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MOU Letter

MOU Letter

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Published by jonhumbert

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Published by: jonhumbert on Sep 13, 2012
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09/13/2012

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Sept. 12, 2012Hon. Tim Burgess, Chair
Hon. Sally Clark, Nick Licata and Michael O’Brien, Members
 Government Performance and Finance CommitteeSeattle City Council
Dear Chairperson Burgess and Councilmembers Clark, Licata, and O’Brien:
 We are a coalition of SODO businesses, labor representatives, environmentalists, and themaritime industry. For the reasons set forth below, we respectfully request that youpostpone any vote on the revised
SODO arena (“Arena”)
Memorandum of Understandingdated September 11, 2012 (MOU)
at the Councils’ Government Performance and Finance
Committee on Thursday, September 13 at 2:00 pm.
The Council’s consideration of this
issue tomorrow not only leaves the public with too little time to analyze the revised andcomplex MOU, but even a cursory review of the MOU contradicts the premise that theproposed Arena location will undergo objective and credible future review under the
State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”).
 
At the City Council’s press conference yesterday,
Co
uncilmembers Burgess, O’Brien,
and Clark represented that the proposed Arena location will be subject to the robustimpact and alternative site analysis required by SEPA, a crucial state environmental andland use law. It was emphasized that the siting decision will be made only after the EISis completed. This is what many of us have requested.However, the revised MOU does not match your rhetoric. Specifically, Section 2 (pg. 2)
of the “Understandings” section
states
that, “The Arena
will be located on the Project
Site, which is south of downtown Seattle.” (emphasis added)
Many of the subsequentMOU provisions are then based on this pre-defined Project Site, and other provisionspresuppose this decision. The list of non-conforming provisions is too long to mention,but with more time, these can be identified and corrected.The bottom line is that,
at yesterday’s press conference
it was represented that the revisedMOU merely set-
up a “process” by which an arena location would be determined
and itsimpacts on the environment and freight mobility would be assessed. But the MOU,released only after the close of business yesterday, clearly pre-selects a location and onlypays lip service to SEPA
. We believe the MOU’s pre
-selection will prejudice the
thoroughness and credibility of the EIS’ alternative site location, will taint
its adequacy,and constitutes an impermissible
“action”
taken without SEPA review.Please take the time to get this right. We assume that these inconsistencies between yourpublic statements and the draft MOU are drafting errors, caused by the press of time andan effort to make as few changes as possible to the prior draft. Your new approachrequires a careful redrafting. Longstanding Council procedural rules ordinarily requireadvance publication of these drafts, with adequate time for consideration and two weeksfor a full council vote. We ask that you do this more carefully.

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