Posted: October 19, 2011
Up, up and away
That’s the web site where you can find email addresses for all nine members of the Seattle City Council. If you’re steamed about ever-rising utility rates, you might want to send each of them an email telling them about the impact of rising city fees and taxes on your business and hiring prospects.
Last week, Seattle Industry posted a report about a letter from city council utility chair Bruce Harrell regarding higher than expected Seattle City Light revenues and cost savings in 2011. Among other things, Harrell asked if that unexpected good news might make it possible to shelve a 3.2% electric rate increase that is already approved for 2012?
City Light responded with a four-page letter that can be summed up in four words - nope, and probably never.
According to the utility, it can’t forgo any additional revenues in 2012 and the letter makes it pretty clear (to us at least) that the utility will never favor collecting less money.
From debt service to emergency reserves to future funding for infrastructure to rising operating expenses, City Light faces on going needs which require it to glean all the money it can get. Just like any business. Except, City Light is not a business. It is a monopoly that can require its ratepayers to cover costs. It’s up to the Mayor and City Council to determine what the ratepayers should pay and they’ll do so during the city’s annual budget process now underway.
Our report last week stated that in 2011 City Light will collect $21 million more in revenues than expected. According to City Light, the utility hopes to collect $12 million in unexpected revenue in 2011. It also hopes for $8.8 million in unexpected savings.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct shuts down for up to nine days starting at 7:30 pm Friday, October 21, and the question is, how much of the city might shut down with it?
No detour route was chosen because - well, there isn’t one. But the Washington State Department of Transportation is posting alternative routes here for drivers who normally use the viaduct and SR 99 to get to or from north, south, west and downtown Seattle. Trucker access to Port of Seattle marine terminals is mapped out here.
The closure will allow demolition of the existing elevated structure south of downtown. By or around Oct. 30, SR 99 will hopefully be connected with the new elevated structure now being built just west of the old one.
Because of the potential traffic impacts, some have dubbed the shutdown the “Via-Doom,” a take-off on “Carmaggedon,” which was used to describe the anticipatory fear and loathing associated with closing a key stretch of Interstate 405 last summer in Los Angeles.
Carmaggedon didn’t turn out as bad as feared. Some argue that concerns about the Via-Doom are also overblown. We don’t think so. This being Seattle, it is naturally all about climate change.
Eons ago giant glaciers gouged out a beautiful setting for the future Emerald City. But as the world warmed and the ice melted one downside of all the hills and waterfront left behind was a lack of north-south transportation corridors. Today, exactly two roadways traverse Seattle north-to-south. One is I-5. The other is SR 99. Take one away and traffic goes gunnysack.
Circulating on the Internet is the following fictitious report (at least it seems fictitious).
A Letter from Goldman Sachs
One last great idea
NEW YORK –The following is a letter released today by Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman of banking giant Goldman Sachs:
Up until now, Goldman Sachs has been silent on the subject of the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street. That does not mean, however, that it has not been very much on our minds. As thousands have gathered in Lower Manhattan, passionately expressing their deep discontent with the status quo, we have taken note of these protests. And we have asked ourselves this question:
How can we make money off them?
The answer is the newly launched Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund, whose investment objective is to monetize the Occupy Wall Street protests as they spread around the world. At Goldman, we recognize that the capitalist system as we know it is circling the drain – but there’s plenty of money to be made on the way down.
The Rage Fund will seek out opportunities to invest in products that are poised to benefit from the spreading protests, from police batons and barricades to stun guns and forehead bandages. Furthermore, as clashes between police and protesters turn ever more violent, we are making significant bets on companies that manufacture replacements for broken windows and overturned cars, as well as the raw materials necessary for the construction and incineration of effigies.
It would be tempting, at a time like this, to say “Let them eat cake.” But at Goldman, we are actively seeking to corner the market in cake futures. We project that through our aggressive market manipulation, the price of a piece of cake will quadruple by the end of 2011.
Please contact your Goldman representative for a full prospectus. As the world descends into a Darwinian free-for-all, the Goldman Sachs Rage Fund is a great way to tell the protesters, “Occupy this.” We haven’t felt so good about something we’ve sold since our souls.
Chairman, Goldman Sach
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