1. The spokesman for the Washington State Democrats, Jamal Raad, placed a call to the Democratic National Committee yesterday in response to a resolution that’s been submitted for consideration to the the May 1 King County Democrats’ platform convention.
The resolution, written by a county level Bernie Sanders delegate from the 43rd Legislative District, Philip Dawdy, would reform what were once considered super progressive DNC bylaws (written during the McGovern era in advance of the 1972 convention) that mandated gender balance for delegates. Dawdy, a straight white male, was chagrined and mortified at his April 17 Legislative District meeting when several non-binary precinct delegates felt ostracized by the process to get appointed as either a “male” or “female” delegate to the Congressional District level. His resolution for the May 1 meeting concludes:
Be it resolved that the King County Democrats call upon the Washington State Democratic Party to assign this issue to an appropriate standing committee, which will hear from concerned stakeholders and work with them to update the State Party’s language to include persons who identify as non-binary and to make appropriate adjustments to State Party rules on delegate assignment in advance of the 2020 Presidential race.
“I'm just trying to offer some neighborly help to make others feel included,” Dawdy, who helped run the delegate selection process at the April 17 meeting, says.
“There were several precinct level delegates…who wanted to run as delegates to the Congressional District level who identify as non-binary, and they brought up the issue of the rigid male/female delegate assignment at the Legislative District caucus…and how it made them feel excluded. The disappointment I saw on those folks' faces...tugged at me..”
Anyone who was elected as a delegate at the March 26 precinct level (26,000 people were statewide) can vote at their county platform convention this Sunday.
If Dawdy’s resolution passes at the King County level it will be taken up at the statewide Democratic Party convention on the weekend of June 18.
However, even if it passes there, putting Washington state on record as supporting a 21st Century update to the seemingly progressive bell bottom era reforms, the only real change can happen at the national level. “There’s nothing that can be changed at the state level,” Raad tells me. And the DNC told him that the gender issue was “something to review for future conventions.”
Here’s the formal statement Raad sent me: “Since the 1970s, the Democratic Party has maintained a commitment to diversity at the Democratic National Conventions, including a requirement of gender equality for national delegates. This rule, unfortunately, ignores those who don't identify with a gender. The Democratic Party has always been on the vanguard for LGTBQ rights and the Washington State Democratic Party is pleased that the DNC will be reviewing this rule for future conventions.”
A note on the delegate process itself: 1,400 people were chosen at the Legislative District this month from the 26,000 people elected as precinct level delegates on March 26. Those 1,400 people will be winnowed down to 101 for the May 21 Congressional District level in advance of the state convention; only 67 people of the 101 delegate slots will literally be picked on May 21, but the Clinton/Sanders proportions will be meted out at that time. And the remaining 34 people will be officially named at the state convention.
A few trans people, including trans activist (and state legislative candidate) Danni Askini, were elected as delegates at the LD level this month and will be moving forward as delegates to the May 21 county level where they can try to move forward to the state level.
Dawdy, mostly known as an advocate for medical marijuana patients, was also elected to the county level as a delegate.
2. I've got a story in this month's magazine about local labor's follow up to the $15 minimum wage campaign—which labor leaders posit is more significant than the $15 campaign because it's not about money, it's about power.
A living wage is wonderful,” Darrion Sjoquist, a Starbucks barista at the MLK and Rainier Avenue store says, “if you’re working enough hours to make a living wage.” And Melanie, a barista at the Fifth and Columbia Starbucks, notes a compounding problem with erratic schedules: “If you can’t get full time at one place, and the schedule [there] prevents you from getting another job, then [the $15 minimum wage] does you no good.” Both baristas have signed on to Working Washington’s campaign; Sjoquist in fact stood up and publicly challenged Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz about the issue at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in March. (The coffee giant recently reaffirmed its policy to set schedules two weeks in advance.)
Sejal Parikh, Working Washington’s executive director, agrees the issue is a bigger deal than her group’s original signature campaign. “The $15 minimum wage was about money, but secure scheduling is about power.”
As they continue to try and craft an ordinance that governs scheduling practices, the city council's civil rights committee is taking up the secured scheduling issue at this morning's meeting.
In the magazine story, civil rights committee chair Herbold explained:
“We aren’t considering these policies because we think it’s a nice thing to do.We’re actually trying to respond to changing labor conditions that are causing a greater amount of uncertainty for workers.”
3. Speaking of the council, Erica C. Barnett had the news this weekend that the council was considering giving itself more money so each council member—including the at-large members?—could add a staffer to deal with the extra responsibilities of serving districts. Over at the Slog, Heidi Groover has a follow up report on Monday's 8-1 vote in favor.