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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Union Activists Call Bullshit On Forward Seattle's Anti-$15 Minimum Wage Signatures

Posted by on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

In this week's paper, Anna and Eli review the allegedly deceitful attempts by a coalition of businesses to overturn Seattle's $15 minimum wage at the ballot box this fall. Today, the group turned in thousands of (not yet verified) signatures—they needed 16,510—according to the City Clerk's office.

But the labor-backed activists at Working Washington are already challenging the validity of the signatures with a complaint submitted today to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Thus began a game of bureaucratic musical chairs: Satterberg referred the complaint to Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who referred it to the Seattle Police Department. SPD spokesman Drew Fowler says he'll have to get back to me on if and who at the department would carry out such an investigation.

"Elections officials must closely scrutinize every signature submitted today in light of the corrupt practices by Forward Seattle's paid signature gatherers," says Working Washington in a statement, citing reports submitted to their website and a recording where a signature-gatherer allegedly claims that his petition is actually to raise the minimum wage. "Some of the paperwork they submitted today may not even include valid signatures from real people," the group says.

The charge raises a troubling question, if true: what kind of fake humans signed those petitions? We've asked Forward Seattle for their response to the allegations and will update if we hear back.


Comments (41) RSS

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The City must do everything possible to make sure that the voters do NOT vote on this issue. It would immoral and unethical to have voters have any say on such an important issue. Let Sawant decide! All power to the people!

WTF. Who cares? The more you fight against it the bigger the issue becomes and the more voters will start to I really want people who drove here to get a $15hr job (they'll get all confused no matter what the facts) and then living in their car on MY block? Fuck that.

Posted by caution&daring on July 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 4
@2: why do we have a representative democracy again?

marijuana legalization aside, "having the voters decide" on things we elect politicians to decide is why shit never gets done in this state.

your slippery slope scenario is pure dori monson bullshit.

Posted by Max Solomon on July 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
If they want another witness to if not deceitful at least misleading practices, have 'em give me a call.
Posted by Fnarf on July 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
@4 -- don't be a jerk to the extent that you are able;
@6 -- exactly.
Posted by caution&daring on July 2, 2014 at 6:03 PM · Report this
I'm reasonable sure that court rulings support the right to lie in all things political. The First Amendment sweeps broadly in the political world.
Posted by RDPence on July 2, 2014 at 6:15 PM · Report this
venomlash 13
@6: They voted on the issue. Now the side that lost is saying "wait, we want a do-over!" and using misleading and possibly fraudulent tactics to try and get another chance after they lost the vote.
Posted by venomlash on July 2, 2014 at 7:26 PM · Report this
I think the silver lining here is that if this AstroTurf initiative had any real support, they would never need to lie. The fact that they have to lie to get enough signatures shows how few people support it.
Posted by DJSauvage on July 2, 2014 at 7:38 PM · Report this

And who fights for the Middle Class?

Where are the raises we need to afford these costs...

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 2, 2014 at 7:43 PM · Report this
I had a brief discussion with a signature gatherer outside the Trader Joe's in Queen Anne. I wanted to know if the TJs employee he just bought his lunch from knew he was outside the store advocating to lower his wages.

At this point he called me a liberal and tried to end our conversation.

"One more question" I said. "What are they paying you to gather signatures?"

Again, no response.

A quick Google search for signature gathering jobs turns up this;…

Surprise! It pays $15 an hour.

I had the distinct impression that these where not city people.
Posted by codswallower on July 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM · Report this
seatackled 19

That's in Arizona, where, if the desired qualities are observed, your little dirtbag would not be hired:

The job requires excellent interpersonal skills, integrity and a passion for the democratic process.
. . .
-Are you good at persuading people?
-Do you enjoy talking to people?

Maybe the Friedman group's signature gatherers are less qualified.
Posted by seatackled on July 2, 2014 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Cracker Jack 20
So corporate persons had fake persons sign petitions to try to screw real persons. Gosh, America IS exceptional!
Posted by Cracker Jack on July 2, 2014 at 9:14 PM · Report this
Fnarf 21
@18, the gatherer I observed was definitely not from Seattle, probably outside of WA from her accent. She asked me "are you one of these lovely, lovely Seattle people?" slurring her words. She wasn't out of it enough to prevent her from making sure I saw both sides, the Uber one and the $15 one. She was telling the other people to sign for fair wages, and they were buying it. This was outside of PCC.

They know what they're doing. Outside of QFC I saw them turn tail and run when a cop car showed up. I have no idea if a cop would be coming for them (or why) but they sure thought so.

Dirty all around. Eymanesque.
Posted by Fnarf on July 2, 2014 at 9:47 PM · Report this
I spent 2 days as a volunteer door belling in West Seattle to gather signatures supporting the referendum.
I gathered 73 signatures. I presented the issue as "would you like to have a voice in the $15 per hour minimum wage ordinance signed into law earlier this month by the city council".
My observations:
Everyone I talked to knew what I was talking about - an amazing and encouraging indication of voter awareness.
People who were home and opened the door to me generally signed, many with alacrity.
I encountered 7 people - 2 couples and 3 single people who said that they were either "okay with the ordinance" or "supported the ordinance" or "were conflicted".
I encountered 6 people who said they don't sign petitions, or weren't interested.
Everyone else was on board with bringing the new minimum wage ordinance to a vote of the people - which I interpret to mean that they oppose the ordinance. If they liked it, they wouldn't have signed.
And, lastly, door belling is very tiring work - politicians who wear out their shoes ringing doorbells earn every vote they get.
Posted by Kathy in West Seattle on July 2, 2014 at 9:49 PM · Report this
I doorbelled for 2 days in West Seattle as a volunteer, gathering signatures in support of the referendum. I secured 73 signatures.
Here are my observations:
Everyone I talked with knew about the new ordinance - an amazing and encouraging demonstration of voter awareness of the issue.
I approached people with the question: "would you like to have a voice in the new minimum wage ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council earlier this month?".
People who were home and opened the door to me generally signed the petition, many with alacrity.
I encountered 7 people, 2 couples and 3 single persons, who "supported the ordinance", were "okay with the $15 minimum" or were "conflicted".
I encountered 6 people who don't sign petitions or weren't interested.
Everyone else signed. I presume they signed because they oppose the ordinance.
Lastly, ringing doorbells is tiring. Politicians who wear out their shoes doing this earn every vote they get.
Posted by Kathy in West Seattle on July 2, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
Again there is no press coverage on who exactly was behind the organized blocking efforts.

The people I saw blocking were cupping their hands and yelling loudly and doing their best to prevent a signature gatherer from being heard.

And now the press here seems very interested in drowning out a balanced viewpoint on what both sides want.

And yes. To the above writer, they will indeed be living in their car because Amazon does a good job putting pressure on the local real estate market while they squeeze small businesses out of the picture and fail to pay taxes in all fifty states.

If 15 Now really cared about people they would be trying to push Amazon out of the city.
Posted by Reporters are supposed to interview on July 2, 2014 at 11:01 PM · Report this
seandr 26
@fnarf: not from Seattle, probably outside of WA from her accent

Ah, the old "carpetbagger" smear. Because every resident of Seattle was born and raised here, and absolutely no one has a foreign accent!

She asked me "are you one of these lovely, lovely Seattle people?" slurring her words.

Drugs! They're all on drugs, I tell you!

She was telling the other people to sign for fair wages

How exactly is that "deceitful"? Did Jesus Christ send a tweet declaring $15/hour for scooping ice cream to be officially Fair? If the $15 Now crowd were forced to run their initiative, they'd be saying the same fucking thing.

I suggest you run to your local police station immediately, looking wild-eyed and disheveled, and tell them your story.

The mayor and the grown-ups on the council should have distanced themselves from Sawant and made more of an effort to work with the small business crowd, because this initiative is probably going win, and that will be a set back for the greater cause of fixing this country's income inequality.
Posted by seandr on July 2, 2014 at 11:17 PM · Report this
@15 You really believe the American Middle Class was built on the backs of the lowest paid workers and its current important enemy is the lowest paid worker wanting to be paid more? Damn, what a fantasy world your ideology has built for you!!
Posted by cracked on July 2, 2014 at 11:22 PM · Report this
I've gathered signatures on petitions for a few different reasons, I believed in the issue in question, I really didn't care one way or another just need some spending money, signed up for a polling study in part cause I was curious and cause well money. Its salesmanship, your goal is to get the signature.

No need to out right lie, though puffery is fair play. Believe it or not responding "I respect that, won't it feel good to get a chance to vote yeh/nay and put us/them in our place." (vary the wording as needed) works surprisingly well in over coming objections to signing. Yeah I know that's kinda stupid but ya know "We are a Democracy (we aren't we are a Republic but never mind) And Voting is Sacred."

So absent some smoking gun like actual copies of deceitful scripts they rehearsed the signature gathers with, not gonna invalidate that way.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on July 2, 2014 at 11:54 PM · Report this
He's fucking smart and I almost always agree with him but he's not making sense on this one. Who the fuck cares if the petitioner was from Mars? & that riff abt what happened at PCC...huh?

Wouldn't it be amazing if the $15/hr folks snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory? Wow! And Sawant could do her part too -- humorless triumphalism is a turn-off.
Posted by caution&daring on July 3, 2014 at 12:07 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 30
I warned you people this is what would happen. The powers that be will just keep putting it up for a vote and the voters will eventually kill it off. Remember how they killed the monorail? This is how they play the game.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on July 3, 2014 at 3:28 AM · Report this
@25, It's those SEIU people trying to block signature gathering.

We all know that citizens can't be entrusted to vote about things. That's why we must have a ban on plastic grocery bags, why we can't leave to whims of voters the funding of another NBA arena, and why we must have the city council make absurdly crazy rules about TNCs for over a year rather than just put it to a vote (and make all enforcement against TNCs a lower priority than marijuana). Seattle voters are crazy - see Sawant for an example - and can't be trusted to know what is best.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 3, 2014 at 4:31 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 32
@31: can you answer my question @4?

why do we elect representatives if we are going to vote on everything they make decisions on?

do you want to vote on the plastic bag ban? carrasco's raise?
Posted by Max Solomon on July 3, 2014 at 7:38 AM · Report this
seandr 33
@32: Historically, politicians in western states were bought and sold by the rail road companies, logging industry, mining industry, etc. so they adopted the initiative process so that citizens can work around them.

These days, initiatives are a great process for citizens to reclaim civil rights that have been denied by their governments, but a horrible process for pretty much everything else.
Posted by seandr on July 3, 2014 at 7:58 AM · Report this
Listen, Asshole -- nice ring to that; reminds me of that book about Cuba "Listen, Yankee" -- the voters can overturn what elected officials do. Done all the time. Even elected officials give voters final say in tough situations like RH Thomson Freeway. That's the Seattle way.

Don't like it? Go to Pyongyang. (That's in North Korea.)
Posted by caution&daring on July 3, 2014 at 8:03 AM · Report this
sloegin 35
Because citizens can't be trusted to vote (representatives) when they can be trusted to vote (on everything else). Or something. Except, of course, for Seattle voters. They be cray cray. Better that the rest of the state vote on what's best for Seattle.
Posted by sloegin on July 3, 2014 at 8:10 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 36
All Hail @ 30! He told us people that this would happen! If only everyone were as smart and bitter. O what a world that would be!
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 3, 2014 at 8:42 AM · Report this
@30 and @36: Huh, didn't they already tried to get two more of these going (one by Eyman)?
Posted by themightywoozie on July 3, 2014 at 8:58 AM · Report this
If the SEIU is behind the blocking efforts and then we need a story where the SEIU explains to the public why yelling over a signature gather is their method of choice.

And why does the SEIU indulge in recording people without their knowledge?

Couldn't they at least record an honest presentation and then argue over or against the things said in an honest argument?
Posted by Reporters are supposed to interview on July 3, 2014 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 40
@34, yes, asshole, I am aware of how the initiative process works and where fucking pyongyang is. generally, slog is a place where you can assume that commenters have a basic understanding of geography.

so, again: why do we have the elected representatives if they:
a. consistently kick the can down the road?
b. have the can kicked down the road by business interests, so they grow wary of kicking cans at all?

seems like we should cut out the middleman and just vote on everything. like 1x/week. i'm sure everything would work out fine.

Posted by Max Solomon on July 3, 2014 at 9:32 AM · Report this
So why isn't the SEIU and 15Now running workshops on how to start your own business?

That used to be the American way, to aspire to run your own business. But the SEIU seems more interested in assuming people aren't supposed to aspire to anything but a minimum wage job that requires no specialized skills.
Posted by Reporters are supposed to interview on July 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Just not practical, jerk-off.

The City Council makes many many decisions and there is no time for citizens to vote on everything. But some issues just get big and/or a lot of attention (for whatever reason) and so voters want their say.

A smart guy like you should be able to figure that out and when someone is joking with you.
Posted by caution&daring on July 3, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
@2 Who cares? So anyone who runs a fraudulent campaign should be rewarded eh? So why do we have laws? Why should elections be open and honest? Is there no reason? Or is it that the law should only apply when it benefits you? Inquiring minds want to know, I'll expect your answer promptly.
Posted by herm on July 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
I am here, pal.
And I have no idea WTF you are attempting to say.

1. We have NO FACTS about what was said by petition-gatherers so you cannot be certain that campaign was fraudulent. So please STFU.

2. Then,we do not know if what was said (even if lies) is remotely significant.

It seems to me that what is important is what the voter READ and SIGNED.
If they didn't, too bad.
No other way to run things based on verbal statements.

But I don't know law so we will see what lawyers say. Are you a lawyer?

Posted by caution&daring on July 3, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Seems that the issue is really with the signature gathering process not 15 minimum wage opposition
Posted by M. Wells on July 3, 2014 at 1:24 PM · Report this
watchout5 47
While I don't really care if it's on the ballot signature collecting people shouldn't be allowed to lie. This is big business for them and the only reason they're being this pushy is money. Money is really the root problem here. If these were people who were so passionate about this issue they took time out of their day to lie to people on the street without being paid for it I'd probably feel less icky. This business is fucked up though, and if this could be the line we draw I'd really like this to be it. Money isn't what we should be voting on. What the people want is what we should be voting for.
Posted by watchout5 on July 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM · Report this
@47, so you'd be for unpaid signature gathering with a lower amount of signatures required ?
Posted by ChefJoe on July 3, 2014 at 4:44 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 49
And still, none of Sawan't flying monkeys will answer the ten thousand dollar question: IF WORKING WASHINGTON IS AS SURE AS THEY WERE A FEW MONTHS AGO THAT 80% OF SEATTLE WANTS THIS, WHY ARE THEY SO AFRAID OF IT GOING TO PUBLIC VOTE?!
Honestly, if this is as "wildly popular" as Goldy, the SEIU, and the rest are saying, why be afraid of letting the populace give it a seal of approval?
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 3, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Come on, am I to believe union activists of all people don't practice subversion? Let me guess, it was the business owners that forged Homer Simpsons signature, right? Take a look at yourselves people. You're comments of anti-money, anti-business which is just anti-jobs. Do you live with you're parents?
Posted by Shadow13x on July 3, 2014 at 8:36 PM · Report this
@49, it'll be like the bag fee crap that passed the city council 9-0 in favor but, when voted on by the public, was overturned. The SEIU and SA make it sound like you hate poor people if you are against a $15/hr minimum wage when most people are really just unsure of what the consequences will be (will there be massive layoffs, business closures, should it really be targeted at different sectors with different steps). I'm not sure I'm against $15/hr, but I know I'd like a law that implements a minimum wage evenly, with a tip and healthcare benefits credit, and implements it in steps with "go/no-go" in between rather than a prescription for the next 10 years of min wage increases.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 3, 2014 at 8:44 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 52
You're especially right about the tip credit. I've heard from servers and bartenders who are ALREADY getting screwed on tips because some people think they're making 15/hour already.

And it isn't hating on the poor to say a smaller increase to maybe 11/hour would be preferable or that certain jobs should have a higher MW than others.

But the fact that they're trying so hard to keep it from going to vote tells me they know it's not as popular as they claim.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on July 3, 2014 at 11:17 PM · Report this
sissoucat 53
@40 So tell me without checking a map, is Pyongyang East or West from Tokyo ?

Last time I was in America, the geography high-school teacher was putting the 3 Baltic Republics around the Black Sea. And a 10th grader was convinced after visiting Louisiana that she had "driven to France last summer. Yes, by car, what do you mean it's impossible, like, I went there, like I should know". Fun times.
Posted by sissoucat on July 4, 2014 at 6:19 AM · Report this

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