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Seattle , Washington
August 19, 2011     West Seattle Herald
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August 19, 2011

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6 Friday, August 19, 2011 West Seattle Herald MMENT Guest Opinion West Seattle Chamber of Commerce to city Council on paid sick leave; Slow down and be thorough The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the Seattle City Council expressing the group's wish that the Council give the proposed ordinance regarding paid sick leave more analysis and resist the pressure to get any measure passed quickly. August 5, 2011 Richard Conlin, Council Chairman Nick Ucata, Councilmember Seattle City Council PO Box 34025 Seattle, WA 98124-4025 Re: Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Dear Councilmen, On behalf of our members, the WS Chamber of Commerce is writing to formally request that the Paid Sick Leave legislation being proposed be more vigorously analyzed prior to placing this before a council vote. A majority of our membership in a survey taken two weeks ago oppose this legislation. Our Board of Directors, in studying the proposed legislation, feels strongly that the Council has not studied the ramifications of this legislation thoroughly enough and should not enact it in the time frame outlined. The following are issues we believe the Council should consider in moredetail: Outreach Following meetings with the stakeholder panel, it is clear that impacts to various industries have not been thoroughly addressed. Such sweeping legislation deserves a more thorough process to allow input from business as is provided with legislation similar in impact. In fairness, we recommend a much more thorough outreach be conducted to better assess the impacts to our businesses. Concession to smaller business Again, comments from the representatives for business on the stakeholder panel are in agreement that the 3-Tiered approach is inadequate. We recommend introducing a new "tier" recognizing the smaller and micro-business. Economic Impact Study Beyond regulatory impacts - which will demand more administration, and investment in monitoring and enforcement, an analysis must be done on the substantial impact this ordinance will have on contractually binding collective bargaining agreements and the cost to businesses and unions trying to implement this level of legislation mid-contract. Another key point for small business is the two year waiver for start up companies. The common rule of thumb is that a start-up must make it beyond five years in order to be considered viable. The two year waiver will force these new businesses to implement this ordinance right when they are still in a most vulnerable stage of their development. This could very well negatively impact the overall job creation and small business development of our city. Enforcement After the second meeting of the stakeholder panel it was clear that the Office of Civil Rights does not perceive itself to be an enforcement body, but merely a body to oversee procedural aspects. This leaves a big hole in the logistics of how this ordinance is going to be enforced. The method of enforcement has not been thought out. There is strong consensus with our Board of Directors that the impacts of this ordinance on the economy of our City have not been duly analyzed. We are still trying to recover from a devastating recession and this legislation puts another economic barrier to that recovery. This is an ordinance that puts Seattle businesses at a disadvantage in relation to other businesses of our region. This is a time for leadership to focus on the need to create and retain jobs and increase the economic vitality of our city. Given the above concerns there seems to be no pressing urgency for the City Council to rush this ordinance through without a) allowing those most affected to fully understand it and weigh in on its affects and b) providing sufficient time for the Council to better understand the impact of this legislation. Sincerely, Dave Montoure Chairman Patricia Mullen CEO Cedar Paradise By Georgie Bright Kunkel Some people say that a walk in the woods is worth a Sunday in church. There are many ways to worship and find the spirit of the universe. In fact, a sermon I heard recently spoke to that very statement. God (or the spirit) is everywhere, in all of us. To those un-churched folks who seem to be in greater numbers in the northwest there must be something beneficial in a climate that doesn't stress one out too often and where real trees are still decorated at the Christian season of Christmas. Now don't get me wrong. I am not a sun worshiper or a person who meditates very often. But there are times when my spirit comes alive and delight reigns. One of those times came about recently when my special friend and I took a picnic lunch to Cedar River which was aptly named as cedar trees proliferated along with alder fir, maple and cottonwood. I did not quite know what to expect but as we turned into a driveway my friend punched in a code and a gate opened, welcoming us to a tree lined road leading to another less techie gate which he opened manually. Then came the walk along a path that had been overgrown and finally we began our descent to the river bank along well constructed steps with a sturdy railing. And there at the bottom was the charming lean-to sheltering a picnic table and steps to a platform where we could sit and watch the fast moving river flow over rocks reflecting many tones of grey, white and ochre. Across the river of fast flowing shallow water was the lovely tree- lined bank which once provided the railroad bed for a train that whistled its way beside the stream. No longer used by the railroad the tracks have become a lovely woodland trail where people meander at their leisure or walk their dogs. Without the whistles of train engines we could relax with only the call of birds or th faint sound of a distant airplan, on its aerial path to Seatac Airpct or Boeing Field. A primitive fire pit provided warmth in the early part of the day and also supplied heat enough to warm the bacon for bacon-lettuce- and-tomato sandwiches and to cook a wiener to supplement the meal that if eaten at home would have been more than plenty. Usually I am distracted by sounds but the soft gurgling of the waves bouncing about on the variety of rock shapes was like a lulling melody, making us oblivious to any stress we may have brought with us from the fast moving city, now seemingly very far away in our minds. It was soon time to quench the flames of our warming fire with water carried up from the shallow river and as the last coal hissed its steamy breath, we collected our picnic gear and headed up the steep trail and back to civilization. Unless you have experienced the primitive nature of such a special place, you have not lived. This few hours without the sound of motors and the smell of exhaust will stay with me until I can experience it again. It will always be there even though another hundred year flood may wash out the bank again or topple the rock lined fire-pit. Change will take place. Trees will die and rot making way for newer trees. Maples will branch out and cover the view for a time before being pruned again. But the wonder of it all will remain. Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at gnkunkel@ or 206-935- 8663. Tim Robinson Remember when 16th Ave. S. W. was in White Center? With annexation, it would be part of Burien. The county's White (Center) elephant By Jerry Robinson I don't know what can be done to make White Center more valuable. The City of Seattle does not want her. Burien does and this makes me question the motivation of the alliance. The roads are okay, they have libraries, a swim pool and plenty of low income housing? I have owned the newspaper since 1952. In 1962 we got the county to build garden beds full of flowers that looked great but became traffic hazards and are now long gone. I asked former county executive Ed Munro what he thought back then. He said, "rezone much of the residential area within half a mile of Roxbury St. and build apartment houses". The idea was to bring density to the area. The business people were thriving and ignored him. They did not see the future coming in the form of a newly developed Burien and the eventual shopping center in Tukwila by 1967. In 1954 the area had blossomed. We had five chain groceries, three dress shops, several shoe stores, a couple of drug stores, a paint store, three or four restaurants, and three hardware stores. We had three banks and two television stores. It was the heyday for this town. Sadly White Center growth stopped by 1964. The newspaper mounted a campaign to change the name of the area to Westwood. Maybe a name change would stir things up. It failed but Westwood Village rose out of the swampy lowland off S.W. Trenton St. and gave us chain drug stores, a hardware store and a Marshall's department store. It was not enough to stop other merchants from fleeing the area. White Center businesses relocated to Burien. The population began to shrink. The skating rink closed. The Red Shield swim pool closed. Yes both re-opened in recent years but it was too late. There have been very few private dwelling units built in White Center except for replacement public houses in White Center Heights now called Greenbridge. In 1968 Burien came alive with three men's stores, four banks, four dress shops and a bunch of eateries. Later the airport strip was developed with some hotels. Largely, I suspect due to the development of SouthCenter Mall in 1967. Burien began its own downsizing by the late 70's. Merchants were fleeing this town too for the environs of Tukwila and the I-5 corridor. So why has the county been so anxious to get rid of White Center?. Obviously they can't get enough money from the businesses or the home owners to cover the cost of police, fire fighters and street maintenance. The state is offering Burien millions of dollars to cover the cost of annexing White Center. That will make County Executive Dow Constantine happy. The county would be free of the burden of support for White Center. Is the Burien City council smarter than Seattle's or former county executive Ron Sims? Are folks suddenly going to revitalize downtown White Center because of annexation? What can Burien do to attract customers away from shopping meccas like Southcenter, the Junction, Fred Meyer, Marshalls and Macy's? Not much I fear. Hey! Can we get Macy's to build a store in the old White Center News building on 17th and 98th? It has been empty for thirty years. It is just a block away from the JP Morgan Chase bank. They wouldn't have to go very far to deposit the millions of dollars Burien hopes to get from the state for taking on a White (Center) elephant. Thanks for bearing with me. Jerry Robinson can be reached care of Ken Robinson at kenr@ robinsonnews. com,