Morning Fizz: We Socialists are Realistic
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring NIMBYs, Socialists, and Republicans.
1. File this under the PubliCalendar (or perhaps under oppo research): The Seattle Community Council Federation is holding a meeting on Tuesday night to figure out how to fight microhousing.
Inviting members to the Central Area Senior Center on 30th Avenue South ("free parking"), the email says:
Many neighborhoods are facing unplanned density from microhousing projects, many with completely inadequate kitchens, dining and living rooms, laundry rooms, loading zones, etc. Lax City laws and regulations allow these projects to evade design review, density limits, housing targets, on-site parking requirements, and the citizens’ right to notice, comment, and appeal under the State Environmental Policy Act.
The group is responding to City Council member Mike O'Brien's microhousing working group, which is taking up proposed Department of Planning and Development legislation to regulate microhousing, or aPodments.
While the Community Council Federation thinks the pending legislation makes it easier for developers to build aPodments, the pro-microhousing folks think the rules will make aPodment construction more difficult.
2. File this under outtakes from a story Josh is working on for the magazine. It's City Council member Kshama Sawant's response to the question: Why did you vote for the $15 minimum wage legislation after denouncing it as inadequate for months?
Bear through her opening rhetoric here—and for what it's worth, the "training wage" issue was a red herring; the proposal adhered to state law which is supported by the fiercest of labor unions.
But stay with her. Sawant's candid conclusion confirms what many at city hall and on the Income Inequality Advisory Committee came away from the $15 negotiations understanding: Despite her public bravado, she's a pragmatic, skilled advocate.
We ended up having to accept corporate loopholes, but we fought hard against it...
The fact that I was virtually the only elected representative who was fighting hard and fighting sincerely to keep corporate loopholes off the table, to strengthen the bill in the interests of workers, I think it is an educational opportunity for workers and for all of us who are fighting for social justice to open our eyes and see that the City Council, the other Council members, are representatives of the Democratic party establishment. It’s not like we have Republicans on the council. And yet, who were the ones who did not vote on my pro-worker amendments? Who were the ones who were actually quite ardent advocates for the interests of big business in introducing language on training wage, delaying it to April rather than January of next year? All of that was done by Democratic Party representatives on the Council. So I think, first of all, politically it was critical for us, for the movement, for Socialist Alternative, 15Now, to clarify that we cannot put our trust in business-as-usual corporate politicians from either of the two parties. We need to have our own independent working class representation. That was the first thing.
As far as going from there to voting the yes, it’s critical that workers, when they have built a movement, and they’re on the cusp of winning considerable gains, it is important that they claim it as a victory because we fought for it.
Had I voted 'No' on it, then the narrative would have been, 'we’re just on the fringe, we don’t know how to fight for things.' We as socialists are realistic about what we can fight for. We know that what you ultimately get is a balance of forces. The point is that we won a historic victory, this is a huge victory. Even with the corporate loopholes, it’s a huge step forward. But it’s not just about the substantial gains in the standards of living. Those tangible gains are important in themselves, and we should fight for every inch of it. However, it’s more than that. It’s also a question of how much more confident workers feel today because of having this victory behind us.
3. Mother Jones picked up on Republican U.S. house candidate Pedro Celis' remarks about gay marriage at a recent candidate forum.
Their headline: "GOP Frontrunner Compares Gay Marriage to Polygamy."
Celis is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1).