Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Taken to Task

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring: Coal trains, cash on hand, the transit agenda, and follow-up questions.

By Morning Fizz December 12, 2012

1. State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-34, Queen Anne) beat Fizz to the punch.

We were all set to critique Governor-elect Jay Inslee's gargantuan environmental manifesto (which Inslee published as a PubliCola exclusive yesterday) for failing to address the coal transport proposal (there's a public hearing on the controversial proposal at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle tomorrow after work) and for failing to talk about light rail. (Otherwise, Inslee's piece was pretty damn inspiring; all-star environmentalist Bill McKibben even linked Inslee's opus.)

Democrat Carlyle, never one to pipe down, got in the comments thread and also posted to Twitter, politely taking the new Democratic governor to task.

Carlyle wrote:

It's a pleasure to read Gov.-elect Inslee's outline of a strategic framework to the environment and economic growth issues facing our state.

It's incredibly useful to begin to articulate a series of thought-leadership concepts on key issues in an open and public fashion.

At the same time, I have to be equally transparent and note disappointment that he chose not to include the coal export proposal and pressing need for transit--two of the central policy considerations facing our state--in the analysis.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle (36th District)

Each day, 18 coal transport trains (150 cars)—1.5 miles long—would trek through Seattle to the Cherry Point terminal outside Bellingham carrying coal for shipment to Asia. The the environmental impacts (opponents estimate that as much as 500 pounds of coal dust would drift off each uncovered car en route to the terminal) and economic consequences (jamming up traffic at key downtown Seattle and Port of Seattle crossings) are among the concerns that Carlyle has about the transport's impact.

Each day, 18 coal transport trains (150 cars)—1.5 miles long—would trek through Seattle to the Cherry Point terminal outside Bellingham carrying coal for shipment to Asia.

2. More from the city hall fundraising files: While we noted yesterday morning that city council member Tim Burgess had an impressive first four days of fundraising (mayoral candidates had to report their November contributions yesterday), we'd be remiss if we didn't also mention the amount every candidate currently has in the bank.

So here you go: Mayor Mike McGinn, whose fundraising lagged last month, has about $33,000 in the bank, putting him in second place (in terms of cash on hand) to real estate broker Charlie Staadecker, who has just under $36,000 on hand.

Burgess, who declared he was running last month, has about $16,000 on hand, and state Sen. Ed Murray, who just declared last week, has a negative balance of about $10,000. 

3. Transit and bike advocates say an upcoming transportation revenue package could include a fee on bike sales to pay to implement Complete Streets, which mandates, among other things, that when cities and the state revamp or maintain existing streets, they ensure that they are accessible to all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians.

However, Transportation Choices Coalition state policy director Carrie Dolwick says the cost to administer a new statewide fee on bike sales would outweigh any revenues the state would make from the fee. "I think when they get into the details and realize that there aren't enough revenues in a scheme like that to even cover administrative costs, they'll see that it doesn't pencil out," Dolwick says.

On the wish list: More transit funding, a "Safe Streets" bill allowing cities to lower speed limits to 20 mph, and adding improved health to the state's transportation goals.

4. After two years with few major successes in Olympia, TCC is hiring a contract lobbyist, Cody Arledge, to push its agenda this year. (Dolwick is going on a brief maternity leave but says she hopes the group will be able to keep an extra lobbyist on hand even after she returns in the spring).

On their wish list: More state and local transit funding options, a "Safe Streets" bill allowing cities to lower speed limits to 20 mph on non-arterial roads, and the addition of improved health to the state's transportation goals. 

5. One outtake from our interview yesterday with City Council member Tim Burgess, who's running for mayor. We asked Burgess to justify claims that he was the key vote on a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, given that the vote was a lopsided 8-1.  

His response: "I don’t make that claim. The advocates tell me that. [Council member] Nick Licata came to me about a month before the final vote and said, 'Tim, I need a fifth vote. Where are you?' I had not reached a decision yet, and I spent the next week or so finalizing that.

Eventually, Burgess continued, "I said, 'This is the morally right thing to do. I said, 'I will support it, but I need changes. So we walked around Greenlake, and he [Licata] responded to me and said, 'I’ll support anything you can get the advocates [for paid sick leve] to agree to. ... I think we did either 14 or 18 amendments but they all agreed to it."

Fizz sees a Cola "One Question" in the works.

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