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Kari Chisholm

Hey Brian --

I suggest that you actually read Eileen Brady's detailed position on the CRC, rather than relying on 30-second responses in the midst of a debate.

For example, she addresses both the idea of a local bridge and the Rose Quarter bottleneck:

We have an opportunity to skinny down this bloated project, value engineer it so that the costs come down – probably way down – and then start building the critical pieces that we can actually afford. There are alternatives that have been suggested that need to be reviewed as options for reducing the costs, and in some cases improving the outcomes of the project. For example, perhaps we could build a new bridge, extend our regional light rail system to Vancouver - including a new bike/pedestrian crossing - and add a safe Marine Drive interchange while eliminating or scaling back most of the rest. For environmental air quality management, we obviously have to take a very serious look at congestion tolling to reduce south bound I-5 traffic at peak hours near the Rose Quarter.

The key question is not whether there needs to be a new plan - "skinnied down" or "plan b" or whatever you want to call it. The key question is whether we're going to use the current process to scale it down and move forward promptly; or whether we're going to blow the whole thing up, start over, take another decade, and millions more in planning and environmental reviews.

Personally, I continue to believe that there's no money for this project anywhere. But to the extent that we're talking about how to spend money on a bridge, Brady's approach is the one that will require the least process going forward and produce the best possible bridge.

(Full disclosure: My firm built Eileen Brady's campaign website. I speak only for myself.)

Evan Manvel

Kari's point is interesting - Brady says very different things to different audiences.

Brady was extremely clear when talking to unions - "I am very supportive of the Columbia River Crossing project.... Let’s get on with it. I’m tired of these projects that are being stalled at this city." There wasn't any mention of scaling back or building only part of the project.

What conclusions you draw from that is up to you.

As far as the taking another decade, etc. - that's a claim (created by the CRC mega-highway lobbyists) that doesn't really hold up under scrutiny. Taking another direction doesn't have to take a decade. Either direction will require additional reviews, which in the grand scheme of a $4,000+ million project that will last over one hundred years seem smart.

If there's really no money, we need to be forthright about that and stop spending tens of millions of dollars designing a project that can't get built. That's the sort of leadership I want.

Kari Chisholm

I don't think there's anything dissonant between what she said at the debate and what she wrote in a lengthy position statement, other than that 30-second quips are necessarily shorter and thus abbreviated.

It's also worth noting that the folks in the room at that debate were all highly-involved highly-educated political leaders who could be reasonably assumed to have read all the candidate's positions before the debate.

In her in-depth statement, Brady is clear -- we must skinny down the project and then get to building it. Her concluding paragraph:

There’s a saying in situations like this that I like: We can’t allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. And “the good” here is to admit that the current process is a mess, but that with the right leadership we can build a CRC that is affordable, creates jobs, ensures safety and allows us to scale in goals like a regional light rail, a bike/pedestrian crossing, tolls and congestion management. As Mayor, I can provide that kind of leadership. And after 13 years of stops and starts, it’s time to get this thing moving.

Shrink it down, make it affordable, focus on alternative modes, and get building.

Here's a question worth asking: Jefferson Smith calls for a "Plan B". What is his Plan B? It's possible that I've missed it, but I don't think we've heard even the outlines of what that Plan B would look like.

T.A Barnhart
One can see Brady following the wishes of construction and trade unionists who see the Columbia Crossing as a way to go from unemployment to a job.

well, one could see Smith following the wishes of the greens who see the Columbia Crossing as a way to waste billions & get this project done wrong. if you're going to impugn people's characters, why not be even-handed about it?

(disclosure: i work as a freelancer for the Brady campaign.)

Evan Manvel

There's really nothing about the format that prohibited her from being clear.

Brady could have said supports X and Y, and thinks we don't have the money to do the whole thing. That's ten seconds, and she's got twenty more.

Instead of being clear, she used sweeping statements of unqualified support, using her time to repeat seismic and safety talking points and talk about getting on with it.

In my book, that's simply misleading, and it wasn't caused by the format.

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