Morning Fizz: Speaking of Socialism
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring books and agendas.
1. If early 1960s urbanist guru Jane Jacobs was the spirit animal of Mayor Mike McGinn's administration, it turns out another early '60s change agent might be the spirit animal of the new mayor's office.
With socialism on the agenda—or at least a socialist city council member on his minimum wage task force—mayor-elect Ed Murray informed reporters yesterday that, "speaking of socialism," he takes inspiration from Michael Harrington.
Massive Wikipedia entry here kids, and smart essay here, but Harrington was, in his Greenwich Village 1950s youth, part of the Catholic Workers movement, going on to write an influential 1962 book The Other America (Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities came out in '61) which pointed out that 25 percent of Americans lived in poverty and influenced the Kennedy administration and, more so, LBJ's "War on Poverty," which aimed to address the crushing problem of economic inequity.
Harrington, a tortured intellectual and Catholic, then went on, in the mid-60s, to become a socialist, founding the Democratic Socialists of America, which tried to influence, rather than fight, the Democratic Party, with Harrington's brand of social justice (and, yes, he couldn't escape his roots) Catholic-inspired politics.
2. Seattle city hall's tenacious lobbyists in Olympia, Craig Engelking and Kelsey Beck, may have gotten ousted in the post-election change of mayoral administrations, but they left the council with a sweet going-away present—a street-smart 2014 legislative agenda that highlights what the city needs to watch out for (raids on local revenue from liquor and now marijuana accounts) and fight for ("we support tax increment financing") in the coming session.
3. More follow-up to the controversy in the 33rd Legislative District, where the King County Council overruled the district's choice for filling a state rep vacancy; the County Council chose SeaTac City Council member Mia Gregerson over the district's first choice, Kent City Council member Elizabeth Albertson.
33rd District Chair Omaha Sternberg released a statement that said in part:
What the King County Council has done is about subverting the will of the PCOs which also very clearly subverts the intent of the Constitution itself. Should a County Council “rubber stamp” the nomination of the PCOs without even looking at them? Of course not. But when the King County Council makes a decision while ignoring the recommendations of the PCOs, taking the advice of people from outside the district with other agendas, they’ve simply used a different rubber stamp! I urge the County Council to recognize that such “back-room dealings” do not help the district in which the vacancy occurred. They do not help or encourage the PCOs, for whichever party the PCOs represent, to feel that they are being taken seriously. They do not help the voters of that district believe and trust in the interim legislator that has been chosen. The 33rd District Democrats support Mia Gregerson as our interim House Representative. We simply do not support the way in which the King County Council proceeded with the 33rd House appointment. This process ignored the advice of the PCOs, discounted the will of the people, and ignored the process of Democracy.
Immigrant rights group OneAmerica Votes also issued a statement. OneAmerica Votes board president Sudha Nandagopal said:
We applaud the King County Council for appointing Brady Walkinshaw [appointed in the 43rd] and Mia Gregerson and recognizing their deep connections with the communities they represent. Today, the State Legislature moves closer to becoming a governing body that reflects our state's shifting demographics, especially with communities of color and immigrant communities. We look forward to working with Representative Walkinshaw and Representative Gregerson and congratulate them on their appointments.
Gregerson is Asian American (Walkinshaw is Cuban American.)