Morning Fizz

Lesser Seattle Leader Starts Independent Expenditure Group in Runup to Council Elections

Displacement coalition leader John Fox starts PAC against growth, union starts PAC for progressive candidates, Sawant criticizes Murray budget proposal.

By Josh Feit September 30, 2015

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1. Two new independent expenditure committees registered with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission this week. One, coupled with a $500 personal contribution from Seattle Displacement Coalition leader John Fox and a $4,000 contribution from his group, is called plainly: Citizens Alliance for Limited Growth.

Fox, an advocate for one-for-one replacement of affordable housing that's lost to new development, is well known for helping  sabotage an upzone around light rail stations back in 2009.

The concept of upzoning around light rail stations, known commonly today as transit-oriented development, is now a widely accepted policy goal even among the slow growth faction that Fox represents; every council candidate we interviewed, even those who’ve stood with Fox at recent press conferences to criticize the current affordable housing “grand bargain” for not including a blanket linkage fee on development—Bill Bradburd, Jon Grant, Lisa Herbold, and Kshama Sawant—are all for transit-oriented development.

Meanwhile, another group, calling itself plainly the Progressive Seattle PAC, lists Service Employees International Union 775 secretary treasurer Adam Glickman as its chair. The powerhouse union, which led the $15 minimum wage campaign in SeaTac and enlisted then candidate Ed Murray in its crusade to subsequently bring $15 to Seattle (its president ended up heading Murray's $15 task force), is currently facing a complaint from Democratic attorney general Bob Ferguson for failing to report campaign contributions.

SEIU has endorsed Lisa Herbold, Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, Sandy Brown, Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, and Lorena González in this year’s council races.

The lefty union still hasn’t endorsed in the District Four matchup between Rob Johnson, the head of the urbanist pro-transit group Transportation Choices Coalition, and Michael Maddux, a Democratic activist. Johnson has scored key labor endorsements from two other lefty unions, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 and SEIU 925.

2. Regarding Mayor Murray's new budget proposal, city council member Kshama Sawant said it was "lacking in urgency to address the housing crisis," adding that it "amounts to little more than window dressing obfuscating a Chamber of Commerce–approved budget that does almost nothing to rein in runaway inequality." Oh, and she had this to say too: "The mayor finds it difficult to say 'Black Lives Matter,' and so does his budget. How can we explain this lack of urgency, other than as an utter lack of compassion?"

Winning widespread applause from affordable housing and social justice activists for his recent housing plan (which makes developers include affordable housing in new projects), Murray's budget also includes $1.5 million in new resources for homeless services, funds a new 100-bed shelter, includes $1.5 million for new community health facilities, and adds $240,000 to support the three new homeless encampments that the council, including Sawant, voted for.

As for Black Lives Matter: It's Seattle's premier socialist, Sawant, who refused to comment on the Black Lives Matter activists who shut down socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders's speech at Westlake.

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Sawant concludes: "I will carefully study this budget in detail, needless to say, but from the mayor's proposals today, progressive rhetoric is not matched in the budget with real numbers."

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