Dori: Is Seattle streetcar mistake gross incompetence or criminality?
This news about the Seattle Streetcar is a big, fat I-told-you-so. This was unbelievable, but so predictable.
I hope you understand by now that when I say things that are extreme on this show, they are always backed up with facts, and with my perspective on individuals and on our society.
One of the public officials that I have been hardest on over the years was the former director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, Scott Kubly. There were people I really respected who were in meetings with Scott Kubly very early in his tenure who told me that they could not believe he had gotten this job. He was in so far over his head, did not know what he was doing, and was at heart a swindler.
These are pretty strong accusations, but I knew my source, and I knew how learned my source was in that field of transportation issues. My source had been in those meetings with Kubly and I knew I could trust them. So I went on the air and told you that Scott Kubly was possibly the most incompetent department head ever hired by the City of Seattle.
I hope you understand now that when I say things like that, they almost always turn out to be 100-percent rock-solid true.
The city originally estimated the cost of the Seattle City Center Connector project to be $150 million. They broke ground, they laid streetcar track, they got beyond the point of no return, and then, all of a sudden — “Oopsy-daisy. We missed it by $50 million. It’s actually going to cost $200 million.”
Now, is that pure incompetence? That someone would miss an estimate by $50 million? Or is it criminality?
Twenty years from now, I swear I will still be doing this talk show (I’ll figure out a way). And in 20 years, I’m going to check what Scott Kubly’s net worth is. This is a guy who bilked the taxpayers out of millions of dollars for Pronto! Cycle Share. Either through incompetence or through criminality, he decided that the city should give his cronies in that business millions of dollars for a bike share project that had no way of succeeding. Just a few years in, the City of Seattle shut down the Pronto Cycle Share project. It was just a transfer of money from taxpayers to Kubly’s friends for literally nothing in return.
And now, the Seattle Times’ blockbuster new report today states that the Seattle Streetcar people have ordered 10 new streetcars at a cost of $52 million. But it now looks like those streetcars are possibly too big to fit the tracks or fit in the maintenance barn.
This is simply unbelievable. You buy streetcars and they don’t fit on the tracks you’ve laid. That’s either gross incompetence or it’s criminality. I truly believe Scott Kubly, the former director of SDOT, should be in prison. He paid a $5,000 ethics fine — big deal — for the bicycle ripoff of taxpayers that cost us millions. Now we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars being ripped off from the taxpayers because the streetcars, his pet project, are too big.
That could be incompetence, or it could be a criminal conspiracy where they figured out a way to get the streetcar companies hundreds of millions of our dollars. We’ll see how Scott Kubly is doing with his personal finances 20 years from now. He since has gotten a big, fat job with a bikeshare company since he got bounced out of SDOT. But this is an unfathomably incompetent, over-his-head man.
We have had criminals running the City of Seattle, ripping off the taxpayers for billions of dollars. Ron Sims — a man of God — had no problem lying to my face in this studio to get billions of dollars out of the taxpayers. If that’s what passes for a man of God in local politics, Heaven could be a lonely place.
So that’s the latest. The grossly incompetent Scott Kubly was the driving force behind a Seattle Streetcar project that has gridlocked downtown, and now the $52 million of streetcars that were ordered don’t fit the tracks they laid.
And people wonder why I am against tax increases.
- Tune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.