Thoughts on King County’s Failed Proposition 1

While most of the coverage for Proposition 1 read nice, there was not a lot of data shown to back it up the claims.

This is frustrating because once you starting digging into the data, you find things like the fact that since 2001 operating costs per vehicle hour have increased 17%1 (when adjusted for inflation).

The $19.70 difference accounts for an additional $68.95 million in operations costs per a year (assuming 3.5 million annual service hours2 ).

Why are per hour operations costs increasing by 17%?

And then there’s the fact that only up to 60%3 of the presumed $1.3 billion4 that would be raised over 10 years with Prop 1 would actually go to Metro. The remaining 40% (and potentially more!) would go to “transportation improvements and to the county for unincorporated area road purposes.”5

This wasn’t a squabble over anyone trying to save a few pennies, I think there is some serious lack of fiduciary understanding and education going on with regard to how Metro operates. After the early returns showed the measure losing, Dow Constantine put it pretty well, “The voters are not rejecting Metro; they are rejecting this particular means of funding Metro.”

Danny Westneat also makes a good observation regarding the campaign itself:

From seattletimes.com:

But I wasn’t surprised it failed. Nobody explained what positive changes you’d get for your money, only what you might lose. This was electioneering by threat: Vote yes or I’ll shoot this puppy.

Now the anti-transit crowd will spin this as proof voters have had their fill of transit. And that officials should focus on roads next time.

I don’t buy it. If anything, it was the $50 million in yearly roads repair money in Proposition 1 that had the feel of a slush fund. What would it be used for? Nobody said. It was just to be spread like political butter across 40 cities and towns. The website of the campaign didn’t list a single specific road or bridge that would get fixed using this money.

Oran Viriyincy, a frequent contributor on the Seattle Transit Blog, has provided an excellent breakdown of the actual vote by legislative district as well as a cartogram.

" Prop 1 Election Night Results  By legislative district" by  Oran Viriyincy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/viriyincy/13988403042/) CC-BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)
” Prop 1 Election Night Results By legislative district” by Oran Viriyincy
CC-BY-SA
"Cartogram of KCTD Prop 1 Election Night Results" by  Oran Viriyincy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/viriyincy/14005019794/) CC-BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)
“Cartogram of KCTD Prop 1 Election Night Results” by Oran Viriyincy
CC-BY-SA

Given the huge amount of support in the Seattle area, I would suspect the planned Seattle-only initiative would pass overwhelmingly.

From kuow.org:

The proposal would raise $155 million from Seattle property owners over six years. Friends of Transit said that money would be used to buy back endangered routes from King County Metro.

Buses that spend 80 percent or more of their time operating inside Seattle’s limits would be eligible for the reprieve.

If the initiative is approved by the city clerk, supporters will need to gather more than 20,000 signatures to put it on the November ballot.

As an interesting side note, if all the districts that had a majority in support of the Prop 1 had double their turnout the the measure would still have failed, but only by 36 votes (out of 512184 theoretical votes), a 0.0070% margin.

Here’s the data: Prop1Votes.xlsx


  1. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/reports/annual-measures/financial.html 

  2. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/planning/pdf/2011-21/2013/metro-2013-service-guidelines-report.pdf 

  3. http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections2/contests/measureinfo.aspx?cid=47942 

  4. http://kuow.org/post/new-bus-initiative-filed-seattle-only-prop-1-continues-fail 

  5. http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections2/contests/measureinfo.aspx?cid=47942 

Dateline: Budapest, Day 1 — Bussing Around Budapest

Budapest, Hungary
18 July 2009

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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest, Budapest, Hungary

Dateline: Athens, Day 1 – Athens in 4 Hours

Athens, Greece
4 July 2009

With the assistance of last nights mid-voyage Internet connection, we were able to find what we thought would be a good chance at a bed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually book anything. After talking to Mom and Dad on Skype and explaining the 14 second audio delay because of the satellite connection I was using, we made out way to the hostel.

The downside of arriving anywhere past midnight is that there is no guarantee of a working metro system. Many places shut down their metros at midnight and also reduce bus service. Athens is one of those cities. We ended up sharing a cab with the American couple, since they were staying at a hotel near us. We paid €5/each and were on our way.

We got to the hostel and low and behold, they had one room left. So, the good news is that we had a bed. The bad news is that we had a bed, singular.

Whatever, we took it and went to bed.

Exploring Athens in 4 hours was pretty exiting. We had three goals: National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Parthenon, and catching our boat in Patros1.

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is quite amazing

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…and yes, that’s a guy giving himself a tittie twister2.

We grabbed a quite bit to eat before racing off to find the Parthenon. As we started to climb the steps leading to the Parthenon, the clouds began to roll in. Although I think it made for rather excellent lighting in the end…

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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece

As we were leaving the Parthenon, the drops started to fall. By time we made it down the small ridge the Parthenon was on, it was pouring down rain. We made a mad dash for the hostel were we grabbed our bags. Already running late, we hailed a cab (the second in as many days) and raced to the bus terminal. We made it with, I swear, only five minutes before the bus left. But we were on, and that’s what mattered at this point…even if we were soaking wet.

The bus ride, like all the bus rides before it, was uneventful.

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Aktaio, Peloponnese Western Greece and the Ionian Island, Greece

We got to the bus terminal and ran to the ferry terminal, which sucked because we had to go all the way to the ticket counter on the far side of the terminal before going back to ferry. By time we got to the ferry, they had already started to pull up the car ramp…so we just barely made it.

This ferry, the Superfast Ferry, was quite a bit nicer than the other ferries we had been, which is saying something because the other ferries were pretty nice. I’d actually call this ferry more of an ocean linear.

We made our way to the foyer and sat down. It wasn’t long before I was scouting out a place for out “instant upgrade.” The place I selected was the airplane-style seats. It seemed to more or less be a free for all, and there were plenty of extra seats. I would suspect that less than half the people actually had tickets for the airplane-style seats. We managed to snag a couple and settled in for our night ride to Bari, Italy.

Around midnight, there was a commotion that aroused me from my sleep. We were being kicked out. We had just pulled out of port in Igoumenitsa and someone actually had a ticket for our seats! What luck!

We tried finding a place to sleep somewhere else, first in the foyer (no place to lie down), and then in the dining area. However, some official actually kicked us (a bunch of people actually) out because the area was for people who were eating. Problem was, the restaurant wasn’t open. I guess he didn’t care.

So it was back to the foyer. However, I was determined to get back to our plush aircraft-style seats. After waiting a bit, I made by way back in to the cabin and scouted our another spot. I found a guy sitting with two bags taking up two extra seats. I asked if he was using them, to which he prompt got up and left. So I took them. And all was good with the world again.

Happy Forth of July!


  1. Charlie figured out that it was faster/easier to catch the boat in Patros, rather than four hours later in Igoumenitsa. Not to mention that buying a ticket for Patros is easier… 

  2. Check that one off the list of words I didn’t think I would ever write on this blog 

Dateline: Kusadasi, Day 1 – Ephesus

Kusadasi, Turkey
28 June 2009

The original plan was to take the bus to Selcuk and stay at the ANZ Guesthouse. The new plan, that Ali (from Mavi Guesthouse) gave me, was to go past Selcuk to Kusadasi. Ali (from Panorama Hotel, aka Ali II) would pick us up at the bus station.

The new plan didn’t really work though. We got kicked off the bus in Selcuk (because that’s were I said we were going…I probably should have said Kusadasi). We found a bus to take us to Kusadasi, however it dropped us off somewhere in town, not the hotel.

So we started walking. After asking a couple of people on the street, we finally found Panorama Hotel. Ali II wasn’t too pleased that we weren’t at the bus station as he had waited over an hour at the bus station. I explained our situation and everything seemed fine…more or less.

We grabbed lunch (as it was well past breakfast time at this point) and took a bus back towards Selcuk to visit Ephesus.

Getting to Ephesus is actually kind of interesting. It’s about three kilometers outside of Selcuk and there’s no bus (at least from Kusadasi) that goes all the way to Ephesus. Instead, you get dropped off on the side of the road and can either negotate with a taxi driver or walk the kilometer to the entrance. Being strapping young men with a budget, we opted for the latter.

Ephesus was pretty amazing, and it damn well should be considering we paid 20YTL1 each to get in. It was also one of those super touristy things to do, and, for me, falls into the category of going to the Hermitage: Sure, I’ll see it if someone is going…but I’m not really going to go out of my way.

Ephesus is currently being restored, which takes away greatly from the cool factor. There are some areas, though, that have either had their restoration work completed (at least for now), or have yet to be restored; these were the highlights, as everything elsed clashed unfavorably with the modern industrial equipment.

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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey

After a couple hours at Ephesus, we walked the kilometer back to the road and caught the bus back to Kusadasi. I was completly wiped out and went for a nap.

I woke up around 8 or 9 and when for a quick bite to eat with Charlie. I wrote some postcards, we walked the pier, and then it was off to bed for an early wake up call, again.


  1. $13 USD 

Dateline: Cappadocia Region, Day 1 – You Rock My World

Cappadocia, Turkey
26 June 2009

I’m going to start by appologzing profussely for all the pictures of rocks. Cappadocia is, in essence, a giant collection of cool looking rocks and I’m pretty sure I got a picture of every single one of them. Out of 215 photos I took today, I ended up only rejecting 84 of them. Typically, I reject just over half. Not today.

Anyway, the bus ride was less than ideal. Charlie smelled like a sweaty rugby player after an all-day round robin tournament and the bus driver refused to keep the AC on. We awoke in Nevsehir and were called off the bus. A bit dazzed from just waking up, Charlie and I got off, thinking this was the guy who was going to take us to the hostel from the bus depot.

As it turned out, we think it was just a way to get tourist to purchase a tour of Cappadocia, as the guy quickly put us back on the bus once he found out we had already booked a tour. Still super confused about what happened, we finally did off at the right stop.

We got to the hostel and learned that both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett had died while we were in transit. Sad times.

A quick turn around and we were off to explore the northern region of Cappadocia with our guide, Esra.

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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey

Many of the holes in the rocks were for roosting pigeons. The previous inhabitants used the guano as fertalizer.

We spent most of the day hiking around. One kilometer here, another four there. For two guys who barely got any sleep, I thought we did pretty good. We befriended Shazia, another traveler from the States who was on vacation with her mother; had an amazing buffet lunch (that’ll teach them to let to college grads eat all they want); and, toured a pottery shop, among other things.

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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Urgub, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Urgub, Nevsehir, Turkey

For dinner, we walked into town and had pide (a Turkish pizza) and a beer at a restraunt that Shazia had recommended for their kunefe, which is amazing by the way.

We wandered back to the Bat Shoestring Cave and promptly fell asleep.

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 4 – Wrapping Up

Istanbul, Turkey
25 June 2009

For our last day in Istanbul, Charlie and I split up.

While walking down to the pier the other day, I saw a sign for the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam. Knowing that much of our current math has its roots in Arabic (our numbering system is, after all, Arabic), I was rather curious to check this museum out.

The museum was relatively new and not quite completed yet; which was unfortunate, because several of the models were kinetic, but not plugged in.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

I think I was most impressed by the astroglobes, which were used to predict star locations, and water pumps, which I was interested in for their sheer ingenuity and for a project I’m working on that I’ll discus at a later date.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

I met back up with Charlie at the hostel for one last trip to the Grand Bizaar to get some more Turkish Delight and hopefully a carpet for me.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

With remarkable efficient, we entered the Bazaar, completed our missions, and were back at the hostel.

One snag Charlie ran in to was withdrawing money from the ATM. The aforementioned trip was expensive, 390YTL1 …which actually isn’t all that bad considereing what we were doing and the ground we were covering, and we still had to pay Ali. However, Charlie couldn’t get either of his ATM cards to work! Crap! After calling his bank and some bank and forth to the ATM, we eventually figured out that he has a maximum withdraw limit and was attempting to take out barely more than the limit.

Charlie rushed back, just in time to pay Ali and catch the bus.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

And just like that, we were on to Cappadocia.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. $250 USD 

Dateline: St. Petersburg, Day 4 – A.S.Popov Central Museum of Communications and McDonald’s

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
13 June 2009

I had two goals for today: visit the communications museum and get out of Russia alive.

After packing up my stuff, I made my way, again, to the communications museum. It was right were it should have been, and this time it was open.

The exhibits were very modern and well done, a stark contrast to the exhibits in the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography museum.

The museum covered various forms of communication from the post office through radio communcations to cellular and satellite. Although I was mostly interested in the latter, my favorite part was the working telephone switch board, including a pulse-dial and DTMF interchange. There was also a working manual switchboard, but being unable to read Russian, I wasn’t able to figure out what steps I needed to take to make it work.

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I headed back to the hostel and made sure I had everything packed before I went out for one lase bite to eat. I wanted to get some Russian cuisine, however I ended settling for McDonald’s again1. I’m going to blame my McDonalds fixation on two things. First, I was really tired. Of navigating the Russian culture and just in general. I didn’t really want to put the effort in to attempting to communicate my needs/desires in a foreign language. Second, Russians, especially teens, are absolutely enamored with McDonald’s. You always have to wait in line. In any event, ordering in Russian is easy: биг мак2, кока-кола3, and Fries. I’m actually not sure what the Russian word for fries is, but they get the idea usually. Add in the appropriate hand gestures to indicate size and you got yourself a meal.

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Afterward, I headed for the bus station. Finding the station went without a hitch, solidifying my place as “Badass Map Reader”4.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia

I placed my backpack underneath and climbed on board with my day back, hoping that I would get some sleep this time.

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St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia


  1. Yes, again. I swear this only the second time I had McD’s this trip. 

  2. Which is literally pronounced: Big Mac 

  3. Again: Coca-Cola 

  4. seriously though, I’m amazing when it comes to reading maps in foreign places