Guest Editorial: An Open Letter to My Colleagues on the Seattle City Council


Thumbs up, CM Sawant!
I very much support this in theory, but I have a practical question for the Council Member - Will the city budget allow for these jobs to be covered while the employees are on leave, or will we be subject to the usual limitations on "pockets" and/or overtime?

If personnel and the City Budget Office don't allow departments to maintain adequate coverage while these employees are on this extended leave, all you're doing is making it more difficult for the other employees to do their jobs and create lags in service to their customers.
Good question Ms. Vel-DuRay. I'd like to hear the answer to that question as well. How will the work of the City get done when workers are on parental leave?
12 weeks is good but not near enough, it should be at least 40 weeks and for both parents.
The OP's mom didn't have it. And she turned out ok. For millennia there's been no paid maternity leave. And we've managed to produce some great kids/people. So I think there's no reason to switch.
@5 for millenia people lived in caves and ate raw meat and bugs. So I think there's no reason to switch.
Again, it is no wonder that certain despicable councilmembers, in the just held Seattle election at the beginning of November, endorsed the opposing candidate to Councilmember Sawant, something unheard of in the history of the Seattle City Council as Ms. Sawant has accomplished more in her time with the City Council than any member in its history!

And, just to further keep facts straight on this day, 11/22, the anniversary of the 1963 coup and murder of President John F. Kennedy, let us take a moment (or 2 hours) to listen to an interesting radio show broadcast of the most intelligent fellow David Lifton, the only person to seriously debate that devil, Allen Dulles:…
@2 As long as everyone doesn't get pregnant at once, I think the cities business will get done just fine.

@5 you're an idiot. See at @6.
Better to have the parents at home with the babies than the babies being in daycare.
@8, so you don't think we haven't produced great people without mandated parental leave?
@9, for how long?
Go here...… watch the sorry spectacle of the majority of the CMs opposing 12 weeks of paid parental leave just to spite Sawant, though they draped their objections in all kinds of bullshit excuses such as:

Bagshaw: I'm in favor of 12 weeks, but....what about labor negotiations? How is our existing 4 weeks working out--what if someone doesn't like it? How will the details work? King County requires people to use up their vacation and most of their sick leave before taking paid parental leave. Should we do that too??? Isn't this stuff that the future Council should decide on? What does budget staff say about this. Citizens baffled by all of these questions might not know that FUCKING SALLY BAGSHAW, a former King County Civil Division Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, didn't have any qualms about looking the other way when she sat on the Parks committee and was just fine with Parks' legal contract with a developer to build medical offices within a Shoreline of Statewide Significance on Lake Washington in Magnuson Park, an illegal land use under the state Shoreline Management act and Seattle's own Shoreline Master Program. It didn't bother Bagshaw that small non-profits got kicked out of Building 11 so Swedish Hospital could attempt to gain offices at this location. It cost Seattle residents $7.25 million to walk back from that little legal snafu, which happened right under Bagshaw's nose.

Godden: I'm a big promoter of closing the gender pay gap and want to remind everyone that our original goal was to get to 12 weeks, not just 4, but the Devil is in the details. Seattle doesn't require employees to burn their vacation and most of their sick leave before taking their existing 4 weeks of paid parental leave the way King County makes them do, and gosh, we've only had 4 weeks in place since May, so maybe we should study how the existing program is working for way longer than December 31, after which the voters put me, a useless chunk of dead wood, out to pasture. And oh BTW, I want ALL WORKERS IN SEATTLE TO GET FAMILY FRIENDLY BENEFITS.

Okomoto: My concern is with process in labor-management negotiations. What if the labor unions think something else is more important than paid parental leave like maintenance of health care benefits, pensions, etc? I am dumb as a post to think parental leave might not be important to labor unions, and also that's what Burgess told me to say blah blah blah.

Burgess: I need to grandstand here and reiterate what was previously clarified at great length that the money used to pay for this extension of parental leave benefits will be borrowed from the future sale of surplus land at the fire training center, and if we approve this we'll be acting outside of collective bargaining with the unions and the unions didn't like it this place would be packed with angry union members criticizing us. And then, being the A-Hole he is, Burgess just had to say, "So what are we actually doing here other than making political comments about things we'd like to do? ... This does nothing for city employees. " At this point the crowd in Council chambers started to hiss and boo. This classic Darth Burgess gaffe is also what caused Sawant to say, "You can tell the election is over." Because Burgess is reverting to his old Sawant-bashing, employee hating self.

My deepest contempt, however, is for lazyass Bruce Harrell who couldn't manage to show up all day to weigh in on this or any other budget matters decided in the hours of deliberations the Council did on November 16 because if he had, the people in D2 who counted on his support for a pilot muni broadband project on Beacon Hill would have seen him vote against it in order to remain loyal to his paymasters, Comcast and CLink, for whom Bruce works tirelessly to the detriment of citizens who are fed up paying big bucks for molluscan speeds and crappy service from these corporate crappers.

Another little irony of this budget meeting was the lengthy discussion about how this benefit would be paid for both in the coming year by borrowing from anticipated revenue from sale of surplus property at the Joint Fire Training center on Meyers Way, but after that, how can the city continue to pay for it. Fair point, but none of the CMs or then Mayor Greg Nickels said diddly when Seattle ignored the Hamm Creek headwatere wetlands on that site and trashed them so badly they got popped by the Army Corps of Engineers and Seattle residents had to pay and extra $6.4 million to mitigate for the damage. Moreover, Seattle also discovered that some of the land on that site they could they could sell as surplus property are STILL wetlands (surprise!), and, in addition, other Seattle departments have expressed interest in using some of this land for their own operations, so let's sanctimoniously wring our hands and gnash our teeth about that.

Thank you Kshama Sawant and Mike O'Brien for strongly supporting expansion of paid parental leave. Shame on the rest of you, especially Harrell for being too chicken-shit to do your fucking job, for pretending you care about the well being of children and their stressed out hard-working parents.

The message is interesting, the messenger makes me want to barf.
Vacation time and pay should not be considered in the maternity leave option. Raising a new born infant is not a vacation. While this is not part of the discussion, consideration to provide for paid menstrual leave for women should also be wrap into this issue.
#2 Madam Vel-duRay once again proves that having big hair does not mean having a small brain. Excellent question Madam. However, having big boobs does mean a small brain. That's just life.
I have no intention of having children. Why should I be taxed for this special benefit for breeders? If you want a kid, pay for it with your vacation time, or savings, or don't have one. Why should my boss pay you for three months while I toil to do you job because you decided to have a baby? I don't really get it.
Not sure who the bigger asshole is here - Sawant for calling her colleagues out or the stranger for so shamelessly helping her do so. And she wonders why her fellow councilmembers dislike her so much.....
Selling capital (land) to pay for operating cost (leave) is stupid.
@16....If you feel that way you are doing the right thing by not having children; you would probably be a bad parent. There are no laws preventing people from having children so those that do should be obliged to take care of them and properly raise them. That is a tremendous responsibility and to have children to grow up to be responsible adults they need all the attention and care they can get. In the long run it pays off as well raised children are more likely to be better adults; society as a whole is better off. Thats why as a society we should be doing everything we can to assist.
Well said bertha. <3
Actually Azzam might be on to something. When I worked in the private sector we got a month paid sabbatical, apart from your vacation or sick time, once every three years. It is about the only thing I miss about that job, and it would be a nice consolation prize for those of us who do not reproduce.
An "open letter" to fellow councilmembers? Further evidence that Sawant is a grandstander who doesn't understand concepts like collaboration and compromise.
Everyone getting pregnant at once would be so many kinds of awesome that it would be worth it whatever else happens.
Kshama, how about you compromise with your colleagues - 4 weeks paid at current rate and the other 8 you want paid at the city minimum wage rate, as Australia (and many other countries) does for their national paid parental leave ?…
Payment rate of Parental Leave Pay
Parental Leave Pay is currently $657 per week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks. This is the hourly rate of the national minimum wage x 7.6 (hours in a standard working day) x 5 (days in a standard working week). Parental Leave Pay is a taxable payment that can be paid by your employer or by us directly.
@19, o.k, an ad hominem argument, I am a jerk, so your idea must be right. Lots of things would be good for society, yet we pay for them ourselves. Fewer children might be good for society, do we really need a tax funded benefit to encourage more birth? Does Seattle have an overabundance of housing we need to fill? Still not sure why I should pay for your baby, except that you think it would be good for its development. I already pay for its schooling.
Why not shake me down for its violin lessons as well?
@16) Your "taxes", which I bet you barely pay because you're too stupid to hold a job, pay for schools, too, even if you don't have kids. And they pay for parks, even if you don't use them. And they pay for military, which you do not get to use either. It may be a shock for you to learn that you NEVER had nor will have the ability to cherry pick how taxes will be used. Go back to grade school and take a social studies class you epic fucking moron. Jeez.
@2) That is why companies/groups have MANAGEMENT - to ensure that issues such as this are accounted for. If the MGMT cannot do that, they are replaced.
"Sacred vaginas are sacred; more curry in the company cafeteria, please."
yeah ahcaiwoihole, I get it, I am a moron. This is a special gift for the city clique paid for by working people. You are for it, I am against it. You have a weak mind and can only use insults to argue your point. and you lost.
@25....Actually I am partially in agreement with you, Azzam, in that I believe that the world is over populated and that people who choose to have children should do so with a lot of circumspect as to the responsibilities. Having said that, though, once the children are here they deserve a decent life and everyone needs to share in that responsibility; contrary to Christianity, I believe that children are born innocent. Say what you will about racism and sexism, as a whole children are the most abused and disenfranchise people in this world.

By the way, I do not think of you as a jerk or a moron, also I prefer the piano to the violin.
Even for The Stranger, this is pretty low.
So Mr. Fetish, perhaps it's just that life is one big limbo dance; how low can you go....
Achaiwoi dear, I am familiar with the concept of management. I worked in the "real world" for twenty years before I started in government.

And city government actually has some very good managers. But it also has some quite antique personnel practices that the council members don't understand, and a budget office that plays the role of the bad cop to whatever feel good policies the council thinks they're implementing.

Until you understand how the sausage is made, you really shouldn't comment on it. It makes a person look foolish.