October 22nd, 2015

Today is #PurpleThursday, a day to wear purple to raise awareness around domestic violence. Domestic violence impacts us all – families, friends, co-workers and communities. And, sadly, it is the leading cause of injury to women, although everyone along the gender spectrum too, can be victims.

This #PurpleThursday though, I’d like to also raise awareness about the support available to victims of Domestic Violence as well as workplace violence. Let’s talk about paid leave from work through Seattle’s Safe Time ordinance.

Seattle made national headlines in 2011, when the City Council passed and the then mayor, Mike McGinn, signed into law the Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (PSST for short).

Under the law, Seattle workers who have been employed 180 days now accrue paid time off, based on the … Continue Reading »


Artists at Play

May 22nd, 2015

photo 2Today I am excited to announce it was the grand opening of Artists at Play. This is a unique, interactive playground that children of all ages can enjoy at the Seattle Center. This playground includes a 35-foot Climb Tower, listening stations, sound swings, a colorful labyrinth and more. By many measures, this playground will prove a great benefit to Seattle. In particular, it will enrich the lives of both parents and their children. Parents will be able to bring their children to a safe and vibrant playground while children will have a creative and imaginative environment to play in. As an avid advocate for parks, I believe parks are essential in the health and happiness of our communities. … Continue Reading »


Good news – Route 76 will get more runs this fall!

April 9th, 2015

As commuters riding route 76 already know, the buses have experienced chronic over-crowding for months – often times leaving commuters waiting during the peak times.  To help ease overcrowding, voters last year passed a levy to help cover the cost of increased bus service.  Sadly, Metro says that their Service Guidelines report omitted Rt. 76 in the initial round of service increases despite having met all of the criteria required for additional servicbus2e.

This oversight was brought to my attention by astute (and long-suffering) Rt. 76 riders.

When I asked council staff and the Seattle Department of Transportation to look into the matter, they concluded that – based on field observations and on trip ridership data from Metro – … Continue Reading »


Walking the Burke Gilman Trail

April 1st, 2015

On one of our unseasonably sunny days last week, I walked along the Burke-Gilman with one of the trail’s most avid users – weather guru and bike commuter Cliff Mass. The pavement conditions of the trail need improvement: full of potholes and crisscrossed with bumpy roots, it’s even crumbling along the edges in places. Walking along with us, as we inspected some of the worst hazards, was Seattle Parks’ Kathleen Conner and Seattle Department of Transportation’s Monica Dewald. Burke 1

 “People are getting really hurt on the trail every day,” Mass emphasized, pointing to a break in the pavement that might particularly trip up people who ride bicycles.  Mass is one of many people I’ve heard … Continue Reading »


Equal Pay Opportunity Act

January 23rd, 2015

OlympiaWomen are working together here and in Olympia so we aren’t paid only 80 cents on the dollar of what men make here in Washington state. I was honored and inspired to stand with Senator Annette Cleveland and Representative Tana Senn, and so many other women legislators yesterday  to support their proposed state-wide Equal Pay Opportunity Act.

Here in Seattle, the wage gap is worse: women earn 73 cents for every dollar men make.  I’ve been working with my Council colleagues and the Mayor to address our wage gap and ensure our region is one where all people can thrive and earn what they are worth.


A Mighty Force

January 6th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, the mayors (three of them) and I sat down to a quick lunch and a meeting of the minds, talking about the region’s disheartening gender wage gap.  We all deplore the fact that the Puget Sound region has the widest gender wage gap in the nation. In this region, women on average are paid 27 percent less than their male counterparts.

That percentage is not inconsiderable.  If women workers here were paid the same on average as men, they would be taking home around $16,000 more a year. Gender Mayor Meeting

At the table in the Norman B. Rice conference room were Mayor Claudia Balducci of Bellevue and Mayor Nancy Backus of Auburn. The two chief … Continue Reading »


2014 in Review

December 31st, 2014

What a whirlwind 2014 was for all of us working at City Hall. And, the Seattle City Council is still ready to take on even more heavy lifting. We passed 256 ordinances: a dizzying number, from a $15 minimum wage to confirming the first woman ever to serve as Seattle’s Police Chief. To cut to the chase, I am proud to have shaped legislation that delivers new equity and better service that a city as progressive as deserves.gender2

I won’t detail all 256 laws, though you can find them at this link, but I will highlight some of the best. My office in particular stayed the course on gender pay equity, working with my colleagues to pass a Gender Pay Equity … Continue Reading »


WSDOT Update to Council 12-15-14

December 17th, 2014

I’m no engineer. But I am a Seattleite who cares deeply about the city’s waterfront, long fenced off from the city by an aging two-story viaduct that’s due for replacement. And, as a city councilmember vitally interested in the welfare of the city, I am listening these days to engineers who can tell me what’s happening as contractors tunnel beneath our streets.

WF 1For those reasons and others, I was deeply grateful to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the engineers and officials who came to a Seattle City Council Monday morning to brief the council on issues involving the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.

In recent days, the Seattle Times and other local media have been reporting on a soil settlement of … Continue Reading »


Women in Business: Voula’s Offshore Cafe

October 15th, 2014

It’s no secret that Voula Vlaho loves her customers.  She’ll tell you so herself on days when, stepping out of semi retirement, she shows up at Voula’s Offshore Café on Northlake Way, within sight of Lake Union. voulas1

“I just love to be with people,” says Voula, a spry, compact woman with salt and pepper hair. She’ll give you a maternal hug and point to the wall papered with pictures of her many customers and their children. She believes you have to love your customers. That, she insists, is “Greek philosophy.” She invites customers to call her “mama.”

Known for Greek specialties, good food and generous portions, Voula’s café celebrated 30 years at 658 NE. Northlake Way on Sept. 11. The celebratory … Continue Reading »


What’ll It Be, Honey? Memories of the Dog House

October 3rd, 2014

I read Bethany Jean Clement’s recent article about the Hurricane Café’s impending close with a heavy heart. Old Seattle is about to lose another landmark.  Final day for the Hurricane Café at Seventh and Bell is set for Jan. 1, 2015. Acorn Development (an affiliate of Amazon) will be tearing down the nearly 100-year old building to make way for yet another slick skyscraper.dog house 2

About the only thing that won’t be lost during the demolition are customers’ memories of the Hurricane’s last two decades and — even before that – stories from the Hurricane’s predecessor, the Dog House.

Let’s first be clear about the Dog House’s place in old Seattle, pre-World’s Fair, pre- WWII, even pre-Viaduct. It was in the 1930s, … Continue Reading »