Extra Fizz

Extra Fizz: 37th Endorsements and 43rd Announcements

Extra Fizz on two Seattle legislative districts. Plus, the future of 15Now.

By Erica C. Barnett and Josh Feit May 20, 2014

1. Former OneAmerica director and civil rights leader Pramila Jayapal, who's running in a crowded field for the southeast Seattle state senate seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Sen. Adam Kline (D-37), won the sole endorsement from the 37th District Democrats last night.  

Jayapal, a member of Mayor Ed Murray's minimum wage task force and the co-chair of his police chief search task force,  got 78 percent of vote, winning the endorsement on the first ballot—pretty impressive given that there are five Democrats running. 

Candidates (and measures) need 60 percent in the 37th for an endorsement. 

Speaking of which:  

2. The $48 million parks district measure, Murray's proposal to raise property taxes in the city by 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to establish a permanent parks district, got a convincing 86 percent support last night, winning the endorsement. Jayapal and City Council member Sally Clark spoke in favor of  the measure.

If it passes in August the parks district will replace the recurring six-year parks levy.

If it passes in August, the parks district will replace the recurring six-year parks levy; the current one raises about $24 million a year for specific parks acquisitions rather than for ongoing basic parks maintenance envisioned with the new measure. The new measure would be about $4 more a month for a house assessed at $400,000.  

3. Jess Spear, the organizing director for 15Now, the $15 minimum-wage campaign championed by socialist city council member Kshama Sawant (and an omnipresent force at Sawant-headlined events, both inside and outside City Hall), formally announced today that she is running for the state House seat long held by House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford). She's holding a press conference tomorrow afternoon at Seattle Central Community College.

Jess Spear, 43rd District House candidate, center.

"For too long working people, students, the elderly, and the disabled have been forced to pay ever increasing taxes to fund vital social services, while mega-corporations like Boeing are handed record-breaking tax breaks," Spear said in a statement today. (Only a few Democrats, plus a few Tea Party Republicans, voted against the $8.9 billion Boeing tax break. And the GOP made hay over the giveaway—a priority for Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee to keep Boeing's 777X work in Everett—all last legislative session.) 

In running for Chopp's position, Spear is following in the footsteps of Sawant, who ran against Chopp in 2012 and won 29.4 percent of the vote to Chopp's 70.6. 

Last Friday afternoon, right at the filing deadline, Spear rolled out her campaign on the Stranger's Slog, a move that's becoming more and more familiar as lefty candidates want the Stranger's friendly coverage backing them up.  

Given Spear's prominent role in 15Now and their potential ballot measure, we asked Spear's spokesman, Jeff Upthegrove, what the implications were for the minimum wage effort. Does her announcement signal that the 15Now campaign was winding down? Nope.

Upthegrove said Spear will continue to prioritize the 15Now effort as the city council deliberates on the current proposal, and if and when it becomes clear that 15Now is going to challenge the city's final plan at the ballot, Spear will hand off the effort to someone else as she focuses on running against Rep. Chopp. 

"My first priority is working as the organizing director for 15 Now," Spear added. "We will continue pressuring the council to strengthen the mayor's ordinance language. We just launched the signature gathering campaign last Thursday and have already collected thousands [of signatures] over the weekend."

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