December 28, 12:14 PM click here to comment > 1
The Reader – Update on fossil fuel divestment
From the Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
News, Updates, and Information
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012
Update on fossil fuel divestment
350.org is asking schools, churches and governments to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.
In November, Mayor McGinn announced from the stage at the “Do the Math” kickoff event at Benaroya Hall that we would look at how the City of Seattle can move toward divestment from fossil fuel corporations. Since then, we’ve been examining the steps we must take to make divestment a reality. We will not invest our cash balances in fossil fuel companies, and we have asked the commissions and boards that oversee our employee deferred compensation funds and our pension funds to begin divesting from fossil fuel companies.
Photo courtesy of 350.org
Divestment is just one of the steps we can take to address the climate crisis. Through the Green Ribbon Commission, we are working to integrate our climate goals with our job creation and social equity goals. Cities that do so will be leaders in creating a new model for quality of life, environmental sustainability and economic success. We’ve got a head start on that here in Seattle, but there’s a lot more work to do.
New road safety improvements in Ballard and next steps on Burke-Gilman Trail
Mayor McGinn, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) officials announced a series of road safety improvements to streets and intersections in Ballard. They also announced that the City will conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement study for the project to complete the “Missing Link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard.
In 2003 the City Council adopted a plan to close this “Missing Link” along the Shilshole alignment. Since then, opponents of the project have gone to court to impede its construction. In 2008, the City conducted an environmental review that was limited in scope, focusing on the route adopted by the City Council in 2003. At the time the City believed this approach was the best way to get to a positive end result. However, that approach has led to the project being delayed in court for four years.
SDOT has decided to undertake the preparation of a full EIS for the entire project, which the City believes is the most expeditious path to take in the interest of the project. This process will begin in 2013, but will take several more years to reach its conclusion due to the likelihood of further legal appeals over adequacy of any new EIS. A comprehensive EIS is therefore the best approach to expedite the process, by doing the most extensive environmental review, which will be more difficult to challenge legally.
In the meantime there are a number of improvements that need to be made to address safety concerns for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as vehicular traffic, in the general area where this trail project is proposed. SDOT has prepared specific recommended improvements that will be constructed in 2013 or 2014.
Airport Way South Viaduct reopens
Mayor McGinn joined community members in Georgetown to officially reopen the Airport Way South Viaduct after a yearlong closure. Thanks to the City’s $34 million rehabilitation, the improved viaduct will ensure safe travel over the Argo Railroad Yard for cars, freight, bicycles and pedestrians for decades to come.
“We’re taking care of the basics by rebuilding this important link to Georgetown and south Seattle,” said McGinn. “I want to thank the community for their patience, and invite people to come visit Georgetown.”
Spanning the Argo Railroad Yard, the Airport Way South Viaduct was originally built in 1928 to provide grade separation between Airport Way South and the Union Pacific, Northern Pacific and Seattle to Tacoma Interurban railroad track.
City awards $19.5 million to construct and preserve permanent affordable housing
Mayor McGinn and Councilmember Nick Licata announced more than $19.5 million in capital funding for the construction of five new apartment buildings that will serve homeless individuals, low-income individuals graduating from high-service need housing, seniors, rent-burdened and homeless families and low-wage workers. The investment, primarily Seattle Housing Levy funds, will help create 302 new permanent apartments, including some set-aside to serve veterans. In addition, the funds will preserve 272 units of existing affordable housing.
“This investment will provide affordable apartments while creating living-wage construction and building operation and maintenance jobs,” said McGinn. “We are a growing city. And projects like these help support a diverse and vibrant community. I thank Seattle voters for making these investments in affordable housing possible.”
McGinn made the announcement with Office of Housing Director Rick Hooper and Councilmember Licata near the parking lot of Hirabayashi Place at 424 South Main Street. This project will help revitalize a block of boarded up commercial space into 85 units of low-wage housing.
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Posted by: Nathaniel Merrill