Dow Constantine*, D - King County Council Dist. 8
Residence: West Seattle
Occupation: Attorney, Metropolitan King County Council member
Education: B.A., political science, M.A., urban planning, University of Washington; J.D., U.W. Law School
Community/political experience: ArtsWest, board member (2002-present); Stone Soup (nonprofit devoted to women's issues), vice president (1999-present); West Seattle High School Foundation, vice president (2000-present); Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, board member (1998-present)
Campaign Web site: www.dowconstantine.org
1. What are the priorities for your council district?
My district is very diverse -- geographically, ethnically, economically. For North Highline and Burien: real, permanent economic improvement. For West Seattle: transportation bottlenecks and the impending viaduct project. For Vashon: environment, stopping the strip mine, and saving foot ferries.
2. What does King County government do well? What could it do better?
The county is very good at running regional services such as the transit and wastewater systems. It is not well enough funded to serve well as local government for unincorporated urban areas. It could improve most by doing as I have demanded -- adopting strong performance measures for all departments.
3. What's the biggest issue King County government faces in the next two years? How would you address it?
Clearly, the fiscal crisis. First, rigorous performance measures to drive constant innovation and efficiency -- getting the most possible value for each tax dollar. Second, minimizing the terrible fiscal and social consequences of inevitable cuts. Last, seeking replacement for needed lost revenue.
4. What action did the county take in the past year that you'd undo?
The decision to allocate new bus hours out to suburban areas instead of near-in areas was a poor one, driven (so to speak) by politics, not transportation needs. The subsidy per rider on suburban and rural routes is many times that for urban routes. More money spent, fewer riders served
5. Do you favor the recent proposal to reduce the size of the county council? Why?
Only when there is evidence that this would solve any real budget problems. A governance commission is weighing this and other questions and will report back in March. The truth is that a strong council saves money because it can challenge the unfettered power of the bureaucracy and executive.
6. Should the county deal with transportation itself or participate in the regional agency with independent taxing authority?
I'm all for a regional approach. A Regional Transportation Investment District package should go to the ballot, and it should include real solutions for efficient and safe travel in Seattle and surrounding communities, including rail, foot ferries and the viaduct. The Legislature should act early in 2004 to make this vote possible.