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Seattle’s Got Distinction

If you’re assembling an “Only in Seattle” file, you’d have to include June 6th, the night that the Seattle Symphony showcased music inspired by Seattle hip-hop icon Sir Mix-A-Lot. sirmix

Sir Mix asked for “a couple of ladies” to help him out with his signature song, “Baby’s Got Back.” Upwards of three dozen women crowded onstage and boogied while he rapped and the symphony played. The free-form performance quickly went viral across the country. Few, if any, symphony orchestras anywhere can match that claim.

Mix’s dance-a-lot is only one of the happenings that make Seattle stand out as a city where the unusual is usual. Every day brings us more evidence that Seattle’s got distinction.

For example, as we speak, Seattle is fine tuning … Continue Reading »

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Corporations Can Dictate Contraception? My Thoughts on the Hobby Lobby Decision

hlI confess that I was totally blindsided. I never expected the Supreme Court would rule the way it did, five justices – all male, by the way — agreeing that requiring family-owned corporations to provide insurance coverage for contraception somehow violated a federal law protecting the corporation’s religious freedom.

A corporation’s religious freedom? I guess that’s what really stunned me. It was outrageous enough that, writing earlier in the infamous Citizens United decision, the court had declared that corporations have First Amendment rights to free speech. Now the court’s majority has decided that corporations – at least those owned mainly by families — are also entitled to freedom of religion.

If one follows this convoluted line of reasoning, corporations apparently … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Greenlake Primary Care

Recently, I had a fascinating discussion with Dr. Naomi Busch, a Seattle-based primary care physician—who happens to be my doctor.  What differentiates Dr. Busch from other physicians, however, is that she is a businesswoman who owns her practice: Greenlake Primary Care. Dr Busch

When Dr. Busch spotted my “No Wage Gap” campaign button, aimed at ending the 73-cent on the dollar gap between women’s and men’s wages, she didn’t hesitate to fill me in on her own past gender pay gap problem.

“That’s why I’m here,” she said simply.

She explained that, as a young mother, she had taken a part-time, six hour shift at a local clinic. She said, “I didn’t extend my day to work eight hours because I had to pick … Continue Reading »

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Ladies Stand Tall

Earlier this month, four young gentlemen from Nathan Hale High School job shadowed me during a typical day at the Council. I was incredibly impressed by how prepared the students were when they arrived—particularly well-versed on Seattle’s gender wage gap. They interviewed me about my gender wage equity work and blew me away with their grasp of the effects of such gender wage inequity on society, as well as their dedication to narrowing the gap.

Well, these students are as impatient as I am to see opportunities for women equal to those of men. They are raising awareness now through a rap. And I couldn’t be prouder. These are the men of Seattle’s future that have women’s backs as they rhyme, “ladies stand tall.” They get it. “Day by day … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Amanda Touch of Color Salon


Amanda in her salon

Amanda Saephan’s small business story is one of many I will highlight as a part of my women in business campaign for the Summer of 2014. This campaign will not narrow the gender pay gap but, as Amanda’s story reveals, she’s not afraid of hard work and that’s exactly what will bring about gender pay equality.

Hair is just one reason – though it’s probably the best excuse — to visit Amanda Touch of Color Salon in Laurelhurst. Amanda Saephan owns the tidy business, sandwiched between a nail salon and a restaurant.  She rents space to four other beauty stylists, although she’s the main attraction and the high energy that makes the place … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

This blog serves as the start of my summer series to highlight women in the workplace. And what better place to start than a recent farewell lunch to honor my intern: the most ambitious Kate Sibley of the University of Washington. We chose the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery, 3118 Northeast 65th Street, co-owned by Sara Swanson, as it remains a Bryant Neighborhood icon and is a scant two blocks from the home my folks bought years ago when our family arrived in Seattle.

With our intern Kate in front of the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

With our intern Kate in front of the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

In those days, the café was a drugstore. The … Continue Reading »

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Keepie Uppie Time for World Cup

soccerJudging from the energy I’ve noticed around Seattle Sounders games lately, I’m willing to bet there are a good number of Seattleites excited for this years’ World Cup that begins Thursday. It is Brazil’s second time hosting this momentous tournament (it first hosted in 1950) and is set to have 64 matches played in 12 cities across the country. Thirty two countries will compete this year, including the U.S.A.

If you’re happiest watching the most widely viewed sporting event in the world in the company of fellow fans, you’re in luck this year and need to look no farther than the Seattle Public Library. Whether you’re a fan of Brazil or Germany, the countries with the most World Cup appearances, … Continue Reading »

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Left of Lefse

Yesterday, the Seattle Times Jonathan Martin wrote that, after Seattle’s historic $15 per hour  minimum wage moment, the city will be back to “deliberate, bland, center-left politics.” In fact, he states that, if Seattle politics were a dish, it would be lefse with a rainbow sprinkle.

Lefse with rainbow sprinkles?  sprinkes

What I remember best about lefse (a potato pancake) is that it traditionally would be wrapped around lutefisk, cod fish treated with lye and herbs. While definitely an acquired taste, lutefisk and lefse – the way my grandmother made it – were interesting but hardly bland. It was a dish that had flavor—pungent in one bite and maybe simple the next, but most importantly it did its job … Continue Reading »

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Three for the Road Ahead

I had a special assignment Thursday. Sen. Patty Murray was holding her annual “Golden Tennis Shoe Awards” luncheon, honoring unsung local heroes. My mission, besides hearing from Sens. Murray and Elizabeth Warren, was to get a copy of Seattle’s “No Wage Gap” campaign button into Sen. Murray’s hands.

It was the least I could do, since Sen. Murray has long been our hero working for wage equity for women and trying against all odds to pass a Paycheck Fairness Act.

What we – 1700 luncheon guests — were treated to at the “GoldenTennis Shoe” awards was Sen. Murray introducing us to three remarkable honorees, folks that you otherwise might not have heard about. First off there was Fitsum Abraha, who came to Seattle, age 10 from Sudan, speaking no English. He grew … Continue Reading »

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A Perfect Ten

This week, and last the Library has been hosting a number of fun-filled events to celebrate its 10th year anniversary. It has been hosting everything from local bands and talks from authors, to architectural and design speakers with activities for kids and adults alike. I was able to stop by this morning to partake in some of the festivities and hand out cupcakes to excited library patrons!cupcakes1

Now for some history about the Library’s beginnings and how it became what it is today:

Seattle’s Central Library, the stunning window-paned monument on Fifth Avenue, is turning ten – a perfect 10 — this month. The building still draws many visitors from afar, intent on marveling at Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’ iconic design, seen as Seattle’s … Continue Reading »

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