Take Action Right Now

TrumpWow, what a week we just experienced. The temperament and character of Mr. Trump are on full display; it's not pretty or comforting. In fact, it's downright scary.

A bit unnoticed was the executive order over the weekend reorganizing the National Security Council, the president's most important source of information and counsel on threats to our country. Mr. Trump just removed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military's top command group, from the principal's group and replaced him with Steve Bannon, his political strategist and chief ideologue. Really?  

There are two very specific actions people can take right now to counter the dangerous actions Mr. Trump has taken so far.

First, support organizations that are defending our Constitutional freedoms and rights and those who are helping immigrants and refugees. Here are three nonprofit organizations with strong reputations for effective work. Click on their names to join or provide your financial support.

ACLU of Washington (Legal defense and advocacy in support of the rule of law and constitutional principles.)

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (Direct legal services for immigrants and refugees in Washington state.)

World Relief (The largest resettlement services organization in Washington state; direct services to refugees arriving in USA.)

Second, support an independent, objective and free media. In the face of constant lies from Mr. Trump (click here for an accounting of the lies from his first week in office), and the rise of "fake news," it is imperative that we bolster the news media. Here are three high-quality news media organizations in Seattle worthy of your support.

The Seattle Times (click here to subscribe to our only daily newspaper)

KUOW Radio (click here to provide support to this NPR station, a nonprofit anchor in our community)

Crosscut (click here to provide support to this independent, nonprofit news organization)

These are just a few concrete steps we can take to stand up against this administration's fear-mongering and threats to our basic civil rights, and to make sure our independent news media can continue to highlight the facts.   


Letter to Ethics and Elections Commission Requesting Ethics Code Fix

Below is a press statement from earlier today regarding a request to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission re: closing a loophole

Councilmember Licata Calls for Fix to Ethics Code in Response to Developer Shakedown

SEATTLECouncilmember Nick Licata delivered a letter to the Seattle Ethics & Elections Commission (SEEC) today, asking that the independent body develop legislation intended to sanction people or organizations that attempt to bargain with candidates by threatening to use independent expenditures in local elections.  The request comes in response to a recent Seattle Times report on allegations that a then-employee of Triad Development Group approached a candidate running for local office and offered to help make a $200,000 independent expenditure “go away,” in exchange for settling a lawsuit.

Licata asked the SEEC to develop a solution to ensure any future similar independent expenditure coordination is clearly illegal. While Seattle has laws governing independent expenditures, there don’t appear to be laws governing potential independent expenditures.

“Public trust is undermined by the lack of a clear, unambiguous prohibition in the Seattle Ethics and Elections Code of these activities that could be construed as unethical coercion at best, extortion at worst. Clear lines must be established,” wrote Councilmember Licata in his letter. He added, “Even an appearance of potential corruption deeply damages our civic life.”

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission is an independent committee of seven citizen volunteers. The Commission is responsible for interpreting and applying the Seattle Ethics, Elections, Election Pamphlet, and Whistleblower Protection Codes and the City’s Lobbying Regulations.

Seeking Ethics and Elections Commission Applicants

SEEC logoThe City Council is seeking candidates to fill a vacancy on the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC). The deadline to apply is this coming Tuesday, June 30.

The SEEC ensures an honest electoral process and an ethic of principled public service among City employees. The people of Seattle deserve diligent oversight over City business and I encourage anyone interested to apply.

The Commission is responsible for interpreting and applying the Seattle Ethics, Elections, and Whistleblower Protection Codes and the City's Lobbying Regulations. Six City staff members investigate complaints, monitor compliance, and offer information and guidance to residents and employees regarding these Codes.

The SEEC is an independent committee of seven citizen volunteers. The Mayor and the City Council each appoint three Commissioners and the Commissioners select the seventh.

Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to fairness and integrity. Once appointed, Commissioners serve without compensation and may not participate in any City election campaigns or be an officer of any political party.

Interested candidates should deliver a resume and cover letter by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30 to me by e-mail (tim.burgess@seattle.gov), by fax (206-684-8587; provide cover memo with Attn: Tim Burgess) or by mail to:

Councilmember Tim Burgess
Chair, Education and Governance Committee
Seattle City Council
P. O. Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124-4025

For additional information, call my office at 206-684-8806.

Thank You Voters for Choosing the Seattle Preschool Program

LearnThe following article was sent out in my City View Newsletter, which you can sign up to receive here.

Seattle voters had a clear choice on how to benefit the future generations of Seattle. I am very happy they selected the Seattle Preschool Program (Proposition 1B) crafted by Mayor Ed Murray, the City Council, early learning experts, and a wide variety of local stakeholders.

Yesterday’s vote means we will take a strong first step toward universal, voluntary, high-quality and affordable preschool for Seattle’s children. It is one of the best investments we can make.

The Seattle Preschool Program is based on extensive research on how to best prepare children for kindergarten and a life of learning. We reviewed the evidence of what works, we visited preschools throughout Seattle, we talked with teachers and parents, and we visited other cities to see how they provide universal preschool. At every step in development of the program, we were keenly committed to a critical principle: Quality.

Only quality benefits children for a lifetime. Only quality delivers an impressive return on investment for taxpayers. Only quality will enable our city to leverage dollars from the State and federal governments to provide even more preschool options for Seattle families.

This commitment to quality, based on the research and modeled after other successful cities, is embedded throughout the various elements of the Seattle Preschool Program

  • A menu of play-based, research-based curricula proven to support age-appropriate learning;
  • Compensation that honors preschool teachers by being in line with the pay of K-12 teachers;
  • Tuition support for teachers to acquire early learning credentials that improve not only the quality of learning for the children but also career pathways for the teachers;
  • Support for teachers including ongoing in-classroom coaching;
  • Full day preschool (6 hours per day, 5 days a week) and wrap-around care;
  • Classrooms with a teacher-to-child ratio of 1:10;
  • Providers earning a good score from Washington’s “Early Achievers” quality rating and improvement system developed by the University of Washington;
  • Program evaluations and feedback from kindergarten teachers to maintain high quality; and
  • A sliding scale of tuition for parents to encourage economically mixed and culturally diverse classrooms which are best for all children.

Committing ourselves to quality not only promotes social justice for early learning, it delivers it. Only by doing what actually works can we close the achievement and opportunity gaps that have persistently and unfairly impacted our children of color.

As a voluntary program for both parents and providers, the Seattle Preschool Program does not divert funding away from existing programs for childcare or preschool. Nor does it require any space from the Seattle School District. The Seattle Preschool Program is an added investment that will benefit more children — up to 2,000 per year by the fourth year.

To maintain quality, we carefully ramp up the enrollment over time. Boston and other jurisdictions that have succeeded in providing quality, universal preschool advised us strongly to go slow to get it right. By Year 4, the program will be providing quality preschool to about 25% of the three- and four–year-olds likely to enroll. This is a bold step for Seattle and I hope other local cities and counties will soon follow.

There will be bumps in the road, but with a carefully crafted program committed to quality and with dedicated funds to do it right, we are on the path to transform lives.

Thanks to the voters, the Seattle Preschool Program will empower children throughout their lives with better education, better health, and better earning potential. It will reduce disparities in our community.

Put simply, the Seattle Preschool Program will provide our children with a strong and fair start.

My colleagues and I are deeply grateful that Seattle voters approved this program and have agreed to invest early in our children.

Still Time to Vote!

BallotBoxIt's Election Day and you still have time to drop your ballots into the mail or a ballot drop box.

Here is a list of the locations in Seattle where you can drop off your ballot until 8 p.m. today:

-Downtown at the King County Administration Building (4th and James)
-Ballard Library
-Magnuson Park
-Rainier Community Center
-University of Washington's Red Square
-West Seattle Stadium

More details are on the County's website.