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An Open Letter to Seattle Voters: Arts, Music, Creative and Small Business Leaders Urge the Re-Election of Tim Burgess

"As our city grows, we must invest in the culture of Seattle that has given us our unique identity and strength. That’s why we strongly support the re-election of Tim Burgess to the Seattle City Council.  

"Tim is an effective leader who will help us address the cost pressures that are forcing people to move away and small businesses to close.  We must act with urgency to stabilize families, artists, and small businesses in Seattle because without them we lose the very thing that has made us such a special city.

"Seattle is the entertainment and cultural center of the Pacific Northwest.  Creativity is in the water and in our blood.  From musicians, to painters, to dancers, to writers, to filmmakers, and many more, artists have given us voice and spirit.  To make sure we don’t lose this valuable distinction in a skyrocketing economy, Tim is proposing to increase arts and culture spending by millions of dollars.  Tim’s idea is to increase the allocation of the city’s existing admissions tax from 75% dedicated to the arts today to 80% in 2016, to 90% in 2017, and to 100% in 2018. This increase means millions of additional dollars dedicated to supporting artists and arts organizations all over the city, including more arts education in our public schools.

"More funding for arts education in our schools is crucial. Tim wants to ensure the leaders of tomorrow are creative critical thinkers, prepared with a solid education that includes the arts. Tim believes arts and music education should be offered in every public school in our great city.

"Tim understands that great cities support a thriving arts, music and nightlife sector.  That’s why he became a vocal proponent of the Seattle Nightlife Initiative and was a leader in turning the City’s negative stance toward nightlife into one of support.  Tim recognized the value of music in our city and proposed waiving the admissions tax on small live-music venues to encourage small business development and promote our renowned local music scene. Twelve new venues opened after Tim’s legislation was adopted by the City Council.  

"Many businesses that contribute to our creative culture are in fact small businesses with very thin margins. As a former small business owner himself, Tim understands the risks we take and the investments we make. He’s been a strong advocate for the business community.

"Tim Burgess is the kind of leader we want to see continue in office because he believes creativity is a valuable cultural and economic human resource that will make all of Seattle’s people and neighborhoods better. 

"Please join us in supporting the re-election of Tim Burgess."

An Open Letter to Seattle Voters : Social Justice Leaders Support the Re-Election of Councilmember Tim Burgess

"We in the social justice movement have such an impressive advocate in Tim Burgess that we have joined together enthusiastically to support his reelection to the Seattle City Council. His leadership on justice issues has made Seattle a better place for all of our children, for the immigrant community, and for our most vulnerable neighbors.

"As importantly, we value the way he leads. Time and time again he has not only listened, but he has sought us out, to hear the needs and concerns of our communities.

"He is not daunted by seemingly intractable problems, but finds innovative ways to address those concerns, leading to change in important public policies.

"Here are some examples of Tim’s leadership that have impressed us and earned Tim our respect, trust and support:

"In the middle of the economic downturn, our communities urged the city to continue its investment in academic and health programs for our children. Tim stood up and made the startling suggestion that we double these investments—and the voters agreed.

"He convinced his colleagues to extend a small but effective program pairing nurses with first-time, low-income moms and dads so that any qualifying family may participate. Seattle was the first city of its size to fully fund the Nurse-Family Partnership. The New York Times calls it America’s best anti-poverty program.

"Tim was the lead architect and champion of Seattle’s life-transforming, high quality preschool program designed to eliminate the academic achievement gap for our kids. He helped design this publicly supported preschool program that pays teachers on par with K-12 teachers, provides in-classroom coaching, and tuition support for teachers. Tim cares about developing a professional preschool workforce so that all of our children will have the building blocks to thrive in school.

"Immigrant communities have long felt unheard in city government. Tim led the way to create a new city Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to welcome our new Americans.

"Tim led the effort to establish a gun violence tax, so the gun industry helps to pay for the damage their products cause. Tim’s leadership on common-sense gun safety measures has been strong and unwavering. He cares about the public safety of all Seattle’s communities.

"Tim has been a consistent voice for police reform and better policing. He wrote the legislation repealing a 35-year ban on hiring police commanders from outside the police department, which allowed Chief O’Toole to hire new leaders who aren’t tied to the old culture of SPD. Tim supports making the Community Police Commission permanent and strengthening civilian oversight of police services. He has been a strong leader for fair and professional policing in every Seattle community.

"Tim was one of the first local officials to speak out against the failed policy of mass incarceration. And he didn’t just speak against it. He persuaded the state’s Department of Corrections to test a new approach to prisoner release called “swift and certain.” It worked and has now been spread statewide, saving millions of dollars in prison costs, holding released offenders accountable, and allowing many to successfully reintegrate into the community with their families instead of being sent back to prison. Tim has also been a strong advocate for alternatives to arrest, such as Seattle’s innovative Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.

"Tim was the lead negotiator securing final passage of Seattle’s historic Paid Sick and Safe Leave law, a groundbreaking benefit for working families, and a solid supporter of Seattle’s nation-leading $15 minimum wage.

"These are just a few examples of Tim’s effective leadership on the City Council. This is why we are supporting Tim’s re-election. He gets good things done. He is a proven, progressive and effective leader for all the people of Seattle."

Council to Act on Gun Violence Tax, Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms

Seattle — Council President Tim Burgess proposed two pieces of legislation as part of the City’s latest effort to improve gun safety in Seattle.

The first bill would establish a gun violence tax on the sellers of firearms and ammunition in Seattle. The revenue proceeds from the gun violence tax would be dedicated to prevention programs and research intended to reduce the burden of gun violence on Seattle residents and neighborhoods.

The second bill would require mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms to the Seattle Police Department. Mandatory reporting requirements promote gun safety by enabling law enforcement to better track guns used in crimes, return lost guns to their rightful owners, and protect gun owners from being falsely implicated in crimes committed with stolen guns.

Both pieces of proposed legislation will be first considered by the Council’s Education and Governance Committee on Wednesday, July 15 at 9:30 a.m.

"Taxpayers in Seattle pay for millions of dollars in emergency medical care every year for people who have been shot,” said Council President Burgess. “It’s time for the gun industry to chip in to help defray these costs.”

Under the gun violence tax, firearms dealers would pay $25 for every firearm sold and $0.05 for every round of ammunition sold. The City Budget Office estimates the gun violence tax will raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.

“Gun violence is a public health epidemic, but we can alleviate it with focused research and prevention funded by this new revenue source. Basic research can save lives,” added Burgess.

In 2013, Seattle became the first city in the nation to conduct basic research on gun safety. The City Council-funded research led to a report from The Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center that established that “gun violence begets gun violence.” The research found that individuals hospitalized for a firearm injury were 30 times more likely to be re-hospitalized for another firearm injury than people admitted to the hospital for non-injury reasons.

As a result, Harborview’s research and medical staff developed a hospital-based intervention program for gun violence victims designed to reduce future hospitalizations from gun violence. Research and programmatic efforts like what the Harborview staff has proposed would be eligible for funding from the gun violence tax.

“I want to thank Councilmember Burgess for his leadership. We know the people of Seattle demand action on this issue, not more talk,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Last year at the ballot box, voters approved greater accountability in background checks for gun sales. This proposal builds on that momentum by funding more tools to reduce the devastating impacts that guns have on our community.”

“A tax on guns and ammunition makes sense, since the public pays the majority of the costs for gun violence in the form of medical costs for gunshot victims and of course the police and criminal justice costs of protecting citizens from gun violence,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, core faculty member of Harborview’s Injury Prevention and Research Center. “Using revenue from such a tax to help gun violence victims and prevent future gun violence is smart. The City Council should be lauded for their leadership in addressing this problem in our community.”

“Gun violence is both a public safety and a public health issue. I fully support funding effective intervention programs to reduce gun violence. The Harborview research into repeat offenders and victims uses both public health and public safety lenses to address the needs of people who are most at-risk from gun violence,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

Washington State levies other taxes that similarly mitigate public health impacts, like current taxes on the sale of cigarettes, alcohol, and wood-burning stoves Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Guns Seattle police officers have taken into their evidence lockers 2,657 firearms since January 2012.

Guns play a significant role in many crimes against persons in Seattle: 69% of homicides, 17% of robbery incidents and 8% of aggravated assaults between January 2012 and May 2015.

“Illegal guns cause serious harm in our neighborhoods,” said Council President Burgess. “This simple requirement will help law enforcement trace guns used in crimes and solve more cases. It is a straightforward and important step for gun safety.”

A January 2011 national poll found that 94% of the respondents favored such a requirement, with similar levels of support among gun-owning households. Another nationwide poll in May 2012 likewise found strong, two-thirds support from gun owners for this proposal.

Under the proposed bill, individuals would have to report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours of discovery. Those found in violation of this requirement would face a civil penalty of up to $500.

Federal law currently requires firearms businesses with a federal license to report lost or stolen guns, but the law does not extend to individual gun owners.

“Governments tax cars and gasoline to build and maintain safe roads; it only makes sense to tax the source of gun violence—guns and ammunition—to address their impact on public health and safety,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said. “The tax measure and the mandatory reporting requirement are strong steps toward a safer city. I look forward to helping to implement these ordinances and defending them as needed.”

State’s Largest Environmental Group Endorses Burgess for Re-Election to Seattle City Council

Seattle — Washington Conservation Voters, the state’s largest environmental advocacy group, has endorsed Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess’ campaign for re-election.

"We're proud to support Tim Burgess for Seattle City Council. Tim is a strong leader on issues to protect our environment and is committed to progressive solutions for our region's environmental challenges going forward,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters.

The WCV endorsement is the latest in a series of major endorsements Burgess has collected in the weeks leading up to the August Primary election. “I’m delighted to have won the continued trust and enthusiastic support of the Washington Conservation Voters,” said Burgess.

“I’m proud of my accomplishments to keep Seattle a leader in transit expansion, sustainability, and carbon neutral energy production. I look forward to working with WCV and other environmental leaders in the coming years.”

Burgess has been endorsed by the King County Labor Council, the political arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, SEIU 775, Seattle Fire Fighters, the Cascade Bicycle Club, and dozens of regional elected officials.

Through the end of May, the Burgess campaign has raised nearly $200,000, more than any other candidate running for election to the City Council this year.

Cascade Bicycle Club Endorses Tim for Re-Election

On Behalf of its 16,000 members, Cascade Bicycle Club Throws it Support Behind Tim in His City Council Re-Election Bid

SEATTLE - The Cascade Bicycle Club—the largest bike nonprofit organization in the country—has endorsed Tim’s race to be re-elected to the Seattle City Council.

Tim’s consistent support of bike infrastructure and environmental-minded policies earned him the endorsement. In their endorsement decision, CBC cites the fact that while Tim has been a city councilmember “funding for implementing the bicycle master plan and bike projects across the city has risen to the highest levels ever.”

“I am honored to have Cascade’s support. It demonstrates my record of achievement when it comes to actually getting things done to promote the interests of Seattle cyclists,” Council President Burgess said.

Read more here about Cascade Bicycle Club and their 2015 election endorsements.


Burgess also reported another strong fundraising month, raising another $33,304 in April
Seattle – Several large and influential labor unions, representing thousands of working people in the city of Seattle announced their enthusiastic early endorsements for Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, who is running citywide for the At-large Position 8 seat.

The endorsing unions include SEIU Local 775, Seattle Firefighters Local 27, Professional and Technical Employees Local 17, and HOD Carriers and General Laborers Union Local 242.

The unions cited Burgess’ pragmatic, progressive leadership, particularly his proven track record of delivering results on key issues that directly impact the lives of Seattle residents.

These latest major endorsements come as Burgess reported another strong fundraising month, raising $33,304 in April, bringing his total raised for the campaign to more than $147,244 from more than 500 contributors. And unlike some of his opponents, the vast majority of Burgess’ fundraising is coming from residents of Seattle.