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June 2000 General Meeting Minutes

June 2000 General Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Meeting

Washington Association of Rail Passengers

General Meeting

June 10th, 2000 in Seattle, WA


12:10 Call to Order, Tony Trifiletti, President

Minutes of 4-8-00 were approved.

Treasurers Report: Hans Mueller reported income for May. Of $2,136.32, expenses of $3,351.83, with a closing balance of $5,511.49.

Bob Lawrence, Chair of Marketing and Membership, reported membership as 490 with a gain of 2 and a loss of 2. The Spokane meeting was well attended with a diversity of members and guests from both sides of the Cascades, as well as from Oregon and Montana. The invited guests were impressed with the high quality of meeting, and also enjoyed the Tom Martin annual awards presentation ceremonies. The Spokane press also covered the meeting. (ED. Many thanks to Bob, Jim Neal and Tony for making this a huge success on such short notice).

King St. is still under consideration for our regular meeting site. Mike Skehan agreed to scope out alternatives to Andy’s Diner.

The marketing plan for launch of the Sounder Service this year was discussed. We would like to advertise at the stations, using some posters done by Craig, and also be available both on trains and in stations as guides. Mike Skehan will check into advertising in the stations and permission to board trains and leaflet.

Tony Trifiletti reported for Ron Scheck, Chair of Policy and Govt. Affairs, of completion of the media database. This will be used to issue press releases and rapidly respond to issues involving the organization. Also, key legislators have been identified by committee assignment and e-mail address, greatly improving our ability to make WashARP’s voice heard at crucial times during legislative proceedings.

Ron will be having breakfast with Kemper Freeman to ‘persuade him’ that rail can sometimes be a developer’s best friend. He will make the case, and hope for a new ally.

John Carlin, newly appointed Chair of Finance, accepted the position on the condition that some other members join with him. He is a tax accountant by trade, and serves as Treasurer on several other boards. John will be developing a strategic budget for us, but really needs help in organizing a proper fundraising campaign.

Tony Trifiletti, President, reported on final arrangements and last minute wrangling to organize the "Western States Passenger Rail Alliance" conference to be held in Sacramento’s historic rail museum, on July 22 & 23, of this year. The agenda was agreed to, but required some firm positions to get to an action plan. It is imperative that we leave Sacramento with a firm, unified position for all three states to pursue during the next year, as we are nearing the reform councils deadline to make Amtrak self sufficient. Other matters to be discussed include meeting schedules and locations for the coming years, as well as drafting mission statements and bylaws. Tony asked for Volunteers to fill the 7 slots available to us. So far Tony, Chuck, Mike S. and probably Hal will be in attendance. Tony will work to fill the other 3 slots.

Mike Skehan reported on the I-745 broadcast with Tim Eyman. The broadcast has been rescheduled for June 29th at 10am on KIRO radio 710AM. This issue, if passed and enacted in its current language would kill any public transportation in the state by shifting up to $800 million dollars into road capacity or maintenance projects.

Tony Trifiletti opened a discussion of organizational ‘values’ and direction of the Organization and meeting schedules (how many, how big, how much can we loose or make). Spokane was a success in every respect, but cost us several hundred dollars. Discussion ensued on all these issues.

Tony also discussed a possible joint meeting in Vancouver BC with WashARP and Track 2000 BC. This would likely be held early next year. Some discussion of BC politics and players ensued, with the thought that it would be good for such a meeting take place to further bond our west coast corridor alliances.

Craig Thorpe, Director, reported on the Issaquah Trolley Project. They have a 1920’s Brill, 4 wheeler and are racing to get the downtown shuttle running by the Salmon Days Festival this summer. (Ed. Kudos to Craig for helping to make this happen)

Chuck Mott, Chairman discussed the background for reorganizing the BOD beginning last year, and continuing through this year. From our beginnings, a large 28 member Board has made it possible for all members to participate. This is too large to facilitate meetings and doing the business of the organization. A smaller Board, one that all members actively participate in the decision process, is needed for the organization to continue our growth and effectiveness.

Jim Neal, VP East, discussed the technical issues involved with changing the Articles of Incorporation. His legal council is that we erred in last May’s election, as we do not have formal Bylaws, which nullifies resolution 2000-2 and effectively puts us in the position of starting over to change the BOD to 15 members. His opinion is that the current Board and Officers elected in Jan. of 1999 are still in office.

Jim went on to list considerations to include, Board size, method of electing officers, filing fees, plurality or majority elections by mail or by annual meeting, election procedures and time periods, and regional composure of the Board. He would recommend a 4 region approach, with the following members based on population: Puget Sound 5, NW Wa 3, SW Wa 4, and EW 3.

Jim will work with the Executive Committee to establish Article Changes and a new election by the end of this year.

Mike Skehan, Secretary, resigned his position in order that Noel Hancock could be appointed as new Secretary by resolution of the Board. This appointment passed unanimously.

Chuck Mott reported on the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC). The Commissioners are now becoming split over the final wording and direction of the report to be issued for public comment and eventual passage along to the governor. He has been asked to draft a letter for the minority members representing alternative modes and interests to Chairman Bigely. The report is too staff driven, and lacks consideration of energy consequences of expanding our road capacity at the expense of multi-modalism. Even the word multi-modal has been stricken from the report.

Chuck also reported on a luncheon that WashARP and the National Corridors Initiative is co-sponsoring in Kirkland tomorrow. This is designed to bring business, labor, environment, and rail advocates together. The program is termed "Rail is Real." Many thanks to Craig Thorpe for helping pull this together.

Lloyd Flem, Executive Director reported on a variety of local, state, and federal issues. Centennial station is being used as the model to get "host/hostess" agents in Centralia to fill in for the only Amtrak agent. An agent is meeting currently only 5 of the 8 trains. Lloyd was shown some of Amtrak’s latest ticket vending machines and is quite impressed with the advances being made. The state of Washington is leading the nation in the purchase of tickets on the Internet, and the 800 number continues to improve.

Lloyd also reported on Mays ridership numbers in the Cascades Corridor. We continue to have double digit increases in riders for the second straight year. (WOW!, way to go Amtrak/DOT west). Apples on Amtrak will likely start trial runs with real shipments later this year. That is an amazing accomplishment considering that WashARP only started this ball rolling a year ago. Ray Allred and Steve Anderson of the rail office can be characterized as "all gas pedal, and no brakes."

In talks in Olympia, the short analysis on I-745 is all bad. It severely limits choices for now, as well as in the future. We must work to keep this one off the ballot, and defeat it at the polls, should it make it that far.

Lloyd discussed HB 3700 in DC, which provides the ability for Amtrak to issue up to 10B in bonds for corridor and equipment improvements. J. Dunn is now on board, but we need to build a fire under Adams, Metcalf, and Insley. Washington could leverage as much as 125M with 375M in federal funds for our corridor – this would be a huge boost to high-speed rail in our state.

Mike Skehan briefly made a plea to "Decline to Sign" initiative 745. Meet the signature gatherers head on, use much of their time, and sign a bogus name if you choose to (illegal, I think!).

The meeting was adjourned at 3:05 PM

Respectfully Submitted,

Michael Skehan, for Secretary Noel Hancock

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