Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Proposition 1’

Proposition 1A is the Best Choice for Seattle’s Children

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

By Karen Strickland

Local voters are on the threshold of a truly historic decision that could help launch more of Seattle’s youngest citizens toward a successful future. Unfortunately, this opportunity has been clouded by City Hall’s decision to place two positive programs for children in opposition on the ballot. Voters can only choose one of them.

The preschool and early childhood education proposals on the November ballot promise the civic benefit of a more prosperous city that nurtures its children, and implements its progressive values into public policies that reduce crime and poverty—keeping Seattle a place where our children can grow up strong and build their own lives and careers.

Members of the American Federation of Teachers-Washington and SEIU 925 are partners in this undertaking. At both the state and national level, these unions have long been supporters of early education as one of the policies essential to providing our earliest learners their best start possible in life. Did you know that 85% of brain development occurs by age 3?

We also know that our existing child care system, which today serves 30,000 of Seattle’s children, is facing a crisis and needs different solutions.

Our efforts—along with many allies who have come together as the Yes for Early Success coalition—have focused on addressing three key challenges facing early childhood education in Seattle.

First, many families cannot afford it. We support a city policy that places reasonable limits on the percentage of income that families should pay for early education and care programs.

  • Second, it is difficult to recruit and retain the excellent early educators that our children deserve. We support raising the minimum wage paid to these professionals and the formal establishment of an organization made up of early educators to represent their interests in the city.
  • Third, Seattle must ensure that the programs in which our children enroll are the highest quality possible. We support professional development that guides teachers and care providers—and quality standards that are shaped with input from early educators themselves.

Proposition 1a, Initiative 107, on the November ballot, is the expression of these principles. Also before voters is the Seattle Preschool Program, Prop 1b. We believe these two initiatives are compatible and complementary. Unfortunately, the City Council has taken the position that they are in conflict, which means that Seattle voters are being denied the chance to endorse both parts of a comprehensive approach to early education. We filed a lawsuit and appealed the court’s decision in favor of the city, but in the end, we were unable to get the two proposals separated on the ballot.

Our children need both programs. One is a limited experiment that will serve a portion of Seattle children. Ours is a program initiated with grassroots support— nearly 30,000 petition signatures—that would bolster the standards and quality for all early educators in the city.

In this moment, since we have to choose between two programs, we encourage you to support Proposition 1a, Citizens Initiative 107, developed, sponsored and supported by people working on these issues for nearly 20 years. By supporting the development of an infrastructure that includes community, educators, policy makers and elected officials, we can ensure access to high quality, affordable care for all of Seattle’s children into the future.

Karen Strickland is President of AFT Washington, and a PSARA member.

Vote Yes for Buses – But We Can’t Stop There

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

By Katie Wilson

In the November general election, Seattle voters will have one last chance to save our Metro system. Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1, if passed, will raise approximately $45 million per year to preserve most bus service in the city of Seattle and on some intercity routes by means of a 0.1% sales tax increase and a $60 vehicle license fee.

The Transit Riders Union urges you to vote YES on Proposition 1. Thousands of Seattle and King County residents depend on Metro buses every day, and we cannot afford to lose our service.

Climate change is accelerating, and our planet can’t afford more cars on the road.

At the same time, this is not a permanent solution. The proposed measure pushes the burden of funding public transit further onto working and poor people, leaves transit riders in the lurch throughout the rest of King County, and contributes to the fragmentation of what should be a unified regional mass transit system.

Even if the ballot measure passes in November, public transit in Seattle and King County will remain woefully underfunded. Fares are too high, service is not frequent or extensive enough, drivers’ schedules have been tightened to the point where they don’t have time to use the bathroom.

The Transit Riders Union is therefore calling upon the Seattle City Council to approve, in addition, two more progressive funding options for public transit: an Employee Hours Tax on business and a Commercial Parking Fee increase. This funding may be used to:

  • Reverse the September 2014 service cuts or restore comparable service for those whose mobility has been reduced by the first round of cuts
  • Contribute to the chronically underfunded Human Services Ticket Program
  • Contribute to a buy-down of Metro’s new Low Income Reduced Fare from $1.50 to $1.00 or $1.25, as would have happened had King County’s Proposition 1 passed in April
  • Roll back fare increases, making public transit more affordable and attractive for all
  • Fix the schedules to improve drivers’ working conditions
  • Increase, improve and modernize Night Owl Service
  • Add new service

Please join us in the fight for affordable and reliable public transit for all!

Katie Wilson is General Secretary of the Transit Rider’s Union and a PSARA member.

Fair elections on the November ballot

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

By Mike Andrew

On November 5, Seattle voters will have the opportunity to approve fair elections free of the influence of big money.

Seattle Proposition 1 would create a system of publically financed City Council elections. Proposition 1 is a responsible, common sense reform that restores Seattle’s tradition of fair election laws—now, when we need it most.

Here’s how it would work:

  • Candidates who raise 600 individual contributions of at least $10 can opt into the program.
  • Contributions up to $50 to qualifying candidates are matched 6 public dollars for every individual dollar, up to $210,000.
  • Participating candidates may only spend $140,000 in the primary and $245,000 overall, except when an opponent spends more.
  • Approval authorizes six years of additional property taxes, with $2,000,000 (less than two cents per $1000 of assessed value) collected in 2014.

“Back when Seattle had public campaigns we had a more diverse and representative city council,” says Alice Woldt, executive director at Washington Public Campaigns,and PSARA member, “and races that were more fair and provided equal opportunity for all. I’m confident we have a proposal in place to increase the number of female and minority candidates running for City Council and one that will strengthen our democracy.”

Under the existing system, candidates spend a lot of time raising a lot of money from relatively few people and businesses. In 2011, the average contribution was $224 and 68% of the contributions were greater than $100.

The cost of running for office discourages good people with good ideas from running. In 2011, winning candidates for Seattle City Council raised an average of $275,000 – a $100,000 increase from 2009.

With public financing, candidates will have time for regular voters because they aren’t chasing big contributions, and elected officials work for ALL the people, not just their biggest contributors.

Public financing also makes elected office more accessible to everyone, allowing a greater diversity of people with a wider range of ideas to run for office and win.

New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and many other cities have robust public financing systems. Maine, Arizona, and Connecticut have all passed systems of public financing for legislators and state officeholders. North Carolina and New Mexico use public financing for judicial elections.

Participation in the Maine system reached a high of 87% in the 2006 legislative election. Voter participation has increased in Arizona, especially among minority communities. Many studies document how public financing increases minority participation in the electoral system.

Seattle Proposition 1 is endorsed by PSARA, both candidates for Mayor of Seattle – incumbent Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray – and all current members of the City Council, except Sally Bagshaw.

It’s also backed by the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, SEIU Washington State Council, and a number of individual unions and community organizations.

For more information on Seattle Proposition1, readers can visit www. fairelectionsseattle.com