Afternoon Jolt: Jobs and Money

By Afternoon Jolt August 17, 2011

Today's Loser: The City's weatherization program

The limp numbers reported by the this week re: the jobs (or lack of jobs, really) that Seattle has managed to create with a $20 million federal grant for weatherization and green retrofits for homes and other buildings has come to the attention of US Sen. Patty Murray.

Joel Connelly reports today:

The lackluster launch of a much-touted $20 million federally-financed home weatherization program in Seattle is “disturbing” and will get attention of Washington’s congressional delegation, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Wednesday.

“Certainly we have a responsibility to see that any federal money is managed as efficiently as possible,” Murray told a news conference.  She first learned about problems in an article she read on Tuesday.

Murray was in the bevy of officeholders — including Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rep. Jim McDermott — who hailed the federal grant with its stated goal of creating 2,000 jobs while retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

Mayor Mike McGinn joined Biden in Washington, D.C., a year ago to announce the program.  “A triple win,” Biden called it, and the White House press office doled out a generous dose of self-praise.

But reporter Vanessa Ho discovered this week that just three homes have been retrofitted and 14 new jobs have emerged from the program.  The program is still “gearing up” and “ramping up” a year after it was announced, according to the city’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment.

“Obviously, the numbers are disappointing to all of us who worked to get the weatherization program up and running,” Murray added.

Connelly does, however, note, PubliCola's follow-up story: We reported yesterday that the city says they've got 400 homes and 13 contractors ready to participate in the program.

Today's Winner: MOHAI CEO Jeff Bezos gave $10 million to the Seattle Museum of History and Industry, which is moving from Montlake (by the 520 ramp) to South Lake Union Park, in Amazon's neighborhood, in 2012.
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