MAY 12, 1997

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Opinion

Sad examples of democracy

democracy? Quite a record has been built over the last few years in what some would call our democratic republic of Washington. We voted down regional transit called RTA. It was back a year later and rural residents like myself were not allowed to vote on it. We will pay the sales taxes to pay for it, but backers of the plan didn't want our "no" votes to kill it a second time.
   We voted whether to give the Seattle Mariners' owners a $300 million baseball stadium. We said "no" at the polls again, so King County and the state did it anyway, and now it has a cost exceeding $400 million.
   The city of Redmond, the state Growth Management Act and Bear Creek citizens said "no" to Weyerhaeuser and King County's plans to destroy rural Novelty and Union Hills to build a new city. Again, we were all ignored, and urban King County councilmembers granted their permits almost without comment.
   And perhaps the saddest example of all is the effort of Paul Allen-Mega-Billionaire, who has successfully "bought" a vote for a new Seahawk's stadium. Now he is going to invest $3 million in advertising to convince voters that we should give him a half-billion dollar football stadium. What a bargain! I might add that it has been fascinating watching outspoken conservatives abandon their anti-tax principles to cave in to this current blackmail.
   In the meantime, cities and counties can't afford roads and infrastructure that they really need, but hey, they can always raise taxes again.

Michael Costello, Redmond