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    Council Committee to Consider Ban on Limiting Rent Increases

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/16/2015

    Council Committee to Consider Ban on Limiting Rent Increases

    SEATTLE – Council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee will consider a resolution on state prohibition of rent control tomorrow, which is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata. The resolution urges state legislators to change the Washington State law restricting local governments from instituting rent control or regulating rents. If the state ban were lifted, Seattle would have the option to pursue rent regulation legislation locally. Current state law does not allow cities to limit rent increases. Seattle has seen rent increases of up to 145% during 2015.

    Councilmembers Sawant and Licata support having rent control as an option as part of a bold and comprehensive set of solutions to preserve affordable housing in Seattle.

    Members of the public are encouraged to share their perspective during the public comment period at this Thursday’s 9:30 a.m. meeting. This will be Council’s first discussion on the resolution. Councilmembers Licata and Sawant debated the concept earlier this year at Town Hall Seattle in front of hundreds of spectators.

    The committee is expected to vote on the proposal at the following meeting on Thursday, September 24 at 9:30 a.m. The resolution will then be considered at Full Council.

    Councilmembers Licata and Sawant will be available after the committee meeting to respond to media inquiries.

    WHAT:
    Initial rent control discussion at the Council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee

    WHERE:
    Seattle City Hall
    Council Chambers, Second Floor
    600 4th Ave., Seattle 98104

    WHEN:
    Thursday, September 17
    9:30 a.m.

    WHO:
    Councilmember Nick Licata
    Councilmember Kshama Sawant
    Members of the Council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee

    [View in Council Newsroom]

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    Licata to Push for Public Pension Coal Divestment in Seattle

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/9/2015
    Licata to Push for Public Pension Coal Divestment in Seattle
    SEATTLE – Following the California Legislature’s vote to divest their 2 public pension systems from coal earlier this month, the Seattle City Employees’ Re…

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    Council Dedicates Property Sale Proceeds Toward Affordable Rental Housing

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/17/2015
    Council Dedicates Property Sale Proceeds Toward Affordable Rental Housing
    SEATTLE – Council unanimously adopted legislation today which dedicates the proceeds of a surplus City property sale toward developing low-in…

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    Mayor to move forward on acquisition of NE 130th Street beach

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/13/2015

    Mayor to move forward on acquisition of N.E. 130th Street beach

    SEATTLE – Mayor Ed Murray today announced that the City plans to purchase portions of two properties that make up the former N.E. 130th Street beach from the current owners and restore waterfront access for the public.

    “For decades, generations of Seattle residents enjoyed lakefront access from the N.E. 130th Street beach,” said Mayor Murray. “I have directed the Parks Department to begin the process of restoring that access by acquiring the properties using all tools at our disposal.” 

    The two properties lie at the end of N.E. 130th Street and Rivera Place, near the Burke-Gilman Trail in the Cedar Park neighborhood in the Lake City area. Earlier this year, the private property owners restricted the public from accessing the waterfront.

    “This parcel bordering Lake Washington has been used by the public to gain access to the water for over 80 years. It was very unfortunate to have access denied,” said Councilmember Jean Godden. “It’s great news that the City is now taking affirmative steps to restore this property to the public and to neighbors who know how much it matters to save this beach.”

    “Privatizing public property based upon an 82 year-old records error is a disservice to the neighborhood,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “I commend the Mayor for joining the Council in reclaiming what has long served as the only public access to Lake Washington between Matthews Beach and the northern city limits.”

    “I visited the 130th Street beach with neighbors and community members and stand firmly behind them in their desire to have the beach end returned to its original use—a neighborhood park,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “Many congratulations to the community who worked hard to ensure this space is open and welcoming to the community.”

    “When public access to Lake Washington was taken away, community activists pushed the City to recover it,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant. “Generations in Lake City will be able to swim in the neighborhood due to their organizing efforts.”

    Under the Mayor’s direction, Seattle Parks and Recreation will send a purchase and sale agreement to the current owners. The owners will then have 30 days to agree with the terms, counter-offer, or decline. In the event a negotiated purchase of the portions of the properties cannot be reached, the Mayor will transmit an ordinance to City Council authorizing the use of eminent domain to acquire the parcels for public use and benefit.

    “The 130th Street beach has provided recreational access to Lake Washington for residents since 1932,” said Dave Pope of the Friends of 130th Street Beach community group. “As Seattle continues to grow, more parks are needed, not fewer. I applaud Mayor Murray and City Council for taking the first steps in restoring beach access for those who do not have the luxury of owning waterfront property.”  

    “Shoreline access is precious everywhere in Seattle,” said Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. “We constantly strive to increase park and recreation opportunities for our residents and restoring this property to public use provides critical access for the community.”

    In June, the City Council sent Mayor Murray a letter urging him to condemn the properties. The letter was signed by all members of the Council.

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    [View in Council Newsroom]

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    New tool created to track enforcement of minimum wage, paid sick leave, job assistance, and wage theft laws

    City of Seattle
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/11/2015

    New tool created to track enforcement of minimum wage, paid sick leave, job assistance, and wage theft laws

    SEATTLE – Today Mayor Ed Murray, along with the City Council and the newly-created Office of Labor Standards (OLS), unveiled a website that allows the public to track enforcement of Seattle’s minimum wage, paid sick and safe leave, wage theft, and job assistance ordinance. The dashboard compiles data collected by OLS and presents the information in a digestible format.

    “The public needs to be able to see how the new Office of Labor Standards is working effectively to ensure workers are paid and treated fairly under Seattle’s strong labor laws,” Mayor Murray said. “This new tool allows employers and workers to access readily-available data to show the progress we’re making with enforcing our labor standards and historic minimum wage increase, and where we still need to improve.”

    Councilmember Nick Licata said, “This dashboard helps bring to light that employees are being denied wages in Seattle. I’m heartened to know that workers have access to these statistics and that there’s a City agency dedicated to investigating and remedying the situation.”

    As of June 2015, the dashboard shows that City has responded to over 3,500 employer and 800 employee questions about Seattle’s labor standards. Since the beginning of the year, OLS has opened 72 new investigations and closed 47 cases.

    “The dashboard demonstrates the work we are doing to enforce Seattle’s labor standards, makes our work accessible and transparent to the public, and helps us better track our progress,” said Dylan Orr, Director of the Office of Labor Standards. “We hope this inspires employers to contact us with questions about their obligations, and workers to contact us with questions about their rights and to report violations.”

    Every month, OLS will update the dashboard with information, including employee and employer inquiries; new, open, and closed investigations; employees receiving remedies; and the total amount of remedies recovered for employees.

    “This new online tool transforms the way the city provides labor enforcement data to the public,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “Providing information in real-time and transparently ensures that we hold everyone accountable in order to protect our workers.”

    OLS encourages questions about the dashboard and Seattle’s labor standards, including reports of violations, by email (laborstandards@seattle.gov), phone (206-684-4500) and walk-in appointments at the downtown office (810 Third Avenue, Suite 750 Seattle, WA 98104). Information about Seattle’s labor standards can be found at www.seattle.gov/laborstandards.

    – 30 –

    [View in Council Newsroom]

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    Council Adopts Resolution Expressing Seattle’s Regret for Historical Anti-Chinese Legislation

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/3/2015
    Council Adopts Resolution Expressing Seattle’s Regret for Historical Anti-Chinese Legislation
    SEATTLE – Council unanimously approved a resolution today that expresses regret for anti-Chinese legislation passed by the…

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    Councilmember Licata Introduces Resolution Expressing Seattle’s Regret for Historical Anti-Chinese Legislation

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/28/2015
    Councilmember Licata Introduces Resolution Expressing Seattle’s Regret for Historical Anti-Chinese Legislation
    SEATTLE – Council’s Finance and Culture Committee will consider a resolution introduced by Councilmember…

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    Licata Lauds Passage of Cannabis Legislation

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/13/2015
    Licata Lauds Passage of Cannabis Legislation
    SEATTLE – Councilmember Nick Licata issued the following statement following the passage of Council Bill 118419 and Resolution 31595 in Full Council today:
    “Today’s una…

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    Councilmembers Call for New Plan to Manage Population Growth, Address Displacement

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/19/2015
    Councilmembers Call for New Plan to Manage Population Growth, Address Displacement
    SEATTLE – Seattle is expected to gain 120,000 new residents and 115,000 new jobs by the year 2035, and the City is in the midst of a…

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    Licata proposes balanced, alternative funding approach for Move Seattle Transportation Levy

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/2/2015
    Licata proposes balanced, alternative funding approach for Move Seattle Transportation Levy
    SEATTLE – Councilmember Nick Licata announced an alternative funding proposal for the Move Seattle transportation levy today…

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