip away, against odds, at the petrified powers-that-be in the transportaion debate that is so important to the future of our quality of life here.
And of course I'm always inspired by George. Who got to speak twice.