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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.
Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.
Transfer of Freeway Park Garage (FPG) to the Convention Center
Thanks to those who have e-mailed your concerns to the City Council on the transfer of the Freeway Parking Garage to the convention Center. If you haven’t done so yet, I ask that you please consider doing so. Also, I’d very much appreciate it if you could e-mail back their responses to me. The city council e-mail addresses are at the bottom of this mailing.
Below is my most recent e-mail to the city council. It addresses the issue of notifying the public in advance about this transfer. Several council members have said that there was a public hearing and press coverage on this issue. Please read my response. You’ll see that whole garages can get swallowed in the details.
To: All Councilmembers
From: Nick Licata
Letter to Seattle City Council
I’ve appreciated several of you responding to my draft report about the transfer of the FPG to the convention center. One concern I raised was the lack of a public hearing on this matter. There was a public hearing, or as it was called a “legislative outreach meeting”, on Nov. 10, 1994 on the convention center’s expansion. The press release that announced this hearing, however, made no mention of the FPG transfer. Although financing of the center’s expansion was listed, how could a citizen know that the garage was one of the options to be considered unless he or she had attended that hearing? Also, the WSCTC Task force’s draft report which recommended this transfer came out 11 days after the hearing. So the public had no access to the official documentation discussing this topic before the hearing. Dan McGrady in Jan’s office faxed me a copy of one of the many pieces of literature available at that meeting. One particular handbill did mention the transfer of FPG’s net revenue. But afterwards there was no press coverage of this hearing in the Seattle Times or the Seattle Post-Intellingencer. So again the public would not have known of the transfer unless they were inside the “information loop” of professionals dealing with the details of this situation.
Dan McGrady did provide me a copy of an article by Peter Lewis and Constantine Angelos of the Seattle Times which had one clause in a sentence mentioning the transfer of FPG revenues. This article was published on 11/22/94 the day after the city passed Resolution 29034 supporting the WSCTC’s expansion. But, as I’ve pointed out in my draft report, the resolution itself makes on mention of the garage transfer. We all share a commitment to inform the public as much as possible on matters that affect the city’s budget. I believe that the transfer was not seen as Important because the garage was viewed as a money loser and a management problem. Transferring the management of the garage to the convention center might very well be a good idea but that idea was never publicly discussed separately from transferring all of its revenue. I hope this information serves to move you to reconsider the transfer and retain the garage’s profits for the city.
I also thank Jan Drago for agreeing to appear with me and a member of WSCTC at the Oct. 19th forum sponsored by the Civic Foundation. I hope others can also attend.
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