Councilmember Clark left office on April 14, 2015.
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Seattle is raising its minimum wage

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Over the past several months of minimum wage debate I’ve been told to adopt $15 now “because the rent won’t wait.”

I’ve been told raising the minimum wage will cost jobs.

In meetings I’ve heard questions, positions, opinions, pleadings, demands and accusations.

I’ve heard about what was compromised, what was horse-traded and what was a bait-and-switch.

I’ve heard heartfelt stories about small businesses and their “family” of workers.

I’ve heard ghastly stories of exploitation and manipulation.

I’ve heard compelling stories about small manufacturers and international cost competitiveness.

I’ve heard this is not an issue a city on its own can solve.

I’ve heard change must start in the cities.

I’ve heard pleas for an hour’s pay for an hour worked, nothing more nothing less.

I’ve heard compensation includes everything in box 1 of the W2, including tips.

I’ve heard raising the minimum wage will erase poverty and I’ve heard it will do nothing but move us toward being another San Francisco (a code term now for a pretty, expensive place imbued with nostalgia for a simpler, less expensive time).

I’ve heard we should “do the right thing” from every side.

When I try to apply the “do no harm” principle I’m left without knowing exactly what that means in this case. We voted today to raise the minimum wage in Seattle to a greater level than any other city in the country. That committee recommendation goes to the Full Council this coming Monday, June 2.

While it’s too soon to tell if we did the “right thing” what I do know is this: someone has to work the counter at the dry cleaners, someone has to learn to be a mechanic, and someone has to bus tables. People in these jobs have an increasingly tougher time making a life in Seattle. And after today, those someones will have more money to make everyday living just a little easier.


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Comment from Dick Burkhart
Time June 2, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Thanks for being willing to take the heat from the 15 Now people. It’s a different and more vocal style of politics: Boo what you don’t like, but still cheer a good-enough compromise. It’s all about changing the conversation.

Comment from Jeff Saily
Time June 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

As a gay small business owner, I am utterly disgusted with you and your constituents for voting for the $15 minimum wage. I have always been supportive of you and have helped get you elected to the City Council. That will never happen again. I cannot believe that you went against small businesses on this. It is obvious to me that the mayor and city council are anti-small business. First you pass a law requiring small businesses to pay employees sick pay and now this. DISGUSTING!! None of you will ever get my vote again and I’m very sorry for voting for you in the past!!

Comment from Tamela Thomas
Time June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

If I had my choice, Minimum wage would phase in in 5 years not 7. Our economy can only be as strong as our weakest link. Therefore fortifying our working poor should be a priority. I don’t blame small businesses about being afraid of this change. I think they will see that putting more discretionary income in our lowest earners will put more money into our economy–raising all boats.

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