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E-mail: Constantine was prepared to vote against flood district
Posted by Keith Ervin
THIS BLOG POST HAS BEEN UPDATED:
Metropolitan King County Council Chairman Dow Constantine told an aide in 2007 he was "fully prepared" to vote against a flood-control tax because a passenger-ferry tax appeared to be in trouble with his colleagues -- a message that appears to contradict his public statements that he supported the flood tax and never linked the two votes.
The Nov. 9, 2007 e-mail was obtained by Constantine's rival for county executive, Susan Hutchison, through a public records request. She made it public this afternoon.
Constantine's message was written to his chief of staff, Chris Arkills, after Arkills told him that "Bob and LG" -- presumably Councilmembers Bob Ferguson and Larry Gossett -- "are stepping away from committing to a vote on Tuesday" on the ferry-district tax.
Constantine responded, "I am fully prepared to vote agaist [sic] the flood district and the mental health tax."
That contradicts his statements in July and August of this year that he had never linked votes on the separate taxes. County Council members adopted three new taxes in November 2007 -- for passenger ferries, for flood control and for services to people with mental illness or addictions to drugs and alcohol.
County Councilmember Kathy Lambert of Redmond said in July that she voted for the ferry district because Constantine said he would otherwise kill the flood district.
"He was very specific that the ferry district would be run first and if I didn't vote for the ferry district there would be no flood district coming up for a vote. How much clearer could that be?" she said then.
Constantine denied Lambert's account at the time, calling it "a reimagining of history. . . . She is flat wrong. Those conversations did not happen because I was supportive of the flood district."
Constantine said this afternoon he had no intention of actually voting against the flood tax and had not sought Lambert's vote for the ferry district.
"That e-mail was one line in many, many e-mails and it was just between me and one of my staff people in a moment of frustration in that whole discussion," Constantine said. "I worked throughout that period to get the right [flood tax] package in place so we could approve it, and we did approve it, 8-1."
Hutchison said in a statement, "The flood district is absolutely critical to the safety of our citizens and I am deeply disappointed to learn Chairman Constantine used it to play politics and then misrepresented his role in trying to kill it.
"This email reveals Chairman Constantine put his own political gain over public safety. It's time for fresh, new leadership in King County, not more of the same."
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