[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
The garbage contract was awarded to Cleanscapes unanimously by the Council in Tuesday’s meeting with many kudos to Republic for their years of service and community involvement. It came down to spending taxpayer’s money responsibly and the objective analysis done by Staff/experts. The union locals resolved their differences and enough said there. The changeover won’t happen until June so plenty of time for changeover planning and customer education/outreach.
Okay, lets talk about SeaTac Prop #1. The wonderful 9 page document spells out a minimum $15 per hour for certain job categories with the City determining who is hired by what private companies and what those private companies must provide to those workers. That’s a union contract (walks like duck, quacks like duck). If anyone hasn’t guessed yet, I think this is a bad idea and most likely an illegal Proposition. I will explain why I think it’s a bad idea but the legal part would be explored only if it passes.
SeaTac taxpayers would be paying for administering a union by default for ~ 6,000 workers of which only about 5 percent live in the City. The City Staff has been reluctant to put a price on this “privilege” so we can assume it’s a large number (7 figures). This is money the City simply doesn’t have and would have to find additional revenue. Guess where that would come from? The money would come from you and me, with nothing to show for it but a new City bureaucracy that will be at odds with our own City businesses (I’m not sure if that is a new issue).
The Prop #1 people say that this is backed by 20 or more SeaTac businesses. Yep, and every one of those businesses are not affected by the Proposition but their competitors are. How convenient. The face of these businesses has been Don Liberty, owner of the Bullpen Bar & Grill. I imagine as SeaTac unemployment rises the bar business may indeed pick up as the few SeaTac residents that have covered jobs lose them in the face of competition for the higher wages. They will need a place to wallow in their new found misery.
Prop #1 is economically irresponsible. Raising a business’s major expense by 63 percent overnight will put them out of business or they will just move to where the Prop does not affect them. Also the prices of things will rise and the $15 an hour bunch will just be handing it over to buy the same stuff at higher prices. Their windfall will not last long. For those poor souls not in one of those covered job categories their paychecks will buy even less. Talk about the poor getting poorer.
Am I giving you a recommendation on voting NO on Prop #1? Well yes, in fact I am and have been ever since I read the thing. As a long time SeaTac resident, I can see the forest despite the trees, and I have no interest in running down our City more than it has been already. Voting NO gives us a glimmer of hope that another major exodus of SeaTac taxpayers will be forestalled and we have an opportunity to repair the economic damage already done to us at the hands of our politicians (external and internal) and the unions. I may be a Cactus but I am still an optimistic one.
By the way I love the Yes!SeaTac signs. The little paper airplane is their jobs flying away if Prop #1 passes.