The City Council passed Resolution 31380 this afternoon to regulate corporate political spending. As you may recall, in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporate entities have the same rights as individuals to unrestricted spending on political speech. As a result, unlimited corporate spending joined individual big donors to influence campaigns, elections, and lawmaking. Independent Expenditures jumped to $294.2 million in the 2010 election cycle from just $68.9 million in the 2006 cycle. This is no way to run a democracy. All campaign donations should be subject to public disclosure and full transparency. In a January 2012 poll, only 54% of registered voters are aware of this problem. This is about the character of our country and it started with the good hearts and minds of more than 50 people who testified at Full Council this afternoon.
Very recently, I met with Ms. Shannon Lee, daughter of famed martial artist, Bruce Lee. Ms. Shannon Lee is the executive director of the Bruce Lee Foundation. She visited here from Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of establishing a Bruce Lee Action Museum here in Seattle. This has been a goal of mine since attending Garfield High School. In the policy work that I do, building an urban infrastructure where youth of all backgrounds can embrace discipline, hard work, self-esteem, and a love of life, is important. Seattle must maintain and establish creative institutions that perpetuate these values
After my meeting with Ms. Lee, I wrote her confirming my interest in helping her establish the Bruce Lee Action Museum in our community. Letter to Shannon Lee (attachment).
Each year in Seattle, thousands of people visit Bruce Lee’s burial site and marvel the fact that Bruce Lee’s home was in Seattle. We are also very fortunate to have some of the most experienced collectors of Bruce Lee paraphernalia reside in Seattle. Moreover, Ms. Shannon Lee made it clear that she would love the Bruce Lee Action Museum to be in Seattle. For these reasons, I will be engaging in exciting work to assist these efforts to benefit Seattle and those who visit our region.
January was National Mentoring Month and the Seattle City Council issued a proclamation on January 26, 2009, to that effect. Former Seattle City Councilmember, Tina Podlodowski, President and CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Puget Sound graciously accepted the proclamation. Also, during the weekend of January 31, 2009, I encourage you to join me at the Guiding Lights Weekend 2009 at the Seattle Center’s Pavilion. Guiding Lights is one of the best Seattle-based regional efforts to promote the incredible effects that mentoring has on young adults and our community. I’ve been invited to serve as a speaker at the Guiding Lights Awards Dinner.
I am asking that the City accept a major role in coordinating and promoting a city-wide effort to use mentoring as a strategic tool to increase the effectiveness of its young citizenry. This has not been done before. The purist may demand strict obedience to the City’s charter regarding the provision of essential services such as police, fire and roads. But even the purist cannot refute the business proposition that having more capable and productive young adults is cheaper than arresting, prosecuting, and criminalizing youth, as well as providing legal redress to the unfortunate victims.
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On the morning of January 20, 2009, my wife Joanne and I awoke at 4:00 am, in a relative’s home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. We arrived at the Park and Ride (which is also known as a “Kiss and Ride”) at 5:00 a.m. to get on the one hour rapid transit system known as “Metro.” The other riders were all excited about the events of the day and the only topic of conversation was the inauguration. We made about 10 friends who were sitting around us when they found out Joanne and I were from Seattle. When we arrived around the Capitol, we immediately found a Starbucks close by for our obligatory coffee and oatmeal and then we headed for the Purple section to see patrons who were already in line. The ground control and organization of the lines were incredibly bad or more accurately stated, nonexistent, which required some strategy and confidence to find out how to position myself and Joanne for, what can only be described as a determined posture of entrance. We were literally smashed with Americans on every side of each other but we held hands to avoid separation. When in line, we ran into Deborah Horne from KIRO TV and shared some thoughts with her. We finally got inside the gates and passed security and positioned ourselves with new-found friends to experience a “once in a lifetime” celebration.
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During 2008, the City announced City Light rates will not increase in 2009. This announcement demonstrates my commitment to pursue policies that ensure low and consistent rates for you, the owners and customers of City Light. My most recent action was an analysis of City Light’s proposed 2009-2010 budget. Seattle City Light should be the best public utility in the nation. It has that potential and employees with that talent and my decisions are based on that presumption. In July 2008, J. D. Power and Associates showed that City Light is ranked number five among midsize west coast public power utilities. Under the leadership of Superintendent Jorge Carrasco and the hard work of the employees, the utility should be commended for making City Light an industry leader. That said, City Light’s budget presented the Council with some tough decisions. Continue Reading »
By Bruce Harrell and Tina Podlodowski
The two of us grew up as lower-middle-class kids who share decades of experience in corporate America, electoral politics, public policy and nonprofits. But mostly, we share a passion for cost-effective solutions to the very real challenges facing Seattle children and families today.
Despite having great parents in our lives, mentors made all the difference in our becoming the people we are today. We each can point to the coach, the neighbor and the caring adult who sparked and supported our personal and professional success. Together, we are passionate about asking adults to become mentors, and getting our at-risk kids a real chance at a future with the help and support of a mentor. Someone just like you.
Absent, in all but a small way, from the Mayor Greg Nickels’ proposed $9.2 million Youth Violence Prevention Initiative is support for increasing the most efficient and cost-effective strategy for keeping kids out of trouble in the first place — a trained and supported adult mentor.
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