“Taking Lessons From Chinatown International District”

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post

China TownPlease join the Rainier Beach Merchants Association for a very special event, Thursday, October 23rd at 4:30 pm (and an opportunity to check out the newly renovated Rainier Beach Community Club venue- 6038 S. Pilgrim St, Seattle 98118) – a discussion with community activist, author, and Rainier Beach resident “Uncle Bob” Santos, about preserving culture, avoiding displacement, and moving forward with economic growth in a positive, community-directed way – all extremely relevant to development in South Seattle today.

From Seattle Civil Rights and History Project:

Robert “Bob” Santos, is the most publicly recognized spokesperson and leader of the movement that began in the 1970s to preserve Seattle’s Chinatown/ International District (ID).

From 1972 to 1989, Santos served as Executive Director of the International District Improvement Association (Inter*Im). In this position, he was a pivotal liaison between community activists, private businesses, and government agencies in developing and overseeing ID preservation plans. Through Santos’s leadership in the ID, he helped mentor a generation of young Asian activists in Seattle, earning him the nickname “Uncle Bob.”

Event space generously donated by Rainier Beach Community Club.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

More info at: http://www.rainierbeachmerchants.com/?p=2037

SDOT Begins Construction Along Beacon Avenue South

by Staff Writer

Sidewalk_constructionSouth Seattle – Travelers along Beacon Avenue South will be forced to alter their commute for the next couple of months as The Seattle Department of Transportation begins construction of a new sidewalk between 14th Avenue South and South Holgate Street. Southbound Beacon Avenue South will be fully closed to vehicle traffic beginning this morning -Wednesday, Oct. 22- for approximately nine weeks.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has mandated that during this closure, southbound vehicles must use an alternate route:

  •  Via South Jackson Street: Vehicles traveling eastbound on South Holgate Street can use northbound Sixth Avenue South to connect with South Jackson Street via Seattle Boulevard South and Fourth Avenue South. Vehicles will then use southbound 12th Avenue South, the Jose Rizal Bridge and southbound Golf Drive South to access the North Beacon Hill area.
  •  Via South Spokane Street: Vehicles traveling eastbound on South Holgate Street can use southbound Sixth Avenue South to connect with South Spokane Street, cross I-5 via South Columbian Way and turn north on 15th Avenue South to access the North Beacon Hill area.

During the closure, pedestrian and bicycle access will be permitted on Beacon Avenue South. Intermittent restrictions may be in place and access will be provided with the help of traffic flaggers.

For more information on this project, including a map of the signed detour route, visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/BeaconSafetyConnections.htm.

State Senate Candidates Take Their Case to Campbell Hill

by Staff Writer

P and WAs the November 4th election draws ever closer and freshly mailed ballots face the likely probability of becoming indistinguishable from junk mail, Pramila Jayapal and Louis Watanabe – both vying to replace the outgoing Adam Kline as the 37th District’s next state senator – have been making their rounds across several  district neighborhoods in hopes of convincing the undecided amongst the electorate as to just why they are worthy of a vote come election day.

The next stop on the campaign trail is tonight’s West Hill Community Association meeting. The quarterly community affair gets underway at 7:00pm in the cafeteria of Campbell Hill Elementary School (6418 S 124th St, Seattle, WA 98178) and will feature both candidates taking questions directly from audience members.

The meeting will also include Rich Brooks from RAYS (Renton Area Youth Services) discussing the various services offered to the community at the Cynthia A. Green Family Center in West Hill and Michael Davie from Youth Source, who will be sharing an overview of programs offered by the organization.

The meeting is open to the public and scheduled to conclude at 9:00pm.

 

More Info: West Hill Community Association on Facebook  and MyWestHill.org

King County Unincorporated Budget Deserves Serious Review

by Mark Johnston

The King County Council during a recent budget hearing.

The King County Council is currently deliberating the budget for the county for the 2015/2016 biennium. The community of Skyway has been embraced by the City of Renton as an area that will become part of the city. Right now, Skyway is part of King County’s unincorporated governance area. It is in Renton’s interest to support King County to do all it can to help make Skyway a great place to live, work and play.

King County government, since 1994, has increasingly been making the claim that funding governance of urban unincorporated areas should take a back seat to provision of regional services. This is a claim not supported by the county’s own vision of equity. This policy should be changed. Communities who rely on King County to be our local government deserve that government to be as effective as any local government can be.

Many will recall that in November 2012, the community of Skyway along with the community of White Center voted to remain part of King County local government. It’s time now for citizens to speak up as a community to encourage local government to recognize and be responsive to long ignored community needs.

Let’s look at the numbers. Over the next biennium, the county is proposing to allocate 8.9 billion dollars to fund its governance county-wide. Pro-rated over the number of households, this represents some 65 million dollars in expenditure over the households that make up the community of Skyway. With the services this kind of money can buy, it’s reasonable to expect the question to be raised (and by every citizen of the county) – are we getting our money’s worth?

The King County government needs to be significantly more transparent in its budget setting and execution, particularly to the citizens in its unincorporated area that it serves.

As an example, consider the requirement that a non profit organization registered with the state provide data about money spent on administrative and fund raising versus money directly spent to provide services. This model would serve King County and its citizens better to quantify services funded by the county that provide direct benefit to each community, those which provide an indirect benefit to each service area, and other costs that represent let’s say the base administrative cost of doing business as a local government, again for each area administratively being served.

Members of each community should be able to easily locate this transparent and detailed information relevant to their community. When local government is operating efficiently and effectively, everyone should be able to see it from such a view. The county, for its part must be able to justify the level of expenditure that will inevitably be characterized as administrative overhead. Different governments should be able to compare the range of their own administrative overhead versus indirect and direct services provided to citizens across their population with the goal of measuring their relative efficiency.

Such a report would go a long way to comprehensively establish how effective King County is being as a local government, and how effectively the taxes paid in each local service area are being used to facilitate its governance and to meet county and community goals and need.

In the name of good governance, with equity and justice for all citizens, King County must use its lens of equity to realize that there is more that needs to be done to improve the local governance it provides its most direct citizens.

Citizens of King County, ask the county to take another look at the budgets that serve its unincorporated citizens. The communities King County governs directly, like Skyway, can no longer afford business as usual.

Mark Johnston is a concerned resident of Skyway

Restoring Good Karma

by Marilyn Watkins

Marnish Swarmup Ap
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo:Marnish Swapna/AP

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella created a national uproar when he advised women to rely on “good karma” for a raise. He almost immediately retracted. But if Nadella had instead advised women to ask for raises and urged girls to pursue computer science degrees, that still would have been the wrong answer to the gender wage gap question.

Washington state prohibited discrimination in pay on the basis of sex way back in 1943, when Rosie the Riveters were helping win World War II. At the national level, Congress banned sex discrimination in employment over 50 years ago. Yet the gender wage gap persists in every industry and at every rung of the wage ladder.

Women who worked full-time for the full year in Washington state in 2013 took home 80 cents to every $1.00 a man made, according to the US Census Bureau. Factor in race, and the stats get worse. Nationally, where women overall made 79 cents to a man’s dollar, Black women made 66.5 cents and Latinas 56 cents compared to a White man’s dollar.

Differences in occupation help explain part of the gender pay gap. Here in King County, men held eight out of ten computer and math-related jobs in 2013 and brought home $19,000 more each year than women. Women predominate in occupations such as office administration, health technicians, and personal care services, with much smaller paychecks but still noticeable wage gaps.

While occupational differences are determined partly by employee choices, deeply embedded workplace cultures and employer practices also push women and men into different career paths.

For example, in the typical Puget Sound-area grocery store, nine in ten meat cutters are men while eight in ten meat wrappers are women. Meat cutters, it will come as no surprise, get paid a lot more. Now, those guys in the back room at Safeway aren’t wrestling bulls to the ground and slaughtering them with a hunting knife. Women can achieve the strength and skill required to cut meat and be just as good at is as men.

Even when women do get traditionally “men’s jobs,” many firms prohibit employees from discussing pay, so no one knows if others are getting paid more for similar work.

No matter how many girls take advanced math and science classes, no matter how many women enter non-traditional and higher paying careers, our economy will continue to produce lots of jobs in child care, retail, restaurants, and office administration. So we can’t solve the wage gap by focusing only on high paying careers.

We need a cultural shift to value “women’s work” both in the market economy and caring for family at home.  And cultural shifts don’t happen only through individuals changing their behavior. They also require the push of policy change.

So here is the answer I wish Nadella would now give.

First, he should commit to equal pay for equal work at Microsoft, and lift the veil of wage secrecy within his own company that enables discrimination. Then he should go a step further and pledge Microsoft backing of federal and state Paycheck Fairness acts so that all employees everywhere have the tools to identify and challenge pay discrimination.

Next, he could commit to working with women’s groups and female employees to identify ways to change Microsoft culture to encourage women to seek and stay in tech careers, rather than discouraging them. Beyond that, he could lend support for federal and state legislation that support all workers’ roles as family caregivers, including paid sick days, family and medical leave insurance, and workplace flexibility.

Finally, he could go beyond platitudes about the need for STEM education for girls and children of color, and commit to working with other corporate leaders to change the narrative of austerity that has prevailed for too long in Washington, DC and Olympia. We need ample funding for education, from preschool through university. That means raising federal tax rates on the wealthy, closing state and federal loopholes that allow corporations – including Microsoft –to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and instituting a personal income tax here in Washington state.

If Nadella did all that, he really would create good karma.

Marilyn Watkins is policy director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, a nonpartisan policy center  focused on building and economy that works for everyone.

“My Very Own Voter’s Guide to the 37th District”

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in the following commentary are solely those of the author and  do not constitute an endorsement of any particular candidate or public policy by The Emerald.

By Sandra Vanderven

Ballot For MailDeepthroat, the high level white house official who served as an informant to the journalists who uncovered Watergate, famously said, “Follow the money.”  It was true then, it is true now, and it will be true for years to come.  So stay with me while I tell you what I see in the candidates and the donors who love them.

State Senate

When Adam Klein announced he wouldn’t be running again to represent the 37th in the WA state senate, there was a lot of anxiety among residents and political insiders.  Who would step up?  Who could do this shitty, thankless job?  Who would even want to?  Senator Klein was about to leave some big shoes in Olympia.  People talked amongst themselves.  They started cutting up straws so someone could pull the short one.  Then Pramila Jayapal announced she would be running, and there was a collective sigh of relief, “Oh good, this is handled!” Pramila has founded and headed impactful organizations like Hate Free Zone and One America.  Her life has been dedicated for decades to making things better for others.

In this case, following her donations gives us a picture of broad based support.  Individuals, organizations, businesses all over the map are maxing out their donations to her, giving as much as the law allows.  At this point, she has $260,000, roughly quadruple the kitty of her opponent.  So money isn’t inherently bad, especially when it comes from diverse sources and funds a good candidate.  SEIU, Nick Hanauer and Mayor Murray don’t write checks for just anyone.  These guys look for someone who can figure out how to operate in Olympia, and how to win in their district.  She has smart, connected fans, and she will win.  Be on the right side of history, and vote for her.

Louis Watanabe seems like a well-meaning guy.  People who care about their fellow humans often think that the way we behave is due to a lack of information.  The theory goes, if only we knew what he knows, we would have the same values he does, and we would act on them by voting for him.  So his campaign seeks to educate us on Juneteenth, on internment, on Abraham Lincoln, and what the name Redskins refers to.  All very important.  What he unfortunately leaves out is a sense of how he’ll make a difference on our behalf.  Lots of his donors live in California, many of them with the last name Watanabe.  There doesn’t seem to be much organizational buy-in to his campaign, and judging from his website, no good advice coming from anywhere.

State House Position 1

Sharon Tomiko Santos:  She is great on education, and doesn’t appear to slobber over Boeing as much as some of her colleagues, so she is probably on balance good for our state.  But wait, what is this all about?  Tons of donations from tribes… I hope they are not trying to put more entertainment at the end of that two lane highway that goes to the White River Amphitheater.  Have you ever tried going to something there?  What a mess.  I will never do that again.  I also see donations from airport concessionaires.  You will recall that Seatac Airport is ground zero for the $15 minimum wage fight.  I am curious about why she is getting all kinds of money from folks who are still looking for ways not to pay their employees a living wage.  Other strange bedfellows:  Pharma, timber, BNSF, insurance, alcohol distributors…I guess if I were running I’d take the money too, and laugh all the way to election day.  Let’s hope that is what is going on, because her opponent, well, she doesn’t really have an opponent.

Daniel Bretzke has raised a cool grand for this election.  Actually, I am rounding down, which isn’t fair.  He has raised $ 1,239.88.  Don’t you think it is crass to bring it down to money?  And yet, a story is being told here.  This guy isn’t going to win.  Last red flag I’ll bother to mention is that he was endorsed by the Seattle Times.  I have an idea!  If you ever decide to run for something, just put an R next to your name.  Ka-ching!  Times endorsement received.  An aside:  What is that newspaper doing in Seattle?

State House Position 2

Eric Pettigrew:  Oh shit–donations from education reformers.  Has he drunk the Kool-Aid?  People!  If you don’t know by now that education reform is code for privatization, I just told you!  Now you know!  Eric Pettigrew should read this.  Unfortunately he’s working across the aisle on the union-busting, education killing bullshit we call charter schools.  For 100 years, our country has upheld our values by providing free, public education.  Over the last several decades, conservatives have applied leeches to our schools’ budgets.  After so much bloodletting education is dizzy and can barely stand, those same folks scream education isn’t working, and it needs to be “reformed.”  Of course their solution is to start down the road of privatization; e.g., charter schools, to fix what wouldn’t have been broken in the first place if only it was properly funded.  If we wake up one day with our public schools replaced by a private school system, I will blame Eric Pettigrew and all the rest of the gullible suckers who think charter schools are going to solve a problem created by chronic underfunding.

Eric Pettigrew has an opponent who isn’t going to win, and we wouldn’t want that anyways.  Her name is Tamra Smilanich and she sounds like a tool.

I’m delighted that we are about to be represented by someone operating at the caliber of Pramila Jayapal, but the rest of the stable do not represent the people of the 37th.  There’s only one thing to do about that.  You lovelies have to start preparing to run for office.  I’m not talking about posting some half assed website and running a losing campaign.  It looks like some other folks already have a corner on that around here.  I am talking about really finding out what it would take to run and win.  There are resources for that, including Wellstone Action, which provides candidate trainings in Seattle once a year, and Progressive Majority, which exists to get people ready to run for office.  There is no reason in hell we should be stuck with these folks.  As the kids used to say, bust a move!

But wait, there’s more!  Here are some of our juicy initiatives:

1351:  Smaller class sizes are a good thing, and our kids need it.  The Washington State legislature could go to the pokey for refusing to give our kids the education they need and deserve.  True story.  Voting yes on this will add more pressure which these assholes obviously need.  Vote yes.

591:  Don’t vote for this unless you think mentally ill people and spouse abusers should have it enshrined in law that they can buy guns too.  Vote no.

594:  There is a wide range of opinion about gun ownership, but the vast majority of us, including NRA members, believe that people who are mentally unstable and people who beat their spouses shouldn’t have ready access to guns.  This initiative would seek to close loopholes so everyone trying to buy a gun in our state has to have their background checked.  We should place a reasonable limit on who gets to have a gun.  Vote yes if you think murder is bad.

Prop 1: Shall we, the owners and drivers of carbon spewing cars, spend $60 per year ($40 if you qualify for a rebate) plus a sliver more sales tax to protect bus service in Seattle?  I like the bus and often intend to take it.  I look at the schedule, figure out when I need to leave to catch the next one, take too long applying mascara, and end up driving.  In this way I end up parking downtown at $20 a pop just to meet a friend for happy hour or see my shrink.  For you mathematicians, I do this way more than 3 times a year.  We drivers pay thousands per year for the car, gas, insurance, parking and maintenance.  I spend almost $60 every time I fill up my tank.  Please pony up to preserve service for people who have jobs and need to use buses to get to them.  Pay $60 in an entire fucking year so that little old ladies can visit their grandchildren.  Pay $60 to keep the buses running so I don’t drive to happy hour and accidentally drive through your yard on my way home. Vote yes.

Early Childhood Education 1A vs 1B:

  1. First say yes to early education.  No-brainer.  Kids need it.  Boom.  Done.
  2. The choices are 1A vs. 1B.  Sweetjesusinheaven.

1A, invented by the organizations representing the people who are already doing this work; i.e., the real experts, stabilizes the workforce by ensuring wage parity with burger flippers (not that there is anything wrong with flipping burgers), and provides for continuing education as needed.  This is good because next year at this time, 38% of childcare workers (mostly women, mostly mothers, mostly of color—so in other words the most poorly treated people in this country) will have quit their jobs and moved on to something else.  We desperately need more stability in this field, which 1A would achieve.  This will benefit all of the kids in pre-k.

1B is a pilot program which will eventually provide more access to childcare, but it is also more Kool-Aid.  Early education is crucial for positive outcomes to kids, which is why we should not leave the planning in the hands of Tim “his eyes were silently begging me to help him” Burgess and a bunch of consultants.  What about love, patience, creativity, and cultural relevance?  According to Burgess, the hell with all that.  1B was forcefully kept separate from 1A so he doesn’t have to negotiate with unions.  These ballot measures should never have been pitted against one another.  They should both win. Do what the Progressive Voters Guide suggests and vote for both to send a message that we do not appreciate the shenanigans.

Whatever you do, please do vote on or before November 4th.  People who do not have your best interests in mind have their hearts set on you becoming demoralized and no longer participating in democracy.  If you don’t vote, they win.

Sandra Vanderven is a Community Organizer and Board President of the Backbone Campaign.

Reportage, Culture & Commentary From The Most Eclectic Place on Earth