Sawant, surrounded.

1. Even though most of the action at the Seattle Housing Authority meeting at the High Point Community Center last night happened at the counter-protest, led by city council member Kshama Sawant, in a gym across the hall (protesters walked out of SHA’s official hearing on its welfare-to-work-style proposal to raise rents on tenants deemed capable of working, known as “Stepping Forward”), a few residents and activists did stay to speak their mind at the mostly abandoned SHA-sanctioned meeting. 

I was in the military for 12 years,” one woman said. “I went to war for you people. I can’t find a job. You want to motivate me to get a job, motivate the employers to hire me!”

Although a Sawant staffer insisted that “only SHA staffers” were left in the room, several SHA tenants testified during the last few minutes of the subdued public hearing, noting that they couldn’t afford to pay four times their current rent, that “workforce training” would be worth little if well-paying jobs didn’t materialize, and that SHA residents don’t lack “motivation” to look for work—a common theme in the agency’s “Stepping Forward” proposal.

I was in the military for 12 years,” one woman said. “I went to war for you people. I can’t find a job. You want to motivate me to get a job, motivate the employers to hire me!”

2. Despite the split between disgusted protesters and those who stuck around to give SHA director Andrew Lofton a piece of their minds (public comments were virtually unanimous in opposition to the agency’s rent-hike proposal), the rooms of the community center were packed with SHA residents—prompting another government agency, Seattle Public Schools, to cancel a meet-and-greet between the new schools superintendent, Dr. Larry Nyland, and West Seattle residents.

File this under Josh's "Unified Theory" theory. SPS didn't cancel because they were afraid of being overwhelmed by the angry anti-SHA crowd. They rescheduled because the people who have concerns about SPS are evidently the same people who have concerns about SHA, particularly low-income immigrant families.

In an email to constituents, SPS wrote, “We’ve learned late last week that the Seattle Housing Authority is holding a meeting about its proposal for rent changes tonight at the High Point Community Center and many of our families wish to attend. We are rescheduling out of respect for many of our families’ desires to attend both meetings.”

"PS - rock stars don't get special treatment at The 5 Point. We couldn't give less of a shit. Sorry."

The meet and greet will now be held in late October. 

3. According to the web site Blabbermouth.net, former Rage Against the Machine guitarist  (and Occupy rocker) Tom Morello, in town last Friday to play a benefit for the $15 minimum wage organization 15Now, slammed Belltown's venerable 5 Point Café and its owner, Dave Meinert, after the bouncer at the bar refused to let Morello and his entourage in when they allegedly demanded a "room in the back" of the tiny, packed two-room bar. 

Morello sought revenge on Twitter, posting (at 1:36am), "Five Point restaurant in Seattle is the WORST. Super rude & anti-worker. Shittiest doorman in the Northwest. Prick. Spread the word."

Meinert—never one to shy away from an online brawl—immediately responded via Facebook: "For the record Tom Morello - The 5 Point is totally pro-worker. We try to pay more than any other small restaurant, and on top of the higher pay, we offer health insurance, paid sick days, paid time off, retirement and profit share. Sorry if you had an issue with our staff, but typically our staff is awesome, and when they are not, it's usually a reflection of the customer. Act like a prick = get treated like a prick."

Meinert, who was on Mayor Ed Murray's $15 minimum wage task force earlier this year (on the biz side), added: "I have to say, your attacking a small business without knowing anything about it, or addressing your problem with them directly before you go on a public rant, pretty much sucks. Just lost a ton of respect for you, and I've been a fan for years, both of your work in Rage and your work for workers rights since.

"PS - rock stars don't get special treatment at The 5 Point. We couldn't give less of a shit. Sorry."

Morello has since clarified on Twitter that he "Luv[s] and respect[s] the workers" and is "glad to sit down w/owner next time I'm in Sea."

Meinert's Facebook post currently has more thank 1,110 likes and more than 200 comments.

 

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