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Posts published in “Day: March 8, 2015”

A socialist’s odds after the fact

idaho RANDY

Here are two ways that the 2013 election of socialist Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council might have played out.

1 – She might have become a shrill complainer about most of what the council did, and the rest of the council would have put in (metaphorical) earplugs and just gone about its business, ignoring her.

2 – She might have made an occasional stand for a different perspective but largely gone along with the council majority so as not to be marginalized.

What actually happened seems to have fallen somewhere in between: Challenging the other council members and sticking up for alternative positions on a regular basis, but without being ignored. She has torn into them on occasion, but apparently has enough political skill to turn at least some of that into practical action.

As the Seattle Times noted in a front page story last week: “She accused them of taking their marching orders from corporate executives. But the next month, the council adopted a new budget peppered with Sawant-sponsored amendments — including an immediate wage hike for city employees, money to support tent encampments and a commitment to study a possible excise tax on millionaires — and the opposite seemed just as accurate: Sawant’s colleagues were taking marching orders from her.”

Not everywhere, or on all things, certainly. None of the council members are all that dominant, but Sawant’s influence appears to be real. Veteran Council member Nick Licata described the council now as “More progressive. More sensitive to social and economic justice. The other members are inclined to go there, but Kshama is pushing them. Kshama has made things happen that never would have happened before.”

That amounts to some real change in the city of Seattle.
Sawant is being challenged this year by a couple of opponents, at least one of whom has substantial establishment back. But she’s running in the best district in Seattle for her politics. We’ll see if her approach continues to push the city in different directions for another few years.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Reviewing Idaho immunizations, which are high (Boise Statesman)
Still a big divide on adding the words (Lewiston Tribune)
Pocatello and others prepare for school levies (Pocatello Journal)
More water may be needed for aquifer recharge (TF Times News)
Are schools teaching to the test? (TF Times News)
Legislators speak on civics test idea (TF Times News)

Home builders blast Eugene compact-build plan (Eugene Register Guard)
Neighbors concerned about ex-con housing (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing Oregon's big solar project (KF Herald & News)
Medford considers expanding growth boundaries (Medford Tribune)
How much THC in pot-infused candies, etc.? (Portland Oregonian)
Not much money available to help with homeless (Portland Oregonian)
Legislature may kick minimum wage to $15 (Salem Statesman Journal)

About the exemptions from vaccination (Bellingham Herald)
Declines in visits to Kitsap emergency rooms (Bremerton Sun)
Another look at Oso slide geology (Everett Herald)
State spending on schools expected to grow (Everett Herald)
Reviewing proposes propane-butane terminal at Longview (Longview News)
Foreign investors buy into high-end, contrary to rules (Seattle Times)
Spokane wants to participate in oil rail talks (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma may adapt new sick leave law (Tacoma News Tribune)
Point Ruston slips on gas permitting procedures (Tacoma News Tribune)
Legislators offer new Columbia bridge I-5 plan (Vancouver Columbian)
Schools at Clark seeking to help with poverty (Vancouver Columbian)
Clark County to have 20 year plan in 2016 (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima downtown fire causes big damages (Yakima Herald Republic)