Councilmember Mosqueda’s Statement on Adoption of City Light Strategic Plan

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8 – Citywide) and Chair of the Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Seattle City Council passage of Resolution 31819 adopting the 2019-2024 Seattle City Light Strategic Plan.

“Today’s 8-1 vote adopted the Seattle City Light Strategic Plan and the rate path proposed by Mayor Jenny Durkan and includes a request from the Mayor to transmit a rate path, including an average 4.5% rate increase over the next six years – averaging about $3.77 per month for the typical residential customer in 2019. These rate increases are lower than what was originally proposed by City Light, thanks to the great advocacy of the all-volunteer City Light Review Panel, and tasks the Review Panel with preparing recommendations for rate design changes for the first time in decades thanks to the work of Councilmember Mosqueda, who chaired the Strategic Plan Select Committee.

“As part of the Strategic Plan, City Light will work to reduce the costs associated with large capital projects, as well as Operations and Maintenance costs, with a priority on promoting good, living-wage jobs, workforce stability, and continuing to deliver affordable and clean electricity to customers while maintaining worker safety. Highlights include the Council-added initiative to meaningfully address workplace culture concerns, particularly with respect to gender- and race-based harassment, and fear of retaliation among staff; operationalizing institutional memory, so when workers retire, we don’t lose their knowledge of how the utility operates; and a continued emphasis on energy and nature conservation, ensuring that Seattle City Light remains the Nation’s greenest utility.”

The resolution sponsored by Councilmember Mosqueda also requests that the Review Panel, in collaboration with key community partners and industry experts, begin work this fall on updating how rates are designed and structured, and make recommendations to more equitably apply rates beginning next Summer.

“Rate Design hasn’t been significantly updated since the 1980’s, and this work is long overdue,” Mosqueda continued. The chair said she hopes the Rate Design review process will keep conservation at the forefront, while examining financial policies, and providing Council with the information necessary to update the rate path and consider additional changes in 2019 to ease the impacts of these rate increases on working families and small businesses.

“Through ongoing oversight and collaboration, I look forward to setting a new standard for good governance and engagement with the Review Panel and community, one that ensures City Light is held accountable, while continuing to deliver the best service possible to its customers,” added Mosqueda. “My team will continue to be engaged at a heighted level with City Light, the Mayor’s office, colleagues, and the community at large, to reign in costs, reduce overruns, and address the Rate Design changes needed to make sure City Light can continue to grow into the Public Utility of the Future!”

 

Councilmember Herbold Responds to Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court Decision

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today in the Janus v. State, County and Municipal Employees (16-1466), Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle, South Park) released the following statement echoing the frustrations and concerns of workers everywhere that this ruling will have long-term detrimental effects on public sector unions:

“The Court’s stunning reversal of the 1977 Abood decision today shows that ideology rather than legal principle have guided the Court’s decision.

“The unanimous decision of the Abood case established that membership dues cannot be used to pay for political activity; however, it allowed that unions could still collect membership dues in exchange for collective bargaining and other ‘apolitical services.’

“Right-to-work laws create an inequitable ‘free-rider’ problem where some unfairly benefit from the union-negotiated contract without contributing to the costs associated with those negotiations.  The Janus decision erodes our unions’ ability to negotiate on behalf of their workers for better pay, benefits, working conditions, and a host of other issues impacting workers doing critical work contributing to the public good.

“I stand in solidarity with my union sisters and brothers against this ruling and against right-to-work laws which require workers to bargain in an inequitable, ineffective, and unsustainable manner.”

Councilmember Mosqueda, Seattle City Council Labor Chair, Statement on Janus v AFSCME

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8 – Citywide) issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in the Janus v. State, County and Municipal employees (16-1466):

“Today’s ruling serves as a reminder that certain moneyed interests, like the Freedom Foundation and the Koch Brothers, are threatened by workers and unions and will use any means necessary to attack them. Make no mistake, the Janus case was an attack on workers, an attack on the democratically-elected institutions, and an attack on the ability to have a collective voice. The Janus case was an attempt to halt workers’ ability to come together to make our communities more equitable, to promote the public health, and increase our economic resilience. But it won’t work.

“Here in Seattle and in Washington State, labor unions are the backbone of the campaign that won paid sick and safe time, paid family and medical leave, and equal pay for equal work. Today, labor unions are the organizations that defend all worker’s ability to access overtime pay, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, workplace safety requirements and protections from harassment. Labor unions are the organizations that advocated for the end of child labor, so that our children can go to school to learn instead of going to toil in factories. Labor unions fight for the rights of all workers, union and non-union members, so that every working family has a fighting chance to make ends meet, have a voice at work, and doesn’t have to choose between a roof over their heads and a meal on their tables.

“I’m proud to live in Seattle where we have strong unions, elected officials who work with our unions, and a community that supports organizing. Our City unions helped pass the nation’s first $15 city-wide minimum wage, are on the forefront of organizing in the gig economy and fighting wage theft, and will now innovate in the face of Janus.

“In the last few months, we’ve seen workers across the country organize in the face of threats and intimidation – from the teachers’ strikes in red states, to the fast food strikes among the lowest wage workers, to Boeing workers organizing and then voting YES to join the union in South Carolina.

“We know that regardless of today’s US Supreme Court decision, workers and community will continue to organize, we will continue to grow union strength and power, will continue to demand better wages and benefits for all – knowing that union jobs support our local businesses and our community’s economy.

“While corporations, billionaires and their political allies, spent countless hours and dollars working to prevent the collective voice of workers and unions, today’s decision only means that we – as a community, elected leaders, the faith community and good businesses – are called upon to continue to proudly stand with unions and workers at the local level to lift wages, bargain fair contracts, and promote equity. So, let’s rise, let’s organize and let’s not give up.”

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has dedicated her career to defending workers’ rights, healthcare access, and to standing up for economic justice. Before she was elected to the Seattle City Council, she served as the Political and Strategic Campaign Director of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. While there, she drafted and later lead the campaign to pass Initiative 1433, guaranteeing paid sick and safe leave for all workers in Washington state, and raising the minimum wage for all low-wage working families. Prior to working for the Washington State Labor Council, she worked at the Children’s Alliance for 10 years, where she led the implementation of Apple Health for Kids.

González’s Statement on SCOTUS Ruling on Pregnancy Crisis Centers’ Free Speech Case

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Citywide, Pos. 9), Chair of the City Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee, issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on crisis pregnancy centers, which overturned a state law that required those centers to post notices that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care is available to low-income women through public programs, and to provide additional contact information for those services.

“Women deserve full and medically accurate information when making major life decisions, especially a decision as personal as abortion. When a woman walks through a door labeled as a clinic, she expects medical services to be provided, not rhetoric designed to dissuade her from choosing that option. It’s shameful that an unlicensed “fake clinic” is able to mislead women, not provide additional information as to where a woman is able to access the medical services she seeks, and delay women’s personal decisions until it’s too late to schedule an abortion.  All women deserve the truth and full access to the reproductive health services she seeks, including information about abortion.”

González’s Statement on SCOTUS Ruling to Uphold Travel Ban

Councilmember M. Lorena González (Citywide, Pos. 9), Chair of the City Council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee, issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold Trump’s travel ban:

“Seattle was ground zero when the first travel ban went into effect, being the second city in the country to get an order from a judge to stop the deportation of two detainees, one from Sudan and another from Yemen.

“Seattle was successful in stopping that deportation, literally receiving the judge’s order as the boarding ramp pulled away from the plane. Following chaos at airports across the country when the travel ban went into effect, I introduced a resolution declaring Seattle a Welcoming City to all immigrants and refugees.

“Today, I stand by that resolution and our values.  As a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, I am horrified that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.  This legal opinion fails to recognize President Trump’s true intention, which is to allow legal discrimination against an entire population of people based solely on their religion.

“Today is a dark and shameful  moment in our history and an aberration of the Country we must aspire to be.”

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NOTE:  Councilmember Gonzalez will #StandWithMuslims on Tuesday (June 26) at 1:00 p.m. (PST) for a Day of Action at the U.S. Court House (LOCATION:  1010 5th Avenue in Seattle.)