In battle, the fate of empires can turn on a small piece of higher ground. Think Little Roundtop. Think Bunker Hill.
Think the Dome District berm.
OK, that’s hyping things a bit, but the berm – which Sound Transit wants to build to bring its Sounder trains from Freighthouse Square to Pacific Avenue – is turning improbably into the central issue in Tacoma’s mayoral race.
Jim Merritt (I give some credit to campaign manager Ronnie Bush) has been playing the issue brilliantly. A much-respected architect, he’s pushing a “post-and-beam” alternative of concrete piers, and he’s has positioned himself as the champion of underdog Tacoma against the overbearing Sound Transit.
His opponent, Marilyn Strickland, has had a hard time responding. She voted with her fellow city council members to work with Sound Transit, which Merritt’s camp casts as a bully bent on ruining the future of the Dome District.
In the middle of all this is City Manager Eric Anderson. Visiting us yesterday, he offered a far less apocalyptic view of the beam-vs.-berm choice.
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