Fighting the Good Fight (And, Winning It)

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It looked like a close call when the Seattle City Council voted 5-4 in May to withhold a street vacation essential to construction of a third SODO sports arena. But Seattle City Hall might be the only place where the arena vote is close.

The vote was supported by all 10 elected port commissioners from Seattle and Tacoma, representing the voters of King and Pierce Counties. It was also supported by 50 state legislators from all corners of the state — Republicans and Democrats.

Closer to home, a public opinion survey showed the council decision was also supported by up to 77% of Seattle voters, depending on how the question was asked. And 75% felt the arena should not be a priority for city government.

By any measure, the vote stacked up as a win for a growing, regional coalition of elected officials who are standing up for the industrial job base. Their success will be celebrated at the Family-Wage Summit Wednesday, June 29, 4-6PM in the Gene J. Colin Hall at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College. Details below. The summit program will also challenge the elected leaders to identify action steps for future efforts.

The arena vote is not the only encouraging sign.

Two years ago the ports of Seattle and Tacoma ended decades of competition between each other to unify their marine cargo operations to better compete with global and regional challenges. Their unified approach is carried out through the new Northwest Seaport Alliance, which provided the vehicle for input by both ports on the arena issue.

Two years ago, the City of Seattle also moved forward with long-delayed plans to create a freight master plan for city roads. Agreement was also reached to build a heavy haul truck corridor in SODO to support the marine cargo sector. Mayor Murray also ordered a review of grandiose plans for the Lander Street Overpass in SODO, opening the door for a smaller, more marineindustryfeasible structure.

Even the long ignored topic of high school vocational education shows signs of life, with a new initiative, Core Plus, that is ramping up high school shop class capacity at 35 locations around the state (including Seattle) with funding available to add about 20 locations over the next two years. Graduates are preparing themselves for entry-level jobs at The Boeing Company, the Puget Sound Navy Shipyard in Bremerton and a growing number of other employers throughout the state.

Small steps? Yes, but they are foundations to build on and the summit will present opportunities to hear, question and talk with the elected leaders who are contributing to these and other efforts.

The summit program will start at 4 PM with speakers scheduled in the following order:

1) Commissioners Stephanie Bowman, Clare Petrich, Courtney Gregoire, John Creighton and Tom Albro will be available to offer their views about the NW Seaport Alliance between Seattle and Tacoma.

2) Successful vocational students and educators will talk about the value and challenges of high school Career and Technical Education (CTE). They will be joined by State Senator Christine Rolfes from Bainbridge Island, a key legislative leader on statewide education issues. Senator Rolfes will briefly explain potential impacts of the McCleary ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court which could require up to $2 billion in more funding for the K-12 system. Will any of that support go to CTE?

3) State legislative leaders Rep. Gael Tarleton and Rep. Judy Clibborn will provide their insights regarding state policies and funding priorities for land use and transportation. Tarleton founded and led the Maritime Manufacturing Task Force of the legislature, which recommended new steps to support the industrial job base. Rep. Clibborn chairs the House Transportation Committee and was instrumental in securing the multi-billion state transportation funding package.

4) State leaders will be followed by Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw who will talk about future challenges and her vote on the arena.

Additional guests will include Maud Daudon, President and CEO of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Kate Riley, Editorial Page Editor of the Seattle Times, and Jene Jones from the League of Education Voters.

The summit is cosponsored by the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle; the Washington Maritime Federation, Local 751 of the IAM, and the Puget Sound District Council of the ILWU.

The Gene J. Colin Hall is located inside Building C at the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College, 6737 Corson Avenue South, just north of Boeing Field. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Tory@seattleindustry.org. Questions? Call the Manufacturing Industrial Council at 206-762-2470.