1. Yesterday, the city council adopted the final version of its nonbinding resolution expressing solidarity with Occupy Seattle, committing to look at the city's banking and contracting practices, ask the state to allow it to consider a city income tax, and requesting more authority to bank with credit unions instead of banks. We covered the resolution as it evolved here and here.
Most of the items in the proposal won't have any impact on their own; the income tax and credit union proposals, for example, would require state legislation from a legislature that hasn't shown much interest in Seattle's hippie-dippy ideas. (Asked, on the Seattle Channel's "City Inside/Out," whether they'd support a city income tax, council members Sally Bagshaw and Tom Rasmussen said no. "Absolutely not," Bagshaw said.)
City council member Mike O'Brien, also on "City Inside/Out," acknowledged to host Brian Callahan that the income tax, which was his idea, is a long shot, but said there were other areas where the city itself could make progressive financial changes, including public financing of elections and examining city tax breaks to corporations. [pullquote]Was just banned from the Occupy Seattle group for suggesting that they needed to prep people to run for office in 2012 and 2013. It would seem that the group is dedicated to shrinking their members down until they have everyone in line that agrees with them....I think that number is something like 1%.[/pullquote]
2. Speaking of Occupy Seattle, while the NYPD were kicking all the protesters out of Zuccotti Park last night, Occupy Seattle was doing the job locally, banning a local activist from its Facebook chat group. Local homeless and veterans advocate Dorsol Plants says he was banned from an Occupy discussion after he suggested that the group run candidates in 2012 and 2013. I guess the protesters aren't interested in occupying office.
Plants, 26, who ran an idealistic and surprisingly solid campaign as a progressive city council candidate himself in 2009 (he got 18,000 votes), wrote on his Facebook page yesterday afternoon after getting bounced:
Was just banned from the Occupy Seattle group for suggesting that they needed to prep people to run for office in 2012 and 2013. It would seem that the group is dedicated to shrinking their members down until they have everyone in line that agrees with them....I think that number is something like 1%. Sad to see what Seattle's movements coming too. I know several of the people last week who left were forced out, and that number seems to be growing.
Plants has been working with veterans and the homeless at the Occupy protests, trying to connect them with social services. He says a couple of his friends were banned from online Occupy discussions for disagreeing with comments such as ones saying they should "kill white people for Thanksgiving."
People at Occupy say Plants was not banned for his politics, but because women in the group had "safety" concerns about Plants, a claim that Plants tells PubliCola is "curious."
3. Interpreting the failure of the $60 car-tab fee on "City Inside/Out" last week, city council member O'Brien struck a far more conciliatory tone than fellow green Mayor Mike McGinn, who said the measure should have had a bigger transit component.
O'Brien attributed the loss to a plan that was too vague; the fact that the city and county have already raised Seattle's car tabs a total of $40; and the fact that "it's hard to sell the visionary impact of a bus bulb here and a traffic signal there and a sidewalk there." Additionally, he acknowledged that the flat car-tab fee is regressive, and vowed to seek new, "more flexible funding" in Olympia next session.
4. Cascade Bicycle Club rolled out its legislative agenda for 2012 yesterday.
With the vulnerable users' bill passed and set to go into effect in June (unfortunately, not soon enough to prosecute a teenage driver who ran off the road and killed a cyclist earlier this year, for which the teen was punished with a $42 traffic fine), the bike club's top priority this year will be the neighborhood safe speeds bill, HB 1217, which would allow cities to set speeds on non-arterial residential streets as low as 20 mph without doing costly traffic and engineering studies.
They're also supporting a bill that would give cities more flexibility to use state transportation dollars for pedestrian projects; adding health to Washington State's official transportation goals (a change that could require policymakers to pay more attention to things like car-related injuries and deaths and the health impacts of pollution from highways); and securing guarantees that the state won't disproportionately give away bike and ped money when it sends unused transportation dollars back to the feds.