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Did Your Legislator Make the Grade?

In 2005, the Sierra Club of Washington State promoted several key environmental bills. When it came time for these important votes, did your legislator make the grade? Find out by visiting the Cascade Chapter's first annual online Legislative Report Card.

By publishing the Report Card mid-term in the two-year legislative cycle, we offer our representatives and senators the opportunity to make changes in their policy making and voting behavior. The Report Card examines how lawmakers voted to protect our state's environment. We encourage you to use it to praise and thank your representatives and senators for their positive actions. If your lawmakers have failed to measure up to your expectations, let them know. They'll have a second year to do better ... if we let them know we're watching!

Seattle Group Urges City to Study a ‘No-New-Highway’ Option for Downtown Waterfront

(Note: Following is a shortened version of an Op-Ed by Nancy Peacock and Kevin Fullerton of the Seattle Group's Political Committee. The Seattle P-I has agreed to print it in December or early January. The Group is calling on city officials to explore options for replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct that do not include building a new highway along Elliott Bay.)

In pushing for one of two retrograde options to replace the failing Alaskan Way Viaduct—either a 6-lane tunnel or a rebuilt elevated structure along the Elliott Bay shoreline—Seattle's leaders are banging their heads not only against financial realities but also against urban development trends. Why has our city—purportedly a haven for progressive ideas—bullied itself into a forced decision between two highway options that place 100,000 vehicles per day on its prime waterfront property?

“Giving” vs. “Taking”- Proposed Initiative Threatens to Change Washington’s Landscape

Overdevelopment is gobbling up Washington’s farmland and open spaces.

Front porch communities and local retailers are being replaced with sprawling, low density, car-centric subdivisions and “big box" or "strip-mall" retail centers.

According to the Sierra Club’s Sprawl Cost Us All report, sprawl is the result of over five decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer.

Everyday a bigger and bigger portion of our tax dollars, are “giving” irresponsible developers the opportunity to continue this type of hopscotch development. Here are some of the ways we subsidize sprawl:

Arctic Refuge Victory for All Americans!

Please call and thank American heros Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. Thank Senator Cantwell for leading the effort to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: 202-224-3441. And thank Senator Patty Murray for voting no on cloture, and, therefore, protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling: 202-224-2621.

The Issue: In an against-all-odds victory for wildlife, wild places and all Americans, the Senate today rebuffed attempts to attach controversial provisions to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the Defense spending bill.

Sierra Club Launches Radio Ads, Outreach to Call On Governors Gregoire, Kulongoski for Leadership in Recovering Salmon

- Effort raises profile of issue as salmon protection groups request more water in the Columbia and Snake Rivers for 2006 salmon migration -

SEATTLE - The Sierra Club this week energizes the Columbia and Snake River salmon public debate with a set of radio advertisements that will run in Washington and Oregon. The ads call on Governors Christine Gregoire (WA) and Ted Kulongoski (OR) to stand up for wild salmon and steelhead in developing a new court-mandated plan for the endangered fish and ensuring there's adequate water in the rivers for salmon to migrate. The Sierra Club is also aggressively contacting its members in the states by phone, mail and email.

Sierra Club Names UW Tacoma Campus Among America's Best Development Projects

The Sierra Club, America's oldest and largest environmental organization, named the University of Washington Tacoma campus as one of America's Best New Development projects, according to a report the group released today. The Sierra Club, usually known for its effort to combat sprawling construction, is making the point that there is a better way to build and produce healthy and livable communities.

"Too often local governments accept poorly planned development, and the traffic that goes with it, because they believe they have no other choice," said the Sierra Club's Carl Pope. "Our hope is that Americans will be inspired by the Tacoma campus and demand better projects in their own communities." A profile of the Tacoma campus and the other winning projects can be viewed at: www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report05

Wind & Wine Tour - What Fun!

Wind & Wine Tour 2005

Twenty–one folks joined us for the 3rd annual Wind and Wine Tour adventure, Oct 15-16 2005. There were a lot of new faces and for many folks this was their first interaction with the Sierra Club. After the initial morning gathering where we introduced ourselves, ate muffins and discussed the highlights of our trip, we all piled into our Flexcar vehicles (www.flexcar.com) and caravanned over 1-90.

The first stop on our tour was Badger Mountain Vineyards, a certified organic vineyard nestled on the outskirts of Kennewick WA (http://www.badgermtnvineyard.com/).

Voters Reaffirm Environmental Values, Reject Sprawl; Sierra Club Volunteers Contribute More Than 2,000 Hours to Help Secure Wins

Seattle -- From Ron Sims’ sweeping victory in King County to Steve Stuart's win in Clark County, with the defeat of I-912 statewide and with victories in scores of other races, Washington voters once again clearly stated that the environment matters when it's time to vote.

Environmental issues in general, and sprawl in particular, were central to the hotly contested race for King County Executive.

2005 elections: The environment mattered

The under-reported story of the 2005 elections is that, in Washington State, the environment mattered. Pollsters and campaign consultants have told us that clean air, water, and wildlife simply do not rank high on the list of voter concerns. Our endorsed candidates certainly heard that too but they ignored it; most of them ran as unabashed environmentalists – and most of them won.

In Snohomish County, our candidate, Dave Sommers, trounced his developer-backed opponent, regaining his seat on the county council. Four years ago, Sommers, a fisheries scientist and land-use analyst, lost that same seat to that same opponent, a right wing extremist, who had busied himself with rapidly converting county open space into ugly, uncontrolled sprawl – and sticking taxpayers with the costs. The Sommers victory, along with that of our other winning Snohomish County Council candidate, Dave Gossett, tips the Council balance back towards responsible growth planning. Our sole Snohomish County Council disappointment was the loss of endorsee, Suzanne Smith.

From Taxes to Transit - Life after the Monorail vote

 SEATTLE WA- The proposed Monorail project fell far short of victory in Tuesday’s election. And while this may be the end of the line for the Monorail project as we know it, it is the beginning of a new chapter in Seattle’s ongoing transit debate.

"OK, there is no more monorail. But by voting for the monorail five times previously -- even with its well-known flaws -- Seattle voters showed that they strongly support mass transit, just not this particular project. Let's talk about the best way to apply the monorail investments in land and planning to other transit projects. Please join us on November 15th, at the Seattle REI, for "After the Monorail Vote - What Next?" said Mike O’Brien of the Sierra Club.

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