More great news regarding our city’s streetlights! As you know, City Light has made great strides in improving the streetlight functionality in our city. Repairs are on a ten-day-turn-around (unless it requires more than a bulb change) and we have begun our transition to the brighter, more efficient LED streetlights. Now, there is an online system that enables customers to track streetlight repairs for reported outages. This is particularly useful in the summertime when streetlights do not come on until nearly 10:00. Many people are in for the night by that time and would have no way of knowing whether the streetlight had been repaired. With the new online tracking system that information is easily accessible. As I have noted before, properly functioning streetlights are a core service provided by the city that are essential to enhancement of public safety. This repair tracking system is another tool to advance our streetlight efforts.
Back in 2004 more than 23,000 streetlight outages were reported and sometimes it took months for a light to be repaired. Because of my concern for safe neighborhoods, I changed polices and demanded implementation that has reduced the backlog to nearly 1,000 outages with nearly 90 percent being repaired within 14 days or less. This is great progress!
Almost every day, we see or hear the debate between Mayor Mike McGinn and others on whether the City should proceed on a bored tunnel solution without clear and unambiguous language that prevents the City of Seattle from being liable for cost overruns on the project.
I share this concern, as do the members on the Seattle City Council.
Below are key sections in the agreements that will be executed between the City of Seattle and the State of Washington. Sections 2.6, 10.1, 10.2, and 2.11, demonstrate clear contractual language that describes our position.
In addition to the contractual protections on this issue, many of us have worked extremely hard in building relationships with our State legislative members such that they understand the position of our City leaders. Seattle has pointed out that under existing law, the State of Washington would be hard pressed to find a legal position or precedent to force a local municipality to pay for the State’s capital overruns on one of its projects.
I would ask that you read these provisions for yourself. I do not believe you need a legal background to understand its meaning nor intent.
As many of you know, I always insist on an honest and transparent discussion of the issues. I’ve done this for every major piece of legislation and I am concerned that members of the public do not have all of the information regarding this issue. While, Mayor McGinn has repeatedly raised the issue of cost overruns, I want all of you to know that we still have a City to run efficiently, effectively and creatively — and every week, we are addressing that issue.
Excerpts from the Memorandum of Agreement, Sections 2.6, 10.1, 10.2, and 2.11, follow:
WHEREAS, the PARTIES are entering into this Agreement on the assumption that the PROGRAM can and will be completed at or below the current WSDOT PROGRAM budget;
2.6 Each PARTY shall provide the funding and resources necessary to fulfill the responsibility of that PARTY as established in this Agreement.
10.1 The STATE shall provide necessary funding for all PROJECT costs as referenced in this Agreement without reimbursement from the City of Seattle, except for the CITY cost responsibilities established in this Agreement, in SCL Agreement UT01476, and in SPU Agreement UT 01474.
10.2 By entering into this Agreement, the CITY is not [emphasis added] waiving its position that the CITY and/or its citizens and property owners cannot be held responsible for any or all cost overruns related to the portions of the PROJECT for which the STATE is responsible.
2.11 The PARTIES agree that the PROGRAM will not be complete until the elements in Exhibit D are completed. The PARTIES agree that the current WSDOT budget allocated for certain elements of the PROGRAM is reflected in Exhibit D. Future mutual agreement of the PARTIES shall be required in order to reduce the total budget allocation for the elements in Exhibit D.
On July 7th, the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee held a brown-bag discussion regarding my proposal to explore the possibility of equipping Seattle Police Officers with body-mounted cameras. It was a healthy discussion where policy questions were raised. We are moving forward with getting the questions answered and establishing a cost/benefit analysis to support a trial of this technology.
On July 8th, I participated in an event to help promote the expansion of City Light’s Powerful Neighborhoods Pilot Program. Powerful Neighborhoods is aimed at reaching elderly and low income customers and providing them with conservation solutions like efficient light bulbs, showerheads, low flow aerators and smoke detectors. The intent is to make sure that all of our residents are included in conservation and cost saving strategies. For more on the promotional event and the Powerful Neighborhoods Program please see the press release below.
As you know, streetlight maintenance and a transition to LED streetlights has been one of my priorities over the past two years. You also know that great progress has been made on both fronts.
On July 7th, I participated in a celebration of the launch of our city’s LED streetlight project, with the first unit installed in front of the Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library. This year 5,000 LED streetlights will be installed and 10,000 more in 2011. More information about the event and LED deployment can be found in the press release below.