Topic: Seattle City Council
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November 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Sawant looks to redistribute wealth
Looking at India shouldn’t just make us grateful for our current system, it should also be a warning of where our system could be headed should certain trends continue [“Kshama Sawant will have trouble changing ingrained inequities,” Northwest Voices, Nov. 20].
India is a prime example of what happens when corporations have all the power and workers have none. Safety regulations are inadequate, minimum wage is equivalent to 28 cents per hour and the poverty rate is twice as high as in the U.S.
Here, workers have lost a lot of power due to anti-union laws while corporations and the rich have benefited from deregulation and favorable government policies. The result? Many non-unionized workers still face criminally poor conditions. Adjusting for inflation, minimum wage is lower now than when first established in 1938. Income inequality is at record levels. And these trends are only getting worse.
November 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM
Socialism is not the answer
The Times’ feature on India mentioned that beautiful country’s dichotomies, including grinding poverty, absence of electricity or running water and the lowly status of women [“India, one day at a time,” News Oct. 27]. Memorably, the paper’s two female reporters had to be extricated from a mob of “hundreds” of men.
Yet socialist City Council member-elect Kshama Sawant arrived in the United States, a free and successful country with a high standard of living, and rails against the economic system that made it that way. She is aggrieved ["Conlin concedes; Sawant to join council," page one, Nov. 16].
November 19, 2013 at 6:36 AM
Stands against the corporatization of Seattle
Editor, The Times:
The media is missing a major reason why Kshama Sawant defeated Councilmember Richard Conlin [“Conlin concedes; Sawant to join council,” page one, Nov. 16].
As the powerful head of City Council’s land-use committee, Conlin held an emphatically pro-developer stance that created enormous antipathy toward him throughout the city.
October 16, 2013 at 7:33 AM
Helps incumbents, not new candidates
I am writing to voice concerns over the upcoming vote on Seattle Proposition 1, which is being referred to as a campaign finance reform measure [“Is Prop. 1 answer to big money in City Council campaigns?” NWMonday, Oct. 14].
I think most people will agree there is too much money in politics. As people become more educated about Proposition 1, they will agree that the additional taxpayer money this measure will throw at candidates is not the solution — and may in fact make matters worse.
Proposition 1 is a $9 million property tax levy that will finance only City Council candidates’ campaigns. It’s not surprising that two City Council members, Mike O’Brien and Nick Licata, are considered the primary advocates for this measure.
Under Proposition 1, a candidate who raises $30,000 will then be eligible for $180,000 in taxpayer money to use for campaign purposes. This measure does not require any candidate to abide by those limits, nor restrict in any way special interest money or PAC expenditures. This measure would also require candidates to have more than 600 donors. Multiple analyses have observed that this requirement could help incumbents rather than bring new candidates into the process, which is Proposition 1’s stated goal.
Laverne Lamoureux, Seattle
Bring small donors into the fold
Proposition 1 will be incredibly beneficial to Seattle. Allowing a number of small donors to play a more significant role in City Council elections is incredibly important.
It would allow candidates to raise small donations, which could be matched by public funds to finance their campaigns. This makes small donations much more important, while at the same time diluting the power of large donations.
The example of public financing in the New York City Council races is evidence that this can work. When small donations began to be matched by public funds, the number of people who donated to campaigns increased substantially. These donors were from areas that had been disproportionately left out of the political process, and resulted in more people having an impact in politics while using less money.
We can accomplish this here, and it can only be an improvement in Seattle politics.
Wes Ahrens, Seattle
June 20, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Spending cap is a better option
This plan is sweet for The Seattle Times and all the media sharks in Seattle that will make money if this is approved. [“Editorial: Support public financing of Seattle Council races,” Opinion, June 15.]
What we should be doing is what we did in college when I ran for student government. It was very simple. We put a cap on how much any candidate could spend, and no candidate could monopolize a particular medium. It was very simple and very effective.
Back then, we printed fliers, made yard signs and advertised in the school paper. All candidates spent the same amount and no one went over the budgeted amount. We met at the Squire Tavern two months before the election and agreed upon a dollar amount and hashed out as many issues as we could think of.
If you ask anyone who runs for public office, they will tell you that up to half their time is spent on fundraising. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could spend more time doing what we elect them for, rather than schlepping the streets trying to raise campaign dollars?
I believe the council is doing the right thing by trying to level the playing field but wouldn’t reducing or limiting campaign spending be a better option? Less is more.
Steve Mayeda, Seattle
June 14, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Confront the lawbreakersSeattle City Councilmember Nick Licata “warned” colleagues on the City Council that enforcing the law against homeless encampment Nickelsville and its sponsor SHARE/WHEEL might “force a confrontation.” Good, about time. In fact, a confrontation is way past due [“Call to close camp brings a warning,” page one, June 13].
I lived on the Eastside during what came to be known as the “Tent City Wars,” and I helped lead the opposition to SHARE’s cynical and unlawful activities. Violations of municipal ordinances, an in-your-face attitude toward local citizens and using the homeless as pawns in a political game were standard operating procedures for SHARE and its major-domo Scott Morrow, then and now.
Now I live in the New York area where SHARE and Morrow wouldn’t last a second. New York, obligated by law to care for the homeless, doesn’t tolerate monkeyshine street-theater shenanigans like Nickelsville.
You see fewer homeless on the streets of Manhattan than you do in Seattle because the homeless know not to play games. They get services, but on the city’s terms not on theirs.
Elected officials and the police should be prepared to confront lawbreakers, homeless or not.
Scott St. Clair, Clifton, N.J.
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