Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:
- On Monday, State Sen. Pramila Jayapal announced her endorsement for City Council member Kshama Sawant, who’s running for the Capitol Hill-centered District 3 position this year. In a statement, Jayapal underscored Sawant’s ability to work collaboratively as the three other District 3 candidates have dinged Sawant in various ways for being too adversarial:
“I was proud to work with Kshama to fight for a $15 minimum wage. She combines a principled approach, a willingness to listen, and the ability to move critical legislation that affects our most vulnerable communities,” Jayapal said.
Jayapal is backing a measure in the senate to raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour over four years. She represents the 37th District, which includes Central Area neighborhoods south of Madison St. down to Renton and overlaps with part of Council District 3.
- Mayor Ed Murray has said that implementing a universal pre-K program in Seattle would be the most important thing he’ll ever do as mayor. Earlier this month the mayor submitted that pre-K plan to Council, where it’s up for a public hearing this week. Last year, voters approved a 4-year levy to offer free pre-K schooling to a quarter of Seattle’s 3- and- 4-year-olds and make subsidies available for the rest. Included in the implementation plan up for consideration is a sliding fee schedule that offers free pre-school for those at or below 300% of the federal poverty line. The Wednesday meeting of the Council’s education committee will feature a presentation by researchers from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as a panel of pre-K experts that will include Dr. Debra Sullivan of Seattle Central College.
- The City Librarian will present the annual library levy report to city council members on Tuesday. Part of a $2.5 million maintenance budget included safety improvements made to the Captiol Hill branch.
- Now and then some City Council members like to use their position to weigh in on international issues (remember last year’s flare-up over Sawant’s letter on Gaza?). Council member Mike O’Brien has put forth a resolution to state the council’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement President Barack Obama is quietly hammering out with 11 other Pacific nations. Among the many reasons laid out in the resolution to oppose the TPP, one section argues that the TPP “threatens Seattle’s work force by forcing the U.S to waive ‘Buy American’ or ‘Buy Local’ requirements.” Council members will discuss the resolution during Thursday’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee meeting.