Seattle has added two new protections for renters facing the economic challenges of the COVID-19 crisis but City Hall wasn’t celebrating Monday as the Seattle City Council approved a bill that gives tenants who fall behind on rent during the crisis the right to catch up on an installment plan.
The second yes vote on a bill co-sponsored by council member Kshama Sawant approved a new rule prohibiting landlords from turning down a tenant because they were evicted for failure to pay rent during the crisis. Sawant marked the victory but also had a lot to say about her stymied “Amazon Tax.” Continue reading
The Seattle City Council’s 2020 power shift includes a new leader, and new committee assignments — including new responsibilities for District 3 representative Kshama Sawant. It also includes a new rule set that could put a kink or two in some of Sawant’s favored legislative strategies while also reducing the number of times many of the body’s committees will meet.
The changes are set to be ratified in votes of the full council Monday afternoon.
First, citywide representative Lorena Gonzalez is set to take up the president’s role leading the council giving her control over the body’s agendas and some extra pull in City Hall.
But, more importantly, she’ll be leading a council set to move at a much different rhythm than in the past. Continue reading
The Seattle City Council is poised to approve a new set of guidelines that will shape what Capitol Hill looks like in years to come.
The Capitol Hill Neighborhood Design Guidelines are essentially recommendations to developers of what neighborhood residents would like to see in new buildings. The neighborhood-specific guidelines were adopted in 2005. The update began in 2017, and was undertaken by city staff in conjunction with a 14-member working group of residents and representatives of various groups around the hill.
A draft was printed in May 2018. But the update was shifted to the back burner as the city wrestled with adopting the Mandatory Affordable Housing program. A new draft was released in January of this year.
Monday afternoon, the full council is prepared to approved the update. Continue reading
Sawant below the Amazon Spheres at a rally last week
The next major free speech event at Cal Anderson Park? It will target Seattle’s largest publicly traded company and one of the largest employers of Capitol Hill residents in the city. UPDATE: A representative tells CHS the rally is now slated to take place at Seattle Central.
District 3 representative Kshama Sawant — go ahead and get your cut and paste CHS anti-Socialist Alternative comments ready, haters — and the Affordable Housing Alliance are organizing a Saturday, May 12th March on Amazon:
March on Amazon
With reporting by SCC Insight
The Seattle City Council’s proposed legislation to impose a new tax on businesses to help pay for homelessness services has finally seen the light of day and will begin its path through the council chambers with a committee meeting this week.
The proposal from the council’s Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold aims to raise at least $75 million annually to address the twin crises of affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable people, and the increasing number of people living unsheltered. It comes in two parts: an ordinance that enacts the tax, and a resolution that lays out the spending plan. Continue reading
No incumbent and Seattle’s new Democracy Voucher program has drawn seven candidates to the race for the at-large City Council Position 8 so far.
In November, Jon Grant, former director of the Tenants Union, announced his bid for the seat left open by longtime council member Tim Burgess’s impending retirement. Since then notable others have decided to vie for the job. Among them are Mac McGregor, a gender, diversity, and sex educator, activist, speaker, and coach, Teresa Mosqueda, political director for the Washington State Labor Council, and Sheley Secrest, local NAACP vice president.
McGregor served on the Seattle LGBTQ Commission from 2011 to 2016. As The Gender Sensei, McGregor offers classes on self-defense, martial arts, and Tai-chi wellness. He is also a professional life coach, personal trainer, motivational speaker, and educates and trains groups on diversity and sensitivity, according to his website.
The Beacon Hill resident moved to Seattle from the Bible Belt in 2008.
“Even though there’re so many things we do right in Seattle, and we’re a progressive city in so many ways, we can do better,” McGregor told CHS. Continue reading
A bill that could significantly limit the upfront costs of moving into many apartments in Seattle was voted out of a City Council committee Tuesday.
Under the measure from District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, landlords could only charge tenants the first full month’s rent upon move-in and would need to allow tenants to pay the security deposit, non-refundable move-in fees, and last month’s rent in installments. According to an example provided by Sawant, a tenant moving into an $1,800 a month unit today could pay $5,600 to sign the lease. Under her proposal, the same tenant would only have to pay $2,400 to move-in as other upfront costs would be spread out over six months.
The Energy and Environment committee passed the bill on to the full council, which is expected to vote on the measure in October.
Service industry workers and the unions representing them scored victory at City Hall Monday as the City Council unanimously approved a new secure scheduling ordinance in Seattle.
Workers at some of Seattle’s largest restaurants and retailers will be paid extra for short notice schedule changes and on-call shifts once the law goes into effect in July 2017. Supporters say it will offer a much-needed level of predictability for hourly workers, especially those with children or those attending school.
The law will apply to restaurants and retailers with 500 or more employees in Seattle or nationally. Full service restaurants would also need to have 40 or more locations worldwide.
Employers will be restricted from scheduling “clopenings,” where employees work closing and opening shifts back-to-back, unless an employer requests it. Workers will be required to have at least ten hours between shifts. Employers would also be required to offer existing employees additional hours before new employees are hired. Continue reading
Kshama Sawant visited a Starbucks last year to explain her first major workers rights victory — the $15 minimum wage . (image: CHS)
One restaurant worker on Capitol Hill said fluctuating work hours each month were a “constant stress” as making rent perpetually hangs in the balance. A Hillman City fast-food manager said scheduling is an enormous task and when employees cannot pick up shifts, it is usually management that forgoes personal and family time to fill the gap.
The anecdotes, included in an extensive 119-page report on hardships faced by Seattle workers due to shifting work schedules, offers a glimpse into the contentious waters city officials are wading into as they consider a new secure scheduling ordinance.
A city-contracted researcher found that a third of workers surveyed faced serious hardships because of their work schedule, with African American and Latino workers reporting “significantly higher” than average rates of hardship. Nearly half of the workers surveyed said they would forego a 20% pay increase to secure substantive advanced notice for work.
“The data reveals that a significant number of Seattle employees’ schedules produce hardship including difficulty planning a budget, a second job, and childcare needs,” said Council member Lisa Herbold in a statement. Continue reading