Morning Fizz

Friday Fizz Likes & Dislikes: Council Set to Trump Mayor on City $15

Council set to vote on $15 minimum wage for city employees.

By Morning Fizz November 14, 2014

1. We noted last week that after yet another couple of wins (preschool funding, Metro funding) Mayor Ed Murray is on an impressive streak.

This morning may be Ken Keltner Day for the mayor, though. (Google it kids, but essentially the streak may be coming to an end.) 

Real Change reported the news this week that Murray's budget proposal walks back his announcement earlier this year that all city employees would make at least $15 an hour ASAP. However, his budget only guarantees an $11 minimum wage for city employees next year and a $13 minimum wage in 2016. Murray says he's simply following the schedule of the historic citywide $15 minimum wage law passed earlier this year, and so the $15 minimum won't kick in for city employees until 2017, the same time it's set to kick in for all private employers.

Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant and lefty council member Mike O'Brien are co-sponsoring an amendment to the budget that would fund the salary boosts in the 2015 budget; it would cost about $1 million for about 700 low-wage workers.  Real Change quoted Ian Gordon, spokesman of Laborers’ Local 1239, a city workers' union that represents nearly 100 of the city of Seattle's lowest paid workers.

Union leader Gordon said he hopes the city council will add funding. “The people I represent mostly make $12.97 an hour,” he said. The majority work as recreation attendants for Seattle Parks and Recreation, answering phones, checking out equipment and helping direct sports and other games.

Other workers who Gordon represents who earn less than $15 an hour include some golf-course groundskeepers and parks-maintenance aides. He said other low-wage city workers that he does not represent include dining-room attendants at Seattle Center and cashiers.

“This is really a hardship,” said Gordon. “They can’t live in this city.”

Sawant and O'Brien will need three more votes to change Murray's budget proposal. Do they have the votes? 

As late as yesterday afternoon in the run-up to this moring's big budget meeting, when asked if the votes were lining up against the mayor, Murray ally council president Tim Burgess said simply: "I don't know." 

However, this AM, Fizz's sources—including up on the 7th floor (the mayor's office)— say "yes" Sawant and O'Brien do have the votes. 


2. From the King County Council budget: Fizz LIKES that the council restored the sexual assault unit in the King County Sheriff's office and included funding for the Sheriff's  Office to hire a consultant to help develop strategies to get a  more diverse police force and ID barriers for people of color. King County has  an overwhelmingly white male Sheriff’s Office that servers a diverse county.

Fizz DISLIKES that the Council didn't find the roughly $8 million needed to prevent cuts in the public defenders office where about 40 people are now slated to be laid off. 

 3. Fizz DISLIKES the latest SNAFU from Seattle Public Schools: 

Dear Seattle Public Schools families,

Late Tuesday night Seattle Public Schools learned that a law firm retained by the district to handle a complaint against the district inadvertently sent personally identifiable student information to an individual involved in the case. The district promptly removed the law firm from the case and is working to ensure that all improperly released records are retrieved or destroyed.

Protection of student privacy is of critical importance, and this inadvertent release of student information is unacceptable. Confidential information about several thousand of our students was improperly released. They are primarily Special Education students. Seattle Public Schools is reporting the release of student information to the U.S. Department of Education and is asking for their assistance in investigating how this happened.

Seattle Public Schools is looking into the exact extent of the disclosure and will be sending follow-up communications to affected families.

We appreciate the action of the individual who received these documents in reporting this to the district so that we could quickly move to retrieve the student information and notify families.

Dr. Larry Nyland
Interim Superintendent

4. Fizz DISLIKES that former Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna's otherwise comprehensive and up-to-date blog featuring every article about him and his political work, doesn't list his recent stint on the front page of the NYT where he was outed as a high-power corporate lobbyist in a cozy relationship with the current AG's office

The article came with emails between McKenna and current Democratic Washington State AG Bob Ferguson showing McKenna's effectiveness lobbying on behalf of his clients, Microsoft and T-Mobile. 








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