Friday Jolt: Mayor McGinn and Coal Trains
Today's (sore) winner: Mayor Mike McGinn.
Although McGinn has complained ceaselessly about the city council's cuts to his proposed budget, the budget the council's finance committee adopted this morning (and will finalize at the full council meeting on Monday, Nov. 19) largely keeps McGinn's budget intact, with a few minor changes. McGinn got most of what he wanted in this year's city budget.
The biggest, as we've reported, include: The elimination of funding for Communities Uniting Rainier Beach, a youth-violence prevention program; postponement of a proposal to expand the city's youth-violence prevention initiative to serve 400 more kids until the program develops metrics to show whether it works; the postponement of a study of a streetcar on Eastlake; and the elimination of a proposed automatic gunshot-locator system, which would have involved stationing gunshot-locating machines equipped with cameras at 52 locations across the city.
But McGinn got most of what he wanted, including funding for up to 20 new police officers by the end of 2014 (the exact number will depend on how many new officers are recruited and how many existing officers leave); funding to advance the city's Transit Master Plan; money to study high-capacity transit to Ballard; and ongoing funding for the city's pay-by-cell-phone parking program, which the council considered cutting.
The council also added money for programs the mayor supports, including new money for greenways around the city and funding to move forward on a streetcar line connecting the South Lake Union streetcar to Pioneer Square.
Today's loser: Coal trains.
The US Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal to send as many as 18 mile-and-a-half-long coal trains a day, or 48 million tons of coal a year, through Seattle at North Seattle Community College on November 13. However, after crowds of angry residents showed up to protest at previous hearings in other cities that would be impacted by the trains, the Corps has rescheduled its hearing for December 13 and moved it to a much larger venue—the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
Forty-eight million tons of coal, Sightline points out, is enough to create a pile covering the top of the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle and extending from Pike Place Market to the Smith Tower in Pioneer Square.