Morning Fizz

Council Diversity? No Renters on Council Dais

City council members' financial disclosure forms, Pete Holmes's conflicted mission, and unionizing the $15 campaign.

By Josh Feit May 24, 2016

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1. My story for the June issue of the magazine is up online: Why is Our Pro-Pot City Attorney Cracking Down on Marijuana Delivery?

Here’s the lead:

On a Friday night in April, I broke the law. After a quick online search, I dialed a number. No one answered, but less than a minute later, a text appeared. “Hello how may i help you today?”

“Delivery?” I typed coyly. 

And we were off, texting back and forth—me in my apartment and Seattle’s Best Cannabis Delivery on the other end.

“Ok and what were you interested in ordering?”

“Mellow. Sleepy. 8th,” I suggested, not sure exactly what I could say.

“Ok i do have a lavender that is a nice indica what is your address?” 

I texted my address, and the deal was on: “So for our top shelf 4g is 48 and would round that to 50 for our minimum and eta would be about 45 min and yeah i can have the driver text you.” 

About half an hour later, the driver texted: “Ok so i double parked can you come to my car? I’m right across the street.” 

 The article goes on to chronicle pro-pot city attorney Pete Holmes unlikely role as a drug warrior.

Since the article went to press, the AP had the news last week that Holmes is officially charging eight pot “runners” for selling pot delivery services; delivery is not currently allowed in the legal marijuana market.

 (I broke  the news last month about the city's buy bust operation on pot delivery.)

 2. You used to have to request Seattle city council members’ financial disclosure forms through the state public disclosure commission, which were only available as part of state rules about candidate disclosure. (PubliCola got on the Kshama Sawant shit list back in 2013 for reporting on the seeming disconnect between her socialist stump speeches and her reported net worth, which, at that time included her ex's $100,000-plus Microsoft income.)

Now, thanks to I-122, the “Honest Elections” initiative, all the council members’ finances are available at the local level; thanks for heads up Seattle City Council Insight.

And p.s.: While the new district system has added some diversity to the council, one thing that’s still missing on the dais: Renters. All the council member are homeowners. Meanwhile: About 52 percent of the city are renters.

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Here are their net worths:

Bruce Harrell: $10,257,000

Sally Bagshaw:  $7,100,000

Tim Burgess: $5,150,000

Mike O’Brien: $1,572,573

Debora Juarez: $700,000

Rob Johnson:  $500,000

Kshama Sawant: $270,000

Lisa Herbold:  $225,000

Lorena Gonzalez:  $22,000

3. Asked about  this little gotcha on MSN news—that campaign workers' for the Service Employees International Union's national $15 minimum wage campaign are trying to unionize (choice quote: "California Fight for $15 organizer Emiliana Sparaco told International Business Times she and her colleagues were 'in the same position' as the fast-food workers they're trying to organize"), the spokesman for local SEIU 775, which spearheaded the $15 campaign in Seattle by funding Working Washington, told me:

"Not really relevant here. Working Washington staff have been in a staff union for several years basically since the organization was started. It’s the same independent staff union that represents SEIU 775 staff."

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