Our friend, activist Linda Melvin of Ballard, spent Tuesday, June 21, attending meetings and hearings downtown. We incorporated her report about Mandatory Housing Affordability in our post on that issue. Here are her notes from two other sessions.
Public Hearing on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Federal Coal Program
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, at Sheraton Hotel:
- 150 people lined up to speak; except for a few members of the coal industry, all were opposed to coal. A large number of Native Americans and folks wearing red and yellow t-shirts protesting coal. People had driven from Oregon, Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming to attend the hearing.
- Overall messages: Keep the coal in the ground; respect the Indian treaty rights; make the moratorium on coal permits permanent NOW; coal is a moral issue, the #1 killer and cause of climate change; exporting coal is wrong, wrong, wrong. One speaker advised of an ongoing court case in Oregon (Julianna vs USA, I think), where school kids accuse the government of violating the constitution by ignoring research on climate change.
- I was particularly impressed by a 16-year-old environmental science student who talked about intergenerational equity and what coal has done to the earth he and his classmates will inherit.
- Our own Mike O’Brien spoke out as a member of the Seattle City Council and as a board member of the National Sierra Club, specifically noting the threat to Seattle’s water and that clean-up must be done by the coal companies.
You may make comments by email at BLM_WO_Coal_Program_PEIS_Comments@blm.gov
HALA Focus Group, HUB Urban Village
6:00-8:00 PM, at City Hall:
- This was the second meeting of this group, 1 of 4 focus groups whose primary task is to “guide the implementation” of the MHA-R (see above). Of the approximately 40 members chosen for this group (Ballard, Capitol Hill, Pike/Pine, First Hill, U District, Lake City, West Seattle Junction), I counted about 15 members and 10 observers at the meeting last night (at first meeting in May, there were ~25 members and 13 observers).
- Last night, members were invited to spend 20 minutes at each of three stations, discussing Housing Options, Urban Design Options, and Assets and Infrastructure.
- Some comments/questions I heard: need variety of housing, not just apartments but family-sized units; please keep green spaces and use green design; design guidelines vs design requirements?; need balance between housing needs and preservation; need variety of building materials, consistent with existing structures; need community space that encourages interaction among neighbors and ultimately, racial and social equity; do we plan for housing near big employers?; how do new urban villages get chosen? (e.g., Crown Hill is proposed new UV but doesn’t even have sidewalks!).
- Again, will any of these ideas and suggestions be incorporated in the final legislation? Hmmm…
Next meeting of this group is Tuesday, July 12.