By Jan Teague, President/CEO
We just concluded a board of directors meeting this week where members learned about our expanding involvement in Seattle politics and decision making.
Our team of John Engber, Director of the Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle (RICS) and his Field Director, Nina Jurczynski, have spent the past several months making new contacts with businesses throughout the city. We haven’t found any other Seattle organization doing this kind of direct outreach to better prepare business owners for the laws and regulations being contemplated by the Seattle City Council.
We’ve developed an extensive database of businesses and signed up a healthy percentage of followers to represent on a host of city issues. In their travels throughout Seattle, John and Nina have discovered that retailers feel squeezed both by city government action and inaction on issues ranging from homelessness and parking changes to labor laws and transportation policy. The growing list of business members gets a monthly e-newsletter update on our representation and alerts about possible new laws and regulations that would affect them.
We’re getting Seattle retailers excited about knowing we can help them to advocate in City Hall for their needs and concerns. For example, our Seattle team has helped retailers understand the complexities of a new scheduling law. We successfully opposed a per-employee tax that once threatened retailers. We also spoke out against a tax on sweetened beverages that the City Council approved last month.
Our profile in Seattle is building through video updates we produce and stories we’ve contributed to in various Seattle media outlets.
This is painstaking and necessary grassroots development that takes months to build and requires discipline and a measure of patience. Our mission, in part, is to educate council members and retailers alike that government regulations and ordinances can be burdensome, confusing and result in business consequences that can be expensive and threaten the livelihoods of employees and business owners.
John and Nina want to hear from you and other Seattle business owners you know. They need your help to build as large a coalition as possible without undue delay. You can contact John at 206-919-0136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach Nina at 206-919-0142 or email@example.com