Happy May Day!
Thousands of people across the globe and from Seattle are marching today to champion the rights of workers and put a spotlight on labor issues, immigrant rights, and social justice. Today is a reminder of the power of the people and the resilience of our communities. Thank you to everyone who is marching, advocating, and fighting for a more just society.
* Please note the location for the Creating our King County Kickoff with MLK Labor on Saturday has been updated to the Laborers’ Hall Local 242- 22323 Pacific Hwy S. Des Moines, WA 98198
This past two weeks have been brought to us by the phrase “getting stuff done.” I’m also hearing that you all want some concrete ways to help get stuff done, so, I’m launching a new feature:
Three Ways to Get Engaged
- Join me for labor-week events and help get the word out about the week’s activities
- Submit your labor story – tell me why workers’ rights matter to you, personally, and I’ll begin featuring stories in this newsletter.
- Tell me what you’d speak about with college students. I’m speaking at Bellevue College next week, and I’d love your thoughts.
Here is how we’ve been engaged in making changes as of late:
Expanding Opportunity for Affordable Housing!
One of the latest pieces of legislation that I sponsored and passed allows for the Office of Housing to more easily acquire and preserve land for affordable housing. Think more opportunities for Community Land Trusts, affordable housing options and public ownership.
We are in the middle of a housing crisis, we needed to act with urgency to get a different solution: more housing quickly. This change bill means more opportunities to expand our affordable housing options for low and middle income families now and in the future! This is just one more step in our actions to address the affordable housing crisis, and work to affirmatively ensure fair housing access in Seattle. But we also need the funding to build the housing needed…
Progressive Revenue Now!
I am proud to co-sponsor the legislation to help right side up our upside-down tax code here in Seattle. The Employee Hours Tax is sponsored by Councilmembers M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, and Mike O’Brien and me to help fund affordable housing for those exiting homelessness and those living in poverty to help create stable housing and healthy communities.
This is a common-sense solution that asks those who are prospering the most in our local economy to contribute a little to help with the housing and homelessness crisis. This is just about a quarter an hour and only applies to the largest corporations that make $20 million or more per year – many corporations that benefited from the federal tax cuts also. With this proposal we are bringing greater fairness to our local tax code and creating the housing or families and citizens need.
This is a practical approach to a public health crisis. Without shelter, people die. As part of a broader set of strategies locally (including Mandatory Housing Affordability, the Housing Levy, Incentive Zoning, the One Table county approach and other measures), we can help provide the housing and support that families need.
Building Healthy Communities
There is a terrible health crisis underway across our nation. The opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of people in our County and City. As we continue to see sharp increases in the use and abuse of heroin and prescription opiates we must enact policies that facilitate prevention and access to health services to address this epidemic.
We’ve heard several stories during both of our committee meetings on the urgency and need for a holistic and humane approach to address this crisis. Many countries like Spain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have adopted supervised sites for adults struggling with substance use disorders and can find health resources and pathways to recovery. In addition, a few U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, are also considering this low barrier harm reduction approach.
We plan to visit some of these sites in the next couple of months to learn from their approach and how we might be able to implement this in our own community. We will have our third committee meeting on this issue on June 7th in Council Chambers at 9:30 AM, where we will have an update on all eight Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations.
Free Movie Screening on Thursday: Dolores
As part of Labor Week, come watch the incredible movie, Dolores, a documentary about Dolores Huerta and her seminal role in organizing the farmworkers’ movement.
- Thursday, May 3 @ 6pm – 8pm
- The Centilia Cultural Center at El Centro de la Raza
- 1660 S Roberto Maestas Festival St, Seattle, WA 98144