Port of Seattle Commissioner Paige Miller yesterday joined the crowd gunning for Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin's job, saying she...
Port of Seattle Commissioner Paige Miller yesterday joined the crowd gunning for Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin’s job, saying she wanted to break the city’s “transportation logjam.”
Miller, 56, accused Conlin, the council’s transportation chairman, of failing to provide strong backing for vital projects such as a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a new monorail and a proposed South Lake Union streetcar.
A two-term incumbent, Conlin, also 56, has become a magnet for challengers this year. Already vying for his council position are Casey Corr, a former aide to Mayor Greg Nickels and one-time Seattle Times columnist, and Metropolitan King County Councilman Dwight Pelz.
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By contrast, no challengers have yet indicated an intention to take on any of the other three council incumbents running for re-election: Richard McIver, Nick Licata and Jan Drago.
Conlin said he’s drawn opponents for failing to rubber stamp projects pushed by Nickels and others.
“I think it’s because I have stood up for our neighborhoods. I have stood up for making sure polices are done in a thoughtful and careful way,” he said.
But Miller, who has served on the Port commission for 17 years, said Conlin has “not been at all helpful” to the city’s major transportation needs.
For example, Miller said she’s heard Conlin give at least three positions on what to do about the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which was damaged in the Nisqually earthquake of 2001. At times, Miller said, Conlin has favored a surface boulevard as a replacement, while at other times seeming to favor a tunnel or no replacement at all.
Conlin called that nonsense, saying he was obliged to consider all options for the viaduct, but in the end he concluded the tunnel was the best idea and voted for the council resolution favoring it.
He compared Miller’s charges to President Bush’s strategy of portraying Sen. John Kerry as flip-flopping on issues during the recent presidential campaign.
Conlin has been a longtime monorail skeptic and said he voted for last year’s unsuccessful recall initiative. He also has been critical of Nickels’ proposal to build a streetcar in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
Miller said she would bring a record of experience getting major projects done, citing her work at the Port fighting for a third runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
She also claimed credit for working with Port staff to ensure Sound Transit’s light-rail line would run to the airport instead of stopping a mile away.
Miller, an attorney, first became involved with Port of Seattle issues while president of the Queen Anne Community Council, leading neighbors opposed to a proposed container facility at Pier 91.
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or firstname.lastname@example.org