#TeresaTuesdays – Budget Update, Safe Streets for All, and more!

November 14th, 2018

Budget Update – Week Eight

We are closing in on the end of budget season. Last Wednesday, Budget Committee Chair Sally Bagshaw unveiled her balancing package, and we were excited to see many of our priorities included – funding and support for our public health communicable disease response, funding for the Home Zone pilot project to make our street safer, a review of our jail contracts with King and Snohomish Counties, funding for staff to assist in ensuring Seattle fully participates in the 2020 Census, just to name a few.

This is a good starting point, and we are preparing for tomorrow’s budget committee, where we will consider various amendments to the Chair’s package. For our office, there are three major areas that we are working on:

Human Service Provider Wages
As we noted in the last Teresa Tuesday, one of my top priorities is to make sure that workers provide services to the most vulnerable in our community – our homeless neighbors – should not be earning poverty wages themselves. That is why I have been working with Labor and colleagues to advance a budget amendment that would ensure all human service providers contracted by the city get an inflationary adjustment. The Mayor’s budget included a 2% increase for certain human service providers, which was a start, and I look forward to continuing the efforts to lift wages for all working the front lines providing human services.

 

A Racial Equity Toolkit on Seattle’s Growth Strategy
We know that it’s critical that the city work with community to evaluate how all of our city policies impact communities of color and those most at risk, especially when it comes to policies that may be contributing to displacement. We can lay the groundwork for a truly equitable growth strategy through an amendment that creates a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) to ask for a racial equity toolkit (RET) to be performed prior to commencement of the next major Comprehensive Plan, which determines our zoning and urban village strategy. It is critical that we embed this analysis in our planning prior to advancing a Comprehensive Plan so that more working families can afford to live in the city where they work or retire.

 

Reform the Criminal Justice System – In addition to evaluating our contract with King County Jail and removing our Snohomish County Jail Contract, we are advancing language in the budget to do an analysis of our criminal justice system overall. Working with community members most impacted by the criminal justice system, labor unions, and members of the Seattle Municipal Court, I am hopeful that we can reform our system and invest upstream in restorative justice models and prevent more individuals from getting wrapped up in the criminal justice system in the first place.

More to come this week! Thank you to those who have emailed colleagues in support of theses priorities. With your continued support, I believe we will be successful moving these amendments, and continuing to move our city in a more equitable direction!

Human Service Wages Matter!
In their Own Words:

 

Human service providers are (1) dominated by women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks, (2) and are severely underpaid, and (3) they are severely underpaid. Many workers earn  of those just over minimum wage, are struggling to make ends meet due to devaluation of their work, and has gone without inflationary adjustments for almost a decade. We must do better, and while the wage increase proposed in this budget of 2% is relatively small, it’s the first step in what must be a concerted effort by policy makers to ensure our investments in human infrastructure are equitable with other city contracted work.

Let’s hear from those who are living this experience.

  • Cassandra P.: “I worked at DESC for three years as both at the DESC Main Shelter and at the Canaday House. In that time, I have seen a lot of coworkers leave due to the low wages. It is hard for me and my clients when my coworkers leave. When clients have to change case managers every six months, it stalls their progress and makes it difficult for them to build trust. I understand why my coworkers leave: It’s hard to live on such low wages. In order to pay my rent and student loans, I have to work overtime every pay period. Because of my low wages, I qualify for the same low-income housing as DESC clients, meaning that I and some of my coworkers are competing for the same limited housing as our clients. Even with the overtime and low-income housing, I maybe have $200 a paycheck left over after my bills are paid. I want to stay at my job, because I believe in the mission and care about my clients, but it’s hard for me to remain in my position at this pay rate.”  
  • Robert B.: “I worked at DESC since 2009. I worked the nightshift at the Queen Anne Shelter, where I offered safety, dignity and hope for 100 of this city’s most vulnerable men. In order to make ends meet and support my family, I work a second job at Low Income Housing Institute totaling a 67-hour work week. I am unable to afford the cost of rent in Seattle and commutes an hour from Kent in order to serve our neighbors experiencing homelessness in Seattle.” 
  • Meghan G: “I am a Residential Counselor working at the DESC Interbay Project. I love my work and the residents, but regularly I have to work overtime to make ends meet, and to ensure continuity of care. I spend more than 50% of my income on Seattle rent. Because of the extra hours, I find it hard to schedule personal time. I want to go to school and to become a lawyer and serve marginalized communities, but because of the need to work overtime I am unable to take more than one class at a time.”

We hear so often that one job should be enough, and that is so true for the women and men working directly with our most vulnerable neighbors. After this budget season I will continue the fight to lift wages for service providers – it’s the right thing to do, and a smart investment to improve outcomes for our neighbors living outdoors.

Safe Streets for All Users

Time and again my office fields concerns from folks about the lack of safe streets. While often we see news reports about the need for safe infrastructure for cyclists, this extends to safe routes for pedestrians. Throughout the city – especially in areas with histories of dis-investment – we see cracked and unfinished sidewalks, sidewalks that end in random spots, and, of course, areas with no sidewalks at all.

Too often these areas with naturally unsafe infrastructure serve as throughputs for cars avoiding arterials, making them even less safe for seniors out on a stroll, kiddos visiting their friends, or families enjoying a ride. And with uneven sidewalks in need of repair, we see people falling too often, something that can be devastating for some of our neighbors.

Part of the budget this year includes two adds from my office to advance safe street investments. The first – the Home Zone pilot project – will fund improvements for neighborhood streets that are near arterials, but lack sidewalks. Through modifications to the streets that discourage use by drivers trying to bypass arterials at too-high speeds, this concept (which is widely used in other cities) calms traffic and discourages people from driving through our streets at high speeds.

The second requests the Seattle Department of Transportation to identify funding gaps for completion of the Thomas Street Greenway in Uptown. Once the tunnel is complete, the plan to connect Uptown with South Lake Union includes connecting multiple roads, and the conversion of Thomas Street into a greenway, prioritizing pedestrian and cyclist use. Once completed, this will be the only fully connected east-west corridor that prioritizes safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and will be a vital add in advance of the re-opening of Key Arena for our Seattle Storm and a new NHL team (by the way – do you like the name, Seattle Freeze?).

But there is much more to do. The Mayor’s office will be presenting her priorities for a Move Seattle “reset” later this year. As part of the levy package and campaign, many promises were made for safe streets and transit prioritization. I’ll be working closely with community advocates and colleagues to ensure that the re-set prioritizes investments that keep our kiddos and seniors safe, and ensure that transit is a reliable, fast option to single-occupancy vehicle use.

What’s Next?

Tomorrow we vote on budget amendments, and this coming Monday the Budget Committee will meet following Council Briefing at 10:30 a.m. to vote on a final budget package. Full Council will hold a final vote Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Thank you for your continued engagement to ensure our budget meets as many needs as possible for residents across Seattle.

There are various issues we anticipate taking up before the end of the year, and we are gearing up for a busy 2019 in my committee (Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights). In addition, the Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability is expected to re-convene in December, learning more about what other jurisdictions across the country have done to scale up investments in human infrastructure that make a meaningful impact. There is a lot to do, and I look forward to continued collaboration for a more just and equitable city!

 


#TeresaTuesdays – Hate Has No Place Here; An Affordable Housing Infusion; Budget Week 6; and more!

October 30th, 2018

Hate Has No Place Here

“We must stop accepting the illusion that this is the view of a few troubled individuals. It is not. Something larger is happening, and it is now upon us to respond.” ~ Rabbi Will Berkovitz, of the nonprofit Jewish Family Services at the Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle memorial for the people who were killed in a shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue.

Over the last weeks, we have seen atrocious actions across the country, seeking to punish critics of the federal administration, seeking to silence free press, seeking to advance white supremacy. It’s no surprise given the rhetoric from the darkest corners of white nationalism in the United States that this domestic terrorism is becoming more brash, more violent, and actualizing a message from the President toward his perceived enemies – the press, his critics, people of color, and people of different faiths.

This acrimony has been seen and felt locally, with white-supremacy groups aligning with anti-homelessness activists to stir discord and resentment in our city. We must reject the divisive, often violent discourse from the far right across the country, and here at home. Ours is a great city, and I refuse to bend to those who would turn us against each other in order to advance an agenda that takes care of those who have plenty at the expense of our neighbors most in need.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. As your Councilmember, I am continuing to fight for justice for our sisters and brothers, and will refuse to be bowed by efforts to legislate compassion from our duty as government. Instead, I continue to stand, and will continue to stand, for taking every opportunity to do what is right.

My heart is heavy, and I know how difficult it can be to find hope when times are so dark. But I know that, when we work together and lift each other, we do make positive change. I invite you all to continue to stand for doing what’s right, doing what is best for our neighbors and families in our communities.

$30 Million for Affordable Housing

Late last week, I was able to join leaders who helped celebrate a collaborative agreement that we came to with the Washington State Convention Center. Drum roll… we expedited $30 million for affordable housing that will be available this year to fund much needed housing efforts across the city. Through conversations with Pine Street, the Community Package Coalition, and with support from Councilmembers Johnson and O’Brien, we now have $30 million new dollars this year for housing needed today!

I was particularly touched by the words from Marty Kooistra, Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium, a coalition of affordable housing developers:

“Thank you to everyone for pulling together the opportunity to celebrate this announcement. This is truly a moment in time when we should celebrate. Permit me to share just a few thoughts as to why:

First, we are dealing with a significant affordable housing crisis. In King County alone if we were to house everyone who is without a home or cost burdened we would need to create 156,000 affordable homes today. Our attention must be laser focused on unleashing the resources our prosperous region has to overcome this huge gap.

Second, this investment is part of an unprecedented public benefits package that was labored over with intense, focused and sometimes challenging negotiations. It was hard won by the negotiating parties led by the members of the Community Package Coalition and Pine Street Group. Everyone had to set aside their deepest convictions and find a comprised path forward. It was truly a feat that should be recognized here today and let me extend my thanks to those brave folks.

Finally, and related to this last point, is the need for us to come together across sectors to find solutions. The recent experience with the Employee Hours Tax served to drive us apart and to enliven distracting finger pointing and unhealthy rhetoric. We all need to admit that as it relates to this wicked problem of the lack of affordable housing and homelessness that we are all right and we are all wrong. The solutions are ones we will find when we come together not drive wedges. Let us celebrate this moment where we have agreed to a solution that comes at the right moment in time.”

Excellent advice. Thank you, Marty, and thanks for all that Housing Development Consortium does.

We are Deep in the Budget Discussions

We’re entering week 6 of council’s budget deliberations.  This week, we’ll be hearing about budget items Councilmembers have identified as areas of interest.  After listening to many of you, and meeting with many of you across Seattle, I’ve developed an initial list of priorities:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Ensuring we have funding for affordable housing and that our development is equitable is a priority of mine. The proposed budget essentially flatlines investment in affordable housing in Seattle because we don’t have additional revenue. I am advancing a proposal to issue bonds against the Short-Term Rental Tax source to support equitable development projects that have a housing component. By front-loading this investment today, we can ensure that future generations benefit from access to open spaces, community centers, small business opportunities, and the community assets that enhance affordable housing investment.

 

EQUITABLE INVESTMENTS: Examining our city’s policies around Urban Villages and ensuring we have equitable growth strategies is a priority of mine. For 24 years, we have seen growth directed into certain parts of the city mainly through the Urban Village strategy, which squishes development to select pockets around the city. But studies have shown a possible disparate impact from this practice, restricting the opportunity for more affordable homes to be built around the city, and possibly contributing to communities of color and low-income households being displaced. So, I am asking for a Racial Equity Toolkit to be done on Seattle’s growth strategy, to ensure it is rooted in equity across our city.

 

PROMOTING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: This past year we have seen an increase in several infectious diseases like Hepatitis A, influenza, tuberculosis and pneumonia, among others, that put those experiencing homelessness, and the community at large, at increased risk of severe illness or death. People experiencing homelessness often have limited access to medical care and have difficulty getting prompt treatment when needed. In this budget, I’m advocating for a communicable disease response team to address the spread and prevention of diseases among our neighbors sleeping outdoors and other vulnerable populations, and to address health needs in encampments and the broader unsheltered population.

 

COUNT US IN: Ensuring our decennial Census coming up in 2020 counts every resident is a priority of mine. Census counts determine how much federal funding we receive and help determine our national political representation, so, it’s important!  The federal government is proposing adding a citizenship question into the Census – discouraging many of our neighbors from participating. I am advancing a proposal to ensure we do this in coordination with our community partners, so we have a key person responsible for coordinating with our community partners, with the County and State’s response, and more. We don’t what to have future federal funding cut short because our full population wasn’t counted. It’s the fiscally wise thing to do, and by law we must count all people in our census. We must ensure our community isn’t intimidated by the census, and that all residents are counted in.

CHILD CARE: Ensuring our City’s workforce has what they need to make ends meet and have accessible childcare is a priority of mine. As our City grows, our needs grow. Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the country to have childcare, especially for infant care. Access and affordability is a problem for most families regardless of income. Our downtown corridor, where many Seattle residents work, has very few childcare facilities with long waitlists and expensive rates. This leads to parents having to choose whether or not to join the workforce, figure out how to cobble together childcare, or travel long distances for childcare adding to stress.  I’m supporting budget items to figure out how we add more childcare facilities around the city and hope to lead by example with opening a facility right here at City Hall.

HUMAN SERVICE WAGES: Ensuring that those who provide care and service to our most vulnerable homeless community aren’t themselves homeless and living in poverty is a priority of mine. We’ve heard stories of human service providers who work as case managers, mental health counselors, chemical decency health professionals, and more living in the cars, going to food banks, losing their homes, simply because we don’t pay them enough to do this critical work. Thus, turnover and vacancy rates are high at our most critical organizations – that is no way to build trust with a vulnerable population and help stabilize folks. I’m working to support at the very least a 3.5% inflationary adjustment for our human service providers.

*Icons made by Vectors MarketFreepik, and geotatah from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

YOU all Made This Possible

I was honored to be named as one of Seattle Magazine’s most influential people in Seattle. It is incredibly humbling to be on the list and to join such amazing local leaders fighting for a more just and equitable city. Thank you to local journalist Erica C. Barnett for such a great write-up.

As this week comes to a close, I’m incredibly grateful for the recognition from Seattle magazine and deeply appreciate all your notes of congratulations. I didn’t accomplish all we’ve done this year by being the loudest voice or going it alone. We did this by working together, with community and with my colleagues on Seattle City Council, by finding commonality, and by rooting policy changes in the experiences of those most affected. TOGETHER we passed the domestic workers bill of rights, higher wages for workers with disAbilities, prevented eBay-like rent-bidding online, expedited $30 million for affordable housing investments, prioritized public property for affordable housing and the public good – and so much more. These were unanimous votes, with large turnout and support from the communities affected.

So yes, stay mad about the injustices and inequity facing our city and nation, this can’t be the new normal and we must fight back. But turn toward each other, fight the “isms” that divide us and not one another, and let’s go make the changes we need together.

2018 was the beginning, and I am incredibly honored to be able to continue our efforts for greater shared prosperity and equity in access to housing and opportunity.

Don’t Forget to Vote!

We are ONE WEEK away from election day, and your ballot is due postmarked no later than Tuesday, November 6. Thanks to a change made by the County (and then the state) earlier this year, your ballot no longer requires postage to be sent in! You can also leave your ballot in a drop-box, located throughout Seattle and King County.

Lost your ballot? If you lost your ballot, or didn’t receive it, check in with King County Elections, and they will ensure you are provided with a new ballot, and that your vote counts. Another option: in-person voting at one of the Accessible Voting Centers.


#TeresaTuesdays – Budget Deliberations Continue; Renter and Landlord Support; #Union Halloween; and more!

October 16th, 2018

Budget Season – Week 4

Budget season is well underway, and we are preparing for upcoming meetings to discuss priority issues. These meetings will be where members discuss identified issues with the proposed budget, as well as early ideas for amendments and additional requests of departments in 2019.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, at 5:30 p.m. During this meeting, all people who sign up to testify will be given 2 minutes, and the hearing will end after the last speaker. Please consider coming!

“Budget Issue” discussions kick off this Thursday, starting with deep dives into the budgets for the Department of Construction and Inspections and Department of Neighborhoods at 9:30 a.m. in Council Chambers. This will also be the first discussion of my office’s request to consider performing a racial equity toolkit on the Urban Village Strategy adopted in 1994, to better evaluate whether this growth option meets our city’s stated values. Having this information in hand prior to the next major comprehensive plan updates, and centering our discussions on equity early, makes sense, and I’m excited to bring this proposal forward with Councilmember Rob Johnson.

The full schedule for early issue identification and discussion is:

Thurs 10/18 Mon 10/22 Tues 10/23 Weds 10/24
Session I – 9:30 a.m. Session I – 10:30 a.m. Session I – 9:30 a.m. Session I – 9:30 a.m.
Construction & Inspections (SDCI) Sweetened Beverage Tax Funds Navigation Team Parks & Recreation (DPR)
Neighborhoods (DON) Short-Term Rental Tax Funds Homelessness Services Transportation (SDOT)
Session II – 2:00 p.m. Session II – 2:00 p.m. Session II – 2:00 p.m. Session II – 2:00 p.m.
Police (SPD) *No briefings planned* Human Services (Other; HSD) Cross-Cutting Issues
Fire (SFD) Employee Ombud (OEO) Other Issues

Public comment is at the end of each budget meeting, meaning it will follow issue discussion for Session II. In the event issues discussed in Session I are not completed by the end of the session, they will continue during Session II.

On October 29, Central Staff and the City Budget Office will present a revenue projection update, and beginning October 30, Council will discuss “green sheets” – specific budget requests from Councilmembers. The Budget Committee Chair is scheduled to present a proposed budget with adjustments for Council priorities on November 7, and the Budget Committee will resume work on the budget, including votes, the week of November 13. There’s a lot going on, and thank you for your continued engagement and identification of budget priorities!

Renting in Seattle?

Our office has seen an increase in communications from tenants with concerns about issues ranging from short notice to enter their home by a landlord, to efforts to disallow payment of rent by check or money order. Between the State Landlord-Tenant Act, and local regulations, as well as Fair Housing laws and rules, there are protections for tenants and landlords we want you to know about.

There are non-profit agencies providing support and services: the Tenants
Union of Washington
 (en Espanol) is a central portal for tenants seeking education and support. For landlords, the Rental Housing Association is a resource to better understand state and local regulations, and your rights and responsibilities as a landlord in Seattle. Additional information can be found through the Department of Construction and Inspections, which oversees and implements landlord-tenant laws in Seattle.

Beginning in 2019, there will also be an easier portal for tenants and landlords to better understand their rights, have questions answered, and get support to ensure that tenant rights are protected, and landlords have the information they need to be successful. More coming in the New Year.

MHA, ADUs, and What’s Next

We have been getting a lot of inquiries regarding the MHA legislation, withresidents eager to see the bill considered before Council, and amendmentsconsidered on a path toward implementing the zoning changes and developer fees foraffordable housing. As you may be aware, the Environmental Impact Statement wasappealed, and over the last few months, there has been, for lack of a better term,a trial before the Hearing Examiner. The hearing has concluded, and we anticipate adetermination from the Hearing Examiner within the coming months.

Depending on the result of that decision, we will have a better idea of the timeline to begin working on this important legislation that will increase funding for affordable housing, and make modest changes to zoning in urban villages. My office has been tracking ideas from the community to enhance the legislation, and I look forward to being able to begin turning those ideas into amendments.

You may have also seen the Accessory Dwelling Unit Environmental Impact Statement(ADU EIS) was released, and a preferred option identified. We have heard support for this from renters and homeowners for this housing option. Thanks to the phenomenal work of Councilmember Mike O’Brien, his team, and Central Staff, we have a robust environmental study, as well as a racial equity study identifying additional measures we can take as a city to assist low- and moderate-income homeowners utilize these new rules.

I look forward to these appeals wrapping up so we can continue to move forward with plans to ensure we have the housing we need for all income levels, near transit and services, which we know is the best way to protect our environment, address homelessness, and improve health and equity outcomes for communities that have seen historical dis-investment.

No
tricks: Get treats that are union made


Image from The Stand. Click to subscribe today!

Originally posted in The Stand: If you’ve visited your
union grocery store in western Washington recently, you’ve spotted the Halloween candy displays. If you want your Halloween to be all treats and no tricks, make sure the candy you purchase supports good union jobs right here in America. Check out the list, courtesy of the AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department, of union-made Halloween candy and treats. Read more here.

City Inside/Out – Council Edition

Check it out! I joined colleagues Lorena González and Lisa Herbold for Seattle Channel’s City Inside/Out – Council Edition, discussing my priorities for the upcoming budget, and efforts we can – we must – make to address the affordability crisis and homelessness state of emergency. Watch the full episode here:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and for your continued engagement to build a more equitable and fair city for all!
In solidarity,

Teresa Mosqueda
Seattle City Council Councilmember, Position 8
teresa.mosqueda@seattle.gov
206-684-8806


#TeresaTuesdays – A New City Light GM, Updated Disposition Policies, Affordable Childcare, and more!

October 2nd, 2018

Your New City Light General Manager!

Yesterday, the Seattle City Council unanimously confirmed Debra Smith as the next General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light. This confirmation comes at a pivotal time for our publicly-owned utility, and I am excited to see Smith come on board. There has been plenty of news around issues City Light has faced, from unanticipated billing errors, capital project overruns, or a workplace culture – and Smith has shown that she is ready, capable and eager to take on these challenges.

Seattle City Light is also the greenest in the country; we receive nearly 100% of our electricity from renewable sources and we continue to be a leader in environmental conservation, protecting large swaths of forest land and salmon habitat. Our electricity rates continue to be some of the lowest in the nation. And our frequency and duration of outages routinely ranks as some of the best in the region. I am excited that Smith is committed to maintaining and improving upon this impressive standing, and taking on the current challenges in a collaborative and meaningful way.

Over the past two months, Smith has exhibited the skill and value set to lead City Light in the right direction, and her experience suggests a ready ability to change customer service outcomes for the better. Someone who listens, she has already begun collaborative work with workers and salmon restoration advocates, environmentalists, and industry leaders to lay the groundwork for successful engagement as General Manager. You can learn more here about her answers to my committee’s questions and her vision for the public utility.

I look forward to working with Debra Smith, and I appreciate you continuing to send your concerns, questions and billing issues our way so we can pass those along to City Light to get resolution quickly.

 

Public Lands for the Public Good

I believe that public land should be used for the best public good. And now I am proud to report that as of yesterday, we voted to adopt this principle in Seattle for City-owned property!

The legislation that my office drafted, directly with community groups and with the support of Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, prioritized using surplus and underutilized public property for the highest and best public good, notably affordable housing. And we went even further – these policies will help mitigate displacement, allow for long term master leasing of land, and create more affordable community ownership models of development in Seattle. Coupled with the City Light disposition policies adopted in July, our City has clear direction in statute for how to use surplus and underutilized properties for affordable housing, green open spaces, child care and education facilities, small business opportunities, and more!

Where prior administrations would use the sale of surplus property as a tool to fill budget holes, I am excited to work with Mayor Durkan who shares our values and belief that public lands must be put to the highest and best use for the public.


Hirobayashi Place in the CID is an example of a community-driven, transit-oriented housing development that includes affordable childcare on the first floor, and 100% affordable homes for families throughout.

 

More on the Mercer Megablock

One of the immediate properties that comes to mind when thinking of these policies is the Mercer Megablock. Combined, this nearly 3 acres of public land was approved for sale by the City Council in 2017, with guidelines that a Request for Proposal (RFP) process include considerations for affordable housing, labor peace, and other factors. This specific parcel faces some obstacles. First, prior administrations borrowed money against the sale of this property to fund the Mercer Corridor project from I-5 to Highway 99. Notwithstanding concerns about design that omits pedestrian, cyclist, and transit rider experience and priority, the concept of borrowing such a large sum (over $26 million) against a public parcel of land, followed by another previous administration borrowing another $4.5 million, is not in my opinion using public land for the best public good. It is heartening to see the current Mayoral administration opting against this type of budgeting that removes public opportunities to fulfill needs of future generations in order to fund the needs of today.

For properties like Mercer Megablock, which are difficult to develop into fully-affordable housing due to other funding constraints, we should maximize the requirement for housing on the land and use any net-proceeds to invest in building more affordable homes and community assets that might otherwise be disallowed due to primary funding sources.

Put another way, a lease or sale of this parcel could mean tens of millions to fund housing above childcare, next to open spaces, or with first-floor micro-business opportunities. I am looking forward to working with you and the Mayor to apply these shared principles to fund community-driven development, and was excited to hear Budget Director Ben Noble state that the Mayor’s office is committed to this type of funding during the budget committee meeting last Thursday, along with preference for leasing of public lands over outright sale, and look forward to continuing to work with community to ensure our priorities are funded. This is very welcome, and I am excited to continue working with the Mayor and the community on implementing our shared values!

 

Our Kiddos Need Care

I was recently talking with a friend who just had her baby! During this extremely happy (and exhausting) time in her life, I asked her how much time she had off until she returned to work – she informed me she was already back at work and went back just 3 days after the child was born.

While the City of Seattle has revamped our paid parental policies for our employees, and the state policies on paid parental leave that I worked on go into place in 2020, many in our City and in our State are still left without parental leave.  Infant childcare and early education facilities in our City have longer and longer waitlists, are often in locations that aren’t near transit or work hubs, lack cultural competency and need significant workforce stabilization measures. This in combination with infant child care costing upwards of $2,300 a month or more in Seattle, often causing parents to make impossible decisions about staying in the workforce or paying their month’s salary toward childcare.

We need to do better – join me in 2019 as we figure out childcare and education solutions for our youngest kiddos. Let’s promote better work/life balance policies to pilot and advocate for parental bonding. Let’s make strides to end the consequences that are caused by the lack of child care, such as harming families financially and harming the health of the kiddos and new parents due to stress.  It takes a village, it starts here. Email me your ideas, what you’ve seen work, what you wish you had.  We will add you to our early learning list for engagement in 2019.


An early learning advocate (me!) with the daughter of an early learning advocate earlier this year

 

Budget Season Continues!

The Budget is out! Last Monday, the Mayor released her proposed budget outlining her priorities for the city over the next two years. All of the issues outlined above represent values and priorities of this office, and we are working collaboratively with community to review the proposed budget and ensure that our shared values and priorities are reflected – especially related to housing, health, early learning, workers’ rights, and small business supports!

Over the coming weeks, Councilmembers will be making proposals to modify and enhance the Mayor’s proposal. Is there something in the budget that is concerning? Something missing? Stay engaged with your District Councilmember and our office, and we’ll be working hard to ensure the budget adopted is one that reflects the priorities of our city!

In solidarity,

Teresa Mosqueda signature

 


#TeresaTuesdays – Budget is Nearly Here, Standing with Workers, City Light CEO Confirmation Hearings Continue, and more!

September 18th, 2018

We’re just under a week from the Mayor releasing her proposed budget, and #TeamTeresa is working hard to ensure your policy priorities are included, as the budget should be a reflection of our values. Below is an update on what we’re working on and ways you can get engaged!

 

Standing in Solidarity with Dairy Workers Across Washington

Yesterday, I was proud to sponsor a resolution supporting dairy workers across Washington. I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with dairy farm workers, with United Farm Workers (UFW) and other labor unions, faith leaders and community organizations as we called for all employers along the supply chain to ensure dairy products are ethically sourced – free from wage theft, harassment, intimidation, and unsafe working conditions. After years of trying to draw attention to the injustices faced by dairy workers and calls for accountability along the supply chain, over 200 UFW dairy workers will start a Fast for Reconciliation this Thursday to elevate these injustices. Please consider joining the effort and join the campaign in solidarity with the dairy workers.

Councilmember Mosqueda standing with UFW members and members of community at a Monday rally at City Hall

 

The City Light General Manager Interviews Continue

This Thursday the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee will again interview Debra Smith, the Mayor’s choice to lead Seattle City Light. In my committee last Thursday, there was a robust turnout from the community – including testimony from union members, Seattle Silence Breakers, energy conservation leaders, and industry experts. We hope that additional members of the community will join us again this Thursday for further discussion. After the hearing there may be a vote to recommend her confirmation following the committee’s questions this week.

You can find the questionnaire from our office with Smith’s full answers hereand here. These questions were crafted with input from fellow Councilmembers, Labor advocates, environmental activists, and energy conservation leaders. We are learning more about Smith, and to date she has shown an impressive commitment to a safe and harassment-free workplace, improved relations with workers, as well as a willingness to tackle difficult issues.

During her hearing on Thursday we anticipate learning more about her views on environmental stewardship, energy production and conservation, customer service, and governance vision for City Light. Prior to her appointment, we will hear reports on the Office of Housing’s Race and Social Justice Initiative implementation plan, and the Yesler Terrace Annual Report. Public comment for the City Light General Manager Appointment is anticipated to begin after these reports, at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Is there something you think we should ask? Just reply to this email, and you can help craft our questions in advance of Thursday’s hearing.

 

Keeping Public Land for the Public’s Good: Housing, Green Spaces, Childcare & More!

In case you missed it, last Wednesday the Finance & Neighborhoods Committee voted out our land disposition policy legislation, sending these important updates to Full Council on October 1. First adopted in 1998, these updates will ensure that we are prioritizing use of public land for the highest and best public use, notably affordable housing and mixed-use development with an affordable housing component.

Going further, where unused or under-utilized city-owned land is in an area at heightened risk of displacement, these new policies direct the city to work with community-based organizations that reflect the community to meet the needs of the community. Thank you to the Mayor, Councilmember Bagshaw and the many organizations that are working diligently to mitigate displacement in Seattle, promote green spaces, create community-led development, and who have been working with our office on this policy.

I hope you’ll join us for the final vote at the full council meeting on October 1 at 2:00 p.m.!

 

The Budget is Nearly Here

Next Monday, September 24, the Mayor will transmit her proposed budget to the Council. We’ll be working in overdrive through October and November to ensure that the final budget adopted meets our values. For my office, I am focused on promoting investments to ensure workers are protected, and outreach/enforcement efforts are funded; that housing access and community outreach for affordable housing development is prioritized; and that we are investing in the health care needs of our all residents to ensure we are creating healthy communities throughout Seattle.

For more information about the budget, please visit the page for the budget committee. We will be keeping you updated throughout the process, and look forward to continuing to hear your priorities.

 

2019 is Just Around the Corner!

Our 2019 community calendar is being developed over the next few months. We’d love to come visit your neighborhood, union, business, childcare – you name it! Let us know where you’d like us to be, and we will try to schedule it in for 2019 in addition to rotating office hours throughout the city. Thanks for all you do!

 

In solidarity,

Teresa Mosqueda signature


#TeresaTuesdays – Employee Hours Tax, Safe Consumption Sites, Ed Levy, Seattle City Light and Domestic Workers

June 14th, 2018

We Will Work Together to Find New Revenue

My office has heard a lot of concern regarding the Employee Hours Tax (EHT). I have concerns as well, but I cannot back a repeal without a replacement strategy to house and shelter our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

While a vote went forward to repeal the tax, our homelessness and housing affordability crisis continues to worsen. We have people who are dying on the doorsteps of prosperity, and our neighbors and friends worry about being able to afford to live in the City while we have a booming economy.

The debate around the EHT has been a flashpoint in Seattle’s housing crisis. I understand people’s frustrations. This City Council is in the midst of correcting the course set by the previous administration. Our City has taken steps to reform our contracting process and audit our efforts, providing greater transparency to the public on how dollars are spent – I’m also committed to making ourselves more accountable to you. I look forward to considering an array of options to move people from the streets to shelter, be it emergency tents, more tiny houses or temporary enhanced shelters, because right now we don’t have shelter space for the 4,500 people sleeping on the streets in Seattle on any given night. But all of these efforts are a band aid. We cannot warehouse people in shelters forever. We know if we want to permanently move people off the streets, we must provide housing and services. EHT represents a down payment to a better solution.

There’s a lot of conversation about looking at other solutions.  The reality is, we’ve looked at a lot of them. I participated in the countywide ‘regional approach’ through One Table – a group that’s been indefinitely paused. We worked on a payroll tax option and moved away from it at the request of a few large businesses. We also paused revenue efforts last year to create a task force comprised of members of the business community and housing advocates – an effort that was boycotted by several larger corporations. I cannot support repeal of the EHT without a similarly sized progressive revenue option. I am always ready and willing to work collaboratively on solutions that will make a meaningful impact on our homelessness and housing affordability crisis.  Until such a solution presents itself, I will continue to support the need for significant revenue to shelter and house our homeless, and to ensure all our community members have safe places to live, and feel safe in their communities. It’s easy to say no, it’s harder to say yes to a solution.

I do want to acknowledge the many business owners, including small and large businesses, that as civic leaders attempted to balance their business interests with those of the city’s. A critical next step for me will be to hear from those business leaders about how we can address our upside-down tax code while they continue to thrive in our city—we must ensure a future with both of those interests and I want to hear from business leaders who share that vision. While I didn’t join my colleagues and the Mayor in support of repeal without a replacement, I will work with them, along with business and labor, to find a funding replacement. We cannot wait months or until next year for another proposal or process while people are sleeping in our parks and on our streets.

Healing our Public Health Crisis of Addiction

Last week’s Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights committee brought a great deal of necessary attention to the topic of safe consumption sites, or a Community Health Engagement Location (CHEL).

Special thanks to members of the community who also testified about the need to provide safe health services to those with addiction. Click here to see their testimony. They, too, recognize what the experts had to say about this important public health crisis: safe consumption sites reduce unsafe drug use behaviors, overdose rates and are known to save lives.

In a perfect world, no one would use dangerous or deadly drugs. But the grim reality is that many people do.  With that in mind, a safe consumption site is needed precisely because overdose rates continue to rise and drug use in public spaces is up.

Last year (this time period is unconfirmed, we have an email out to Jeff Sakuma), 2,300 overdoes were reversed in King County. We are looking at various options where medical professionals are present when people are using. With this approach, we can save more lives, and help get people into recovery.

The City has been exploring the idea of a safe consumption site since early last year, based off recommendations by the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force.

What my committee has been exploring is a timeline, asking how it would work, and the format (meaning brick-and-mortar or a fixed mobile unit).

Council has not reached a decision about safe injection sites that are mobile.  The next steps, as outlined by Jeff Sakuma, Health Integration Strategist for the City, include community engagement, purchase of a vehicle, and siting and development of a fixed site:

  • The City and County are partners in the development of a CHEL inside the city.  Going forward we will consider the shared financial commitment for ongoing operations.
  • City Council appropriated $1.3 million in the 2018 budget for siting the CHEL.  Therefore, the money is available to be used in line with their appropriation.
  • The ongoing operating costs would have to be part of upcoming budget recommendations from the Executive and the approval of City Council.

Again, the City has no plans to buy a van or chose a location without community engagement; and, a timeline is still necessary. It’s my sincere hope that together we can raise greater awareness about drug use and bring it out of the shadows so people we all know and love will live, not die.

Renewing our Commitment to Kiddos

Last week, the co-chairs of the Select Committee released the Council’s draft legislation renewing both the Seattle Education Levy and the Seattle Preschool Levy. In addition, the Mayor’s requested Seattle Promise – providing funding for the first two years of higher education for the first students accepted, regardless of income – is included. This combined levy is now called Families, Education, Preschool & Promise, or FEPP.

Your input will help determine which programs are funded, which are cut, and how much the total ask will be. Submit your comment to council@seattle.gov, or attend Full Council on Monday, when we will consider and take a final vote on sending this package to the ballot in November.

Working to Keep the Lights On!

The Mayor submitted the six-year DRAFT Seattle City Light Strategic Plan for my Select Committee’s review last week. Included is the Mayor’s proposed rate path, including her suggestion for a 5.8% rate increase next year. As Chair of the Select Committee reviewing this plan, I am committed to engaging with the public on what the final Strategic Plan will look like, and the final rate path, to relieve any increase for working families.

The items I am committed to adding to the Strategic Plan include (but are not limited to) workplace harassment and prevention, adequate rate design, and clarity as to how City Light intends to address capital costs. This Thursday, we’ll hear more about the rate path, and continue our work as Council to ensure the final plan meets the utility and customer needs not only for today, but throughout the six years of the Plan.

Attend and give feedback this Thursday, June 14, at 9:30 a.m. in Council Chambers. Our next scheduled meeting is Thursday, June 28, at 2:00 p.m., where we will be discussing the plan and rates further, again with public input.

Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

Next week my office intends to introduce the legislation we’ve been working on with community since day one – the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. We are crafting a set of tools to protect domestic workers and provide clarity to hiring entities on regulations protecting workers. I am excited to continue the work of protecting working people from harassment and abuse, while lifting up wages, expanding benefits, preventing discrimination, and ensuring an ability to retire with dignity is extended to those who care for our kiddos and our homes.

Our next HHEWR Committee meeting – June 21 at 9:30 a.m. – will be the first committee review, and we’ll identify areas for amendment and ways to enhance the work that has been put into this bill. This is on our way to passing the bill out of committee in July, and continuing to ensure that Seattle shows respect for all workers!

 


#TeresaTuesdays – Happy May Day, 3 Ways to Get Engaged, Expanding Opportunity for Affordable Housing & More!

May 2nd, 2018

Happy May Day!

Thousands of people across the globe and from Seattle are marching today to champion the rights of workers and put a spotlight on labor issues, immigrant rights, and social justice. Today is a reminder of the power of the people and the resilience of our communities. Thank you to everyone who is marching, advocating, and fighting for a more just society.

This week we are hosting several events to commemorate labor week. I hope you can join us!

* Please note the location for the Creating our King County Kickoff with MLK Labor on Saturday has been updated to the Laborers’ Hall Local 242- 22323 Pacific Hwy S. Des Moines, WA 98198

This past two weeks have been brought to us by the phrase “getting stuff done.” I’m also hearing that you all want some concrete ways to help get stuff done, so, I’m launching a new feature:

 

Three Ways to Get Engaged

  • Join me for labor-week events and help get the word out about the week’s activities
  • Submit your labor story – tell me why workers’ rights matter to you, personally, and I’ll begin featuring stories in this newsletter.
  • Tell me what you’d speak about with college students.  I’m speaking at Bellevue College next week, and I’d love your thoughts.

Here is how we’ve been engaged in making changes as of late:

Expanding Opportunity for Affordable Housing!

One of the latest pieces of legislation that I sponsored and passed allows for the Office of Housing to more easily acquire and preserve land for affordable housing. Think more opportunities for Community Land Trusts, affordable housing options and public ownership.

We are in the middle of a housing crisis, we needed to act with urgency to get a different solution: more housing quickly. This change bill means more opportunities to expand our affordable housing options for low and middle income families now and in the future! This is just one more step in our actions to address the affordable housing crisis, and work to affirmatively ensure fair housing access in Seattle. But we also need the funding to build the housing needed…

 

Progressive Revenue Now!

I am proud to co-sponsor the legislation to help right side up our upside-down tax code here in Seattle. The Employee Hours Tax is sponsored by Councilmembers M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, and Mike O’Brien and me to help fund affordable housing for those exiting homelessness and those living in poverty to help create stable housing and healthy communities.

This is a common-sense solution that asks those who are prospering the most in our local economy to contribute a little to help with the housing and homelessness crisis. This is just about a quarter an hour and only applies to the largest corporations that make $20 million or more per year – many corporations that benefited from the federal tax cuts also. With this proposal we are bringing greater fairness to our local tax code and creating the housing or families and citizens need.

This is a practical approach to a public health crisis. Without shelter, people die. As part of a broader set of strategies locally (including Mandatory Housing Affordability, the Housing Levy, Incentive Zoning, the One Table county approach and other measures), we can help provide the housing and support that families need.

Please come share your thoughts on this proposal at the upcoming meetings.

 

Building Healthy Communities

Image courtesy of yestoscs.org

There is a terrible health crisis underway across our nation. The opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of people in our County and City. As we continue to see sharp increases in the use and abuse of heroin and prescription opiates we must enact policies that facilitate prevention and access to health services to address this epidemic.

We’ve heard several stories during both of our committee meetings on the urgency and need for a holistic and humane approach to address this crisis. Many countries like Spain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have adopted supervised sites for adults struggling with substance use disorders and can find health resources and pathways to recovery. In addition, a few U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, are also considering this low barrier harm reduction approach.

We plan to visit some of these sites in the next couple of months to learn from their approach and how we might be able to implement this in our own community. We will have our third committee meeting on this issue on June 7th in Council Chambers at 9:30 AM, where we will have an update on all eight Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations.

 

Free Movie Screening on Thursday: Dolores

As part of Labor Week, come watch the incredible movie, Dolores, a documentary about Dolores Huerta and her seminal role in organizing the farmworkers’ movement.

  • Thursday, May 3 @ 6pm – 8pm
  • The Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro de la Raza
  • 1660 S Roberto Maestas Festival St, Seattle, WA 98144


The Seattle Office of Labor Standards Recovers More Than $40,000 in Subminimum Wage Violations on Behalf of Workers with Disabilities

April 26th, 2018

After a thorough investigation by the Office of Labor Standards (OLS), Northwest Center has agreed to pay a total of $40,791 in back wages, unpaid interest and other monetary remedies to ten employees with disabilities who were paid subminimum wages. Northwest Center has already reimbursed the employees over $37,000 and will pay the remaining amount in the near future. Northwest Center cooperated fully with the OLS investigation.

Up until last year, employers had been allowed to apply for special certificates from the City of Seattle to pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage. These City certificates were issued if the applicant had received a special certificate from the State of Washington. OLS issued a rule in September, 2017 that prohibited these special certificates, and no such certificates have been granted since that time. In 2018, a bill authored by City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and signed into law earlier this month by Mayor Jenny Durkan, codified that ban into an ordinance.

In this case, Northwest Center never applied for or received a special certificate from the City.

“While we led the way for minimum wage, we left too many people out and did not recognize their full contributions. Eliminating the subminimum wage was long overdue,” said Mayor Durkan. “The City of Seattle will continue to fight pay discrimination in all its forms. The enforcement of our City’s laws is the best way to ensure equality and inclusion for all who live and work in Seattle.”

“Eliminating the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities strengthens our City’s belief that all work has dignity and that all workers should be able to earn at least the minimum wage,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. “The violations announced today are exactly why I worked to codify the Directors’ Rule eliminating the subminimum wage, why we need laws not just policy ideas and why, when we pass laws, we need to enforce them. I look forward to continuing to work with the Office of Labor Standards to strengthen our outreach and enforcement of labor standards.”

The elimination of the subminimum wage is a continuation of an approach spearheaded by Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities voted unanimously in June 2017 to end an exemption allowing employers in Seattle to pay a subminimum wage for their disabled workers.

“Businesses shouldn’t feel like they don’t have to follow labor laws just because their employees are developmentally disabled. Now all workers are protected by minimum wage and other labor standards regardless of disability,” said Shaun Bickley, Co-Chair, Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities.

“Northwest Center is dedicated to workplace inclusion for people of ALL Abilities,” said Emily Miller, Chief People Officer Northwest Center. “We appreciate the proactive approach from the City of Seattle and look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue to seek employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.”

Seattle is the first city to eliminate subminimum wages and currently is the largest single employer in the country for people with disabilities.


#TeresaTuesday – February 2018

February 6th, 2018

One Month Into 2018

It has been an exciting couple of weeks for our office. Our Chief of Staff, Sejal Parikh, came on board on February 1st. Joining Policy Advisor Michael Maddux, Office Manager Faride Cuevas, and Scheduler/Community Outreach lead Aretha Basu, #TeamTeresa is continuing to move forward with an agenda that protects workers’ rights, supports women and minority owned business, and ensures a more affordable and livable Seattle for all!

Small Business Advisory Council

I am excited to join Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Small Business Advisory Council, along with Council Member Lisa Herbold, small businesses and advocates for women and minority owned business opportunities. Small businesses are a key component to the diversity of our city, and the unique nature of our neighborhoods. When small businesses are strong, Seattle is strong; when workers thrive, small businesses thrive. As a part of this council, I look forward to learning about programs to support small and micro businesses – such as the Micro Mercantes program in Portland – while continuing to ensure the strong worker protections we have won in Seattle are maintained and expanded. Through this work, I know that we can implement actionable programs to provide a foundation for more small businesses to flourish in all parts of our city!

Standing with School Bus Drivers

On February 1st, Seattle School bus drivers went on strike, demanding reasonable pay and benefits from sub-contractor First Student. I proudly stand with striking drivers, who are asking for health care for the people who safely transport our kiddos in Seattle to their public schools. As Councilmembers M. Lorena González, Rob Johnson, and I stated last week, “it is imperative that we ensure we are taking care of the people who take care of our kiddos.

About Those Bike Racks

You may recall reports of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installing bike racks under the Alaska Way viaduct, not a known destination for cyclists, done in part to “lessen the hazards of unsheltered living.” The use of hostile architecture is not in line with the values I know our city holds, which is why I immediately requested additional information.

Today we received much welcomed news from SDOT and the Mayor, who stated that they will move these racks to more appropriate locations for cyclists in Seattle. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues, especially with Transportation Committee Chair Member Mike O’Brien, on a long-term solution to eliminate the use of hostile architecture and instead focus on applying our limited revenue to building safe walkable/bikeable neighborhoods, and investing in infrastructure that provides shelter for the unsheltered.

In Case you Missed It –

Last Saturday, I joined 800 volunteers and the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for a Mega Citizenship/Naturalization Workshop. While the federal government is doing all it can to put up walls and try to divide us, the City of Seattle remains committed to being a welcoming, inclusive place for all residents. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, over 1,000 people were served at this city-sponsored workshop. I am so proud that Seattle continues to be a leader, showing that local government can be a partner, and building bridges with communities who may have historically been fearful of government. Click on the image below to watch me speak at the workshop.

Check Us Out!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and now keep up with us on Instagram! #TeamTeresa is out in the community, and we look forward to seeing you and meeting you where you are. Let us know if you would like to organize a meeting in your neighborhood or learn more about your organization!

In Solidarity,
TM


#TeresaTuesdays – One Month In

January 24th, 2018

Our Work Continues

We’re One Month In to 2018, and I am excited to report that we are on track to get some good things done this year. January is where we begin preparing our workplans for the year, and my team has been listening to the community, identifying priorities for the Housing, Health, Energy, and Workers’ Rights Committee this year.

Watch a quick video update here.

In the Community

We have also been out in the community, meeting you where you are – from the Ft. Lawton discussion around housing in Magnolia, to meeting with workers in the north end at Seattle City Light; speaking on Capitol Hill at the Seattle Womxn’s March, to the Central District marching in solidarity as we honor the activism and radical change that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for within the #PoorPeoplesCampaign. We keep Dr. King’s legacy alive not by celebrating him one day, but by acting daily to create greater shared power and economic prosperity.

Know Your Rights!

The first few weeks of this year were filled with news about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on workplaces as the Trump administration ramps up on its arrests and deportations of our immigrant communities. Workers from New York to California, from those who work at 7-11 to those who work as activists, are being targeted. Here in our own city, Seattle ICE served nationally known immigrant rights activists Maru Mora Villalpando (click here to join the campaign to defend Maru). This is an issue that affects employers and employees. We ask you to share this information around with your employees, neighbors, and friends – both employers and employees have rights! Share this information below today!

A Regional Healthcare Approach

I also recently joined my first Board of Health meeting as a new Board member, and was proud to cast my vote for a resolution in support of full access to health care, particularly reproductive health care, to all residents in our county. Health care is a fundamental human right and we need to make a commitment to ensuring everyone can access these services regardless of immigration status, gender identity, ability to pay, sexual orientation, race, and age. I will continue to advance this cause as Chair of the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, as well as by working closely with partners from across the region. The health of each individual is intertwined with the health our whole community. This is why closing gaps in access to health care for immigrants and refugees can help us to build a healthier Seattle and region for all our residents. Tune into our HHEWR Committee on Thursday next week for more on this concept.

What’s Next?

We are gearing up for a busy year. In the coming months, watch my office for introduction of legislation to expand efforts to make easier to access the Seattle City Light discount rate program for low- and moderate-income families throughout Seattle. We will be advancing legislation to codify the elimination of sub-minimum wage for workers with disabilities (a rule in place but changing it into law). We will be working in coordination with the Office of Housing and community partners to look at ways ease community-initiated development of affordable housing throughout our city to address the affordable housing crisis. In the upcoming month, look for future conversations around the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, to create stronger protections for workers – who are more likely to be women and people of color – to have greater workplace protections!

Want to keep up to date with what we are working on? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and keep an eye on our blog, where we’ll be diving into greater detail on topics in our committee and before your City Council.

In Solidarity,

TM


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