Today in 36th District fisticuffs, Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton responded to yesterday's heated assertions by Teamsters political director Heather Weiner.
After which, Weiner swung back.
Let's begin with Tarleton's statement:
It’s time to set the record straight & reject negative campaigning
As a former Progressive Majority candidate, I am disappointed my opponent has chosen to lead with negative campaign tactics in concert with the Teamsters to deliberately mislead voters on my record. I am running a positive campaign on my experience, knowledge, ideas and proven record of accomplishments.
The latest attack, again orchestrated by Heather Weiner, political director for the Teamsters, falsely portrays my record on clean air and environmental protections at the Port.
My votes as a Commissioner are part of a public record.
The video and minutes of the Dec. 7th, 2010, public meeting are posted on the Commission website - a transparency reform that I championed to reform the Port. Any reader who wishes to have accurate information about the discussions that occurred regarding clean trucks and clean air motions can review them.
Ms. Weiner personally drafted the motion put forward by Commissioner Holland. When the draft was circulated for Commission review three days beforehand, the digital footprint showed the original author. Certainly Ms. Weiner must have been disappointed that the proposed policy, which would have cost the taxpayers $50 million and made the Port the owner of 300 trucks, was not adopted. I proposed a different solution to achieve the clean-air goals that the Commission approved back in 2008. My solution kept people employed as trade recovered, reduced diesel emissions by more than 700 metric tons, improved the health of thousands of people in South Seattle, and cost $7.5 million in the first year - $5 million of which came from a federal government grant. Would the public interest have been better served if the Port had given $50 million to a private truck manufacturer and still not had any idea of how we would get to cleaner air two years ahead of the EPA Clean Air mandate? That is what Ms. Weiner’s draft proposal would have accomplished – nothing. That is why I offered my Clean Trade motion, as an alternative that would lead to real results. The Commission passed my plan in January 2011 on a 5-0 vote.
The responsibility of an elected official is to achieve long-term solutions in a way that benefits the public interest and the quality of life for our citizens while being fully accountable for how we use public money. The proposed motions where I abstained or voted to table were those I believed to be bad policy and not in the best interests of King County's taxpayers. Voters re-elected me with nearly 60 percent of the vote in 2011. The Washington Conservation Voters endorsed me in 2007 and 2011, as did the Cascade Bicycle Club.
To set the record straight, this is the Teamsters’ end game: the Teamsters, locally and nationally, want to make private truckers public employees of public ports. The courts and Congress have rejected this model because of our federal laws that prohibit it. The Teamsters tested that federal law (the Interstate Commerce Act) in federal court. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, ruling last year that public ports could not ban private truck operators.
Regarding the cruise ship waste issue: we took a 5-0 vote in Spring 2012 to prohibit for the first time ever cruise ships discharging at berth. This is a mandatory requirement written into the berthing agreements: a binding contract between the Port and the cruise ship companies, subject to fines and other penalties should the cruise ships violate the agreement.
The Department of Ecology memorandum referred to in Ms. Weiner's post is a voluntary agreement. It has no legal provisions to prohibit wastewater discharge. Moreover, it is not binding and cruise lines can opt out of it at any time. I believe the people of Seattle and the health of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound deserve to have the Port prohibit cruise ship dumping at berth as part of a legally binding contract. In addition, all the cruise ships are using cleaner fuels and/or shore-power hook-ups while at berth as a result of Commission policy mandates, all of which I have supported.
I currently have the support of environmental champions Jeanette Henderson, board chair of the Sightline Institute; Ross Macfarlane, senior advisor on business partnerships at Climate Solutions; Kathe Fowler, Maryanne Tagney Jones, and others because of my extensive clean-trade initiatives at the Port. I'm against coal trains that crisscross our state, endangering our communities and preventing us from enjoying our public parks, waterfront, and bike and walking paths. I have stated publicly for months that I am opposed to using public money to support a fossil fuel economy - all our energy infrastructure investments should be in clean energy.
Here are my other environmental accomplishments:
* Launching one of the nation’s leading aviation biofuels initiatives in partnership with Alaska Airlines, Climate Solutions, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Eastern Washington, UW and WSU – creating the foundation for a new clean fuels source of supply in our state;
* Designing the financing strategy to ensure a closed-loop stormwater system for Sea-Tac Airport’s new Rental Car Facility, which created 3,700 family-wage jobs while under construction and is now the second-largest Silver LEEDS-Certified building in Washington;
*Opening the first public beach and recreational boating access on the Lower Duwamish River after decades of clean-up and habitat restoration;
* Supporting the Lower Duwamish Habitat Restoration Plan that creates 23 new restored habitat wetlands on privately held land on the river and planning an additional 40 acres of restored habitat and wetlands in the coming decades;
* Teaming with Puget Sound Partnership, Department of Ecology, EPA, Lower Duwamish Clean-Up Coalition, and tribal nations to prepare for cleaning up the Lower Duwamish River, including spending $60 million on early-action Superfund clean-up efforts;
*Mandating that all cruise ships use shore-power hook-ups and cleaner fuels with100 percent compliance by the cruise ship industry, which brings more than $400 million into the local economy each cruise season;
* Funding bike paths along the Lower Duwamish River and Harbor Island while working with King County and the cities of Redmond and Kirkland to develop trails along the Eastside Rail Corridor; and
*Reporting to Al Gore’s Global Climate Change Commission for seven years to study climate change with international partners and tackle environmental clean-up, restoration, and recovery in Russia and Eastern Europe.
And now, Weiner's response:
The lady doth protest too much, me thinks. Corporate polluters don’t tend to give thousands of dollars to Seattle-area environmental champions.