Unfair to Women and the Economy

April 21st, 2014
Sen. Barbara Mikulski - the longest serving woman in Congress- speaks out about the gender wage gap.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski – the longest serving woman in Congress- speaks out about the gender wage gap.

Republicans in the U. S. Senate blocked the measure that would have helped ensure equal pay for equal work. And, to add insult, they did so on Equal Pay Day, April 8, the day when women, on average, caught up to what men, on average earned the previous year. It still takes women better than 15 months to earn what men doing equal work can earn in 12.

The vote came after Washington’s Sen. Patty Murray delivered a speech on the Senate floor urging … Continue Reading »


A Park Comes to Belltown

April 14th, 2014


It was Toasted Cheese Sandwich Day on Saturday, quite appropriate for the fun, yet formal ribbon cutting at the Bell Street Park, a four-block long play space for the many residents of Belltown.

Celebrating the sunny opening were several hundred enthusiastic Belltown residents, a handful of winsome youngsters, many of them toddlers, and at least a dozen adorable dogs. There were jugglers and musicians, artists and brightly-colored food trucks – one of them, of course, selling toasted cheese sandwiches. And what kicked off the celebration? A lively bunch of Lion Dancers, accompanied by ritual drummers.bell6

Mayor Murray was there to wield the ceremonial scissors, as were former Parks Chair Sally Bagshaw and myself, the new … Continue Reading »


Equal Pay Day

April 8th, 2014

Today, April 8, is Equal Pay Day in the United States. That means that the average woman (paid 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man) had to work all of 2013 and until today in order to earn the same wages as a man earned in 2013.

In Seattle, Equal Pay Day won’t come even this soon. Women in this supposedly progressive city receive 73 cents on the dollar. Not until the end of the month will Seattle women earn as much as Seattle men did in 2013 and catch up with the Gender Pay Gap.

However, times may be getting better. Nationally, President Obama and his Democratic allies will work to provide compensation data with a breakdown by race and gender.

Congress is drawing attention to women’s wages. This morning Obama signed … Continue Reading »


Bold New Steps to No Wage Gap

April 7th, 2014

Last Wednesday Mayor Murray and I announced bold, new steps to close the gender wage gap. As a woman I often faced gender wage inequity as a journalist, I could not be happier to announce our action plan which is based on the recommendations of the Gender Wage Inequity Task Force. This Task Force went to work last year researching the gender wage gap in Seattle, and developed a Gender Justice Initiative with a list of solutions for this disparity. With the Mayor’s support, we can fully move forward on action for equal pay in Seattle.

gender6Working with the Personnel Department and Office of Civil Rights, we are digging in. First, we plan on collecting more and better city worker demographic data … Continue Reading »


My Spring Tour of the Arboretum

March 25th, 2014
Beautiful blossoming cherry trees.

Beautiful blossoming cherry trees.

Who owns the Arboretum?

That was the question that Dr. Sarah Reichard, Director of the UW Botanic Gardens, asked as I stepped into the golf cart, about to take a springtime spin through the 230-acre botanical garden and park on Union Bay led by Kenan Block, Fred Hoyt and Jack Collins.As luck would have it, I had covered enough Arboretum events as a former newspaper columnist to be able to guess at the answer: The park belongs to the University of Washington and the City of Seattle.  The way it works is that the city owns the land and the UW owns the botanical collection – more than … Continue Reading »


Fifty-five Ways to Success

January 9th, 2014
I like to think of it as good LUC because we’ve had some remarkable successes, reviewing and passing 55 pieces of legislation and providing oversight for the ongoing work of three city departments. [More]

An Open Letter to Mayor-elect Ed Murray

December 20th, 2013
                  (click to enlarge)  [More]

Helping Find Forever Homes

November 19th, 2013

Getting a kiss from Cocoa

The Seattle Animal Shelter is a model for animal rescue shelters everywhere. The shelter provides temporary homes for several thousand animals every year – rescued dogs, cats and critters. Only the handful that are incurably ill or overtly dangerous fail to find adopted homes.

But, admired as Seattle’s shelter has been, it has suffered through some difficult times during the recent recession. The City, facing a steep shortfall in revenue, had to give top priority to public safety and essential human services. Other less critical city services, including the shelter, suffered steep reductions.

During those tough times, the diminished staff at the animal shelter received some partial help from its many … Continue Reading »


Oh the bucks! Oh the years gone by!

October 21st, 2013

framed columnPast lives continue to haunt us. How well I know. Although I have been a City Councilmember for these past 10 years, some Seattleites still remember me from my apprentice years as a daily columnist – eight years writing a column at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer a dozen years at the Seattle Times.

It was a job that I loved. I found great satisfaction in chronicling life in my favorite city.  Nothing made me happier than for some newcomer to tell me that they were wondering whether to relocate and my column gave them a feeling for what life would be in Seattle.

As a columnist, I had this secret aspiration: I wanted to hold a mirror up to Seattle and tell readers … Continue Reading »


Seattle Celebrates an Unusual Friendship

September 13th, 2013

Reception for the 40th Anniversary of the Seattle-Tashkent relationship

Think back, if you can, or imagine, if you cannot, what the world was like 40 years ago. It was a chilling time. The United States was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The United States’ war with Vietnam was winding-down. The world was different and scary place.

But in the midst of those difficult years, there was at least one bright and hopeful move. For, in 1972, during a dinner at the 10-year-old Space Needle, Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman suggested a sister-city relationship to his counterpart, the mayor of Tashkent.

The next year, against all odds, that sister city relationship became a reality. This agreement incredibly … Continue Reading »