Idea doesn’t float state’s boat despite popularity with the people.
We long ago moved on to More Important Things. But the idea doesn’t seem to die, and the question keeps popping up: Since the state is again asking for “help” naming a new ferry, why not revive the wildly popular MV Ivar Haglund campaign?
Answer: It’s tempting, but probably a waste of time, given the previous snubbing of public sentiment by the soulless lock-steppers on the Washington State Transportation Commission.
Backgrounder: Mr. Wrap suggested in this space in 2012 that the state, then building two new ferries, set aside its tired naming traditions to christen one boat in honor of Ivar, the legendary local restaurateur and goofball whose spirit lives on in popular local culture.
Shockingly, momentum grew. Petitions were signed by the thousands in what surely was the largest ferry-naming grass-roots effort ever mustered. Result: The commission named one ferry after a whale, “Tokitae,” and the other “Samish.” Nothing wrong with either, per se. But they weren’t the public’s first choice.
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The truth is that the WSDOT doesn’t really want help naming its boats, unless said “help” happens to fit with its own musty notions of what a name on a state ferryboat should look like.
After the 2012 effort, word trickled back here that yes, the Ivar name fit the state naming guidelines, and commissioners liked the unusual amount of public interest. But they fretted the name might be construed as advertising the local restaurant business that still bears Ivar’s name (and which, for the record, did not inspire the campaign.)
You read that correctly, sports fans.
Here was the state of Washington, known for its multi-billion-dollar tax breaks to local businesses — which reputedly provide jobs and stuff — shunning popular sentiment to honor a local folk hero because placing his name on a ferry might indirectly lead to the selling of an extra cup of chowder or two down at Ivar’s Acres of Clams.
That’s what you’re up against, folks. Aren’t you glad you asked?
More extra tartar:
Speaking of Irony: Concerned about moving sailors between bases, the Navy has announced that aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will stay parked for now in Bremerton, where it gets its maintenance, rather than its previous Everett “home port.” Um, isn’t that the solution that skeptics of the uber-expensive Everett facility suggested in the first place?
Spit Take of the Year: The WSDOT geniuses in charge of the Bertha Billions tunnel-boring project put the brakes on the refurbished machine before the holidays, saying they want workers on the project (stalled since December 2013), to be “rested” for the big New Year’s push. In WSDOT tradition, these are “2/2” shifts: Two years off / two days on.
Following Up: Alaska Airlines’ latest legal Hail Mary aimed at overthrowing the $15 minimum-wage initiative for Sea-Tac Airport workers has been predictably tossed from court. Next?
Attention, KIRO-TV: How many years does consumer-crime fighter Jesse Jones have to work over there before you stop calling the station his “new home”?
And Finally: Nice to see all that snowy frosting on the mountains, reminding us once again of the annual climate-pattern certainty: An “El Niño” weather pattern will invariably give the Northwest a warmer, drier winter — unless it doesn’t.