Ear­li­er this evening, the Seat­tle Port Com­mis­sion con­clud­ed its first meet­ing for the year 2012, at which Com­mis­sion­ers Bill Bryant and Gael Tar­leton (one of NPI’s found­ing board mem­bers) were sworn in for their sec­ond terms in office, fol­low­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion a few weeks ago.

The Com­mis­sion also elect­ed its offi­cers for the next twelve months, and I’m delight­ed to report that Gael was elect­ed as the com­mis­sion’s pres­i­dent for the first time. (Gael also serves as NPI’s pres­i­dent, and has since March 2011).

John Creighton was elect­ed to the posi­tion of vice pres­i­dent, and Tom Albro was elect­ed to the posi­tion of sec­re­tary. Creighton is in the midst of his sec­ond term on the com­mis­sion, while Albro is halfway through his first.

Lat­er in the meet­ing, com­mis­sion­ers autho­rized Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer Tay Yoshi­tani and his staff to move for­ward on sev­er­al mat­ters under a con­sent cal­en­dar, includ­ing the exe­cu­tion of a new Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Agree­ment (CBA) between the Port and the Inter­na­tion­al Long­shore and Ware­house Union Local 9 through Decem­ber 31st, 2014. (The con­tract is with avi­a­tion oper­a­tions and secu­ri­ty work­ers, who are rep­re­sent­ed by ILWU).

Com­mis­sion­ers also approved a motion acknowl­edg­ing that tomor­row is Human Traf­fick­ing Aware­ness Day. Human traf­fick­ing is a seri­ous (and under-report­ed) crime that vic­tim­izes more than ten thou­sand peo­ple each year. It is the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry ver­sion of slav­ery, and it must be stamped out.

As I men­tioned back in Novem­ber, 2011 marked the first elec­tion cycle in more than a decade in which the peo­ple of King Coun­ty did not turn any incum­bent port com­mis­sion­ers out of office. I think vot­ers have rec­og­nized that the Mic Dins­more era — a sad and shame­ful chap­ter in the his­to­ry of the Port of Seat­tle — is over. The Port’s new lead­er­ship (of which Gael is a part) has improved the Port’s busi­ness prac­tices, intro­duced new mea­sures to ensure account­abil­i­ty and trans­paren­cy, and strength­ened ties to oth­er local governments.

The Port still has work to do. It espe­cial­ly needs to lessen its envi­ron­men­tal foot­print and help lead the cleanup of the Duwamish Riv­er. Thank­ful­ly, it is now in a posi­tion where it can begin mak­ing progress on those issues. Dur­ing the Dins­more days, it was­n’t, and we are extreme­ly thank­ful that those days are behind us.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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