Seattle readying domestic worker ‘bill of rights’ with minimum wage for nannies, house cleaners

With reporting by SCC Insight

Thursday, a Seattle City Council committee will begin working on a “domestic workers’ bill of rights,” a new ordinance that sets rules for nannies, house cleaners, gardeners, and more including a minimum wage and rest breaks.

Teresa Mosqueda is sponsoring the “domestic workers’ bill of rights” ordinance that establishes several rights and protections for domestic workers in Seattle.

Under the ordinance, a “domestic worker” is someone who provides services to an individual or household in a private home, and whose primary occupation is nanny, house cleaner, home care worker, gardener, cook, and/or household manager. It includes both hourly and salaried employees, as well as independent contractors, full-time and part-time workers, and temp workers. It does not include: Continue reading

What’s next for Seattle’s head tax? Sawant pivoting on ‘Tax Amazon Movement’ after repeal

Even as they voted to repeal it, Seattle City Council members said Tuesday that an employee hours tax is probably the city’s best route forward to creating an alternative, non-regressive revenue stream to combat Seattle’s affordability crisis. The moves begin, now, to come up with a new, stronger tax plan.

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, who has claimed the “Tax Amazon movement” as a follow-up to the successful $15 minimum wage fight, will be first out of the gates for shaping what comes next, saying Tuesday in council chambers that a “Tax Amazon Movement: Campaign Launch & Organizing Conference” is still happening. Continue reading

Good news, Amazon, Seattle won’t be taxing you after all — UPDATE: Repealed

UPDATE 2:10 PM: In a vote interrupted by a chanting crowd and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s refusal to voice her yay or nay despite threats from President Bruce Harrell that he would close council chambers if outbursts continued, the Seattle City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to repeal the city’s yet-to-be-implemented, unanimously-passed head tax on Seattle’s largest businesses.

As she seemingly goaded on her supporters in the council chambers, Sawant paused and let the chants swell before finally casting her vote against the repeal. Continue reading

Proposal to boost transit includes plan for privately operated bus routes in Seattle

Stutter Bus

With reporting from SCC Insight

Along with Mayor Jenny Durkan’s push to put ORCA cards in the pockets of more Seattle students, legislation to change Seattle’s flush with cash Transportation Benefits District in front of the City Council Monday afternoon will also set the city up for a counter-punchline to those “Uber just invented the bus” jokes — privately operated bus routes in the city. UPDATE: Delayed! Committee chair Mike O’Brien has pushed a vote on the legislation back two weeks to pound out issues around the private operator plan.

CB 119256 will set up funding to power the Mayor’s ORCA Opportunity program to provide the passes to Seattle Public School students at no charge at a cost of about $4 million per year. But, if approved Monday afternoon, another part of the $11.5 million annual boost in transportation spending from new sales tax and vehicle license fees implemented in 2014 would go to a limited private bus system. Continue reading

Neighborhood grant will help power new South Asian literary festival from 12th Ave’s Tasveer

12th Ave’s Tasveer’s grant will help power a new literary festival (Image: Tasveer)

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has selected four District 3 projects to receive more than $200,000 in 2018 Neighborhood Matching Fund support. The awards are part of more than $1 million in matching funds for 22 community-based projects announced this week.

Included in the District 3 grants is money to support a December literary event from 12th Ave-headquartered Tasveer, a nonprofit dedicated to South Asian films and art.

The full roster of District 3 awards is below:

  • $60,000 to Tasveer for the Desi X NW festival, a six-day literary and storytelling event in December featuring poets, novelists, and other writers from the South Asian community. The festival includes workshops on writing fiction, comedy, screenplays and graphic novels. (Community match: $37,500)
  • $96,000 for the Borealis Festival of Light, a nightly display of light art in South Lake Union Park and surrounding areas this October. The festival will feature live music, street art performances, lighting art installations, and multi-media projections on surrounding structures. (Community match: $162,800)
  • $28,000 to African Ethnic Media of Seattle for the Community Connect Through Ethnic Media project training ten youth ages 16 to 21 in video production, broadcast techniques, interview and research practices, journalistic writing, and documentary methods. (Community match: $30,300)
  • $28,000 to BEGO, Inc. for the Ethiopian Heritage Arts and Music Festival 2018, a free all-day event featuring Ethiopian musicians, dancers, artists, food, family activities, and multi-cultural performances in collaboration with the Duwamish community. (Community match: $69,500)

Seattle’s floating bike shares: Most are parked just fine, thanks, and pretty much nobody is wearing a helmet

Standoff on the Green

There are 10,000 orange, green, and yellow bikes available for rent on the streets of Seattle — and, the city says, around 7,000 of them are parked without blocking the sidewalk, presumably upright, and not underwater.

The City of Seattle’s chaotic but kinda fun test of floating bike shares is ready for its next step — regulations to help the clearly popular but still a work in progress component of the city’s transit system work even better. It’s one urbanist adventure where Seattle is firmly in the lead over many other big cities in U.S.

CHS looked at many of the options on the table including designated parking areas here in January. Tuesday, the Seattle City Council’s transportation committee heard an update on program and the next steps on forming new permitting requirements for providers like Limebike, Ofo, and Spin. The full presentation from the meeting is below. Continue reading

With Seattle City Hall flag raising, new stripes for Pride in 2018

Celebrating six years of raising the Pride flag over Seattle’s City Hall, the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, in partnership with SEqual Seattle, and Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled a new Pride flag Friday featuring five additional colors.

As the conversation of gender spectrum and people of color grows in prominence within the LGBTQ/queer community, the Seattle LGBT Commission aimed at representing all aspects of the community in one, increasingly inclusive flag.

The event organizers explain the inspiration behind the updated flag: Continue reading

‘Tree-point system’ — In quest to stay leafy, Seattle looks at new canopy protection rules


Seattle homeowners could need a permit to remove some trees from their property and developers would need to follow a “tree-point system” to determine how many trees would need to be planted when there is new construction under a new set of tree preservation regulations being considered at City Hall.

The city’s current tree preservation regulations were developed in 2009, but were considered at the time to be interim rules, said Yolanda Ho, of the city council staff during a May meeting of the council’s Planning Land Use and Zoning Committee.

A set of draft regulations was then developed in 2012, but it didn’t end up going anywhere. Now, the council is trying again to develop a set of rules that could help the Emerald City reach is goal of 30% tree cover. Continue reading

Community groups call for ‘restart’ on Seattle Police Chief search

A group of Seattle community leaders including members who were part of the 25-person Seattle Police Chief search committee have called on Mayor Jenny Durkan to restart the selection process.

“The process itself has not been an honest process,” community advocate, Community Police Commission member, and part of the search committee Enrique Gonzalez said Tuesday at Seattle City Hall. “It has been a broken process. And we are very concerned that we are not in the position to select somebody that the community can accept based on a broken process.”

Last week, the three finalists to take the job were announced — interim SPD Chief Carmen Best was not on the list despite being one of five candidates put forth by the community-driven selection committee. Continue reading

Chief Best not among finalists to lead Seattle Police

With reporting from SCC Insight

Mayor Jenny Durkan has revealed the slate of three candidates to become Seattle’s next police chief but the woman leading the department since the start of the year — and, some say, much longer than that as she covered for the previous chief’s extensive travel schedule — isn’t one of them.

The Police Search Committee’s selections reflect candidates who must be “committed to public safety while continuing to build an accountable, diverse police department focused on meaningful and lasting reforms,” Durkan said Friday.

The three men selected all come from outside the Seattle Police Department power structure and none are currently working as chief of police in their respective cities: Continue reading