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.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Celebrating Yesler Swamp

October 3rd, 2014

On Sunday, dozens of neighbors and volunteers brought crockpots full of baked beans, bowls of potato salad, trays of summer fruits and vegetables and loaves of bread to share. Cheering along with the Cajun band Folichon, they were celebrating the completion of the first phase of the Yesler Swamp boardwalk. Yesler 8

The swamp, a wooded wetland, is a natural treasure that has suffered neglect and misuse for years. It is now being restored through the efforts of an inspired group of dedicated workers, the Friends of Yesler Swamp.

They, along with their partners, have contributed thousands of volunteer hours – more than 3,000 in 2014 alone – to remove invasive species, plant native trees and shrubs and construct … Continue Reading »

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Gender Wage Gap: A Report Card

August 27th, 2014

It’s taking time, more time than anyone would like, but we’ve rolled up our sleeves and are laying the ground work necessary to address the region’s jumbo-sized gender wage gap.Report Card Blank[4]

Last year, the National Partnership for Women and Families reported that the Seattle area has one of the widest wage gaps in the nation: on average, women make 73 cents for every dollar men earn.  City leaders, responding to a request from the Women’s Commission, studied our own gender wage gap and learned we’re not off the hook:  the City’s gender wage gap is 99 cents on the dollar and much worse in certain departments.

As chair of the Seattle City Council’s first committee to oversee the … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Marination

August 19th, 2014

What do you do when the world hands you a lemon? Folk wisdom says you make lemonade. The Marination duo had a different answer: Make Hawaiian-Korean tacos.Marination3

Marination is a crazy, runaway success story that co-owner Kamala Saxton likes to talk about.  The story began five years ago when Kamala and co-owner Roz Edison, had some financial reverses, like many of us who weathered the Great Recession.

Roz and Kamala became acquainted while both were working in educational programs in Boston. Kamala, a one-time Seattleite who grew up in Hawaii and California, has degrees in education and public policy and a professional background at the Gates Foundation. Roz, who was born in Greece and has lived in Romania, is Chinese and Filipina and … Continue Reading »

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Women in the Workplace: Joanne Ort CPA

August 13th, 2014

When Joanne Ort went off to the University of Washington in the 1980s, she thought she’d emerge as a doctor. That was before organic chemistry. The college class left her scratching her head. Instead she enrolled in accounting and discovered a perfect fit.

The switch shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Joanne’s dad and one of her sisters were CPAs and she was about to become one. She graduated with a business degree, later acquiring a master’s with a tax concentration. Joanne Ort

She says, “I always knew I wanted to have my own practice.” And, after raising two children and working for three accounting firms, she has reached that goal with Joanne Ort CPA. Hers is a small business with one … Continue Reading »

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