Publicola Blasts McGinn’s Nightlife Proposal

My former colleague Erica Barnett posted a great piece over at Publicola yesterday, offering up a must-read reality check on Mayor Mike McGinn’s Seattle Nightlife Initiative:

The biggest, most positive changes McGinn is proposing are things the city can’t actually do.

If Washington State adopted staggered closing hours, it would be one of only a handful of US jurisdictions to do so, joining Nevada, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Hawaii, New York, and Alaska, along with several cities and counties. It’s an utterly sensible idea, but it simply isn’t something McGinn can do on his own.

Similarly, expanding late-night public-transit options is a decision that would have to be made by King County—and it happens to be one the county is extremely unlikely to make. The reasons are twofold. First, King County Metro is facing a budget shortfall of more than $200 million through 2012, and the potential for cuts of up to 585,000 service hours by 2013.

[A]ny Metro service expansion is subject to a policy called subarea equity; simply put, if you expand transit service in Seattle, you have to expand it equally on the Eastside and in South King County. At the moment, in other words, it’s a nonstarter.

Read the rest of Ms. Barnett’s bubble-bursting piece—in which she calls McGinn’s proposal “just another unfunded idea, pushed at an endless series of ‘town hall’ pep rallies, that never seem to go much beyond high-level discussions”here.