Morning Fizz: Righties and Ultra Lefties
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring the unified theory, Metro, and Rodney Tom.
1. More on the unified theory theory—the progressive pitch that economic issues, environmental issues, urbanism, social justice, and even hot-button social issues (choice is a health care issue and therefore an economic issue) are all connected: Immigrants' rights group OneAmerica was in the house again yesterday when Move King County Now gathered reporters to make the case for an April ballot measure to save Metro bus service.)
(We say "again," because OneAmerica Executive Director Rich Stolz was on hand to testify in front of the King County Council earlier this month when the council held a hearing on the proposed ballot measure.)
The usual suspects in the fight for public transit—labor, business, the disabled, King County government itself, and leading local transit advocates from Transportation Choices Coalition—were there too, but OneAmerica Votes board president Sudha Nandagopal made the social, racial, and economic justice case for saving Metro bus service, which faces an immediate 17 percent cut in service if voters don't pass a $60 vehicle license fee and a 0.1 cent sales tax increase. The proposal also comes with low-income fare and a rebate on the vehicle license fee for low-income households.
"The immigrant community," Nandagopal said, referring to the block she lives on where "everyone speaks two languages," will "feel the brunt of these cuts."
"We can raise the minimum wage," she added, alluding to the headline-grabbing $15 minimum wage campaign that the press and the left are focused on, "but," and this is the unified theory part, "if we're not funding this system than it's not going to work."
Her point: Paying low-wage workers more money won't improve their lives if they can't get to their higher-paying jobs.
2. Speaking of the unified theory and the campaign to save Metro: 40 percent of the money, some $50 million, is slated for road maintenance. While this may irk Seattle progressives, King County Labor Council President David Freiboth said his group includes both "righties and ultra lefties, and they all have a stake in this." His point was that while transit is hip, exurban voters in the county "might not see" the benefit of transit; the campaign, he said, also had to make the case that road dollars are important.
"There’s a little bit of reluctance to talk about roads because they’re not in right now," Freiboth said. "It took combat to get a dialogue on the correct balance, and we need to approach it as a balanced system."
April Putney, the Move King County Now campaign manager, brought it all back together, though, pointing out that drivers have a vested interest in saving bus service even if they never ride the bus: "If we don't stop these cuts, we'll put 30,000 cars back on the roads."
3. Erica will be on KUOW's the Record today talking about the $15 minimum wage campaign.
Tune in at noon.
4. Keith Schipper, who until last last week was the spokesman for the Washington state GOP, has a new gig: He's running the reelection campaign for state Sen. Rodney Tom's (D-48), the dissident Medina Democrat.
Tom, who was a Republican until the 2006 election when he switched to the Democratic Party, joined the GOP caucus last year to displace Democratic control in the senate and lead the Majority Coalition Caucus, a group of 24 Republicans and two wayward Democrats.
He helped his reelection cause earlier this year by allowing the DREAM Act to pass—his MCC blocked it last session.
However, Democrats—and his challenger, former Kirkland mayor Joan McBride—are hoping the MCC's choice to block the Reproductive Parity Act and their intransigence on the transportation package (thus the vehicle license fee and sales tax campaign to save Metro) will play poorly in the Microsoft suburbs.