Give new commissioners and CEO a fair chance

Seattle PI 12.14.08

Letters to the Editor

As an environmental organization tracking port activities, we’re ambivalent about the attention brought to the Port of Seattle by the performance audit. While it is good to have the Legislature’s concern, many provisions in the 28 bills introduced this session are not responsive to the audit. Tim Eyman is also drafting an initiative to remove their tax levy and merge the Port Commission with the King County Council — as if the council isn’t busy enough.

Many of the audit’s findings stemmed from the fact that in 1994 the commission abdicated oversight of construction management in passing Resolution 3181. The arrogance of former CEO Mic Dinsmore compounded the problem. Dinsmore suppoter Pat Davis is the only current commissioner remaining in office from that time.

The other four commissioners are more reform-minded. With them at the helm of this previously stealth agency, it’s time to discuss the future of the port, its levy and relationship to other ports. We also need to be mindful that there are major transportation funding needs to which the port must continue to contribute, and doubling trade volume will require significant air- and water-quality mitigations. For example, the tax levy funded the commission’s recent decision to dispose of PCB-laden dredge spoils upland.

While we are not port promoters, before going beyond the audit’s findings, we’re inclined to give the new commission and CEO a chance to show us their navigational skills.

Fred Felleman
Friends of the Earth

~ by fredfelleman on February 14, 2008.

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