Work the vote — Seattle Position 8

Work the Vote is Working Washington's Voters Guide for the 2015 Elections. Follow along here and find out how the candidates for Seattle Council Position 8 (citywide) make their case for workers votes.   

Note: Every Seattle voter gets to cast ballot for someone to represent their district, and also gets to vote for a candidate in citywide Position 8 and Position 9. 


1) MAKE A BRIEF VIDEO

We asked all 18 candidates for Seattle City Council to make a brief, simple video — using just their voice, their cell phone, and maybe a selfie stick — that answers the question:

HOW WILL WORKERS BE BETTER OFF IF YOU'RE ELECTED?

Here's what the candidates sent in:

Tim Burgess

novideo.jpg

Jon Grant


2) CHAMBER OF SECRETS?

Big business lobby groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Restaurant Association are typically the most prominent opponents of higher wages, paid sick days, and other workers rights issues. They also endorse candidates, but their process and agenda are bit of a mystery. We know they have questionnaires and even interviews, but what happens there is rarely made public, and it's not always clear why they end up backing the candidates they do.

SO WE ASKED EACH CANDIDATE TO GO PUBLIC WITH THE CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRES THEY COMPLETED FOR THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE WASHINGTON RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION (AKA WASHINGTON HOSPITALITY PAC).

In addition, we asked for them to answer two additional questions: 

1. If you or your opponent has received an endorsement, direct contributions, or an independent expenditure on your behalf from either of these groups.

2. Why you think these business lobby groups made the endorsements and spent their resources as they did.

Here's what the candidates sent in:

Tim Burgess

  Click image for full CASE questionnaire.

Click image for full CASE questionnaire.

1) If you or your opponent has received an endorsement, direct contributions, or an independent expenditure on your behalf from either of these groups.

Yes, both CASE and the Restaurant Association have donated $700 to my campaign, which is the legal maximum.  I have not benefited from any IE expenditures.

2) Why you think these business lobby groups made the endorsements and spent their resources as they did?

These organizations support my re-election because they know I listen carefully to all sides with every issue and then make my own independent decisions. I was the key negotiator on the City Council's passage of paid sick/safe leave, voted in favor of the $15 minimum wage increase, and have supported worker rights at every opportunity. Another example of "competing" sides working for my re-election is the hotel workers unions, Unite HERE Local 8, and the Seattle Hotel Association. Both of these groups have donated to my campaign and endorsed me. They do so because they know I will be fair in my deliberations of public policy. I'm proud of the broad support I have received because of my collaborative approach to public policy.

Jon Grant

  Click image for full CASE questionnaire.

Click image for full CASE questionnaire.

1) If you or your opponent has received an endorsement, direct contributions, or an independent expenditure on your behalf from either of these groups.

My opponent received the sole endorsement from both the Chamber of Commerce and Washington Restaurant Association. While they have not set up an independent expenditure group, my opponent has raised $325,000 in direct contributions from the CEO's and wealthy individuals that represent their interests. I have refused to take any contributions from any Chamber related group, whether it is PAC, CEO, or otherwise. I stand with workers and the community and only take grassroots contributions for my campaign. You can draw a direct line between the campaign contributions my opponent accepts from these wealthy interest groups and the influence on his policy decisions. We also assume that when ballots drop a Independent Expenditure group will materialize in our race to push their agenda.

2) Why you think these business lobby groups made the endorsements and spent their resources as they did.

My opponent has championed the interests of downtown developers and the Chamber of Commerce his entire eight years in office, but only now that he is facing truly a progressive challenger has he been adopting many of my policy positions. Where he previously opposed these issues, he now has flipped his position and supports legalized homeless encampments, increasing affordable housing fees on developers, opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership, endorsing campaign finance reform through the Honest Elections initiative, enacting an Employee Hours Tax, lifting the ban on rent control, and more. But that was all just in an election year.

After the election downtown industry groups know he will be right back in their corner pushing their agenda. There are many examples of Tim Burgess pushing a corporate agenda at the expense of workers and our community. In 2013 he watered down the incentive zoning program in South Lake Union that could have assessed an $85 per square foot fee on development, and instead knocked it down to $22 per square feet, leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table for affordable housing in the midst of a housing crisis. When preschool educators introduce an initiative to raise their wages, he pitted his own pre-school initiative against them forcing voters to choose one or the other, denying teachers a much needed wage increase. When Whole Foods was seeking an alley vacation from the City, he voted to approve it without requiring living wages and fair benefits for their employees. Tim also led the charge to pass the anti-pan handling ordinance which would have criminalized people trying to survive on the street. He successfully repealed the Employee Hours Tax in 2009 which lost the city tens of millions of dollars in revenue to pay for our transit infrastructure, which now is going to be paid for by the public with the Move Seattle $930 million dollar levy.

Big business has a lot at stake in this election. They know if I win I will be a champion for progressive revenue reform that will come out of their pockets rather than the public, that I will be an unwavering champion on workers' and tenants' rights, push for the maximum development fees to keep our housing affordable, and take on bold new initiatives to close the gender wage gap such as implementing a 12-week paid parental leave program. It's not just what Tim will do for them, it's stopping me from advancing a truly progressive agenda to make Seattle affordable for all.


ON RUNFORTHEMONEY.ORG…

Check out runforthemoney.org for info about big-dollar independent expenditures in this year's City Council races.

ABOUT Position 8

Seattle Council Position 8 is one of two citywide council seats. City council races are officially non-partisan — nobody is listed on the ballot as a Democrat, a Republican, or a member of any other party. Tim Burgess is an incumbent member of the City Council. 

Note: Everyone gets to vote for a candidate for their district, and also in the races for the two council seats that represent everyone in the city. Check out the guide for your district too!

RETURN YOUR BALLOT BY NOVEMBER 3RD

Ballots will be mailed out in mid-October, and must be postmarked by Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2015