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Originally published August 9, 2011 at 8:53 PM | Page modified August 11, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Creighton ad mostly wrong on Hague's position on transit

Metropolitan King County Council candidate John Creighton's claim in a campaign ad is mostly false in saying incumbent Jane Hague "supports drastically cutting transit service."

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The claim: A campaign ad mailed by Metropolitan King County Council candidate John Creighton says incumbent Jane Hague "supports drastically cutting transit service."

What we found: mostly false.

Creighton's characterization of Hague's position on transportation is made in a mailer that asks voters to compare his stands on government efficiency, economic growth and transportation with those of Hague and a third candidate, Richard Mitchell.

Hague is facing three challengers in the District 6 primary Tuesday.

On the issue of transportation, Creighton's mailer says Hague supports drastically cutting bus service.

Hague supports asking county voters this fall to decide whether to pay a $20 car-tab fee to prevent a 17 percent cutback in Metro Transit bus service in the face of a $60 million shortfall next year.

She went to Olympia earlier this year and asked the Legislature to give the county authority to adopt a car-tab fee. However, she says she hasn't decided if she will urge voters to approve it because it might not save as much bus service in her Eastside district as her constituents would pay for.

Hague opposes enacting a car-tab fee through a supermajority vote of the County Council.

In past years, Hague supported two Metro sales-tax increases and co-sponsored an audit of Metro that helped maintain bus service in 2010 and 2011.

Hague rejected Creighton's characterization of her record. "I wondered if this was the same Jane Hague I know," she said.

Creighton's brochure also says Mitchell has offered "no specifics" on improving transportation.

But Mitchell, an attorney and King County Housing Authority commissioner, has said since April he would support having the council impose the $20 car-tab fee with a supermajority vote. He calls the fee a "temporary Band-Aid" to fund Metro, and he testified in favor of it before the County Council.

Creighton, asked by The Seattle Times' editorial board last month about his position on the car-tab fee, said he was in favor of the County Council adopting it unilaterally. But a KUOW radio report this week said Creighton declined to say whether he supports the fee at all.

Creighton's campaign consultant, John Wyble, provided The Seattle Times an email that Creighton sent to a constituent saying he supports the car-tab fee and meant to make the point to KUOW that the county needs to be "proactive on funding transit, not just reactive."

As a Seattle Port commissioner, Creighton helped fund a new South Park Bridge, bring the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor into public ownership and upgrade Highway 519 in Seattle's Sodo District.

But the facts don't support his characterization of his opponents' positions.

Creighton's mailer did not mention Patsy Bonincontri, a former Bellevue City Council member who is also running in the four-way primary.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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