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Advice to Sawant

SswanaYesterday Kshama Sawant’s $15 minimum wage proposal, passed the council amended and adapted for reality by the Mayor. Now the question is whether she can build something more meaningful?

David Goldstein live blogged at Horsesass:
Okay, the council meeting hasn’t even started yet, but its a festive atmosphere in council chambers as the throng of $15 minimum wage supporters gathers for the inevitable.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know when it’s official, as well as fill you in on various updates.
UPDATE 1:59PM: Just like me, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has already released a celebratory statement:

Today’s vote in Seattle will go down in history as a milestone in the struggle to raise wages and ensure fair pay for all workers. It is proof that when working people organize and make their voices heard, we all benefit.

While Republicans in Congress fail to act, Seattle, along with other cities and states around the country, is ensuring that workers receive a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. We have already seen progress in states from Hawaii to Minnesota, and we will continue to fight to provide every worker with a good living wage and an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

UPDATE 2:23PM: Unlike previous council meetings, Subway franchisees and other business representatives seem to have abandoned the chambers to minimum wage advocates. No doubt there was plenty of pro-business lobbying behind the scenes, but they appear to have given up on making their case in public. Public testimony continues.
UPDATE 2:39PM: Council member Nick Licata: “Unfortunately, I was unable to attend last week for the vote on training wages.” Council member Tim Burgess: “Good.”
UPDATE 3:15PM: Council member Kshama Sawant closes her speech in favor of the ordinance: “Fifteen dollars in Seattle is just the beginning. We have an entire world to win.”
UPDATE 3:39PM: It’s official! Ordinance passes 9-0! Audience cheers, than quickly files out, leaving council to continue other business.

Kshama Sawant has obviously created a base.  Her ability to grow that base depends on three things:

1. adding a broader set of initiatives that fit here meme.  The two most obvious are broadband and pre K.  Both are winners but the latter will affect her core more if it transmutes beyond day care to an issue facilitating the ability of women to work.  A lot of women, some grateful for earning Kshama’s $15 as well as others who want jobs at Amazon or even female faculty at UW, would be VERY grateful.

2. getting re-elected. She is a poor candidate for her new district, my district.  The number of Occupy fans on Capital Hill vs the numbers of yuppies and affluent dems is small.  If she wants Capital Hill to be HER base, she needs to broaden her appeal by dealing with Capital Hill issues … e.g. parkjng, access to the new light rail, affordable housing along Pike Pine, and adapting community utilization  and the Miller Community Center as the area yuppifies.

3. changing to a city wide constituency.  If this what she wants to do, my guess is that the biggest issue may be Seattle’s role in mass transit.  Voters in the poorer southern regions of the city NEED buses to get to those $15/ hr jobs.


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