In December, I joined with area collegues to welcome the first light rail car.
Light rail cartesting is underway in SODO.
Living Wage Initiatives
Much of my focus in 2006 was on ways to make sure everyone in Seattle who wants a living wage job can find and keep one. Thousands of Seattleites are working hard at low-paying jobs and not making ends meet. This fact has devastating impacts on our families, neighborhoods and economy.
The bottom line is that we all pay the price when breadwinners don't make living wages. When people can't afford food, shelter and healthcare the social safety net is left to catch them. Similarly, confidence, self-esteem and household harmony are threatened. Well-paying jobs help families become self-reliant and stay off publicly subsidized programs.
The City funded more than $3 million in programs this year that help people into living wage jobs. By collaborating with nonprofits and civic-minded businesses, the City is working to help families, our community and our economy.
In 2006 I launched work in living wages through a "learning-tour." With help from the Seattle Channel we packaged my learning tour into a television special called "Climbing the Living Wage Ladder." Click here to view the program from Seattle Channel's website. This year I'll take what I learned and use it to push for better access to job training and better paying jobs.
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As some of you well know, I attended as many district council, community council, community club and chamber meetings as I could in 2006. I learned a tremendous amount by talking with you whether it was around a folding table or pacing your sidewalks. I'll be out for more of the same this year as I look for your ideas and opinions about how to keep our neighborhoods safe, affordable, and sustainable.
We'll continue our good habit of bringing the Economic Development and Neighborhoods Committee out of Council Chambers and into neighborhoods once a month. Last year we took the committee to Delridge, Rainier Valley, Magnolia, Lake City, Georgetown, Capitol Hill and Ballard. It's the Economic Development & Neighborhoods Committee, right? I think getting out of City Hall makes it possible for more people to come out and connect with the Committee in person. I think that's valuable.
This year the committee will still meet on the first and third Thursdays of every month. The first meeting of the month will happen downtown in Council Chambers at 9:30 a.m. On the third Thursday of the month we'll be out and meet in the evening to make it easier for people to attend.
Check out my website for the most up-to-date list of meeting locations for 2007.
For the school's 30th Anniversary, University Co-op students are performing 30 acts of kindness in the community. On November 17, Sally joined students, teachers and parents at Cowen Park to plant 1,000 daffodil bulbs. Kids also picked up litter around the park. There was much talk of worms.
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The City's advisory boards and commissions provide invaluable advice to the Council, the Mayor and city departments on a variety of issues. People serve on these committees because they love Seattle and want to contribute their time and knowledge. In 2006 I brought people together to forge an agreement on new ethics rules that are clearer for volunteers and detail greater penalties for misuse of one's position.
The new ethics code requires that members recuse themselves in matters in which they have a real financial conflict of interest. If they do not, the SEEC could impose a fine of up to $1,000. The SEEC could also recommend that commissioners found at fault should be removed from their positions. Finally there could be a fine of up to $250 if a member fails to disclose what a reasonable person would consider an appearance of a conflict of interest.
No one considers revising the ethics code particularly glamorous, but it was perhaps the most important work I did last year.
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In addition to chairing the ED&N Committee, I will again serve as vice chair of the Housing, Human Services & Health Committee, and I will serve on the Environment, Emergency Management & Utilities Committee. Additionally I serve on several external committees in concert with colleagues from around the region. This year I will again serve on:
Seattle-King County Board of Health - Our public health system ensures we're safe and healthy, yet it's chronically under-funded compared to the need. It's running on fumes. I'm working on a public health master plan to help guide decisions in the future so that public health services will be around to serve people in need.
Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Policy Board - The TPB unites elected and appointed policy makers from all over King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. Your commute doesn't stop at a county line. Decision-making about roads and transit should reflect that.
SeaShore - King County Metro divides the county into three sub-areas in order to focus problem-solving and planning for the future. SeaShore is the committee making up elected decisionmakers in the north sub-area (Seattle, Shoreline, and Lake Forest Park).
King County Regional Water Qulity Committee - This committee brings together elected officials from all over King County to make decisions about water use and post-use treatment. We live in a water-rich part of the world. Climate change and increasing population require we act together as a region to preserve what we have for future generations.
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NEIGHBOR APPRECIATION DAY AND STORY SUBMISSIONS
Neighbor Appreciation Day
Saturday, February 10
This is a City celebration - honoring all your good efforts on behalf of our wonderful neighborhoods. It is also a day to meet neighbors, eat some Valentine's day treats or a pancake breakfast, attend a neighborhood flea market or join a clean-up party. Click here for a list of events.
Neighborhood Story Submissions:
Calling all story-tellers. We know you have stories about something great that you and your neighbors did or a funny story about your neighborhood. We want to hear them. We will be posting them on Sally Clark's website. Please share your neighborhood with the rest of the city. Please email them to Sally Hulsman at email@example.com.
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RANDOM THOUGHTS - STORMS
I am a native Northwesterner with a love for the beach, so I’ve seen a few storms, but nothing like what we experienced last month. As I walk my dog around the neighborhood or take an odd route to work I see more damage that escaped my eye in the first few days after the storm. This morning it was the completely uprooted trees in Madrona Park.
Over the past week we’ve been blanketed by snow and then isolated by ice. I haven’t seen this much snow and ice in a few years.
We’re left wondering if the December storm was a sign of climate change or a once-every-few-decades, “normal” swirl of destruction. Every once in a while someone around here mentions the Columbus Day storm of 1962. Most of us recall the Inauguration Day storm of 1993. Now we have the yet-to-be-named big storm of December 2006.
City Council is in the midst of reviewing the response to the storm by City Departments and we are learning a great deal about how to do better next time. We’ve heard from many of you who were cold in your homes – or out of them – for more days than you think were necessary. We’ve heard from workers who feel they were held back from doing their jobs. And we’ve heard the stories about people who tragically lost their lives.
I’ve also heard great stories. I want to take just a moment to thank all the people who reached out to help neighbors and strangers during and in the wake of the December storm and in the snow and ice last week. Thank you to the Seattle City Light Line Workers and Customer Service staff. Thank you to the Department of Parks and Recreation Community Center staff who provided meals and beds to those forced from their homes. Thank you to neighbors who checked on each other, shared wood and batteries, pulled out chainsaws, raked up shattered branches, and spread kitty litter under spinning wheels.
There will always be storms. It’s clear that we can communicate better and work smarter to minimize the impact and get people, especially vulnerable people, back into heat and light.
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