Unless, of course, you have a natural affinity for gravel pits.
Let me backtrack. King County, facing a $60 million budget shortfall for 2011, announced recently that it would be cutting 300 jobs…including 28 sheriff’s deputies. Even though that’s a small percentage of the jobs to be cut, Budget Chairwoman Julia Patterson says it will have an impact on public safety.
Enter the gravel pit.
King County officials and environmental leaders expressed confidence Wednesday they can raise $19.1 million in private and county dollars over the next seven weeks to turn a Maury Island gravel mine into a milelong shoreline park for kayakers, hikers and wildlife.
The Maury Island project appears to be high on King County Executive Dow Constantine’s list of priorities. This won’t be the first time he’s show a willingness to sacrifice public safety for a pet project.
You’d think the County Council would be at least a little bit embarrassed to announce their boondoggle sand and gravel pit purchase and some of the grimmer details of the budget within days of each other but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Apparently it didn’t occur to anyone on the Council or in the Executive’s office that County residents might be disturbed at the layoff of so many deputies while the $17 million purchase was announced with so much fanfare.
This situation appears to be a perfect illustration of why voters are becoming increasingly hostile to tax increases and wary of what their elected officials are telling them.