We've raised $3400 in online donations from over 70 people since Tuesday!
We only have two more days to raise $2600 to reach our goal of $60,000. I think we can do it, what do you say?Are you in for $25?
Ballots are due now.
So far roughly 14% of eligible District 3 voters have cast their ballots.
It's time to stand up and be counted.
We can't let big monied interests buy this election. There's too much at stake.
The corporate donors who are flooding our opponents campaigns with massive donations are determined to defeat increased fees on developers, rent control, and a Tenant's Bill of Rights. They are determined to defeat Kshama.
You can make a real difference and send a strong message to the establishment but you have to vote. Right now!
You can mail your ballot in with a stamp or you can drop it off in one of the 24-hour drop boxes (see below).
If you didnt receive a ballot you can call 206-296-VOTE or go to http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections.aspx
24-hour drop boxes locations
Open 24 hours beginning July 16.
Closed on election day, August 4, at 8 p.m.
Below is a report from Kshama Sawant on the July 20th Rent Control Debate.
On Monday, July 20, 2015, more than 1,000 people overflowed Town Hall Seattle to watch a lively and at times heated debate on rent control. Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata and I organized the event and argued in support of rent control, while Washington State Representative Matt Manweller and Smart Growth Seattle Lobbyist Roger Valdez were opposed.
This phenomenal outpouring of community engagement is a continuation of the Affordable Housing Town Hall that Councilmember Licata and I organized on April 23rd and is reminiscent of the numerous public forums held in the run-up to the historic $15 minimum wage victory. It reflects the growing understanding among renters, home owners, and ordinary Seattleites that our affordable housing crisis won’t be solved by backroom deals with developers. The only way to ensure that the needs of our communities come before the profits of speculators and developers is to build a grassroots movement. This debate was another important step in that direction.
After the huge turnout at the rent control debate, many are asking what we can do next to build this movement. Councilmember Licata and I have co-sponsored a Rent Control Resolution on the City Council, calling on Olympia to change the state law that prevents cities from passing their own rent control laws. This would make it official City policy that Olympia should end the ban on rent control, which would give our movement even more momentum.
You can help pass the Rent Control Resolution! I have launched a petition to “Lift the Washington State Ban on Rent Control”. Sign the petition here, and then share it on Facebook and Twitter, and email friends and family.
What is Rent Control and What would It Do?
Rent control means communities and democratically accountable representatives get a say in how much our rents can go up. Right now, landlords can raise rents by as much as they want. It is not uncommon to see rent increases of 50, 100 or even 145 percent in Seattle, along with the ‘shock and awe’ devastation they bring to our families and communities. At a minimum, we need a rent control measure that makes this kind sociopathic price gouging illegal.
Stricter rent controls should also be a part of the discussion. I don’t believe rents should be able to rise more than the rate of inflation. This form of rent control would provide a critical lifeline to hundreds of thousands of working people and retirees on fixed incomes. It would protect our communities of color from the scourge of gentrification and help our neighborhood maintain the character that took decades to forge.
For a Comprehensive Package of Bold Affordable Housing Solutions
Rent control alone will not solve Seattle’s affordable housing crisis. It must be part of a comprehensive package of proposals that includes a massive expansion of legal protections for tenants, a strong linkage fee to make big developers pay $1 billion over ten years for affordable housing, and a bond sale to build thousands of city-owned units that are affordable to working and middle class people.
Countering False Arguments Against Rent Control
We cannot let our opponents’ “sky is falling” rhetoric stall our affordable housing movement. In the same way that big business claimed the $15 minimum wage would cause mass unemployment and destroy Seattle’s restaurant and hotel industry, corporate developers and landlords falsely claim that rent control would paralyze construction. There is no evidence that rent control negatively impacts construction and prevents landlords from earning profits. The housing market is driven by macro-economic factors. Some of the biggest construction booms in U.S. history have occurred in places like New York and Boston at times when they had strict rent controls.
We also cannot accept our opponents’ claims that tenants should support giving tax breaks and sweetheart deals to developers because this will “trickle down” to working people in the form of affordable housing construction. With all the handouts developers already receive, if this were true, we would have no housing crisis. Developers and landlords will try to maximize profits no matter what. In Seattle, this means building condos for wealthy people, not affordable housing for ordinary people. Only a mass movement by the majority of Seattleites, whose lives are being turned upside down by out of control rents, can counter this corporate greed.
Join the movement for rent control and housing justice. Sign and share the petition!
As Seattle grows so does its wealth. This year's election will be critical in determining whether this wealth and our city will be limited to the few, or if prosperity might be shared by all, preserving a culturally vibrant city.
To address the escalating housing crisis, Kshama and seven other City Council candidates unveiled a progressive housing plan to vastly increase affordable housing funding, strengthen tenant protections, reduce homeowner foreclosure, and prevent displacement.
The early endorsers appeal to all other City Council candidates to unite around these common sense proposals, or explain which ones they oppose since voters deserve to know where every candidate stands on the critical issue of affordable housing.
The highlights (read full statement and plan here):
- Affordable Housing Linkage Fee: Given the building boom, we must require developers to share the cost of mitigating the demand for affordable housing created by development. We can do this now.Fees would be tiered and require 5-10% onsite performance. This would result in an estimated $1 billion in new revenues for the affordable housing Seattleites so desperately need.
- Push to Lift the Statewide Ban on Rent Regulations: The gains from increasing the minimum wage will be lost if extreme rent hikes aren't addressed. Removing the ban means gaining local control to address unfair rent increases that circumvent our laws to protect tenants.
- Strengthen Tenants' Rights: We must increase penalties for deposit theft, cap move-in costs and late fees, and require interest accrued on deposits to be returned to tenants.
Council candidates unite to back alternate housing plan: http://t.co/4LWsHniOyw
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) July 29, 2015
"Seattle faces a massive affordable housing shortage. There is no issue more critical in this election." #Vote4Kshama pic.twitter.com/Mmhl1eSBZH — Vote Sawant (@VoteSawant) July 29, 2015
Progressive housing plan will incr affordable housing & tenant protections, reduce foreclosure, prevent displacement. pic.twitter.com/bzgsiXjrWL
— Vote Sawant (@VoteSawant) July 29, 2015
The Seattle Times: Seattle council candidates band together to back alternate housing plan
Check out the Facebook event here!
The Primary Election is coming up on August 4th. Thousands of workers have volunteered their time and donated to our campaign to get Kshama Sawant re-elected to Seattle City Council. Please join Kshama Sawant and our campaign in celebrating our successes as the election results roll in! Our election night party will be:
Tuesday, August 4th
Melrose Market Studios
1532 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
In order to build the strongest movement to make Seattle affordable for all, we need the grassroots support of workers and tenants. Our campaign doesn't accept a dime from big developers and corporations that are kicking our neighbors out of their homes. Please volunteer in the last week of the primary election to get out the vote for Kshama Sawant. You can also donate here to cancel out the corporate cash flooding this race to unseat Kshama.
Over a thousand people showed up to the debate on rent control on Monday, demonstrating the thirst for a progressive way out of this housing crisis.
Kshama argued for rent control as a necessary and crucial action to stem the Seattle housing crisis. But rent control alone will not solve the problem. We need to use the city's bonding capacity and the maximum linkage fees on developers to pay for affordable housing and expand tenants' rights to keep renters in their homes.
Missed the debate? You can watch the whole thing below!
If you support rent control, volunteer to re-elect Kshama Sawant, the only candidate in District 3 actively fighting to end the state ban. To win this fight, we need to stand up to corporate cash and the big developers that destroy working-class queer and trans* neighborhoods and communities of color.
— The Stranger (@strangerslog) July 21, 2015
#rentcontrol movement comes out of this with LOT of momentum. Just having the discussion is a public shriek @ the center of a true crisis 12
— Brett Hamil (@BrettHamil) July 21, 2015
The anti RC crowd seems to think poor folks have a lot more choice than they do. #rentcontroldebate — Seattlish (@seattlish) July 21, 2015
Seems to me that main outcome of #rentcontroldebate is to make the policy mainstream and widely popular. If so, awesome.
— Robert Cruickshank (@cruickshank) July 21, 2015
Join Swedish Hospital nurses and healthcare workers, allied community organizations, and Councilmember Kshama Sawant to demand better staffing for better care from Swedish Hospital executives. Washington CAN! along with supporters from OneAmerica, NARAL, and Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) will picket to hold Swedish-Providence accountable for its failure to provide adequate charity care financial assistance to patients in need.
Today, Thursday, July 23rd
Swedish Hospital - First Hill
Columbia & Broadway
And later today stand with nurses and healthcare workers united in SEIU Healthcare 1199NW in a picket to stand up for better staffing and better care at Harborview Medical Center.
Today, Thursday, July 23rd
4:00 - 6:30pm with 5:15pm rally
Harborview Medical Center
9th & Jefferson
We are all stronger together- come show your support for these organizations standing up for patients!
Have you received our mailer? Check it out here!
Our second mailer has arrived at the homes of District 3 voters. Kshama Sawant's election to the City Council in 2013 made history as the first socialist elected in Seattle in 100 years. To get Kshama re-elected and make history again in 2015, we need to reach out to as many voters in District 3 as possible. Every vote counts in this election and we need to fight for each one of them.
Our first mailer for the primary election has landed at the homes of 23,000 voters in District 3! Have you seen it? Check it out for yourself here.
In order to reach as many voters as possible with our fight for affordable housing, municipal broadband, and funding mass transit, we need to send out several more mailers. The race to re-elect Kshama Sawant will be an uphill battle as big business floods our opponents' campaigns with corporate cash. These 23,000 mailers cost more than $10,000 to produce, and not a cent of that came from the CEOs that fought against $15/hr. Please donate today to help us produce enough mailers to win this election!
Check out Kshama Sawant's video for the Video Voters' Guide!
Having trouble viewing the video? Follow this link to watch it.
Primary ballots have arrived. All over District 3, voters are examining their ballots. Many did not know there was a race going on until today! Let everyone know who you're supporting - the boldest fighter for housing affordability, progressive taxes to fund services we need, and the only City Councilmember to stand up against the building of a New Youth Jail in Seattle and say "Black Lives Matter!"
The District 3 race is going to be a close one, so every vote will count! Our opponents are flooding this race with corporate cash and we need every one of our supporters to fill out your ballot. Vote early and get your ballot in as soon as possible.
We need your help to turn out your neighbors to vote, too. Please join us every Saturday until August 4th in Pratt Park at 10:00 AM to phonebank and doorknock to get out the vote for Kshama Sawant. Check out the Facebook event here.
If you lost your ballot or have yet to receive it, call the King County Elections Office at 206-296-VOTE or 206-296-8683 to get a new one.
Let all your friends on social media know who you're voting for in this crucial race by changing your profile picture:
Join us this Saturday, July 25 at 10:00 AM in Pratt Park for a big push to get out the vote!
*On Yesler Way across from the convenience store.
Check out the Facebook event here.
Ballots have been mailed out already for the primary election. We have until August 4th to knock on our neighbors' doors and phonebank and get out the vote. Every vote will count! .
Join the fight to make Seattle affordable for all!
The Stranger, Seattle's largest alternative newspaper, has endorsed Councilmember Kshama Sawant! With a grassroots campaign that accepts no donations from big business and CEOs, Kshama Sawant has been leading the charge on affordable housing in the city. Housing affordability is now the biggest issue in every substantial political conversation in the city. This is exactly the power that independent, anti-corporate politicians can have with a movement behind them.
As the Stranger says: "Sawant's election and her work after being elected were instrumental in getting Seattle a $15 minimum wage. Now she wants to force the question of rent control at the state level (she wants the state to give Seattle the power to consider rent-control measures), which a lot of political types are saying is impossible. You know what else they said was impossible? A $15 minimum wage."
Winning The Stranger's endorsement is indicative of the power of the movement and the support Kshama has among working people. However, this is still an uphill battle. We face opposition from corporations and the full weight of the city establishment against rent control, a millionaire's tax, and against Kshama Sawant. In order to win these struggles, we need you to volunteer with this campaign today. We only have three weeks left until the voting ends on August 4th. Your involvement can change the outcome of this incredibly important race. Please donate what you can today to fight back against corporate politics. Vote Sawant!
Read the full endorsement here.
What do the CEO of Alaska Airlines, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Washington State Restaurant Association, top executives at Vulcan Real Estate, Starbucks, Amazon, and just about every real estate developer, investment banking firm, venture capitalist, and anti-union construction outfit in the city have in common?
They are all donating to defeat Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
Despite what corporate politicians say, it's important who you get your money from - it points to whose interests you represent. Accepting money from Brad Tilden, the CEO of Alaska Airlines, is different than accepting money from a baggage handler at Alaska Airlines.
While big business and the political establishment is bankrolling the opposition in District 3, Councilmember Sawant is raising money from working and middle class people.
Councilmember Sawant's re-election campiagn is on track to break all previous records in Seattle as a grassroots campaign. To date, we've raised over $192,000 without taking a single penny from corporations or big corporate executives.
Our median donation is $50 - meaning 50% of our donations are $50 or under and over 66% of our donations are $100 or under!
We have the most donors of any candidate in the entire city at 1500 - the closest other candidate is at over 800.
We have the most donors in District 3 than any other D3 candidate with over 220 - the nearest opponent has 168.
These are spectacular results for sure! But we can't lay back and think we can coast to victory. The corporate interests and their Super PACS are prepared to spend far, far more. And they have the money to do it.
But we have you. We need you to donate today - right now. If 20 people donate $35 we can cancel out the max donation from Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. If 40 people donate $35 we can cancel out Tilden's and the Chamber of Commerce. Are you in?
Money is essential but so is good old-fashion shoe leather - we need you to help talk with District 3 residents either by doorknocking or phonebanking. Sign up here.
Shift 2: 2:30 pm
Join us at Pratt Park at 10:00 AM on Saturday July 11.
Check out our Facebook event here and invite your friends!
Ballots arrive July 17. In order to win against the influx of corporate cash, we need to go all-out with our people-power! This Saturday will be one of our big days to doorknock between now and the August 4th primary. We will be joined by members of the Transit Riders Union and SEIU Local 775, too!
Join the fight to make Seattle Affordable for All!
Check out the Facebook event here!
Should rent control be part of a bold and comprehensive set of solutions to the dire affordable housing shortage in our city?
On July 20th, Councilmember Nick Licata and I will debate in favor of rent control. The anti-rent control position will be presented by Growth and Development Lobbyist Roger Valdez and another presenter to be announced.
With average rents in Seattle's neighborhoods ranging from $1,063 - $1,871 per month and 47% of tenants "rent burdened," more and more people are recognizing that the market has failed to deliver on affordable housing.
At the same time, big developers and corporate landlords are saying louder than ever that rent control is a failure.
Which is correct? Does rent control work? Will it solve Seattle's affordable housing crisis? Is it even possible in Seattle?
If you support rent control, suffer from skyrocketing rents, or simply want answers to how we can solve our affordable housing crisis, please join us at this exciting debate.
In the wake of the landmark SCOTUS marriage equality ruling, downtown Seattle was packed with hundreds of thousands of people for the massive Pride Parade. People lined the streets with rainbow flags and permanent smiles of celebration for marriage equality.
A supporter summed up the excitement for Kshama's campaign, "She's the only one who works for us!"
Kshama was invited to be the Keynote speaker at the 2015 Evergreen Commencement Ceremony.
Watch the video here:
Seattle can be a national leader in establishing affordable, ultra-high-speed municipal internet as a public alternative to the virtual monopoly of Comcast’s and CenturyLink’s overpriced and slow service. As chair of the City Council Energy Committee, municipal broadband is one of my top priorities that I am working on in 2015." -Kshama Sawant
• For a municipally-owned and operated utility that provides high-speed broadband for the public good, not private profit.
• Close the digital divide with affordable internet, while creating good paying, unionized jobs.
Saturday, June 20th
11:00am to 2:00pm, Pratt Park
Join us doorknocking this Saturday. Help us spread the word about the different type of politics that Councilmember Kshama Sawant is bringing to Seattle.
You'll hear an update on the campaign and meet many other volunteers. Friends and new volunteers welcome!
Bring your sunny dispositions as well as a fully charged cell phone to use our doorknocking app. We'll provide a doorknocking training.
We also doorknock every weekday. Shifts start at the campaign office (126 10th Ave E) at 5pm and 6pm, Monday through Friday. Email volunteer@KshamaSawant.org to sign up for days that work for you!
Come march with the Kshama Sawant Pride Parade contingent on June 28th! Meet us at the intersection of 4th Ave and Cherry St at 11:00am.
Lets celebrate our huge victories from collective struggle at Seattle Pride, including Trans* Health Insurance coverage. Lets demand full justice and equality for LGBTQ people to live their lives safely, free from discrimination, and true to themselves.
- Fight hate crimes! Full support for victims of bullying and hate violence.
- Seattle needs an LGBTQ community center
- End LGBTQ homelessness! City funding to provide beds for all LGBTQ youth
From the beginning, when news broke of the secret deal between the Port of Seattle and Shell subsidiary Foss Maritime to bring Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling rig to Seattle’s Port Terminal 5, the public has been told that this is an inevitability. The contract has been signed.
This is exactly what everyone said about the Keystone XL pipeline, and yet, 4 years later, it’s still not approved. All 6 projects to develop West Coast coal export terminals have been effectively killed from local grassroots organizing massive opposition. We know if we build a strong enough opposition, we can send this climate destroyer packing and unable to make the necessary repairs to return to the Arctic.
For 3 months activists have been building opposition, planning actions to stop the repair work, and if repaired, to stop it’s return to the Arctic. With the support of Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging the Port of Seattle to reconsider the lease.
Mayor Murray, on the other hand, has played both sides. While he commissioned a study that found the permit isn’t legal, compelling the Port of Seattle to request Foss Maritime delay its arrival, he also kept secret that the drilling rigs were headed to Seattle. If activists had known back in November, when Mayor Murray first found out, we would have had crucial additional time to begin building opposition.
The role of the Obama Administration has been similar. While Obama speaks about serious climate action, he recently gave Shell the green light to drill in the Arctic. Not only does this fly in the face of the science Obama says drives his decisions, Shell also has a criminal drilling track record. One of its subsidiaries pleaded guilty to 8 felony counts for environmental and other violations related to Arctic drilling.
It’s clear, we cannot rely on Democratic Party politicians who tout their acceptance of the science, but whose actions don’t match their words.
Unite the Environmental and Labor Movements
Port Commissioner Bryant attempts to divide working people by claiming “it will cost us over 200 jobs and many hundred more jobs in related businesses.” This is a false dichotomy of jobs versus the environment. Many more jobs are, and could be, created by investing in clean energy infrastructure projects.
On the day of the worlds’ largest ever demonstration to stop climate change, Seattle saw an impressive coalition of labor and environmental groups on the streets.
“Im confident,” says Kshama Sawant, “we can bring this coalition together again to oppose this use of a public port to promote Shell Oil’s profits at the cost of the destruction of the climate and together, demand union living wages jobs that don’t risk our collective future.”
End the power of Big Oil!
[Environmental, social justice, and labor organizations march together in Seattle People's Climate March - September 21, 2014]
Environmental, social justice, and labor organizations march together in Seattle People’s Climate March – September 21, 2014
Shell and big oil corporations put their profits over people and our environment. Clearly they will continue drilling and burning every drop of oil they can find, putting everyone at risk. It is up to us to stop them. But, we cannot control what we do not own. These climate-destroying corporations need to be taken out of the hands of the corporate CEOs and into public ownership under the democratic control of working people. We can use the resources to plan a rapid transition to clean energy, which would create millions of living-wage union jobs.
Seattle can be a leader on climate and the environment. Together we can build a powerful grassroots campaign to stop this deal and demand investment in clean energy jobs. Join us!
Kshama Sawant calls for:
- No Shell Oil rigs and ships in Seattle – don’t let the Port of Seattle participate in the environmental disaster of oil drilling in the Arctic.
- Living wage union jobs at Terminal 5 that don’t risk our environment – protect the working waterfront!
- A moratorium on oil and coal trains passing through Seattle.
- Create jobs by massively expanding public transit and a “just transition” for all workers in fossil fuel industries.
Saturday, June 13th, 10am-2pm
Pratt Park (1800 S Main St)
Join dozens of union members doorknocking for Kshama Sawant. On June 13th, over 100 labor activists and supporters are turning out to talk to our neighbors about building affordable housing, rent control, and taxing the rich to fund mass transit. Already, twenty-three union locals have endorsed Kshama Sawant's campaign to build a new kind of politics.
Don't waste a minute, big business is forming a Super PAC to flood this election with anti-Kshama ads. We can only cut across it by going out and meeting our neighbors. Join us!
3,150 SIGNATURES REFLECT PUBLIC SUPPORT AND VOLUNTEER BASE
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has received official notice from King County Elections that she succeeded in collecting enough valid signatures from Seattle District 3 registered voters to qualify for the ballot!
"I'm very grateful to our many volunteers who collected nearly three times as many signatures as the required amount (1,119 signatures) in only one month," said Sawant. "This demonstrates the widespread popular support for our campaign demands, such as rent control, and our unparalleled volunteer base."
Sawant is the only local incumbent candidate who collected signatures to qualify for the July primary election ballot. In contrast, the business-as-usual, corporate-funded candidates opted instead to pay the $1,119 filing fee.
Sawant is also the only City Councilmember who rejects donations from corporations and real estate developers. Instead she relies entirely on the support of ordinary workers and progressive organizations for donations and volunteers.
Join us for Kshama's re-election rally with Chris Hedges, Jill Stein, Pramila Jayapal, David Rolf, Dustin Washington, Kshama Sawant, and more!
Kshama will be debating her challengers for the first time. Join us to campaign for rent control, affordable housing, and taxing the rich to fund public transit!
Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 12 6PM
Last Saturday, June 6th, marked the beginning of the 60 day countdown to the primary election. Chris Hedges, Jill Stein, Pramila Jayapal, David Rolf, Dustin Washington, Kshama Sawant, and many more joined 800 people in Rallying to Re-Elect Kshama Sawant.
In case you missed this fabulous event, here's a video of the speakers:
Mark your calendar for the last days to help collect signatures to qualify Kshama Sawant for the ballot!
SAT. MAY 9, 1 pm *
Meet at Pratt Park, 20th Ave S. & Yesler
SUN. MAY 10, 1 pm
Meet at campaign office parking lot, 126 10th Ave E
We've collected over half the signatures we need to qualify Councilmember Kshama Sawant to be on the ballot for re-election. Now we need your help to collect hundreds more in only one week by early May.
Corporate-funded politicians opt to pay the $1,120 fee to qualify for the ballot, but we’ve opted to collect 3,000 signatures instead. We really need your help because signatures are only valid if they are from District 3 registered voters. While we're at it, we're talking with our neighbors about fighting for rent control and social justice! Join us!
*This will also be a day where some volunteers will doorknock. Volunteers can decide day-of whether to signature gather or doorknock.
Nurses, child care providers, homecare workers and janitors add to growing list of labor endorsements for Kshama Sawant's re-election to Seattle City Council.
Today all four Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals in Seattle announced their endorsements for socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
- SEIU 775, representing homecare and nursing home workers
- SEIU 1199NW, representing nurses and other healthcare workers
- SEIU 925, representing education and child care workers
- SEIU 6, representing janitors, security officers, and allied industries workers
The SEIU locals combined represent more than 86,000 workers around Washington State, including more than 12,000 workers living within Seattle.
"Kshama Sawant is an advocate for working people," said Gloria Martin, a registered nurse at Swedish Medical Center and a member of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. "I know she's with me as a healthcare worker. She stands up for us, so we need to stand up for her."
"I'm proud and humbled to receive such strong support from my union brothers and sisters. SEIU was critical in the victory on the $15 minimum wage. I'm inspired by SEIU workers' commitment to struggle for social justice and look forward to continuing our work together," said Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
These four latest endorsements underscore the overwhelming support for Councilmember Sawant among working people. Unions have come out strong and early for Sawant with 23 labor organizations endorsing to date.
- Karen Hart, President, SEIU Local 925
- Sylvia Liang, Seattle Caregiver, SEIU 775 Board Member
- Gloria Martin, RN, Swedish Medical Center, SEIU 1199NW
- Yasmin Aden, Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU Local 6
By Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
“I don't know,” was John Okamoto’s answer when asked about his solutions to Seattle's most pressing issue, the lack of affordable housing. Rather than offer any proposals, Okamato deferred to the mayor's housing committee. Nor was he prepared to even support the council's previously unanimous position on making big developers pay “linkage fees” for affordable housing.
Unfortunately, this did not stop the majority of the council from appointing Okamoto, the most controversial applicant, by the narrowest possible vote of five in favor and three against.
Wednesday’s Times editorial casts this split on the council as a question of “style” or personal differences. This widely misses the mark.
Monday's vote was the latest illustration of important differences of priorities on the council. In light of Seattle’s housing emergency, the council had an obligation to appoint the best applicant to advance an affordable housing agenda. Unfortunately, five members of the council instead chose to appoint a mayor-picked political insider, in a political maneuver to reinforce their majority.
This same majority has failed to act on necessary solutions to the affordable housing crisis – rent control, strengthening tenants’ rights, and building thousands of high-quality, city-owned apartments to provide an affordable alternative to skyrocketing rents in the private housing market.
Council member Rasmussen had no qualms in scrutinizing applicant Sheley Secrest, a civil rights leader. Yet the council majority cried foul when Okamato was questioned about his record as chief administrative officer at the Port of Seattle from 2003 to 2008, a period marked by numerous financial improprieties.
In electing me, voters gave me a mandate to represent the interests of working people, and in particular for a $15 minimum wage, rent control, affordable housing, and taxing the super-rich to expand transit and social services. The Timeseditorial board may disagree with voters on these issues, however they cannot claim I have acted inconsistently with the agenda on which I was elected.
Monday's vote demonstrates a bias by the majority on the council in favor of political insiders and a lack of urgency to address the housing crisis.
Despite disagreeing with this appointment, I will of course work with Okamoto to advance the interests of working people, as I have with every other council member. On every issue facing the council, I will continue to vote on political merit, not based on backroom dealing or personalities. Seattleites should expect nothing less of all their elected officials.
Join Kshama's campaign knocking on doors throughout District 3. Help us spread the word about the different type of politics that Kshama is bringing to Seattle.
You'll hear an update on all aspects of the campaign and meet many other volunteers. Friends and new volunteers welcome!
Bring your sunny and friendly dispositions as well as a fully charged cell phone.
On April 9, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant spoke via satellite phone with activists aboard Shell’s Arctic drilling oil rig 750 miles northwest of Hawaii. This report initially appeared on Kshama's City Council blog.
On Monday, April 6, six Greenpeace activists boarded the “Polar Pioneer,” a Shell Oil drilling rig on its way to Seattle. Shell plans to use Terminal 5 of Seattle’s port to repair the rig and send it back to the Arctic.
Seattle’s socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant spoke with the six activists to support their heroic effort to expose this environmental disaster and to help build toward a mass movement in Seattle that can stop Shell from using the city as a base for Arctic drilling.
“Drilling in the Arctic is one of the most disastrous and irresponsible projects ever planned – all just to increase Big Oil’s profits,” says Kshama Sawant. “The Obama administration has acted with reckless disregard for the environment in granting Shell the permit. On top of the ‘normal’ effects of oil drilling on climate change, this puts a highly sensitive environment under enormous risk – where an oil spill cannot be cleaned and would have catastrophic consequences.”
“We have a responsibility to stop the disaster of arctic drilling, starting by blocking Shell’s attempt to operate its rigs out of Seattle’s port.”
Kshama Sawant and environmental activists demand that the port of Seattle immediately revokes its permission to use Terminal 5, and return it to operation as a shipping container terminal – to create environmentally safe union jobs rather than contributing to climate crisis.
Audio of Conversation:
Follow Shell’s Oil Rig Here: https://www.savethearctic.org/en-NZ/live/
Learn more about the Kayak Flotilla here: http://www.shellno.org/
[After the flip]Read more