Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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    Archive for June, 2009

    Jun 27 2009

    City Light and Microsoft: A Tool to Conserve Energy and Save YOU Money

    I am thrilled to tell you about Seattle City Light’s recent partnership with Microsoft which provides City Light customers with a free online application called Hohm. Hohm analyzes users’ energy data, home features and appliances, then provides personalized energy saving recommendations. I know that many of you are conscientious about your energy usage and I believe this tool can assist you in that effort. A part of my platform has been to find and use the smartest software applications to conserve energy, improve customer service and run government operations more efficiently. I believe the Hohm application takes us in the right direction.

    To sign up or learn more about Hohm click here: http://www.microsoft-hohm.com/default.aspx

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    Jun 18 2009

    Stimulus Funds: The Smartest Way to Use Them

    LED StreetlightsAs our country continues to explore ways to emerge from economic downturn, the lens through which I view the use of stimulus funds prompts the inquiry: is it sustainable? I do not want Seattle set up for failure in 2 or 3 years because of an unwise reliance on stimulus money. To that end, I am excited about uses of stimulus funds that promote sustainable jobs, cost saving and energy saving measures. Light Emitting Diode (LED) streetlights are a good example of using stimulus money to fund a project which will save the City money and decrease our carbon footprint.

    Thanks to the efforts of our Executive Department, our City was allocated $6.1 million in stimulus funds as part of the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. The Mayor initially considered using $500,000 for two LED pilot projects on non-residential arterial roads. Based on open, transparent and meaningful discussions regarding the $6.1 million, I continued to advocate for monies to be used for residential LED streetlights. I believed this use of stimulus funds would also fit nicely into our other work to improve city streetlight services, such as repairing lights in groups or phases instead of replacing them only when they fail. The final package describing our use of EECBG funds will now include funding for LED residential streetlights in the amount of $1 million! I believe this is a good investment and I am confident it will be the catalyst to ensuring all of our streets will be illuminated by LED streetlights in the not-too-distant-future. I am grateful that the Mayor has chosen to invest in LEDs more aggressively and our city will be better for this choice.

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    Jun 17 2009

    One on One with
    Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

    On June 3rd, I attended the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) conference in Washington D.C. The conference served as an opportunity for community groups across America to engage in roundtable discussion with congressional staff, discuss the President’s initiatives, and the impact and direction at the local level. Our work on Seattle’s Housing Levy was of interest to many community development leaders across the country.

    I also scheduled and attended a meeting with former Governor and current Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke. One of the main operating functions of the Department of Commerce is economic development and minority business development; these are two issues that have been an integral part of my work plan. In my meeting with Secretary Locke, I introduced the concept of our Minority Business Toolkit. Also, on June 16, 2009, I announced the toolkit at the 14th Annual Report to the Community Luncheon presented by the UW Foster School of Business and Economic Development Center. As chair of the Prosperity Partnership Performance First Committee, I worked with the University of Washington’s Business Economic Development Center to develop the Minority Business Toolkit. This toolkit allows large businesses to have the “tools” to do business with smaller, minority businesses. It also makes the “business case” of profitability to support our proposition that doing business with minority businesses should be a core strategy to leverage the diverse marketplace, workplace and changing demographics of our world. Secretary Locke and I had a great working discussion about how we can leverage our work to create jobs, opportunities and prosperous partnerships.

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    Jun 16 2009

    The 2009 Housing Levy: Now Let the Voters Speak

    The Seattle City Council has been working diligently on finalizing legislation that would put a 7-year, 2009 Housing Levy on the November 2009 ballot. The goal: Affordable housing. We held 8 public meetings and many of us reviewed enormous amounts of written materials to develop, what we believed was a great package to place on the November ballot. On June 15th, the full council unanimously approved legislation supporting the final package for the voters. This is not a new levy. It is a renewal of a levy which voters have approved since 1981 (three levies and one bond). I want to thank Councilmember Richard McIver for chairing the Housing Levy Committee of the Whole and for his leadership in shaping a good package. The $145 million proposal will pencil out to about $79 annually in cost to the average homeowner. A recent survey shows that 73 percent of our citizens support continued investment in housing. This demonstrates the generous nature of our city. We have done our part on the Council. In November, it will be up to the voters to decide.

    The proposed 2009 levy calls for a seven year duration and $145 million in funding, which will be allocated to six program areas: Continue Reading »

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    Jun 15 2009

    We Did It! A Successful Digital Transition: One down, one more to go!

    Similar to the Y2K bug almost a decade ago, the switch at 9:00 A.M. on June 12th from analog to digital television passed by without any significant issues. This switch to digital was the biggest change to television since color television in the 1960s. We are only a few weeks removed from the transition and there are still a few folks out there who still need our help. But the lack of calls requesting help coming into the City is a sign that Seattle was ready for the digital television transition. The outreach and coordination by my office in the last 500+ days with local community groups, the City’s Office of Cable Communications, federal agencies, and my colleagues on the Council proved to be significant and successful in making sure that the ten percent of households in this area that receive over-the-air broadcasts made the appropriate preparations to continue receiving their over-the-air television signal. Access to TV is not just about watching the Price is Right in the morning or Jeopardy at night. It is about being able to receive the news, weather, community information, current cultural events, and emergency information. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless individuals who made this transition go smoothly.

    Now, while I would like to say we are done with the words digital and transition, there is another upcoming digital transition occurring separately from the federal digital television transition. In October, Comcast will upgrade a set of channels to digital and will provide digital transport adapters to those affected in the Seattle area. Continue Reading »

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    Jun 10 2009

    Streetlights: Defining the health, culture and vibrancy of a community

    Have you ever called in a burned out or flickering streetlight to City Light and were told that it would take six to eight months to repair—even a year? Have you called and were told the light would be repaired in a certain timeframe and it took much longer than expected or wasn’t fixed at all? For the last month, we have communicated with hundreds of residents who have told us their stories.

    To fix the problem, on May 27, 2009 I announced my support of a solution to speed up street light repair by using $2.1 million that was allocated in the 2009-2010 general fund budget and allow for it to be spent earlier. By accelerating the work and assigning more crews on regular time to repair streetlights, City Light’s goal by the end of 2009 will be to respond to reported outages within 10 days.

    Operation and maintenance of streetlights is a basic service that the City of Seattle pays City Light from its general fund. Seattle is basically a large customer and it pays a tariff rate designed to cover the costs to maintain and repair the street lights in a timely manner. The cost to light streets represents one of the largest components of a city government’s utility bill and, simply put, the bill has been paid.

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