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MOU Letter

MOU Letter

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

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Sept. 12, 2012 Hon. Tim Burgess, Chair Hon.

Sally Clark, Nick Licata and Michael O’Brien, Members Government Performance and Finance Committee Seattle City Council Dear Chairperson Burgess and Councilmembers Clark, Licata, and O’Brien: We are a coalition of SODO businesses, labor representatives, environmentalists, and the maritime industry. For the reasons set forth below, we respectfully request that you postpone any vote on the revised SODO arena (“Arena”) Memorandum of Understanding dated 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 and complex MOU, but even a cursory review of the MOU contradicts the premise that the proposed Arena location will undergo objective and credible future review under the State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”). At the City Council’s press conference yesterday, Councilmembers Burgess, O’Brien, and Clark represented that the proposed Arena location will be subject to the robust impact and alternative site analysis required by SEPA, a crucial state environmental and land use law. It was emphasized that the siting decision will be made only after the EIS is 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 subsequent MOU provisions are then based on this pre-defined Project Site, and other provisions presuppose 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 revised MOU merely set-up a “process” by which an arena location would be determined and its impacts 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 only pays 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 your public statements and the draft MOU are drafting errors, caused by the press of time and an effort to make as few changes as possible to the prior draft. Your new approach requires a careful redrafting. Longstanding Council procedural rules ordinarily require advance publication of these drafts, with adequate time for consideration and two weeks for a full council vote. We ask that you do this more carefully.

Thank you for considering our views. Very truly yours,

Peter Goldman Attorney at Law

Jordan Royer Vice President of External Affairs Pacific Merchant Shipping Association

Dave Gering Executive Director Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle

Bart Waldman Executive Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs Seattle Mariners

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