Council meeting to block Seattle tunnel vote canceled suddenly

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on May 17, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 2:07 PM

SEATTLE – A meeting at City Hall aimed at blocking a public vote on the deep bore tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct was canceled at the last minute Tuesday.

The meeting was in response to a judge's ruling last Friday that the public could vote on the controversial tunnel.

The legal part of this is complicated. The judge ruled that a tiny part of the ordinance allowing the tunnel to go forward could be held to a public vote. The council was going to meet Tuesday to change the wording to block the vote. But that meeting was suddenly canceled, with the council saying tweaking the language would be unnecessary and inappropriate.

"Are we doing this in such a quick fashion that perhaps it might be perceived as not in the spirit deliberative democracy which is what we practice," said City Council President Richard Conlin.

Folks who gathered signatures for a vote say the council is far from acting democratic.

"They need to stop these efforts where they're trying to make back room deals and work behind the public's knowledge and just be straight with us," said tunnel opponent Drew Paxton.

The judge is expected to issue a second ruling Friday to clarify what exactly the public is entitled to vote on.

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