Capitol Hill leather bar settles over city minimum wage and sick time complaint

Capitol Hill leather bar The Cuff has settled a sick time complaint with the Seattle Office of Labor Standards. The relatively small “financial remedy” will make sure dozens employees get their due, of course, but the payout can also serve as an educational moment for other employers who want to do right by the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time and Minimum Wage ordinances.

OLS says it alleged that the Cuff was not paying the correct minimum wage in some instances and was rounding paid sick and safe time accrual down to the hour for 43 employees during the period. Continue reading

Citywide rep González part of Capitol Hill EcoDistrict delegation on ‘sustainable, urban strategies’ European field trip

(Image: @cmlgonzalez)

To break the the mayor’s veto of the Seattle City Council’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan, citywide council member Lorena González had to make an international phone call in the middle of the night to cast her decisive vote Monday afternoon Seattle time.

Turns out, González is abroad this week studying “sustainable, urban strategies” thanks to the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

The council member is part of a huge delegation, according to Capitol Hill Housing which started the EcoDistrict effort in 2013 with funding from The Bullitt Foundation to increase sustainability efforts in the neighborhood.  Continue reading

City Council overcomes mayor’s veto on Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan

The Seattle City Council doubled down on its plans for how best to spend $6 million in Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue Monday, voting to ignore Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of the legislation.

Only interim Council member Abel Pacheco, downtown rep Sally Bagshaw, and North Seattle rep Debora Juarez sided with the mayor Monday.

CHS reported on the fight over funding scraps for health and food programs as the mayor attempted to focus the tax revenue on a smaller set of existing resources vs. creating new, often progressive programs.

The tax on sugary beverages was originally earmarked for creating new programs related to “healthy food and beverage access, birth-to-three services and kindergarten readiness, a public awareness campaign about sugary drinks, support for people actively living with obesity and diabetes, community-based programs to support good nutrition and physical activity and evaluation support for those programs.” With Monday’s veto-killing vote, the council’s plan for new programs can again try to move forward.

Meanwhile, Monday’s full City Council action also included approval of Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution. Durkan’s response to the approval was much friendlier than the sugary beverage tax situation. In a statement, the mayor applauded the vote and said she was “committed to expediting climate action” by issuing an Executive Order directing City departments to “evaluate how they can accelerate their action items under the City’s Climate Action Plan, and how Seattle can best meet the goals of the Green New Deal.” The final resolution can be found here.

City Council to vote on Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution

Monday afternoon’s last full City Council before the body’s summer break will include a vote on a resolution setting the terms of Seattle’s “Green New Deal.”

The Seattle resolution (PDF), part of a nationwide movement to address climate change and the continued reliance on fossil fuel, encourages a catch-all roster of Green initiatives including: “Building efficiency, Transportation , Housing affordability, Renewable energy, Climate, preparedness and emergency management,” and “Job training.”

The resolution will only set the stage for future legislation but it is being embraced by City Council members including Kshama Sawant. “Avoiding climate catastrophe will take a rapid shift away from fossil fuels,” a Sawant campaign statement on the Green New Deal reads. “We will need to bring the big U.S. energy corporations into democratic public ownership and retool them for clean energy.”

“The full draft of the Seattle resolution is below. Continue reading

‘Left-turn Signals at Broadway & John’ only D3 project to survive crowd-sourced Street Fund process

Cut from an earlier plan to improve the corridor for pedestrian, bicycling, motor vehicle, and public transit travel, one of the more challenging intersections on Broadway is lined up to finally get left-turn signals — eventually.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has released the final roster of projects approved this week as part of the crowd-sourced 2019 Neighborhood Street Fund process, an annual series of online voting and community meetings that allocates funding to projects identified by citizens and often including efforts with relatively significant budgets of $100,000 or more. Continue reading

Mayor Durkan’s $143M ‘Mercer Mega Block’ deal: Tons of new development, some affordable housing, and a new South Lake Union community center

Mayor Jenny Durkan has a $143 million deal in place that will create 175 affordable apartments and a new 30,000-square-foot community center as part of a massive sale of city property in South Lake Union:

Mayor Durkan has transmitted legislation to the City Council to move ahead on the agreement with potential buyer Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.,  the first and longest-tenured which owner, operator, and developer of collaborative life sciences campuses in key urban innovation clusters. Alexandria has supported the Seattle life science cluster for more than 20 years with a number of notable office/laboratory properties, including the Lake Union Steam Plant at 1201 Eastlake Avenue East, the Juno Building at 400 Dexter Avenue North, and its most recently completed development at 188 East Blaine Street.

The nearly $300 million in public benefits that the City of Seattle would receive from Alexandria include: Continue reading

New legislation will allow Seattle DNA kits to finally be tested

New legislation would allow Seattle to upload data from hundreds of DNA kits collected in sex-based and domestic violence convictions in the city to the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, a move officials say will help identify suspects in sex crimes across the country.

“This legislation I’m introducing in partnership with Pete Holmes is about fulfilling our obligation to do everything possible to get closure for victims. With this action, we can help add to the body of evidence behind unsolved crimes against people,” Seattle City Council member Lorena González said in a statement on the introduction of her new legislation. Continue reading

Sawant brings her City Council committee to CD for meeting on embattled 12th Ave restaurant, gentrification

Council member Kshama Sawant was in the Central District on Monday as the city council committee she chairs discussed gentrification in her district while a local business sits on the frontlines of displacement.

At the center of the fight recently has been Saba, an Ethiopian restaurant on 12th Ave that has served the neighborhood for nearly 20 years. Saba is emblematic of broader change many longtime residents in the Central District see in which small businesses have increasingly been displaced. Organizer KL Shannon, who says she grew up in the area, said that she can’t think of one black-owned business anymore in the Central District due to rapid development.

“We want the kind of development that would allow small businesses of every origin to thrive here and for working families, regardless of income, to find affordable housing in our city because we go to work everyday and we make our cities run,” Sawant said. “We have the right to our city.” Continue reading

The Capitol Hill chamber — and with it an ambitious push for a neighborhood-wide business improvement area — is dead. What went wrong?

The chamber’s annual Hilloween festival is likely to be picked up and continued by the new guard.

When the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce shuttered in June, board members chalked its demise up to a confluence of issues and “unanticipated developments.”

A couple of “key” board members left, chamber board co-chairs Joey Burgess, and Tracy Taylor wrote in a letter at the end of May. Plus: Egan Orion, the recently appointed executive director of the chamber, decided to run for City Council, they wrote, and “a reduction of funds” from the Office of Economic Development “imposed insurmountable obstacles to operating as a true Chamber model.”

Now, two months after the announcement, interviews with former board members and others reveal a fuller picture of what happened to the nonprofit representing the neighborhood’s business community— and what is to come. Continue reading

Mayor comes to Capitol Hill to launch $50M affordable ‘Housing Seattle Now’ plan

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday two early-stage steps for more affordable housing in Seattle. One would allow the city to take advantage of a new state law allowing municipalities to use sales tax revenue to fund affordable housing. Another would renew and improve the city’s current multifamily tax exemption (MFTE) program to limit rent increases.

Durkan made these announcements in a speech in Capitol Hill’s 12th Ave Arts, which includes 88 affordable apartments developed by Capitol Hill Housing (CHH).

“We need more affordable housing in every part of this city and we need it as quickly as we can get it,” she said.

CHH’s CEO Chris Persons, introducing Durkan, stressed the urgent need for cheaper housing in Seattle and money for it, saying the organization has about 1,500 units in the pipeline but it doesn’t have the funding necessary to build them.

Included in those is a plan to create an LGBTQ-focused affordable senior housing project on Broadway.

According to the mayor’s office, the MFTE program, which provides affordable rent currently to more than 4,400 low- and middle-income households in Seattle, is expected to aid 1,300 new such homes by 2022, but without renewal, it would expire at the end of this year. Continue reading