He said Seattle is in a huge budget crisis. Obviously we have to find new revenue sources and also cut services. He generally didn't try to dodge or candy-coat the issue or make any stupid pledges to not cut this or not cut that the way most politicians do. One thing he said that was particularly good was that we need to find a long term sustainable budget balance where intake equals expenditure, as opposed to continuing the one-off tricks to make the budget work this year without thinking about the future (our previous government has done things like freeze hiring and freeze purchases of new buses - these things only push maintenance cost into the future).
He talked a bit about the whole viaduct broohaha. I actually didn't know that a big part of the problems it that the Seattle seawall has been deemed unsafe; engineers say it has a 10% chance of failure in the next 10 years, and in a big storm we could have a huge disaster like situation in the waterfront low areas. McGinn says the top priority is the replacement of the seawall whether we do a tunnel or not, so I think that's cool. He also said his vision for a non-tunnel alaskan way is a lot like what SF did with the embarcadero - just turn it into a regular street, and use the savings for public transit and improving I-5 as well.
They talked about the 520 bridge project a bit also. McGinn wants to have no HOV lanes on the new bridge and instead have light rail. Whether you agree with that or not (I do), his reasoning is just very mature and very sensible. 1. The reality is that HOV is not used as much as it needs to be to make sense as a dedicated lane, and buses can share the light rail lane. 2. we need to provide a means of transit for the poor in our increasingly 3rd-world country, and 3. this bridge will have to last 75 years, so let's think about the city we are building for the long term future.
However, before we get too excited, let us remember that McGinn has very very little power, the Seattle mayor is a weak executive; all the decisions will be made by the city council, and most of them have to be ratified by the state legislature and possibly the king county council as well. It's a huge beaurocratic mess of cross-organizational committees.
In these situations I wish we could just vote McGinn to be temporary dictator and let him fix our fucking mess without all the retarded interference from petty lawmakers protecting their pet interests.
ADDENDUM : I forgot the main reason I wanted to write about this, was that it was somewhat discouraging to hear the reasonable intelligent voice of McGinn contrasted with the self-serving retarded petty emotional callers. The typical caller had questions (all call-in questions are actually comments, of course) like "I live in Federal Way, why should I be paying for the viaduct?". Well, first of all Mr. Federal Way Retard, most people who drive on the viaduct either live or work outside of Seattle proper. It's not for people who live in the city to get around the city, it's a connector that goes right through and largely benefits the surrounding communities. In fact, all surrounding communities generally steal value from the big cities; the city centers are what provide jobs and population magnets, but they get less revenue per capita as the rich people move to the outlying suburbs, so if we were being fair the outlying suburbs should really be paying a lot more towards inner city projects. Second of all, even if it weren't a fair distribution of charges, can't you see the bigger picture? These are long term projects for the whole metro puget sound area; these are about constructing a city for all of our future. We shouldn't bogged down in these petty squables about how it will affect one particular house that's near the 520, we should be thinking about the greater good for the whole area 50 years down the road.