Oke’s supporters use same tactics that built bridge

I confess I was surprised — although pleasantly so — when the state Legislature rejected the idea of naming the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge after the late Sen. Bob Oke.

After all, what better way to celebrate the audacity of one of their own than by naming the span after the very lawmaker who jammed it down our throats even as negotiations proceed about raising the tolls less than a year after the bridge was first opened.

And what better way to stick one final thumb in the eye of the constituents Oke stabbed in the back than by attaching his name to the structure opposed by more than 80 percent of those whose views he was elected to represent?

The irony of such a move was so delicious I’m positively shocked that Oke’s political cronies passed up the opportunity.

No doubt the legislators were taken aback by the volume of opposition to the idea of naming the bridge after Oke. If so, it seems a little late in the game to start caring about the wishes of Oke’s victims, but better late than never.

Meanwhile, apparently disregarding public sentiment runs in the family, because I see Oke’s widow is making the rounds of local city councils urging them to issue statements of support for the name change.

Also, I note that Adele Ferguson pointed out that the state Transportation Commission can name the bridge after Oke with or without legislative approval.

And what a fitting tribute it would be to get Oke’s name on the bridge by means of the same sort of heavy-handed, backdoor negotiations that got the bridge built in the first place.

Marty DeMasi is a Tacoma resident.

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