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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Jan 16 2015

Construction Jobs Bill Unanimously Recommended by Council Committee

SEATTLE – A City Council committee today unanimously recommended adoption of a jobs bill to help people living in economically distressed areas establish and secure careers in the construction industry.

The committee approved “priority hire” legislation to support pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs and to require that a percentage of the work on City-funded capital construction projects costing over $5 million be performed by residents from economically distressed areas of Seattle and King County. Economically distressed areas are indicated by high concentrations of people who are unemployed, without college degrees and living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

“With this bill, more Seattleites who have faced barriers to getting into construction careers will reap the rewards of both a well-paying job in the short-term and portable skills for the future,” said Councilmember Sally J. Clark, the legislation’s sponsor and chair of the council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee. “I want to thank the many residents and stakeholders who shared their experiences and expertise on this complex and historic legislation.”

“Using our local tax dollars to put people from communities in our city with higher unemployment to work just makes good sense,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, co-sponsor of the legislation. “This is a great step today and an acknowledgement of the incredible community organizing that began years ago to bring this bill to fruition.”

“This is a landmark social justice bill to keep jobs in Seattle and creating opportunities and pathways to success for economically disadvantaged groups. We are trying to create a new pathway that has not been there before,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “I want to recognize community leaders like Michael Woo from Got Green to Puget Sound Sage and members of the Construction Careers Advisory Committee for helping us make this legislation a reality.”

“I was shocked to learn that of 33 City-funded projects only 6% of the workers on those projects lived in Seattle; with only 25% being from King County,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “If we want to reduce environmental impacts of commuting, we must reduce the driving distance of workers driving to their Seattle jobs.”

In 2013 the Council and Mayor convened a Construction Careers Advisory Committee (CCAC) composed of contractors, sub-contractors, women and minority businesses, community organizations, labor unions, training programs and policy experts. Based on the CCAC’s recommendations, this legislation was developed in partnership with Mayor Murray to increase access to construction jobs for people who have historically not been equally represented in the industry. Today’s legislation creates an ongoing Implementation and Advisory Committee, which will submit an annual report to the Mayor and Council, and in 2016, the Mayor and Council will review the program results.

In 2012 the City’s public works budget was approximately $220 million, which generated about 446 full-time jobs in construction. A review of 33 City funded projects between 2009-2013 found that 6 percent of the workforce lived in Seattle.

The legislation will be considered by the Full City Council on Tuesday, January 20 at 2:00 p.m.
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Dec 09 2009

Billion Dollar Minority Business Recognized at Awards Event on December 10th

Published by under Economic Development

Event Recognizes State’s top Minority-Owned Businesses

SEATTLE – December 10th marks the UW Minority Business of the Year Awards Banquet. Sponsored by the UW Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC), it is the only state-wide minority business awards program in the nation, drawing over 500. This year’s event will be attended by CEOs responsible for revenues in our state in excess of $3.3 billion.

Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell says, “I have been working to create an environment in Seattle that supports the growth of small and minority-owned businesses because this sector will be a key player to our region’s economic strength and recovery efforts. As a member of the BEDC, we are building an inclusive network of relationships that work and in this process, recognizing the achievements of some of the top businesses in our state.” Of the state’s 50 largest minority-owned businesses, 13 are Seattle based with combined revenues of $465 million. The largest Seattle minority-owned business is Town and Country Markets with revenues of $209 million and 950 employees based in Ballard.

This year’s event will recognize PetroCard, a business based in Kent as the state’s first minority-owned business with revenues of more than $1 billion. Additionally, five of the state’s minority- owned businesses will also receive special recognition.

The UW Minority Business of the Year Awards banquet takes place on December 10, 2009 at 5:30 at the Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom II & III, 1900 5th Avenue, Seattle.

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Sep 08 2009

10 Technology Initiatives for 2010


Councilmember Harrell announces technology initiatives for 2010
Plan aims to improve city’s accountability, transparency, and effectiveness

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, today proposed a Government and Technology outline that will optimize the use of technology, resulting in increased transparency, enhanced access to customer service and city information, and improved government effectiveness and efficiency.

The initiatives were developed after reviewing the city’s technology, governmental systems and protocols. The next step involves the Department of Information Technology and the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board working with other city departments to provide feedback on the recommendations.

“I am proposing the applications that I believe we should use internally and support externally, both of which can determine the effectiveness of service to our citizens,” said Harrell.

The Seattle Government and Technology outline calls on the city to implement the following in the coming years:

1. Migrate to a system where publishing and release of city data are in an open format that is more readable and favorable for programming. This allows the public to use city data in the most appropriate way and enhance its original purpose by allowing data collaboration and integration through mashups and semantic web technologies.

2. Declare an “Apps for Seattle” contest and call upon local web developers to program innovative mobile applications and Internet-based applications using open city data.

3. Provide service for mobile phone applications that allow residents to report a city complaint such as potholes, graffiti, streetlight outage, or abandoned vehicles.

4. Use web video conferencing tools for meetings conducted by employees, boards and commissions, resulting in reduced travel time, cost and fuel.

5. Provide residents with new personal conservation management tools that allow them to maximize their home energy efficiency.

6. Provide a suite of applications and products that allow residents and businesses to communicate remotely with their security, heating, cooling, and lighting systems. This will increase consumer utilization and awareness of a smart grid network.

7. Deploy a “” Public Engagement Portal that consolidates the city’s multiple sign on accounts and provides single sign-on access with features including a customizable interface, status report checks on problems reported, public polling, and enhanced collaboration with the public using tools such as IdeaScale or Google Moderator.

8. Maximize the use of technology in reporting, posting, and tracking photos of graffiti and tree inventory on Google Maps or the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

9. Develop a “Wiki” website format for city information that allows online public collaboration, editing and content moderation.

10. Implement new city-wide software to reduce the volumes of wasted printed pages at the end of print jobs from the Internet.

“These technology initiatives will engage our local high-tech industry and spur entrepreneurs and development of business,” said Councilmember Harrell. “Now, more than ever, we must embrace the use of new technology as a strategic tool to better communicate with residents, drive innovation and economic development in our local workforce and save money by improving operational efficiencies in governmental systems. I look forward to working with our Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board to help drive the process of moving forward in 2010.”

Additional information regarding “Apps for Seattle” will soon follow.

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Aug 17 2009

Organic Soap Maker Setting Up Shop in Rainier Valley

Great news for the Rainier Valley! Ballard Organics Soap Company is moving from the University District to the Valley and is poised to expand its operations. This will mean new job opportunities for people in Rainier Valley. This move is largely attributable to the work of the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (RVCDF) and the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED). I once served as legal counsel to the RVCDF and am currently a member of the Housing and Economic Development Committee.

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Jun 17 2009

One on One with
Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

On June 3rd, I attended the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) conference in Washington D.C. The conference served as an opportunity for community groups across America to engage in roundtable discussion with congressional staff, discuss the President’s initiatives, and the impact and direction at the local level. Our work on Seattle’s Housing Levy was of interest to many community development leaders across the country.

I also scheduled and attended a meeting with former Governor and current Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke. One of the main operating functions of the Department of Commerce is economic development and minority business development; these are two issues that have been an integral part of my work plan. In my meeting with Secretary Locke, I introduced the concept of our Minority Business Toolkit. Also, on June 16, 2009, I announced the toolkit at the 14th Annual Report to the Community Luncheon presented by the UW Foster School of Business and Economic Development Center. As chair of the Prosperity Partnership Performance First Committee, I worked with the University of Washington’s Business Economic Development Center to develop the Minority Business Toolkit. This toolkit allows large businesses to have the “tools” to do business with smaller, minority businesses. It also makes the “business case” of profitability to support our proposition that doing business with minority businesses should be a core strategy to leverage the diverse marketplace, workplace and changing demographics of our world. Secretary Locke and I had a great working discussion about how we can leverage our work to create jobs, opportunities and prosperous partnerships.

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Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

May 24 2009

Seattle Center/Uptown Businesses: What Now?

My voting record and policy preferences would strongly suggest that I am a proponent of economic development and an advocate of small business. As you may know, I am working on the development of a purchasing co-op with the goal of bringing small businesses together as a coalition to gain purchasing power. A recent article by Seattle Times’ columnist Steve Kelley and a letter from a Seattle Center merchant described an issue that I have been asking about during the development of the Seattle Center master plan. I believe many businesses in the Seattle Center/Uptown area are hurting and one major factor could be the loss of the Sonics.

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According to the Kelley article, a Seattle Center restaurant owner was given an oral guarantee that the Sonics would call Key Arena home at least until the end of the 2010 season. As a result of the departure of the Sonics, her business is down 55 percent. The owner goes on to say that it feels like a ghost town. One of my staff members walks through the Center House every day on his way home from work. He has wondered how any of the restaurants can continue to stay in business. At 6:00 p.m. on a weekday, there is virtually nobody there, with exception to a concert or a Storm game. With the loss of the Sonics, these businesses lost at least 41 great nights of high volume business (and more if they made the playoffs). Some owners claim that one night of the Sonics could make up for four slow days of business. Kelley goes on to narrate that just outside of Seattle Center in Uptown at least three restaurants have closed in the last eight months and how most of the businesses in that neighborhood are small mom-and-pop operations.

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