Monday, March 31, 2008

Attorney General Wants You To Comment On PSE Rate Hike

SEATTLE – The Attorney General’s Public Counsel Section, which represents the public in utility rate cases, says Puget Sound Energy customers need to keep an eye out for a special notice in their April/May bills.

Bellevue-based PSE, Washington’s oldest and largest energy utility, wants to raise rates for its more than 1 million electric customers and 725,000 gas customers in Western Washington. In addition, PSE’s parent company is proposing a sale of the company to an international consortium of investors from Australia, Canada, and the U.S. in a deal valued at more than $7 billion. If the acquisition moves forward, PSE will no longer be a publicly traded company.

Monthly bills, now arriving in the mail, will include a notice with details of the proposed rate increase and the sale transaction, as well as a detachable comment card for customers to tell state regulators what they think about the company’s proposals. Customers also have an opportunity to speak out during three public hearings scheduled this spring in Bellevue, Bellingham and Olympia.

“The new comment cards are a great way for customers to voice their opinions to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, which has the final say on whether to approve Puget Sound Energy’s proposals,” said Public Counsel Chief Simon ffitch.

PSE filed a request with the UTC in December 2007 to take in an additional $174.5 million in revenues from electric customers and $56.7 million from gas customers. In addition, PSE has requested to raise the monthly base charge, which all customers pay regardless of usage, by nearly $3 for electric customers and $10 for gas customers.

If the commission approves PSE's request, residential customers will see their monthly electric bills increase by nearly 12 percent, on average, while gas bills would rise by nearly 6 percent, on average.

“We’re concerned with the data we have seen so far from PSE and believe the requested increases are excessive,” ffitch said. He said the Public Counsel Section plans to file formal testimony with the UTC on May 23 with recommendations regarding the rate request.

“Public Counsel also is taking a close look at the company’s proposed sale,” ffitch continued. “We’re specifically reviewing the potential impact the sale may have on PSE’s financial and operational soundness, service quality and customer rates.”

The UTC will make the final decision on both the proposed rate increases and the merger. For the UTC to approve the merger, it must find that the sale is in the public interest and will not cause harm to PSE’s customers.

The commission has scheduled three public hearings to consider customer comments. Public Counsel will be present:

  • BELLEVUE: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 15, Bellevue Community College, Room 130 B, 3000 Landerholm Circle S.E.
  • BELLINGHAM: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, Bellingham Senior Activity Center, 315 Halleck St.
  • OLYMPIA: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, Utilities and Transportation Commission Office, 1300 S. Evergreen Park Dr. S.W.

In addition to the public hearings and comment cards, customers can also submit comments via e-mail at, online at or call the UTC toll-free 1-800-562-6150.

Details about the company’s proposals are included in the bill notice and online at, enter 072300 (electric), 072301 (natural gas) or 072375 (merger) in the docket lookup field.

Seattle Named a ‘Solar America City’

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced today the city of Seattle was named a “Solar America City” by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). As a result, Seattle will leverage a $200,000 DOE grant with $200,000 in local funds on a variety of efforts to promote the development of a sustainable solar energy infrastructure.

“Climate change is a very real threat to the future of our city and our planet,” Nickels said. “We must expand our options for clean, renewable power. Developing solar energy as a reliable power source will do just that.”

With this grant, Seattle will:
  • establish strategies to increase the deployment of solar energy technology;
  • incorporate both building and community-scale solar standards into planning processes; and
  • develop and implement solar education and outreach programs.

Seattle’s partners are Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (SEED), which works to establish a clean, diverse, and affordable Northwest energy system based on efficient use of renewable resources, with maximum local control and ownership of energy assets; and the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.

“Northwest SEED is excited to work with the city to overcome the barriers to widespread deployment of solar energy,” said Northwest SEED Executive Director Jennifer Grove. “We look forward to demonstrating a community-based approach to meet Seattle’s clean energy needs.”

Seattle is a leader among U.S. cities in the pursuit of clean energy solutions and the fight against climate change:
  • In February of 2005, Nickels launched the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Under this agreement, Seattle now leads more than 800 other U.S. cities, representing nearly 79 million Americans, who have committed to enacting policies and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • As a city, Seattle is meeting its commitment through focusing on the development of green jobs, green building, alternative transportation and fueling infrastructure, and clean energy initiatives.
  • Seattle’s electric utility, Seattle City Light, is an important part of the city’s climate protection commitment. Through aggressive conservation programs, innovative energy efficiency solutions, and carbon offsets, Seattle City Light is the first large electric utility in the country to achieve "zero net emissions" of climate pollution.

While Seattle has put into place advanced programs for conservation, efficiency and green buildings, it recognizes that renewable generation will also play a key role in the city’s future. According to solar experts, Seattle gets more sun than the prime solar power sites in Germany, one of the world’s most prolific solar power generators. However, the widespread deployment of solar energy technologies in Seattle currently faces many unique and substantial barriers. These include the need for awareness about solar energy potential in Seattle’s notoriously cloudy climate, evaluation tools and processes for inclusion of solar energy in broader city planning efforts for green building and energy conservation, and creative financing opportunities to bring state, federal, and utility incentive programs to bear on solar installations of larger scale and community impact.

DOE recognizes Solar America Cities as partners highly committed to solar technology adoption at the local level. The awards are intended to accelerate solar adoption in cities - our nation’s electricity load centers - by supporting cities’ innovative efforts with financial and technical assistance. The cities selected are prepared to take a comprehensive, citywide approach to solar technology that facilitates its mainstream adoption.

In addition to the funding, DOE also provide hands-on assistance from technical experts to help cities integrate solar technologies into their energy planning, zoning, and facilities; streamline local regulations and practices that affect solar adoption; provide solar financing options; and promote solar technology among residents and local businesses through outreach, curriculum development, and incentive programs. DOE selected 13 Solar America Cities in 2007, so the latest selection brings the total number of Solar America Cities to 25. For more information about the program, visit this Web site:

Seattle Timelapse

Here is an interesting video I found on YouTube

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dave Matthews Band at The Gorge

Tickets to the yearly Dave Matthews 3 day festival concert at the Gorge go on sale this Saturday.

The Gorge Amphitheatre
Friday, August 29 - Sunday, August 31

On Sale Saturday, Mar 29 at 9:00am!

Buy Tickets

Sub Pop Records Giving Away 3 Scholarships

If your a highschool senior, college bound, Washington/Oregon resident and involved with music you can apply for the Sub Pop Loser Scholarship. Read all about it here

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mayor Nickels Seeks Young Adults for City Boards & Commissions

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is looking for people aged 18-29 interested in making a difference through public service. As part of the YMCA’s Get Engaged program, Nickels will appoint people in this age group to 13 of the city’s boards and commissions this fall.

The Get Engaged program aims to give young adults a voice in city government & foster long-term citizen participation in government. Participants serve on boards and commissions that advise city government on a variety of issues including human rights, historical preservation, city planning and the arts.

In addition to being appointed to a year-long term as voting commissioners, participants join a group of inspired young adults who are dedicated to making Seattle a better place to live through community building and leadership development. Get Engaged is an innovative program that is a partnership between the City of Seattle and the Metrocenter YMCA. The program’s goal is to cultivate the next generation of leaders by highlighting the importance and value of young adults in community affairs.

If you are an adult between the ages of 18-29, reside in the city of Seattle and are interested in applying to the Get Engaged program or want more information, please visit or contact Mona Grife, Metrocenter YMCA, at (206) 382-5005, or via email at
All application materials and instructions are at:

The application deadline is April 28, 2008.

Video from the Seattle Transportation Forum

Video from the Seattle Transportation Forum: Intro with Mayor Greg Nickels talking about transportation. (March 20th)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Washington Local Has A Chance To Be Paris Hilton's BFF

Local teen from Burlington Washington has a chance to be Paris Hilton's new Best Friend. Jake is competing for a spot in the new MTV reality tv show "Paris Best Friends."

Jake is currently in 13th place, if you would like to help this 17 year old get his 10 minutes of fame then head over and vote for him at

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Seattle "Teenagers" Public Access Interview

The Teenagers interviewed by Public Access Media at NEUMO'S in Seattle, WA. 2008.

Here is the latest Teenagers video for the song "Love No"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Post-Proposition 1: The Future of Transportation in Seattle

Friends of Seattle Invitation

Thursday, March 20, 2008
Spitfire (2219 4th Avenue, between Bell and Blanchard)
$10 suggested donation includes a drink

Proposition 1, on the November 2007 ballot, posed a challenging and divisive question for progressive groups throughout the city, including Friends of Seattle. After the failure of Prop. 1, we're all asking: what's next?

Join our panel of speakers:
Members from both sides of the Prop. 1 debate, including...
*Seattle City Councilmember Jan Drago, Chair of the Transportation Committee
*Mike O'Brien from the Sierra Club
*Greg Walker, Sound Transit's Policy and Planning Officer
*Moderated by the Seattle Channel's C.R. Douglas

Our elected officials and nonprofit leaders have been working hard to answer that question, and they will join us on March 20 to share their victories from the 2008 legislative session, explain what they're working on and how you can help, answer your questions and address your concerns on transportation in our region.

Please join Friends of Seattle for our first event of 2008! In addition to getting up to speed with one of the hottest issues in the city, this is your chance to become a Friends of Seattle member and mingle with like-minded folks.

Visit to learn more and then join us to celebrate the future of Seattle.

To RSVP, please email

Monday, March 10, 2008

News President's Song & Video "Sweet and Sour"

The SeattleTimes ran a poll and asked fans to choose a title for a new song that the Presidents of the United States of America would write. The votes are in and the title chosen for the new song was "Sweet and Sour (I Love the Girl, But I Wish She'd Take a Shower)"

Camp Out At Seattle City Hall

Real Change has organized a camp out event to show support for the Homeless that have been kicked out of their encampments

The Real Change Organizing Project is turning up the heat to demand a stop to the Mayor's practice of demolishing homeless encampments and throwing out people's personal belonging without offering any alternative shelter. Join an overnight camp out at City Hall, downtown Seattle, on Thursday, March 13th.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Future of South Lake Union


Condo Conversion Legislation Passes Senate


Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Richard J. McIver expressed delight today that the Washington State Senate passed a new law to help renters whose apartments are converted to condominiums. Councilmember Rasmussen, who has worked on the issue for three years, said, “Seattle is experiencing unprecedented loss of apartments and displacement of renters due to conversion of apartments to condominiums. The Legislature has recognized this crisis and given local government greater ability to help low income renters who must move.” Now the Washington State House of Representatives, which earlier passed a slightly different version of the law, must pass a concurring bill before the close of this year’s legislative session. Councilmember Rasmussen said, “We encourage the House to take quick action to concur with the Senate version of this bill.” Councilmember McIver, chair of the Housing and Economic Development Committee, said, “These are much needed, very important protections for tenants.” The new legislation, Substitute House Bill 2014, will strengthen the ability of local jurisdictions to help low-income renters with the costs of moving. Under the old law, low-income renters received $500. Under the new law, local governments set the amount of relocation assistance that property owners/developers are required to provide that can now be up to three times a tenant’s current monthly rent. Councilmember McIver said, “It’s imperative that the City Council take action as quickly as possible to determine what the actual amount of tenant relocation assistance will be.” The new law will increase the notice of impending conversions from the current 90 days to 120 days. In addition, the new law will prohibit conversion construction until all tenants have vacated the property. In Seattle, over 5,900 apartments have been converted to condominiums since 2004. Seattle has experienced a net loss in rental housing during the last several years.

Councilmember Rasmussen first learned of Seattle’s condo conversion crisis when he was contacted by Capitol Hill resident and noted author Carole Glickfeld three years ago. Glickfeld said, “Councilmember Rasmussen was the first public official who really went to bat over this issue. I really appreciate his efforts over the last three years. This is more proof that when Seattleites need help, they can count on city government to respond.”

Councilmember Rasmussen thanked the legislation’s sponsors in Olympia including Seattle’s own State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Senate Consumer Protection and Housing committee chair, Senator Brian Weinstein as well as Senators Darlene Fairley and Ken Jacobsen who were early supporters of this legislation. Councilmember Rasmussen said, “I am very pleased that state and local public officials were able to come together and take action on behalf of renters who need our help.”

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Artists I am excited to see this year at Sasquatch

Saturday, May 24th
Modest Mouse

The New Pornographers


Sunday, May 25th
The Cure

Death Cab For Cutie

Tegan & Sara

The Kooks

Seattle's Lily Armani on Komo's Northwest Afternoon

Gotta Love Lily Armani

Are You Water Smart?

3 Bed 3 Bath Capitol Hill Townhome for 550k

418 11th Ave E #A, Seattle, WA 98102
1335 sqft

NO HOA DUES! This townhome is centrally located in the heart of Capitol Hill.Only blocks away from shopping, dining & parks.Built in 2005/06 by Glover homes,this multi-level townhome boasts craftsman style w/ 3bed or 2 bed+ den.Throughout the home you will find elegant Oak Hdwd floors,granite and tile countertops, stainless steel appliances(4K upgrade) and an attached one car garage. Relax on your outdoor patio or deck and enjoy the views of DT Seattle,Eastlake and the Space Needle. A MUST SEE!

Contact Me, your agent or the listing agent Bobbi Harrison ( to view this Townhome

It's time for Seattle's "Spring Clean"

SEATTLE — Spring has arrived and Seattleites are gearing up to take part in the city’s longest-running neighborhood program – Spring Clean.

Mayor Greg Nickels is calling on residents, schools and businesses to sign up and participate in Spring Clean 2008, combining the energy and enthusiasm of the community with city resources to make Seattle's neighborhoods beautiful.

“Most people want to make a difference in their community,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “Spring Clean is a great opportunity to get out and meet your neighbors and keep our city clean and livable.”

Spring Clean, now in its 22nd year, runs from Saturday, April 5 through Saturday, May 31, and is part of Mayor Nickels’ Clean & Green Seattle Initiative. City officials estimate more than 10,000 volunteers have participated in recent years.

Spring Clean activities include painting out graffiti, picking up litter and illegally dumped materials, stenciling storm drains, cleaning school yards, removing invasive plants in (planting strips and traffic circles) and planting trees.

The City of Seattle supports these neighborhood efforts with bags, free disposal, tools, and help with project design, publicity, and volunteer recruitment. Spring Clean information, including neighborhood cleanup activities and sign-up packets, is available by calling (206) 233-7187 or by visiting Spring Clean.

Spring Clean partners include: Seattle Public Utilities, Parks and Recreation, Department of Neighborhoods, and Seattle Department of Transportation.

In addition to providing more than 1.4 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area with a reliable water supply, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region's environmental resources.

Seattle Sets New Recycling Record

SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that Seattle set a new city record for recycling rates in 2006, with 47.5 percent of the city’s residential, commercial and self-haul waste heading to recycling bins instead of the landfills.

Commercial recycling climbed by 5.1 percentage points compared to 2005, and for the first time, businesses in Seattle are diverting more waste from the garbage than they are putting in, with a 51.7 percent recycling rate. Single-family homeowners are recycling 64 percent of all their garbage, up 2.6 percent. The figures are based on an annual waste audit conducted by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).

SPU officials cite Nickels’ 60 percent Recycling Plan and the efforts of businesses and residents as the primary reasons for the city’s recycling progress.

“All across Seattle, people are finding ways to waste less and reuse more,” Nickels said. “The great news is that both businesses and households are recycling more than they are throwing away. We are getting closer to our goal of 60 percent recycling by 2012.”

The city’s food and yard waste service and recycling laws, which went into effect in January 2006, continue to make a difference. More than 100,000 households are currently participating in the city’s food and yard waste collection, to the tune of an average of 82 pounds of food scraps and grass clippings a month - more than 12 additional pounds per month, compared to 2004. Businesses recycled nearly 142,000 tons of paper in 2006, an increase of 17,000 tons from 2005.

Seattle’s goal is to recycle 60 percent of its waste by 2012. Seattle’s recycling rate steadily declined in the late 1990s to a low point of 38.2 percent in 2003. That year, Nickels unveiled a range of new recycling services for Seattle residents and businesses, including commercial food scrap collection, more frequent collection of yard waste, vegetable food waste added to yard waste, new yard waste collection carts, new public place recycling containers, and free curbside recycling for businesses.

Seattle also passed a law prohibiting recyclable paper and cardboard and yard waste in commercial garbage. The law also prohibits recyclable paper, cardboard, cans and bottles in residential garbage.

In 2006, garbage haulers left behind fewer than 1,500 cans of household garbage with too many recyclables in them, and more than 95 percent of inspected apartments and businesses recycled correctly.

Last month, Nickels announced new efforts to expand the city’s recycling program starting in 2009. The city’s new solid waste collection contracts, which the City Council is reviewing, will once again set the bar nationally for recycling programs:

  • All single-family homes will be offered weekly curbside food and yard waste collection, which will include meat and dairy scraps for the first time. Food waste will be used as compost for local parks and gardens. Each year, food waste makes up more than 30 percent of our garbage - about 45,000 tons. This program is expected to cut that by more than half.
  • All other recyclable material will go into a single recycling bin, including glass, paper and plastic.
  • More kinds of plastic will be recyclable. Beginning in April 2009, residential curbside customers will be able to recycle all plastic food containers, such as plastic cups and deli containers, except foam.
  • Collection trucks will make less noise and pollute less. Sixty percent of the trucks will run on a bio-diesel blend and 40 percent will run on compressed natural gas, dramatically reducing key pollutants in neighborhoods.
  • New contracts will facilitate the expansion of the city’s Dumpster Free Alley plan, which is designed to cut crime, reduce waste and generally clean up the alleys and business areas.

SPU reports show that recycling continues to stagnate at the city’s two recycling transfer stations, whose diversion rate remained at 17.9 percent. Apartment and condo recycling grew by 1.1 percent to 26.3 percent.

“More than half of our remaining garbage is made up of recyclable and compostable material,” Nickels said. “We need to provide further opportunities for businesses and residents to help our environment and their bottom line.”

In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the city’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region's environmental resources.

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

The Reason I Can't Sleep At Night

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Japanese Gardens are open for the season

As for last Sunday March 2nd the gardens are officially open


March: Tues – Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. *
April: Tues – Sun 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
May – Mid-Aug: Daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. *
Mid-Aug. to Mid-Sept: Daily 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. *
Mid-Sept to Mid-Oct: Tues – Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. *
Mid-Oct. through Nov: Tues-Sun 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. *

* Garden closing times are subject to weather, available light, and impacts of daylight savings time. The garden will close an hour early the first week in March.
Garden's Website

Washington has one of the best run state governements

According to the Pew Center on the States, Washington is among the top 3 states for the best run state governments.

"The center ranked the states based on how well they manage their budgets, staffs, infrastructure and information." (komotv)

We have an amazing state and alot of this is due to our great Governor Chris Gregoire. Just a reminder that she is up for re-election this year.

Re-elect Gov. Gregoire

Join The Grassroots Campaign

Myspace - Facebook

Reminder: Dine For Darfur tomorrow (Tuesday March 4th)

If you care about what's happening in Darfur here is your chance to help.
"Purchase your food and drink at a ‘Dine for Darfur’ establishment and 25% of that money will be generously donated to aid relief efforts in Darfur. By choosing to eat at participating restaurants on March 4th you are choosing to support your neighborhood restaurants in their effort to make a difference in the world." (link)

Oil hits record high

The Seattle Times has an article about the recent record high of oil.

"Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose $1.93 to $103.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising as high as $103.95. That's higher than the price of $103.76 that many analysts believe oil hit in 1980, when adjusted for inflation into 2008 dollars."

With the possibility of gas hitting 4 dollars this summer, this is the perfect opportunity to make plans to find alternative ways to get around the city. Here are some suggestions: