Coffee chat with Carlyle in Ballard

Thursday morning, 36th District Rep. Reuven Carlyle wants to hear what’s important to you. “I’m making an effort to reach out to the 130,000 people of our community to discuss issues, ideas, concerns and problems that need attention,” he tells us. Hot-button topics such as the budget, the deep-bore tunnel, education, Metro funding, jobs, health care, housing, or human services, Rep. Carlyle is open for conversation.

He’ll be at the Caffé Fiore at 5405 Leary Ave NW from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. “Now is the time to review the tough budget issues facing Washington and to look toward 2010 for ideas for new legislation to help families in today’s difficult times,” Carlyle says.

Update: If you can’t make it to Thursday’s chat, Rep. Carlyle will be hosting a “Market Meetup” on Aug. 30th from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ballard Farmers Market. We’ll have more details as we get closer to that date.
(Disclosure: Reuven Carlyle is a sponsor of MyBallard.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

57 thoughts to “Coffee chat with Carlyle in Ballard”

  1. Thank you sir, the last budget session did nothing but forward the fiscal pain facing this region, in fact, it added to the pain.I certainly hope that the issue is addressed more responsibly in 2010. I'd suggest an absolute freeze on new spending, and on any budget increases state-wide. I'd go as far as to repeal planned projects that don't meet the basic needs of the community.
    The first rule of getting out of the hole, stop digging.

  2. It would be nice if this weren't being held at a time when most of us were at work. That said, I'd love to hear his comments about the march toward installing a state income tax, especially in light of the fact that Oregon, which has no sales tax, is thinking of adding one, because “the income tax has too much variation due to the economy”.

    As you know, one of the primary arguments for the income tax side of the argument has been that the sales tax is too sensitive to changes in the economy.

  3. I can't go so I'll have to say it here: Metro funding please! Light rail is lovely but it seems silly as city buses are so underfunded right now.

  4. “The first rule of getting out of the hole, stop digging.” I love the appropriateness of that comment. I couldn't agree more!

    I too will be at work, someone get in there with a camcorder!


  5. Cost way less, more flexible (understatement of the century there) and has ridership that will NEVER be matched by light rail. I know it seems obvious, but for some reason (big money a-holes) we get light rail anyway.
    So, yeah, strong agreement w/ NoraBell. And we need it yesterday!

  6. I agree and disagree. We need more improvement to our metro, but we also need the light rail. There is no reasonable way to travel long distances on nearly any bus route. Try taking a bus from Ballard to Tacoma, or Redmond, or Everett, or the airport. It's a miserable nightmare of time and transfers. Adding more bus routes may help, but so does adding some light rail to connect neighborhoods and cities. Hub and spoke transportation has been extremely effective in numerous cities for over 100 years now, and there's no reason we can't use it to make travel in our region more efficient.

    As it stands today, I won't take a job in Everett, Tacoma, or most parts of the east side because I would necessarily have to commute by car. If light rail connected all of these areas, this wouldn't be a problem.

  7. Buses can go long distances, on designated routes, connecting cities. Heard of Greyhound, I assume? Rail is the worst expense for the least benefit.

  8. Wait, I thought you just said we should freeze all spending? Now we can spend, since it's something you want. That's the problem with blanket policies that sound great when you say them “Freeze all new spending!” until you realize that there's something crucial that you have to spend on, even when it often will head off catastrophe and save exponentially more money down the road.
    How about less ideology and more reality? Fewer chants, folksy sayings, and ole country idioms, and more reality based policy focused on results.

  9. With the current transportation budget we can't have both, though I agree we need both. I just don't think it was good timing.
    And the Sounder train already went to Tacoma, didn't it?

  10. What a convenient time to have a chat. Here's a thought… maybe have one when your constituants are off work? 6pm-8pm? Just a thought.

  11. Not true by a long shot.
    Travel anywhere in Europe or Japan? Rail gets you there faster, cheaper, and easier than by car or bus.
    Try to get anywhere in New York City? The subways are the way to go while the buses are stuck in traffic along with the cars.
    I know that this is not NYC, EU or Japan, but a rail system has a lot of benefits. It is a known route that doesn't have to deal with (as much) traffic. It encourages density around the stations and allows people to plan and build around known infrastructure. Trains can carry far more passengers. And a lot of people who would never take the bus will have no problem getting on a train.

  12. ah, that's a bit dismissive SPG.
    I do believe in folksy sayings, sorry…
    Totally serious about the spending freeze.
    (That means no increase in spending, btw)
    Use the existing budget better.
    Like buses instead of boondoggles, for starters.
    Like private liquor sales instead of public.
    Like private art instead of public art.
    I could, and should go on, but I need to work, eventually.

  13. Absolutely agree. Having lived in two cities with rail systems, I think denying the benefits and the need of light rail just seems counter-intuitive — if not counter-productive . Yes, we need to stop cutting funds for Metro, though, in reality, Metro, has never fully paid for itself either. Maybe taking away Metro hours in order to fund Paul Allen's 1.2 mile little shuttle wasn't such a good idea…

    As for my biggest gripe with the legisature… please STOP cutting people from the Basic Health Plan. Health care is the most important issue, IMO, and we are already seeing drastic cuts to King County Public Health as well. Denying people care, especially if it involves communicable diseases like flu and TB, is inhumane and dangerous. Instead of contributing to the crisis in public health and low-income health care, please re-examine the priorities.

    Of course, we could start funding both transportation and health care if the legislature had the courage and foresight to rescind many of the 500+ tax deferrals and exemptions — some of which serve to benefit only ONE company (which is unconstitutional to begin with). The same company that squeezed us for $3.2 billion, plus another $45 million in that “side” deal with Locke, and is, once again, threatening to move operations out of our region.

    Although I think a state income tax is worth consideration, we could recoup revenues just by re-visiting the status-quo of those decades-long tax breaks.

    As I said: A re-examination of priorities is in order.

    P.S. My rant is in lieu of being able to attend tomorrow's meet-up at Fiore.

  14. Like it always has NoraBell.
    Unfortunately, it doesn't tend to be ugly and controversial, but I could get over that…
    I'd rather the rich and influential folks in town raise millions for art, than millions for politicians…
    oh, yeah, sorry sir.

  15. It depends on where they're going to take it. Light rail can't go everywhere. If I need to get to the airport it's a great solution but if I need to meet my mom for breakfast in Greenwood it's useless to me. Metro gets me to Greenwood, eventually. Not everyone works and plays downtown. Again, I'm all for light rail but rail has limitations and leaves a gap that Metro needs to fill.

  16. “It's own right-of-way”, that's the kicker, and where all the influential take over. Be prepared to give up your house.
    (Alarmist? I beg to differ)
    The problem is cars are sitting, trucks are sitting, buses are sitting. And, they are in their 'right-of-way'. We have already payed for that right-of-way, folks. Although, they keep looking to make us pay for it over and over and over. The billions invested so far in light rail won't/can't address that.
    Trillions later, you don't have a car, or you have to leave it in your backyard. (if you have a backyard, or any yard)
    Yeah, that's progress.

  17. When I worked in D.C. in 1980, the Metro (light rail) was just being built. I had to take a bus from my house in Alexandria, Virginia to National Airport and then hop on the train from there to downtown. It was a bit of a hassle but the light rail portion of the ride was worth it. Very fast, clean and it had air conditioning in the summer! Now their rail system goes all over the place. It's fantastic.

    That's the way it works with every rail system: it starts with one line and expands over time to cover the entire city. The Boston T is another great system. And it works along side the bus system there, which is also very good.

    Any city with a growing population and work force, like ours, must have both rail and buses to make commutes possible for people who don't (or can't) drive or bike.

    I do take the bus in Seattle, but it is a drag. For one thing, the buses stink. For another, many of them do have to sit in traffic (trolleys).

    I keep hearing people ask about how to make Seattle a “world class city”. Having a 21st century transportation system would be a good way to create that.

    I've been voting for light rail in this town for more than twenty years. It's finally being made a reality, and I am GLAD. Let's join the 21st century!

  18. We just added an update – If you can’t make it to Thursday’s chat, Rep. Carlyle will be hosting a “Market Meetup” on Aug. 30th from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ballard Farmers Market. We’ll have more details as we get closer to that date.

  19. Mr. Reuven Carlyle, thank you for the courage required to be accessible to your constituents. You have been solid in that regard, since day one.
    Thank you for extending the opportunity to discuss serious issues, and for adding the additional opportunity for the Ballard Farmers Market meet-up as well. I plan to attend both, I hope I can.

    Thank you Geeky Swedes, as always, this resource is priceless.

  20. NoraBell – Of course light rail won't ever replace the need for buses. But buses don't come close to the speed and convenience of light rail.

    chopper_74 – Give me a break! Light rail is usually built below existing roads, above existing roads, or along existing public rights-of-way. In some cases it may be necessary to take private property, but that's true for any transportation project. How much private property was taken to build I-5 and I-90? Light rail will have a much smaller impact than that.

    Adding buses (or light rail for that matter) to jam packed roads and freeways will not result in more efficient transportation. Light rail needs to be separate from existing 'rights-of-way' otherwise it's not worth building.

    We've spent billions and trillions of dollars on our state and federal highway systems, why is investing in other modes of transportation such a problem? Light rail is actually a more efficient use of our money than highways.

    You've obviously never experienced what it is like to commute on a first-rate transportation system, because we don't have one here.

  21. I don't think light rail should be built to connect Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma (at least at first). We need light rail for the urban core first. If you're living in Ballard and working in Tacoma or Everett, you're probably living (or working) in the wrong place.

  22. People live where they can afford to and work where they can find jobs. However, I have friends who lived in Tacoma and worked in downtown Seattle and they took the Sounder train Monday-Friday and loved it.

  23. Correct, I never have experienced light rail.
    Just the price tag.
    About 10% of our transportation needs is our own ass.
    The rest, support our ass.
    If light rail was say, 10%, of our transportation budget, I'd have no issue.
    It isn't. That's my main issue.
    Gold plate a pig, still a pig.

  24. As someone who travels to Tacoma every day (by bus) (and yes, it works, but it means I spend more than 12 hrs away from home every day) I agree completely.

  25. Hi folks!

    Please accept my sincere apologies for the less than convenient time for folks to join me….with my wife, four young kids and my (regular day job) professional work as a business development consultant, I'm working as hard as I can to balance out the substantial demands for legislative time.

    We're supposed to have a citizen legislature with real people living real lives, and personally I do believe it makes me a better legislator to stay engaged in 'real' life…work, family, schools, life. But there are tradeoffs and I hope you can understand that I don't have as much flexibility as full time legislators.

    Still, I'm sorry for those who can't make this time slot and I hope you can join me on the 30th.

    As always, please consider my door open and contact me anytime along with these casual coffee hours. My blog is: email:

    Your partner in service,

    Reuven Carlyle
    State Representative
    36th District–the heart, soul, passion and spirit of Seattle

  26. The bottom line is that light rail will continue to serve only a small portion of the commuting public for the next 20-30 years because it is in its infancy. In reality, we are building a system for the next generation of Seattleites. You or I will never get the full benefit. Someday, if we are smart now, we will have a first class system that will serve a broad segment of the urban area in the future. If we're selfish and do nothing, future generations will have it worse than we do.

  27. Problems with buses:
    1) They get stuck in traffic just like cars.
    2) There are people who will NEVER ride a bus but will ride light rail. If you don't agree with this then you clearly have never lived in a city with light rail!!
    3) Buses require more maintenance, both the buses themselves and the roads they operate on.
    4) Trains are more efficient – there's a reason so much freight in this country gets moved by trains!

    Downsides are lack of flexibility and sky-high cost of implementation. Ideally, you really need both. Even NYC with their vast subway system still has buses.

  28. Right, rail is terrible. This of course explains why every major city on the planet has a rail system. Seriously, don't try to criticize something you clearly have no experience with and little knowledge of.

    Greyhound is not efficient. One thing I REALLY despise about this country is having to travel. If you want to travel from here to SF or from Boston to NYC your only real choice is an airplane. That means spending at least 1-2 hours going through airports, paying an insanely high ticket price, having to take your shoes off, being squeezed into an uncomfortable and too small seat, and having at least a 1-4 chance of not arriving on time. Go to Europe or Japan and you can make a similar trip via high speed rail where you can quickly get in/out of the station, have roomy seats, can get up and walk around, get to keep your shoes on, and will always arrive on time. Oh did I mention you can do all this for substantially less money than an airline ticket?

    Amazes me that the US is the only nation to put a man on the moon yet somehow we can't seem to build a transportation system even remotely comparable to what the cheese eating surrender monkeys built 30 years ago! That's sad.

  29. True, but sadly the right time would have been 30-40 years ago but people in Seattle seem to be pathetically lacking in foresight!!

  30. “Denying people care, especially if it involves communicable diseases like flu and TB, is inhumane and dangerous. “

    HUGE understatment! Too bad the morons in this town seem to forget we live in a major PORT city and international point of entry. You don't have to be an epidemiologist to realize that puts us at a much higher risk for being ground zero for any new bugs coming over from other parts of the planet.

  31. How about private fire departments instead of public fire departments? Why should our tax dollars be wasted on a service most of us never need? Don't laugh, that's the way it used to be in much of the US up until the 1860s! If you didn't have private fire insurance your house was allowed to burn to the ground because the private, for-profit fire brigades wouldn't put out the fire. Right now we spend $151 million on the fire dept. 80% of the calls they respond to are EMS calls, often due to heart attacks, car crashes, etc. Why should the physically fit and responsible drivers have to pay so much money to save all the lazy fatties and people who drive dangerously?

    Let's also shut down all the libraries and only have private libraries. Such things do exist – I used to have a membership at the privately run Mechanic's Library in SF in large part because the public library was so bad. We spend $50 million on the library system – that's $83 for every person in Seattle. I doubt most people in this town read $83 worth of books in a given year.

    We should also do away with public schools. Why should those without children and those who send their kids to private school have to pay for public schools?

    I'll never understand the state liquor store thing in this state. When I first move here I was amazed such a backwards concept was even allowed in this day and age.

  32. I don't want that, and I don't think that's what Chopper meant either. And I'm not 100% onboard with privatizing art (I don't want Paul Allen deciding what art is) but I would be very happy if state run liquor stores were a thing of the past.

  33. My tongue was partially in cheek! ;)

    Still, it's nor far from what some Libertarian lunatics would probably like to see.

    Also always struck me as odd that some people have no problem spending billions on fire departments who mostly provide health care services these days (80% in Seattle and higher in other cities) but then get all freaked out about the government spending money on other forms of healthcare. They don't want to spend a dime to help prevent someone from having a heart attack but then have no problem with the fire department coming in at great expense to save the person when they do have the heart attack. Just seems like a huge disconnect.

  34. Darn, I drove right past Fiore on my way to work at 8 and would have dropped in, but didn't catch this until now – a bit more advance notice would be helpful, especially for those of use not continuously plugged in to MyBallard. I'll try to make the meet-up on the 30th, and will be looking for details.

  35. The libertarians want that and a whole lot more privatized. No public services or property whatsoever. Private police forces and pay to enter parks as a business. Every street would have a toll booth, ah paradise!

  36. Nope, a good friend just returned from NY.
    It couldn't survive w/out it.
    One slight difference?
    Population is , what, twenty fold?
    I see no evidence that we will EVER see that kind of population here.
    Most of the 'prime child bearing etc.' people I know, aren't having ANY children.
    The rest are having fewer.
    So, it will never be like NY here.
    In fact, we are currently closing schools, and increasing welfare roles. What a joke, and it isn't a funny joke.
    Go ahead with the 'rail to no where'.
    I really can just shake my head at the ignorant mantra, and fight like hell for reason to prevail.

  37. Paid for?? You seriously don't what you're talking about. Try looking at the budget before making such comments. Building roads is only one part of the cost equation. Roads require maintenance and people to keep them running. The current state budget has $355 MILLION designated solely for highway maintenance. Add to that another $3 BILLION for high improvements. Is that your idea of “paid for”??? Doesn't sound very “paid for” to me.

    On top of that let's look at some of the directly related expenses that are not included in that budget:
    1) Law enforcement to patrol all those roads. The Washington State Patrol budget is $485 million, almost all of that directly related to law enforcement on the roads.
    2) Billions of dollars in health care spent as a direct result of auto crashes.
    3) Environmental damage as a result of all those cars.

    Light rail costs in these areas are a tiny fraction of what roads cost. Light rail is also less maintenance intensive than bus-only transit.

    Like I said, it's amazing that every major city on earth thought it a good idea to build a transit system. But hey, every single one of them is completely wrong and YOU, planning genius that you are, are correct?? Sorry but I find that just a tad hard to believe. On top of all that you admitted to not having any actual experience with light rail transit so you offering an opinion on the subject is sort like a priest giving a sex talk!

  38. SeaSpider, sorry, but yes, I am a genius.
    Most of the budget dollars that you speak of are part of the one time stimulus joke.
    Yes, a federal 'jobs package'.
    I'm talking specifically of the 'right-of-way'.
    We already have some of the poorest of maintained roads in the civilized world.
    It will only get worse, once the 'pot-hole rangers' budget is slashed. We already have a traffic infrastructure being under served.
    Yeah, lets add another one, and pay top dollar (another understatement) for the pleasure.
    Oh, again, for ten percent of our asses.
    (max predicted use) not that they are even close to correct.

  39. Light rail isn't just for big cities like New York. Again, your lack of knowledge is showing. 2007 stats from the Census Bureau show the population of Boston being 599k while Seattle is next on the list at 594k making them practically the same size. should I also point out the Portland is smaller than Seattle and they have a light rail system? Of course those silly Portlanders also have more snowplows than we do – how foolish is that, right? Not like we ever need snowplows in Seattle…

    Keep up the short-sighted thinking!

  40. Short sighted, well, that would be seeing this fixed rail expense continue.
    Again, long term is a state of mind. Not a rail.
    Case in point, the monorail. It's design was to use existing right of ways, elevated from the surface traffic, and one tenth the cost of surface rail. (light rail, in it's infancy, way back then, still being pushed by the blue ribbon a-holes with deep money on the speculation of real estate value.)
    Yeah, you idiots took it to committee, played with the genius of it, talked about the genius of it, couldn't get affirmation following three public yes votes, and killed it.
    I'll never forgive you.
    And now, we don't have a Denny's.
    Idiots, 'f'ing idiots.
    Thanks for busting my chops, again.

  41. I'm disappointed that Rep. Carlyle could not attend the community meeting at the Ballard Market today.

    I finally found the announcement on the BNT after some searching.

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