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1. A spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn says the city will require potential arena investor Chris Hansen to pay for any mitigation the city decides is necessary after the completion of environmental analysis under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). SEPA has become an issue because critics of the arena proposal have accurately pointed out that the public would be signing the deal prior to environmental review which, means giving the public okay before all the mitigation costs are known.

"Proponents have to ensure that required mitigation happens, the City does not usually pay for those things," McGinn's spokesman Aaron Pickus says. "The private investors are on the hook," he added, characterizing any additional mitigation needed as "cost overruns" for which investors would have to pay.

However, that appears to contradict Hansen's earlier statement that the total amount he would pay toward a new arena would be capped at $290 million, and that what that $290 million pays for will be "fungible."[pullquote]However, that appears to contradict Hansen's earlier statement that the total amount he would pay toward a new arena would be capped.[/pullquote]

"I'm not going to say no," he responded when asked whether he would pay for traffic or other transportation mitigation near the arena, but we look at our deal holistically. There’s a certain amount of capital investment. It’s kind of fungible in terms of what goes where.”

A consultant for Hansen has not returned a call for comment.

2. BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Railway Company dumped nearly $27,000 into this year's local elections in the last-minute run-up to the primary this week with the majority of the money—$20,500—going to Republican candidates including AG candidate Reagan Dunn and conservative state legislators such as Sens. Mike Hewitt (R-16) (the GOP senate leader), Don Benton (R-17), Mark Schoessler (R-9), and Linda Parlette (R-12). They also gave to moderate Republican state Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41).

A couple of choice Democrats also got some last-minute BNSF cash (typically $1,000 each compared to the consistent $1,800 gifts to the Republicans)—Democrats Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10) (the senate transportation chair), Pat Sullivan (D-47) (the house majority leader), and Judy Clibborn (D-41) (the house transportation chair).

Prior to the last-minute cash download to the GOP candidates this week, BNSF had maxed out to Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and also given $15,000 to the state Democratic Party.

3. In other last-minute contributions (on Wednesday, we reported the latest $151,000 download from the Washington State Democrats to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, bringing their Inslee giving to over $1 million): William Gates Sr. kicked in another $1,000 to Inslee (he'd already given more than $2,000 ... and a skimpy $25 to GOP hopeful Rob McKenna); Democratic AG candidate Bob Ferguson got $1,000 from the Chehalis Indidan Tribe and $1,000 from political consultants Strategies 360; and Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark got $10,766 from the Washington State Democrats.

4. Peter Steinbrueck, the former city council member and arena opponent who now does consulting work for the anti-arena Port of Seattle, told PubliCola yesterday that he supported doing a carbon analysis of all large projects, not just the arena. (At PubliCola's forum on the arena Monday, arena proponents accused Steinbrueck of being a hypocrite for supporting a carbon analysis of the arena but not being outspoken about the environmental impact of a proposed coal port in Bellingham).

Yesterday, Steinbrueck sent us more evidence that he supports carbon analyses: A Seattle Times op/ed he wrote back in 2007, calling for a carbon analysis of all major construction projects, both public and private, including their transportation impacts. "

"This would give us an opportunity to gauge the impact and then find ways to reduce it through less polluting alternatives or carbon offsets," Steinbrueck wrote at the time.
5. Speaking of carbon studies and the arena, be sure to check out the article we published late yesterday: Seattle Port Commissioner Tom Albro goes on the record about the controversial coal trains.
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