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Monday, June 30, 2014

Want to Get Money Out of Politics? Pay Close Attention to Today's City Council Meeting

Posted by on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

GOOD GUYS ON PUBLIC FINANCING: Council Members Sally Bagshaw, Nick Licata, and Mike OBrien
  • City of Seattle
  • PUSHING FOR PUBLIC FINANCING: Council Members Kshama Sawant, Sally Bagshaw, Nick Licata, and Mike O'Brien.

Today at 2 p.m., Seattle City Council Member Mike O'Brien will attempt the equivalent of a parliamentary end-run around Council President Tim Burgess in order to introduce a public financing law for municipal campaigns. He needs a council majority of five just to get his legislation on the council's calendar—and while it's highly unusual for a council member to have to go begging to colleagues just to get something on the calendar (which the council president controls), O'Brien just might be able to get the votes he needs.

Standing in his way, like a protective eagle mother, has been Burgess, who is blocking O'Brien's path to the calendar because he wants nothing at all to distract voters from his baby political project, universal pre-K, which will be on this fall's ballot. Burgess worries that having a bunch of progressive measures on the fall ballot—from pre-K to transit funding, and now maybe public financing, too—will make it less likely that pre-K will pass. In response, O'Brien and others offer data suggesting the opposite is true: the more progressive measures there are on a ballot, the more it drives progressive voters to the polls, which makes it more likely all the progressive measures will pass.

Let's recall what's at stake here, as Anna reported on June 18:

Every year, the same few dozen rich donors write big checks to their favorite city council candidates, and since candidates can trade that money in for voter eyeballs by blanketing the city in shiny mailers and hiring expensive consultants, the people who rack up the big checks tend to be the people who get elected.

Just about everyone—even the politicians soliciting fat campaign checks from wealthy donors—publicly bemoans the presence of money in politics. We'll see today who can back up words with action: Mike O'Brien's spokesperson, Josh Fogt, tells me that Council members Nick Licata, Kshama Sawant, and Sally Bagshaw are on board. Supporters of the public financing law are furiously lobbying the remainder of the council right now—Tom Rasmussen, Bruce Harrell, Jean Godden, and Sally Clark—to get that vital majority-making fifth vote.

Look for an update on ye ol' Slog this afternoon! You can do it, Mike!

UPDATE: The motion failed.


Comments (13) RSS

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rtm 1
It will be interesting to see how Tom "Tunnel" Rasmussen goes on this.
Posted by rtm on June 30, 2014 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 2
Sawant always looks like the most unhappy person in any picture that is taken of her.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on June 30, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
@2 It's called projection. She doesn't have any expression on her face.

How happy would you say you are?
Posted by deign_to_say on June 30, 2014 at 1:01 PM · Report this
4 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
Theodore Gorath 5
@3: I guess I should clarify that I mean she looks like the most unhappy person in a picture in question, not the most unhappy person on the planet.

My favorite is the celebratory $15 now image of her and a group of people, all smiling fists raised high in the air, but Sawant just kind of has a half smile, and her fist is right about at face level. Makes me chuckle.

But I am a pretty happy person I guess, thanks for asking! How are you doing?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on June 30, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
"Burgess worries that having a bunch of progressive measures on the fall ballot—from pre-K to transit funding, and now maybe public financing, too—will make it less likely that pre-K will pass. "

That's what he thinks will be worrisome? Because it's basically his fault there will be two Pre-K measures on the ballot which I think will actually be the more confusing thing to voters.

Watching him, in person, manhandle Licata at the last full City Council meeting over Pre-K (Licata was only seeking clarification and Burgess seemed to almost refuse to answer his clarifying questions. It was rude to say the least), I have to wonder if Burgess has some bigger reason for Pre-K. He seems almost in a rush to get it done almost as if he doesn't want too many questions asked.

Problem is, he has now dragged the Seattle School district into this and SPS parents are NOT going to vote to lose resources and space for pre-k when the schools are already out of space and underfunded.
Posted by westello on June 30, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Fogt? how is that pronounced? I hope it sounds like "fucked"
Posted by sari on June 30, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
@6, how are Seattle schools underfunded when they spend more per-pupil than all but 2 or 3 other countries in the world?
Posted by LJM on June 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 9
Clark is absent from the Council meeting.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on June 30, 2014 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 10
And fails 4-4.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on June 30, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
@5. Okay, good! Doing very well here, too, thanks.

I think she is just a more serious person, not one to ham it up for the camera like her colleagues on the right. Personally I appreciate a politician that doesn't have a fake practiced smile glued to their face.

She also doesn't even seem to realize she is being photographed.

Posted by deign_to_say on June 30, 2014 at 3:11 PM · Report this
@6 - we really have to go over this again?

- The US educates everyone. This is not true in many other countries like China.
- The US is one of the least homogenous countries around and provides services to immigrant children beyond what any other country does.
- The US, in educating everyone, also educates children with special education needs, who are largely ignored in other countries. This is a very expensive undertaking but a moral one.
- WA state ranks nearly at the bottom for funding in this country. And yet, almost at the top for SAT scores and numbers of students - across all ethnic groups - taking the test continues to rise. Meaning, our state does more with fewer dollars.
- the WA State Supreme Court has determined that because the Legislature has not considered basic education funding since the late '70s (I'll assume you were around then but guess what, no computers in schools back then), that the Legislature is not fully funding public education.

Do you want arts? PE? Computers in every school (and this is a requirement in order to give the new Common Core assessments)? Civics? Science labs? Athletics?

The modern day classroom - at least in the US - costs money. And the states that do fund to the highest levels - NY, NJ, MA - all have the highest test scores in the country.
Posted by westello on June 30, 2014 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Sally Bagshaw 13
CM O'Brien delivered one of the most brilliant speeches ever. I supported him on bringing public funding to the voters. I am sorry we couldn't make it happen.
Posted by Sally Bagshaw on June 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this

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