Morning Fizz

In Angry Email, King County Labor Leader Criticizes Sawant

Friday Likes & Dislikes

By Morning Fizz October 31, 2014

1. I-594 at 64 percent. LIKE

2. I-1351 at 61 percent. DON'T LIKE

(Poll numbers here.)

3. City Council member Bruce Harrell added his name to council members Sally Bagshaw's and Kshama Sawant's names on a council budget fix to add $200,000 to Mayor Ed Murray's 2015 budget for the Urban Rest Stop program; council budget changes ("green sheets") need three council signatures to move the fix forward in the budget process. LIKE

4. Not going to come out and say we don't like that Mayor Murray named Marshall Foster as the new Waterfront Director (highly qualified guy), but we DON'T LIKE that longtime waterfront program manager (and highly highly qualified) Angie Brady didn't get the gig.

Murray needs more women in the brainiac top-spot policy positions in his administration. 

5. A couple of weeks  ago we LIKED that council member Sawant called out her council colleagues for heading off to a Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce retreat.

And this week we LIKE that she responded with a "People's" budget hearing of her own where social justice and low-income advocates packed the room to demand a progressive budget last night. 

However, we also LIKE that King County Labor Council leader David Freiboth—a serious progressive himself—sent a letter to all the council members trashing Sawant for including the KCLC on her press release for the meeting, when the KCLC wasn't exactly all-in 

KCLC executive board member Paul Bigman testified at last night's hearing, but spent most of his time trying to clarify that the KCLC supported Sawant's goals, but not her tactics.

Here's Freiboth's email (bolds his): 

From: David Freiboth 
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 4:20 PM
To: Licata, Nick; Godden, Jean; Rasmussen, Tom; Burgess, Tim; Clark, Sally; Harrell, Bruce; Bagshaw, Sally; O'Brien, Mike; Sawant, Kshama
Subject: Labor Council/People's Budget Endorsement


I have included a message I sent to CM Swant just now regarding the Labor Council’s endorsement of the People’s Budget Hearing today.  As you can see from my message, the tone and facts in CM Swant’s press advisory regarding this event , while clearly representing her view, too closely associates the endorsing organizations with the message.  Let me be clear – the Labor Council does not support the most pointed and, quite frankly, misleading elements of her message.  While the Labor Council considers CM Swant a natural ally, we cannot allow any public official to appear to speak for our affiliates on important issues like this.  I regret the tone of my message to CM Swant but the severity of her perspective requires definitive boundaries between her opinions and ours.

 The labor Council remains committed to working with all elected officials, regardless of party affiliation, for the betterment of our community.  We will not forget your courageous vote on paid sick leave and the minimum wage increase not to mention your work on wage theft and our current work on labor enforcement.

 Regardless of our differences from time to time the Labor Council values a respectful relationship with all public officials.  This message is to affirm our continued commitment to productive and compassionate civic discourse regardless of perspective.

 CM Swant,

Your media advisory for today’s People’s Budget Hearing was forwarded to me by one of my Board members.  I have to say that while technically your comments regarding the rest of your fellow councilmembers are yours alone, a reasonable and prudent person would be hard pressed not to strongly associate them with the endorsing entities listed in the release.  I’ll let other organizations speak for themselves, but on behalf of the 75,000 workers represented by our 125 affiliates, the severity and, quite frankly, misleading nature of your comments do not represent a majority view of our affiliate’s membership.

I have to say I am quite disappointed to have the following remarks associated with our endorsement and then distributed to the press without our knowledge or approval.

 “No wonder that every year we get the same business as usual budget. Big business has three days of lavish, unfettered access to City officials so they can craft a budget that fulfills their wishes. Meanwhile, working people, human service providers and others unrepresented by the establishment have two public hearings and a few minutes each to beg for leftover crumbs.”

 “When it comes to crafting the City’s budget, a majority of the Council, the Mayor, the County Executive and leadership in this town are stuck in business as usual thinking. We need new thinking and new policies to raise the necessary revenues from the wealthy and big corporations to fund the social needs facing Seattle,”

 As a past attendee of the Chamber’s Leadership Conference (along with labor leaders from aerospace, education and the building trades plus non-profit human services provider attendees) I did not experience the environment represented in those comments.  It’s true that despite the Chamber’s goal to represent itself as a neutral facilitator of civic debate the conference is, in fact, a business conference that encourages input from labor, non-profits and other diverse participants.  It’s not the civic think tank the Chamber would like it to be but it is also not an immoral waste of time.  The issues of whether tax payer money should be used to send elected officials to any conference regardless of sponsor warrents respectfully debate.   Depicting councilmember attendance at the Leadership Conference as a cynical, selfish business exercise primarily designed to coopt public officials is misleading.  That message certainly isn’t what our Board considered when they endorsed the People’s Budget Hearings.  On the contrary, what they considered was the following excerpted minutes of our Mobilizing Committee,

“Going to the hearing does not, obviously, imply any endorsement of any particular budget proposals, but does involve us in the process of trying to build a long-term coalition to develop a budget aimed at reducing inequality.

Poll: Should we grant the request from the Mobilization Committee to endorse the October 30th People’s Budget Hearing?”

So, in conclusion and with respect, I need you to do a couple of things.

·         Stop using our endorsement in messaging associated with the People’s Budget unless specifically approved by me or my designee.

·         Make no future references to Labor Council support in future media advisory’s unless specific approved by me or my designee.

I regret the tone of this message, CM Swant, as I remain committed to our mutual work on behalf of working people.  Having said that, I remain concerned at the lack of effective communication between your office and ours.  If there is any follow up desired please let me know.  In the mean time I will be communicating this concern with my Board and the rest of the City Council.

David Freiboth

Executive Secretary Treasurer

6. We LIKE that SDOT gave the city coucil a sneak peek at its data dashboard this week—a tool the public will be able to use to drill down into data about SDOT's performance.  

And while it's a cool tool, we also LIKED (because we agreed) that the council seemed flummoxed at the end of the SDOT presentation that the tool didn't seem to track live data. 


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