[EDITOR'S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
by Earl Gipson
We will have before the SeaTac voters in November an ordinance that the City of SeaTac shall dictate to SeaTac private businesses what they will pay their employees, who they have to hire, and the benefits they must provide. The City will also administer the entire thing. How did this get this far? Well let’s see if I can explain.
Outside union interests bought SeaTac’s 2011 election. For this initiative the secretive SEIU (Service Employees International Union) backed the various groups Working Washington, Unite Here, and the initiative sponsors with personnel, contributions, etc. to collect signatures (many invalid) to force this to the ballot or have their indebted Council members enact it without a vote of the people.
The opening public comments and the council’s discussion of the Job Killing Mandatory Wage and Benefits Initiative (the actual title is longer so for brevity, there’s my summary) Agenda Bill #3526 (enacting ordinance) and Agenda Bill #3527 (sending it to the voters) were made to a full house in the Council Chambers Tuesday. Of course the audience is never shown on the video and from what I understand that is by design when a lot of people are there. Council Member Ladenburg (a known advocate of the ordinance) didn’t bother to show up for the meeting and City Manager Todd Cutts was also absent (job interviews perhaps?).
In Public Comments, Scott Ostrander, manager of Cedarbrook Lodge and SeaTac resident, gave a passionate analysis of how much this ordinance will hurt his own employees and that they will simply lose their jobs if enacted and that all of them are paid above the minimum wage as it stands now.
The indebted Council Members avoided taking any responsibility by procedural methodology orchestrated by un-elected Mayor Anderson. In the first act of procedural fun un-elected Mayor Tony Anderson limited the other Council members to one question each on agenda bill #3527 enacting the ordinance. I don’t even think that’s within their own Council rules. However, none of the Council members spoke up to contest this limitation on one of the most important issues before the SeaTac Council ever. The second act of procedure is that he did not “call for the question” i.e. a vote of the Council so that we all know who is for and/or against this invasive ordinance. A couple of things we know is that Council Member Bush signed the petition and then spoke against it at the Rotary meeting. I’ll give him credit for signing the petition since none of the other guilty parties did, but to speak against it at the Rotary Meeting? Then he made a specific point Tuesday that the Council had nothing to do with drafting this ordinance. Ok. Let’s go with that for now.
It is rumored that Council Member Ladenburg did help draft the ordinance but that has yet to be verified. Stay tuned as the politicians attempt to distance themselves and we find out differently. We will find out because of that old adage “two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”
A special “Town Hall” meeting will be held this coming Tuesday to discuss the Initiative 5:30 PM at City Hall. Should be fun.
Anyhow in other news Council Member Mia Gregerson and SeaTac City Employee Colleen Brandt Schluter were fined by the PDC for illegal activities (RCW violations) in the 2009 election (took a while, didn’t it?). More on that later as the PDC releases the full report/summary.