Burgess Nominated as Mayor of Seattle

The Seattle City Council elected Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide) as the 55th Mayor of Seattle today.  Burgess will take the oath of office today at 5:00 p.m., which will be administered by City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons.  Burgess will serve as Mayor until King County certifies election results on November 28, 2018.

Click here for a list of select accomplishments during his service on the Seattle City Council.

Burgess delivered the following remarks after his nomination at Full Council today:

“Thank you, colleagues, for your trust and confidence.

“For the past 10 years, the 2nd floor of City Hall has been my work home. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve with each of my colleagues and I’m grateful to the people of Seattle who have chosen me three times to serve them.

“This is certainly not the way anyone would have chosen to become mayor of our great city. It is, however, where we are.

“I promise to work every day for the next 71 days as mayor to help us heal and move the city forward.

“We will carry on our work to make Seattle a safe, fair and equitable city.

“We will serve all of our city, not one group or another; but everyone, all residents in every neighborhood and everyone who comes into the city to work their jobs.

“I take this transition from the legislative to the executive branch with all the gravity and seriousness of purpose the office demands. But, I cannot do it alone.

“I need the help of my colleagues here on the City Council, the team in my new office, the 11,000 City employees who work across the city every day and every hour, and, of course, my family.

“I’d like to take a moment introduce my family members who are here.

“Joleen, the woman who taught me love and forgiveness. This Saturday is our 40th wedding anniversary. I look forward to celebrating it.

“Our daughters—Kimberly, Katharine, and Elisabeth who is here with her husband Dahm Choi. These are strong, independent and accomplished women; they are the women who have made me who I am today. They have shaped my worldview. I cherish their wisdom and their love. And they’re not afraid to tell me when I’m wrong.

“Later this afternoon, I will take the oath of office and become mayor. And tomorrow, we will continue our work. Not simply because we have to, but because we want to.

“In fact, Councilmembers, I will return next Monday afternoon to deliver the 2018 budget for your consideration. It will be balanced. It will be fair and just. And it will uphold the progressive values of Seattle.”

Councilmember Burgess’ Statement on Supreme Court Upholding Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax

Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide), chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, issued the following statement after the Washington State Supreme Court upheld Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax.  Burgess introduced the legislation at Council in 2015:

“I’m thrilled to see our Supreme Court so strongly uphold Seattle’s Gun Violence Tax. We knew from the start that we had a strong and sound legal case, and I’m proud that the tax proceeds can continue funding gun safety research and prevention programs at Harborview Medical Center, which is underway right now. Gun violence costs the City and County $180 million per year, and I believe the gun industry should help offset some of those costs.

“Seattle was the first city in the nation to directly fund gun violence research, which I felt we were compelled to do because the NRA has blocked funding for basic gun safety research at the federal level for decades.  It’s truly disappointing that the NRA and its allies always oppose these common sense steps to shine light on the gun violence epidemic. That makes today an especially huge win.  I hope other cities in Washington now feel comfortable to follow suit.”

Approved by Council in August 2015, the gun violence tax requires firearms dealers to pay $25 for every firearm sold and $0.05 or $0.02 for every round of ammunition sold, depending on the caliber of ammunition. The proceeds are used for gun violence research and prevention programs at Harborview Medical Center.

Council and Mayor Murray Nominate Appointees for the Seattle Renters’ Commission

Today the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray announced their appointees to the new Seattle Renters’ Commission (SRC). Created by Ordinance 125280 in March 2017, the 15-member commission will advise the City on priorities, policies, and strategies related to all issues concerning renters across the City of Seattle. It will also monitor and provide feedback on the enforcement and effectiveness of legislation related to renters and renter protections.

“Creating an affordable Seattle means we must have equitable access to housing for everyone and protections for renters,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Too many of our residents face unreasonable barriers when entering the housing market and are at risk for displacement which can lead to catastrophic outcomes for families, including homelessness.  Including the voice of renters who make up half of the city’s residents in our housing policy is critical. I look forward to working with the newly appointed Seattle Renters’ Commission members to institutionalize policies that not only protect renters but also will preserve Seattle’s socio-economic diversity.”

Nearly 300 individuals applied for 12 SRC positions to be appointed by the Mayor and City Council – six selected by the Mayor and six by City Council. One additional appointee will be selected through the Get Engaged program, and SRC members will nominate individuals to fill the two remaining positions later this year. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.

“The Seattle Renters’ Commission is the first of its kind in the country, and an opportunity to amplify the voices of renters who are not usually at the table,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess, “This commission is truly representative of various renter perspectives and experiences, and continues the City’s trend of including historically underrepresented groups in our decision-making processes.”

The appointees are as follows:

Mayor Appointees: Beverly Aarons, Jack Barker, Sherry Collier, Daniela Lopez, David Mooney, ChrisTiana ObeySumner

Council Appointees: Jessie Jacobs, Michael Padilla Ocampo, Jessica Westgren, Clifford Cawthon, Laurie Rocello Torres, L. Curtis Blankinship

Get Engaged appointee: Calvin Jones

The City Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee will discuss and possibly vote on the SRC appointments at its August 2 and August 16 meetings. The meetings will begin at 9:30 a.m. in City Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2.

For more information or for questions, contact Maureen Sheehan at (206) 584-0302 or Maureen.Sheehan@seattle.gov. You can also learn more about the Seattle Renters’ Commission on the City’s website.

Councilmember Burgess, Director Davis Statement On Consideration of Fossil Fuel Divestment

SEATTLE – Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide) and Chair of the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System Board, and Jeff Davis, Executive Director of the SCERS Board, issued the following statement at the conclusion of today’s Board meeting, during which time fossil fuel divestment was discussed:

“Today’s Board meeting was well attended by community members who made moral and financial arguments as to why SCERS should divest of its fossil fuel investments.

“The SCERS Investment Advisory Committee, composed of investment experts who advise the Board, reviewed the prior recommendations from SCERS’ investment consultant and staff on fossil fuel divestment that had been requested by the Board in April. They reaffirmed the prior recommendations that fossil fuel divestment would negatively impact SCERS’ investment portfolio and should not be pursued. The Investment Advisory Committee concluded that further analysis of the issue was not required and further recommended that the Board consider revising its policies for consideration of future divestment requests.

“Jason Malinowski, Chief Investment Officer of SCERS, reported on the positive action strategy that the Board adopted in February 2015 related to climate change, that includes engaging as shareholders with corporations and other entities, considering sustainability investments and integrating climate change risk into the investment process. Mr. Malinowski clarified that SCERS had not lost $100 million from its investments in fossil fuel companies, as had been suggested by community members, but instead had generated a positive return that lagged the broad stock market.

“Michael Monaco, attorney at Mondress Monaco Parr Lockwood PLLC and outside counsel for SCERS, provided an analysis of the Board’s paramount fiduciary duties and described the strict limitations the Board faces to taking action that compromises economic outcomes in the pursuit of environmental, social or governance goals. The Board voted to waive the attorney-client privilege so the Monaco analysis could be released publicly.”

After discussion, the SCERS Board took no action on fossil fuel divestment.

Councilmember Burgess’ Statement on Committee Approval of a City Income Tax on High-Income Residents

Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide), chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, issued the following statement following Committee approval of a city income tax on high-income residents:

“This is a step toward a fairer tax system. We will use the tax proceeds to lower property taxes and to fund essential city services. In a state with the most regressive tax structure in the entire country, Seattle is again leading with progressive reforms.

“In Washington, our lowest-income households pay approximately 16.8% of their income on state and local taxes. Our wealthiest neighbors pay just 2.4%. This system is unfair and upside down. State tax reform is urgently needed so our lowest-income residents pay less, our middle-class neighbors pay about the same, and our highest-income residents pay more.

“This type of tax reform is especially important now and Seattle is going to start the conversation. The state legislature just adopted a school funding measure that will impose the largest property tax increase in Seattle’s history, adding about $460 a year to the property tax on a median Seattle home. It’s another blow to the middle class. We have a better plan, a tax system that is fair, progressive, and adequate to meet the demand for public services. The state legislature should follow our lead.”

Full Council is scheduled to consider the legislation on Monday, July 10.