It’s time to transform the way we invest in our communities. Our city leaders should be responsive to the needs of working families, not beholden to special interests. As your District 2 City Council Member, I’ll work tirelessly to ensure that our city policies give everyone a fair shot at success so that they may share in Seattle’s prosperity.
Creating Job Opportunity
For many in Seattle, the economy is booming. In some industries, workers enjoy high salaries, great benefits, and relative stability in their job situation. Others are not so fortunate. Income inequality is pervasive. We can do more to create opportunity for workers and for local business.
I’ll work with local industry to explore new opportunities for paid apprenticeships, so that people can learn new trades and still pay the bills. I’m committed to taking a hard look at the policies that will improve working conditions – especially for the minimum wage workers in the city. The Mayor’s new Office of Labor Standards is an important acknowledgement that these workers have been ignored for too long.
Now that we have a local hiring provision, we need to make sure it’s implemented right. I’ll make sure that we have the systems in place to hold city contractors accountable for meeting priority hiring targets.
As an expert in food policy, I’ve helped stabilize small grocery and restaurant businesses, helping them understand how to navigate city permits and regulations. We should be providing much more assistance to our neighborhood businesses to help them be successful. For example, we need to provide better translation services for our small business owners who may not speak English as a first language – especially when infrastructure projects will be impacting their business.
We all know that economic stability is a cornerstone of healthy communities. When I was growing up, my mom always had two jobs. She tried to finish her college degree, but it was too hard to manage. Low-income adults who are trying to improve their economic stability need easy access to affordable education and training. That’s why I’m excited to work with city, county and state leaders to bring a community college to the Rainier Valley. Community colleges offer the best opportunity to create new job skills, provide training and bring educational resources to our neighborhood.
To make this a reality, we need a better understanding of the demand. What kind of training do folks need? Do they want general education? Industry-specific training? Continuing education? How do we help those who have left incarceration find opportunity? We need a community-visioning process to understand what our working families need to be successful.
Ensuring Safe Neighborhoods
We all want to enjoy the amenities that south Seattle offers, whether it’s our parks, our light rail stations, the amazing restaurants run by our neighbors. We should be able to enjoy these amenities without fear. We need a new level of cooperation between the community and our law enforcement so that we can feel confident in our efforts to create safe communities.
In Seattle, we have a heavy lift to rebuild trust between our law enforcement and our communities, particularly communities of color. Too often, the criminal justice system impacts people of color more acutely, sometimes with devastating results.
The hiring of Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole could lead to the kind of structural improvements we need within the Police Department, but to ensure effective change, we must have:
- Accountability. We need consistent discipline for officers who use excessive force. In too many instances officers’ disciplinary action has been reduced or reversed. We need strong and consistent accountability measures that are enforced.
- More Neighborhood Patrols. We should get past the patrol car culture in policing, which disregards the need for personal interactions. If we’re going to build trust between police and the community, we need bike and foot patrols that allow police officers to talk to our neighbors and local business owners regularly.
- Regular Community Safety Meetings. At a city council meeting earlier this year, a member said it was “time to start the conversation on safety.” Frankly, that conversation is long overdue. As a Seattle city council member, I’ll host more inclusive in-district meetings to discuss safety and reforming our police department. So many good cops are trying hard to protect our community, we need to help them be part of the solution.