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Topic: kshama sawant

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January 7, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Kshama Sawant’s hell-no speech recalls tea party

One of the questions swirling around Kshama Sawant’s improbable victory for Seattle City Council is her interest, and ability, to translate her activism into legislation. That requires tolerance for the oft-grinding process of law-making, and most importantly, getting four other votes on the council to pass a bill creating a citywide $15 minimum wage.

Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess welcomes Kshama Sawant / BETTINA HANSEN / SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess welcomes Kshama Sawant. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times)

Judging by her inauguration speech on Monday, she’s not all that worried about it.

Here in Seattle, political pundits are asking about me: will she compromise? Can she work with others? Of course, I will meet and discuss with representatives of the establishment. But when I do, I will bring the needs and aspirations of working-class people to every table I sit at, no matter who is seated across from me. And let me make one thing absolutely clear: There will be no backroom deals with corporations or their political servants. There will be no rotten sell-out of the people I represent.

That’s a fine speech, but it implies no path toward anything but her sole vision, and implies that her colleagues on the council, and Mayor Ed Murray, are the “servants” of rich.

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Comments | Topics: kshama sawant, Seattle City Council

November 22, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Can Kshama Sawant move past rhetoric, work with City Council?

Kshama Sawant is a natural campaigner.

Clearly, she’s a passionate voice for those who agree with her. But does she listen to those who don’t? Because if she wants to create substantive changes in Seattle, she’ll have to learn the art of the political deal.

In this photo taken Nov. 4, 2013, Socialist candidate for Seattle City Council Kshama Sawant, right, speaks outside City Council chambers in Seattle about her support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers in the city. Sawant beat four-term Councilman Richard Conlin. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In this photo taken Nov. 4, 2013, Socialist candidate for Seattle City Council Kshama Sawant, right, speaks outside City Council chambers in Seattle about her support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers in the city. Sawant beat four-term Councilman Richard Conlin. (Photo by Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Each time she says something that resonates with voters, like this:

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Comments | Topics: kshama sawant, politics, Seattle City Council

November 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Updated: Lamenting Washington’s lower voter turnout

Really, Washington? I know ballots are still being counted, but the latest results as of Saturday evening indicate a 46 percent voter turnout in this year’s elections — statewide and in King County. As Seattle Times news reporter Jim Brunner pointed out in this Friday news story (when state turnout was reported at 44.5 percent and King County turnout was 47 percent), we’re seeing the lowest voter participation numbers in a decade.

The author's ballot tracker results via King County's website. (Thanh Tan)

The author’s ballot tracker results via King County’s website. (Thanh Tan)

Washington voters are not exactly living up to their reputation as the 13th most active electorate in the nation in 2012 with a 65 percent voter turnout rate, according to this March 2013 report in The Washington Post’s ‘The Fix’ blog.

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between voters and the issues, and that’s too bad. People either don’t care or don’t believe they have a voice in the democratic process.

Or maybe they agree with British comedian Russell Brand, who delivered a stinging criticism of voting (seen in the video below) in an October interview with BBC’s “Newsnight.”  It went viral on the Internet. I suspect that’s because many subscribe to his view that he never votes “out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit from the political class that’s been going on for generations now.”

Brand is always charming, but there’s just no excuse to not vote. Citizens are still responsible for putting good — and, yes, sometimes very bad — people in public office. Indifference allows those bad apples to stay in power.

Here in Washington, counties send those ballots right to our mailbox. Each name printed on those sheets of paper has the power to change the way we live.

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Comments | Topics: elections, kshama sawant, politics

November 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Kshama Sawant lead shows no need for campaign finance reform

The apparent victory of Kshama Sawant over incumbent Seattle City Councilman Richard Conlin proves something other than that a socialist can win election in lefty Seattle. It also shows that Seattle Proposition 1, taxpayer financing of city council campaigns, was not necessary. It’s losing, narrowly, and that’s good. Taxpayers of Seattle, who are taxed heavily already,…

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Comments | Topics: campaigns, district elections, kshama sawant