April 2013 Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes for April 14, 2013

Note:  Due to Mother’s Day next Meeting will be May 19th at Karen and David’s.  Regular meetings will be on the third Sunday of each month from now on.

The April meeting was held at Karen’s home, with 10 members in attendance. Bruce was the facilitator, Mike was the time keeper, Susan S was the town crier, and Mary S. was the note taker.

Letter Writing on Tar Sands: SEAChange members tabled at Fremont PCC to facilitate signing and sending letters to Secretary of State John Kerry in opposition to the use of tar sands oil, which resulted in 161 signed letters. In addition Bill and Carol facilitated signing and sending similar letters from Shoreline Unitarian Church members, which resulted in 123 more letters, for a total of 284 letters.

Member Activities: 12 or more members went to dinner and/or attended a screening of the environmental activist film, “A Fierce Green Fire”. Several other members attended the Idle No More Rally put on by Northwest Indian Tribes, a climate change presentation at REI, a Beyond Coal meeting, and a movie and discussion about tar sands oil at Wallingford Meaningful Movies.

Coal Trains: Burlington Northern RR recently released data showing that its four coal trains that currently pass through Seattle release a total of 120 tons of coal dust per day along their routes. Apparently this is far less than in the past because RNRR has found ways to contain most dust. However, with its proposal of an additional 60 coal trains per day through Washington, BNRR’s trains would release a huge amount of highly toxic coal dust because the Power Basin coal to be transported breaks apart easily and releases toxins that include mercury, arsenic, and uranium.

RSS Feed: For those interesting in using an RSS feed for postings, there are instructions on the SEAChange website. Go to the “help” area and follow Mark’s instructions and/or contact Mark or Mary M. for help.  It will enable you to get email alerts when there have been posts on the website with a brief synopsis, and a link to the full story if you want to read more.

Mike O’Brien Meetings: Mike O’Brien of the City Council is holding meetings in homes as his outreach for his fall reelection campaign.  Mike D was at one with 19 concerned citizens where O’Brien heard their issues and explained why he is running for re-election. The issues raised included tar sands oil, solar power, use of coal, bike issues, and green energy.

Mike subsequently contacted Mike O’Brien’s aid and tentatively arranged for Mike O’Brien to meet with SEAChange members at our next meeting on May 19, 2013. Mike said there would be an “Ask” for donations of $10-$100 for Mike O’Brien’s re-election campaign, but there is no obligation to give. SEAChange members voted to meet with Mike O’Brien on May 19 at Karen’s house as our “featured event” for May and in lieu of the May meeting which would fall on Mothers Day. Members are to bring interested others, if possible (with a maximum of 40 people total attending), and to bring a beverage and “substantial” food items to make a light buffet meal that can be eaten with fork or fingers.

Bill proposed that we also consider a meeting with an environmental candidate who is running to replace Bob Ferguson on the King County Council.

Upcoming Events: Bruce is posting petitions on the SEA Change website under “Actions” for stopping coal exports and the Keystone XL Pipeline, and calling on President Obama to take bold climate action.

On Saturday May 4th the Power Past Coal coalition is sponsoring a Waterfront Business Appreciation event at 12:30 at the Seattle Waterfront Park, 1301 Alaskan Way, at which Mayor McGinn, Great Wheel owner Kyole Griffith and Cary Moon, Perple’s Waterfront Coalition will be the special guests.  There will be free prizes, a raffle and carousel rides!  Come out to show your opposition to coal exports and support for waterfront businesses that will be adversely impacted by the coal trains headed to Cherry Point.


April Action Item: Members wrote letters to President Obama noting the absence of implementation funds in his budget to address climate change issues, as reported by the New Yorker, and asked him to keep his inauguration day promises to ensure that climate change issues are addressed, including through appropriate funding.

Meeting Date Change: Members voted to move regular monthly meetings from the second to the third Sunday of each month. Therefore, the June meeting will now be June 16, 2013.

After Meeting Video: Bruce brought a TED talk by Lawrence Lessig on how a very few wealthy funders control who will be elected to public office and what issues they will address. Most members stayed after the meeting to watch the video.


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