Caffeinated News

1. The UW Board of Regents (after being pressured by student activists for two years) DISLIKES fossil fuel investments.

From the UW's website announcement yesterday:

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Thursday voted to prohibit direct investment of endowment funds in publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation. The Board also reaffirmed the importance of the University’s wide-ranging sustainability efforts.

The vote is the culmination of a process that began in December 2012, when Divest UW, a student campaign representing more than 20 registered student organizations, sent a petition to then-President Michael K. Young requesting fossil fuel divestment. Over the past year, Regents have met with students and heard from them during public comment periods at regular Regents meetings. In March, Divest UW made a presentation to the Board of Regents in support of coal divestment in the Consolidated Endowment Fund.

“The Regents take very seriously their responsibility for managing the University’s investment portfolio,” said Board chair Bill Ayer. “It has made divestment decisions only a few times on matters it felt represented important values. That we decided to divest from coal companies today reflects the seriousness of the climate change problem. Our action today is the latest element of the University’s long-term commitment to improving the environment through world-class research and state-of-the-art sustainability practices.”

City council member Nick Licata tried and failed to get the city to divest, but the question of whether the city should divest keeps coming back up at candidate forums.

2. Speaking of candidate forums, there was another one last night—this one sponsored by the South End 37th, 11th district Democrats, and West Seattle's 34th district and featuring the two at-large races where (in position eight) incumbent city council member Tim Burgess is facing off against three challengers, tenants rights advocate Jonathan Grant, union activist John Persak, and indie rocker John Roderick, and (in position nine) populist neighborhood activist Bill Bradburd and civil rights attorney Lorena González are the main competitors for that open seat.

Notable: González, seen as mayor Ed Murray's horse in the race (she was Murray's legal counsel), ended up DISLIKING the "nine-and-a-half blocks strategy" between Union and Stewart and First and Fourth, Murray's crackdown on drug dealers that netted 143 arrests last month. Both González, famous for suing the SPD in the "Mexican Piss" case, and Bradburd officially waffled on the lightning round yes or no. But when pressed to explain, González was critical of her former boss's big law-and-order push, noting, as many critics such as public defender Lisa Daugaard and ACLU spokesman Doug Honig have, that it's at odds with the innovative joint city and King County LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program that diverts drug and prostitution offenders to social services.

Burgess defended the sweep saying the police were only arresting serious criminals—those with gun violations or running shoplifting rings or dealing heroin and meth. Roderick countered, saying it was "the same old strategy—the war on drugs with a different name."

3. The audience at last night's forum DISLIKED the idea of building new development without parking (an idea the city is certainly flirting with), booing it down when it came up last night.

4. Sally Bagshaw DISLIKES that she's got a serious challenger. Belltown resident Gus Hartmann, a Google engineer, announced this morning that he's running in Bagshaw's position seven downtown seat.

5. GOP sources say the GOP DISLIKES the environmental angle that port commissioner Bill Bryant took in his announcement yesterday that he's running for governor.

A) Democratic governor Jay Inslee is the premier environmentalist in the state (where's the contrast...or at least one that doesn't make Inslee look good?) And B) Bryant's pitch is hardly credible given that Shell oil was pulling into Elliott Bay to dock at the port—thanks to Bryant—as his idyllic YouTube announcement about saving the salmon rolled.

U.S. representative Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8) probably DISLIKED the video too as Bryant tried his best to look like the popular Republican.


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