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Tag: Godden

Seattle City Council Votes on Bill to Restore Publicly Financed Elections in Seattle

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/24/2013

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
           

Seattle City Council Votes on Bill to Restore
Publicly Financed Elections in Seattle

Proposal to be sent to voters in November

SeattleCity Council voted on legislation today to restore public financing for local elections. Seattle was the first municipality in the country to introduce public financing, also called “voter-owned elections,” in 1979, but has not had an operating program since 1992.  The proposal will now be sent to Seattle voters on the November ballot.

Public financing is a system in which qualifying campaigns are funded in part with public dollars in order to increase the number of candidates running for office and increase the role of small donors in the electoral process. The Council’s public financing proposal would only apply to City Council races and would be instituted in the 2015 elections.

“I’m looking forward to the robust debate about the role of money in politics in the months ahead,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

To opt into the program, candidates must first qualify by collecting contributions of $10 or more from at least 600 Seattle residents. Once qualified, donations up to $50 would be matched six-to-one on the first $35,000 raised. Candidates who fully utilize the matching system would receive $210,000 in public funds throughout the entire campaign, split between the primary and general elections. Voters would be asked to approve a 6-year, $9 million property tax levy to finance the program, which would cost an estimated $2 million per year, or about $5.76 for a home valued at $350,000. Candidates would have the option to run for office without participating in the public financing program.

In December 2012, Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Tom Rasmussen sent a letter to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) asking the body to recommend a public financing model that meets three goals: (1) increases electoral competitiveness, (2) reduces financial barriers to entry for candidates and (3) increases the role and emphasis of small donors in the electoral process. In March, the SEEC delivered its recommendations to Council for consideration, over which the City Council’s Public Campaign Finance Committee has been deliberating since April.

Seattle had partial public financing of campaigns in 1979 and 1981, and from 1987-1991. In 1992, state Initiative 134 passed, prohibiting public financing. In 2008 the State legislature adopted legislation allowing local jurisdictions to establish programs to publicly finance campaigns, if approved by a public vote, and the funding is derived from local sources only.

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City Council Adopts Bold Climate Action Plan Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/17/2013

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

City Council Adopts Bold Climate Action Plan
Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

SeattleSeattle City Council voted unanimously to adopt Seattle’s Climate Action Plan (Resolution 31447) today. The Climate Action Plan is composed of recommended actions to be taken to meet Seattle’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The Seattle Climate Action Plan is the result of a three year collaborative effort between the City and community to produce a blueprint for a prosperous and climate-friendly city. “With this bold plan to reduce our carbon emissions now in place, we must now get to work on implementing the actions called for in the plan,” said City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “In the Energy & Environment Committee, we will begin exploring how to make energy use more visible to consumers and developing the tools we need to improve Seattle’s home and building energy performance.”

The Climate Action Plan includes specific short- and long-term actions the City needs to meet its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the transportation sector accounts for 40% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the biggest challenge Seattle faces to reducing emissions in this sector is funding. The plan calls for new funding sources like extending the Bridging the Gap levy and securing local authority for a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) to help improve bus service and reliability, invest in improvements that make it easier and safer to walk or bike and take steps to build out the region’s light rail system. The plan also calls for supporting the adoption of low carbon vehicles and fuels.

In the building energy section, the Plan calls for accelerating Seattle’s already strong conservation work by enhancing the tracking of utility use, providing better energy performance information to building owners and users, and generally help to improve the public’s understanding and manage their energy consumption. Additionally, the Plan calls for getting the right mix of policies and incentives to spur retrofitting in Seattle’s housing stock and commercial buildings.

“Making Seattle carbon neutral is an audacious goal that takes time, hard work, creativity and the commitment of the City, business community and Seattle residents,” said City Councilmember Richard Conlin. “We have laid out the path to meet this preeminent moral challenge of our time and we will lead the way to secure the future for generations to come.”

“We must ready the city’s infrastructure for climate change meanwhile leading in reducing carbon emissions,” said City Councilmember Jean Godden. “Recycling and composting, as well as preparing for more intense rainstorm episodes with green stormwater infrastructure, are the first steps my committee will take.”

This policy document sets very ambitious environmental goals to stride towards, 62% and 91% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 and 2050 in the vehicle and building energy sectors. At each step, our strategies to reach these targets must go through the lens of the Race and Social Justice Initiative. In order to get residents and businesses to support climate action and include it as a part of their lives, we must be inclusive in our education and outreach with all communities,” said City Councilmember Bruce Harrell.

“While I’m pleased that Council adopted the Plan today, we know the real work is just beginning,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment.

The Plan focuses on three sectors where the City of Seattle can have the greatest influence in reducing carbon emissions: transportation and land use, building energy and solid waste. The Plan also includes a section outlining how the City should prepare for the impacts of climate disruption we expect to occur, as well a section on actions individuals can take to reduce emissions through purchasing decisions.
The Climate Action Plan can be viewed online at: http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate_plan.htm

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Seattle City Council passes South Lake Union rezone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/6/2013
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Mike O’…

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City Council Town Hall Meeting on Climate Action Tomorrow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/6/2013
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Li…

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City Councilmembers to vote on gun safety public health funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/30/2013
City Councilmembers to vote on gun safety public health funding
Seattle – The City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee will consider tomorrow morning an amendment to budget legislation to fund …

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Councilmembers Bagshaw, Godden, Harrell to appear on May’s City Inside/Out: Council Edition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/30/2013
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmembers Bagshaw, Godden, Harrell to appear on
May’s City Inside/Out: Council Edition
The opportunity is yours:…

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City Council Strengthens Affordable Housing Program in South Lake Union

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/22/2013

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

City Council Strengthens Affordable Housing Program
in South Lake Union

Consensus built around the need for more affordable workforce housing in the neighborhood

Seattle The Seattle City Council South Lake Union Committee voted unanimously on an amendment to produce more workforce affordable housing in the South Lake Union (SLU) neighborhood by strengthening the incentive zoning program. The agreement is a compromise between two existing amendments offered by Councilmembers, which were introduced in last week’s SLU Committee meeting. Consensus was built around the need to strengthen the incentive zoning program without discouraging development.

“Today’s decision is an important, modest step toward securing more affordable workforce housing in South Lake Union, so that people at all income levels who work in the neighborhood have a chance to live there,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “This is a community of opportunity where the city is investing over $500 million in public infrastructure, and I think it only fair that the benefits of this redevelopment are shared more broadly.”

The legislation to strengthen incentive zoning includes a 43% increase in the residential pay-in-lieu price (from $15.15 to $21.68), effectively immediately, and a 33% increase in the commercial price that will be phased in over eighteen months (to $29.71). These prices are paid on a percent of square-foot basis in exchange for additional height and building capacity. Collectively, these provisions will produce an estimated 733 units of workforce housing in and near the neighborhood. The original legislation would have created an estimated 406 units.

“After collaborating with local businesses and affordable housing advocates, we crafted a sensible solution that goes far beyond the Mayor’s status quo proposal and brings affordable workforce housing to the City’s hottest real estate market,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Now many more nurses, school teachers, construction workers and other working families can call this booming neighborhood home.”

“The Council’s adjustments in this legislation and the overall commitment to seeing workforce-priced units actually built in these developments will  help more working people find homes in South Lake Union near jobs and transit,” said Council President Sally J. Clark. “That’s good for employees and good for employers.”
              
“The new Affordable Housing Amendment reflects a collaborative and inclusive decision-making process with developers and affordable housing advocates. The Council applied the Race and Social Justice Initiative lens to ensure we were having an honest debate on equity. Council honored its promise of delivering on-site affordable workforce units in this neighborhood,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell.

“These amendments strengthen one of our tools to generate more workforce housing in South Lake Union,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Special Committee on South Lake Union. “I look forward to working with stakeholders and housing experts to both refine our incentive zoning program and also increase the supply of affordable housing city-wide.”

“It all goes back to why so many people come to Seattle — they come because we are a city of inclusive neighborhoods, not just a copy of someplace else. A strengthened incentive zoning program reaffirms our commitment to inclusive and affordable neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Jean Godden.

“These amendments, while not a bold leap, are reasonable steps in the right direction. This is only a modest beginning for making housing in Seattle more affordable for average folks,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “We cannot continue to see workers forced to move ever further from the city and drive long distances to work here. The solution is clearly to require developers to provide substantially more affordable housing.”

The Council last updated the incentive zoning program in 2008, establishing the goal of producing 5% of affordable workforce residential units in the neighborhood of the development. The Council will also consider similar fee adjustments to the downtown incentive housing program to take effect in 2014.

“Even with this step, we need to go further by engaging in the process laid out in Resolution 31444 to review and update of Seattle’s incentive zoning and other affordable housing programs, so we can begin to bridge the gap between our affordable housing needs and the amount we are currently producing,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

City Council plans to vote on the full South Lake Union rezone proposal at the May 6 Full Council meeting at 2:00pm in Council Chambers.

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City Council to host Town Hall Meeting on Climate Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/22/2013

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Cou…

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Councilmembers Godden and O’Brien release statement on white pages directories ruling

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/16/2013

Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Mike O’Brien

Councilmembers Godden and O’Brien
release statement on white pages directories ruling

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission removes phone book mailing requirement

SeattleThe Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) today issued new rules regulating to the distribution of white pages telephone directories in Washington.

The UTC removed the requirement that white pages publishers deliver directories to every resident in the state. White pages publishers must ensure its directory is accessible online and deliver a physical copy to anyone who requests it. In situations where publishers continue to distribute the directories to entire communities–for example in rural communities more reliant on white pages directories–the publishers must create and advertise an opt-out system for customers who do not wish to receive a book. 

Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden, Chair of the Libraries, Utilities and Center Committee, and Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, issued the following joint statement today in response to the new rules.

“We applaud the Utilities and Transportation Commission for their decision and think it is a great step in our waste reduction efforts. This new ruling allows the publishers to deliver directories only to people who wish to receive them. By keeping unnecessary waste out of our landfills and recycling centers we save money and help the environment. By eliminating the delivery requirement we free up more space on our roads and burn less fossil fuels. The UTC estimates that this decision could lead to a reduction of 300 tons of paper statewide, including 150 tons saved in Seattle alone, and prevention of 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.”

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Councilmember Godden announces adoption of “No Child Without Water” legislation

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/8/2013

Councilmember Jean Godden

Councilmember Godden announces adoption of “No Child Without Water” legislation
No more water shut-offs to low-income homes with children

SeattleSeattle City Council today unanimously adopted the “No Child Without Water” legislation, expanding emergency bill payment assistance to prevent water shut-offs in low-income households with children.

Councilmember Godden’s proposal provides an emergency assistance credit twice every 12 months for qualifying households containing a minor.  This subsidy, costing an estimated $26,000 this year, will allow low-income households with minor children to avoid water shutoffs.

“This subsidy reflects Seattle’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of those in need.  We believe in offering a helping hand and making it possible to say that, in Seattle, there should be no child without water,” said Councilmember Jean Godden, sponsor of the bill.

Under current law, a household eligible for the low-income Utility Discount Program (UDP) is eligible for an emergency assistance credit up to $340. Although a generous subsidy, it was insufficient for at least 68 low-income families with children.

Information about the Utility Discount Program is available here, or call 206-684-0268 to learn more.

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