Supporting the Muslim Community, a Voice for Drivers, Labor Standards, and More

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2015 final Full Council meetingYesterday was the last Full Council meeting of 2015 and it was jam packed: 52 agenda items, 3 ½ hours of deliberations.

We started with a resolution expressing our support for Seattle’s Muslim community in the wake of increasing anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and violence. The City of Seattle welcomes and affirms our Muslim residents, both native born and immigrant, and recognizes the enormous value they add to the cultural and economic life of this city. When we respond from fear, we respond from weakness. We all want our community to be safe, but fear does not lead to safety.

The Council then passed landmark legislation that allows drivers of for-hire vehicles to collectively join together and negotiate better working conditions, making Seattle the first city to take this step. We must continue to find ways to protect workers in the new gig economy where the traditional employer-employee relationship is less prevalent.

We approved a thick bill (146 pages) improving and standardizing the enforcement processes for our local labor standards. We debated nuances while updating the Council’s rules and procedures. We made a small change to our business licenses that allows us to more easily revoke these for unlawful businesses. We designated the P-I Globe as a landmark and we created a new Arts & Cultural District in the Central Area.

It was a full, productive meeting. It was also the final Full Council meeting of three of my colleagues, Nick Licata, Jean Godden, and Tom Rasmussen. Between the three of them, we are saying goodbye to 42 years of collective service on the Council. As we get excited about the incoming councilmembers, I will miss the wisdom, dedication, friendship, and passion for service of my exiting colleagues.