In the February general membership meeting, the Green Party of Seattle voted to endorse the King County Metro Transit ballot measure which will be up for vote on April 22nd 2014.  A Seattle Time article about this is here.

Also, a letter below from Brent White, long-time Green Party member in support of endorsement:

Sister/fellow Green Party members,

I respectfully request your consideration of King County Proposition 1, which was placed on the April 22nd ballot this past Monday, and hope you will vote to endorse it.

Proposition 1 would prevent a 17% cut to Metro bus service.  At a time when ridership is at its historic highest, packed buses are the norm rather than the exception, and automobile emissions account for half of the region’s carbon footprint, we can’t afford to go backward and push thousands of people back into driving single-occupant vehicles.

Proposition 1 would also create a low-income fare program, which would roll back fares for people under 200% of the federal poverty level to just $1.25.  This program will be a boon for affordability for low-income residents who ride the bus even just occasionally.  It isn’t the first program of its kind in the country, but it will be the largest so far.  Passage of Proposition 1 will reverberate across the county as other large-market transit agencies take notice and look at duplicating the program.

The downside of Proposition 1 is the funding mechanisms.  The main funding mechanism is a 0.1% sales tax increase.  I loathe and detest the idea of funding anything from sales tax, but it was one of only two funding sources the county had at its disposal to save Metro service.  In this case, the math works out very heavily in favor of the poor.  Imagine a hypothetical taxpayer who makes just below the $23,000 that is the cut-off for qualifying for the low-income fare program in a one-person household.  Even if every dime that person spent was on something with sales tax, the hit from the sales tax increase would be no more than $23 per year.  But rent and food from the grocery store aren’t sales-taxed.  So, a typical person earning that level will be paying a much lower amount than $23.  Every time that person rides the bus, she/he will be saving at least $1.25 over the non-low-income adult fare, or $2.50 for the round trip.  A typical low-income earner will wipe out any additional sales tax expense after just one or two round trips on the bus.

The other funding mechanism is raising the county car tab from $20 to $60.  However, the council added in a $20 rebate for people earning less than 45% of the county median income.  The $20 car tab would actually go away if Proposition 1 fails, as the 2-year congestion reduction charge program is due to expire.  It would take a low-income earner 16 round trips on the bus to wipe out this extra expense.  Approximately 40% of those in this category do not own a car, and are assumedly using the bus much more often than that.  For the other 60%, they would turn a profit on Proposition 1 after about 17 round trips on the bus (not including all the money saved on gas).

For a low-income (or no-income) earner who has a monthly bus pass, the annual savings would be at least $540, or $500 if they have a car tab to pay.

Proposition 1 isn’t just about preserving the current level of bus service.  40% of the revenue would go to local transportation projects (i.e. not for highways).  Potholes are regressive, and hurt all modes of transportation.  Every jurisdiction has a backlog of transportation infrastructure maintenance that needs funding.  The City of Seattle could spend its share on filling potholes, sidewalks, bike paths, or whatever is in the city’s various master plans.

I know some want to hold out for a more progressive funding option.  None will emerge before Metro has to start enacting the cuts.  But if some do later, and they pass, the county council has the option of rolling back the sales tax rate and the car tab.

Just like any other ballot proposition sent to voters, this proposition is far from perfect.  But the good this proposition will do far outweighs the bad of increasing taxes on the middle and upper class.  I hope you will all vote Yes to endorse a Yes vote on King County Proposition 1.

Thanks for your consideration,
Brent White

The agenda for the 2/26/14 Green Party of Seattle General Members meeting is below.

The meeting will run from 7 – 9 pm at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association Building, room 3. The address is 6532 Phinney Ave North, Seattle, WA 98103.

All are welcome!

General Members Meeting Agenda

  1. Welcome & Introductions
  2. Membership Report
  3. Electoral Report
  4. Sue Peters of Seattle School Board – campaign recap discussion on March 10th
  5. Treasurer Report
  6. $15Now – update and organizing groups
  7. Green Spaces Substation Sales Proposal – recap of Seattle City Light hearing at city hall on February 26th
  8. On-site organizing to assist Save Our Seas (http://saveourseas.com/)
  9. Nation Builder transition update – Coordinating Council training April 7th
  10. Announcements

I’d like to urge all my green friends and Green Party activists to get involved in the $15Now campaign.

Greens have always worked to promote environmental and social justice through radical and comprehensive electoral and social reform. Many of us were involved in the historic campaign to elect an open Socialist, and a member of Socialist Alternative and the Green Party, Kshama Sawant, to the Seattle City Council in 2013. Now the next important milestone in the fight for social justice has arrived: the $15Now campaign.

If you live in this town, you know how expensive it is. The average 1-bedroom apartment has risen to at least $1300-1500/month, depending on where you live. Meanwhile, thousands of waitresses, cooks, baristas, retail clerks and office workers struggle just to make ends meet on or near the minimum wage of $9.50.

Seattle is the epicenter of a national movement for a $15/hour minimum wage, and could be the first major U.S. city to win this battle. Seattle Councilperson Kshama Sawant made it the central plank in her campaign that beat a four-time incumbent in 2013. A victory in Seattle in 2014 would open the floodgates for working people to demand $15/hour in cities across the country.

But it will not happen automatically. Big business will do anything to stop this. Mayor Murray’s minimum wage committee is stacked with pro-business elites like Maud Daudon and Bob Donegan, of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Howard Wright, CEO of the Seattle Hospitality Group, a global corporation, and the Seattle Restaurant Association. Diehard opponents, they will not let this pass without trying to derail, delay, and dilute efforts to end the poverty wages that are the source of their profits.

The only way we can counter the power of this kind of corporate agenda is by building a massive grassroots campaign with local neighborhood and campus groups, meetings, rallies, and other forms of outreach. Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant, along with community groups, unions, and independent activists like myself, have come together to build this movement. A look at the website shows a growing list of local and national endorsers.

Our presidential candidates, Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, have endorsed this campaign, and Jill’s statement reads, in part, “Thank you, Seattle, for leading the way in this national fight for our economic lives! We write to express our gratitude and support for the $15Now campaign. Working people across the country are inspired and encouraged by your campaign for a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, which carried Kshama Sawant to her historic election to the Seattle City Council. Your continued campaign – and eventual success – will help all of us in the struggle for economic justice across the US and beyond.”

I strongly urge you get involved. If you go to this website you will find lots of activities you can do, but here are the three I’d suggest:

  • Sign up here to join this historic campaign and then go to the February 15 meeting (this coming Saturday), 2:00 PM downtown at the SEIU 775 headquarters at 215 Columbia St.
  • Join a neighborhood group. This was the backbone of the antiwar effort in Seattle in the 1990s and was key in building the movement here. That kind of decentralized, multi-cell organization is needed to do something that will influence the whole country again.
  • Help fund the Fight for 15. We need 1,000 people to donate $15/month. Please sign up to make a monthly donation or one-time donation.

So let’s really jump into this campaign, and take advantage of an historic opportunity to show what the Green Party is all about. $15/hour Now!

Tom Barnard

Green Party member
$15Now campaign volunteer

The agenda for the 1/22/14 Green Party of Seattle General Members meeting is below. The meeting will run from 7 – 9 pm at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association Building, room 3. The address is 6532 Phinney Ave North, Seattle, WA 98103.

In this meeting we will be electing officers and point persons for 2014. Candidate information is included below.

We are still seeking candidates for Facilitator, full-time Secretary, and Membership chair. Any Green Party members currently in good standing can run for these positions by preparing a brief candidate statement and attending the election on 1/22. Additionally, any current members looking to assist as point persons or support the officers or committee chairs can contact the appropriate individuals in 2014 directly.

All are welcome!

General Members Meeting Agenda
1. Financial report
2. 15now.org campaign general endorsement vote
3. 2014 position elections

Election Information

OFFICERS
Facilitator – Open
Treasurer – Syd Fredrickson (unchallenged)
Secretary – Steve Dreher (unchallenged; he will be part time in 2014 due to anticipated schedule conflicts, or would stand down if there’s a challenger; he can mentor Q1, & may return Q4 but will travel quite a bit mid-year, so we are seeking a PT or FT Secretary)

COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Electoral Committee Chair – Alan Lloyd (unchallenged)
Membership Committee Chair – open

Point people / leads on tasks that are not heads of standing committees:
Social Media lead – Dusty
Web site content manager – Ethan Rourke
Issues/Research/Platform – Hildegard Nichols

Candidates for Coordinating Committee

Candidate Dusty Towler’s Statement
I, Dusty Towler, would like to run for a seat on the Green Party of Seattle’s Coordinating Committee. I would also like to submit my name as the Social Media Lead. As to the committee position, I’m a strong listener who strongly values teamwork and a cohesive unit working towards a common goal. [I joined the CC mid-year in 2013 by request of the current CC, so have a head start in being acquainted with the schedule, the people and the work.] I hope to be taking more of an active position this year and putting more words to action. In regards to the Social Media Lead, I like to think I have a watchful eye and will be monitoring those stories which are pertinent to us in the Green Party of Seattle. I’m open to suggestions about other articles worth posting and would relish the chance to have such a role going forward.

Candidate Hildegard Nichols’ Statement
Even though Germany is ruled by a “Big Coalition” between the Christian and Social Democrats there, the world’s first “Energiewende”, the turn towards renewable energies, has been designed widely by Green Party members, and the most prolific of them, Rainer Baalke, has just last month been entrusted with seeing to its success as the Under Secretary of Economics and Energy. The German example shows, that a Green Party doesn’t have to necessarily attain the power position. You can just strive for expertise combined with trustworthiness, in order to be heard and to have your ideas put into practice. And that’s important. With that in mind, I am running for “Issues & Research Coordinator” on the Green Party of Seattle Coordinating Committee.

I would occasionally write press releases, plus communications that could go out to coalition allies; doing research on issues to propose to the CC or general membership of GPOS to consider and vote on for adoption or endorsement; and sometime later in the year perhaps combine several of our top issues into a statement that would be more like a platform.

I hope I will find collaborators to develop an economic concept that would satisfy social and environmental requirements, without getting too weighted down by ideological taboos – and bickering. In my opinion, we should not focus on what is “left” and “right” in the political spectrum, because these are old and quite random terms that don’t include the concept of sustainability. Also, the coordinates of US politics have shifted so far to the right since the 1980s, that even someone who would have been considered quite “middle of the road” back then would now be on the left fringe.

So, instead of arguing forever about our position on a left-to-right scale (or loop?) we should focus on down-to-earth improvements that better our society and the human relationship to nature.

Since we are in Seattle, I’d like to especially focus on Puget Sound, its Marine Life, how important it is to the people who live here and how those same people threaten its ecological balance. More people than you think eat fish out of Puget Sound, partly because they can’t afford other protein sources. But, if you live the traditional life style of the Pacific Northwest (or if you are, let’s say an orca), you can easily poison yourself with heavy metals and other industrial waste products in our waters. This needs to change.

I think I qualify for the position because I have a severe case of curiosity and of wanting to explain stuff. I worked in Germany for 20 years as a TV journalist, dealing mostly with economics and the environment, have been following the development of the Green Party there, and also have a good basic understanding of how economic systems work, since I hold a Master’s degree in political economics (Diplom-Volkswirtin, Mainz 1985). Rivers were my special point of interest in Germany, and when the dams on the Elwha came down in 2011, I wanted to make a documentary on how river and water policies in general compare between the two countries. Even though the film hasn’t been finished, I did a lot of research on the subject and would love to put that to use. Sound waters are an indicator of sound people, even sound societies, and I consider them my favorite worthy cause. As your Issues & Research Coordinator I would make sure they don’t get abandoned under a pile of seemingly more urgent topics.

Candidate Alan Lloyd’s Statement
Alan Lloyd is seeking election for a Coordinating Committee position, with electoral races as his focus. He would represent the Electoral Committee on the CC and be Chair of that standing committee. He has been a member of GPOS since year 2000, and has served in many roles for it, including previous years on the CC. He has electoral experience, as he ran for Seattle School Board Position #7 in 2005, and has served as Chair and member of the Police Review Commission in Berkeley, CA for two years. He feels it is important for GPOS to be an action-oriented organization, focusing on a few issues.

Candidate Steve Dreher’s Statement
Steve Dreher is running for a second term as Secretary and looks to provide administrative support to the Green Party daily operations. He has served a term as Secretary in 2013 as well. Steve has considered himself a Green for many years.

Candidate Syd Fredrickson’s Statement
Syd Fredrickson is running for Treasurer of GPOS, having completed last year in same role. She is Chair of the Membership Committee and has agreed to be the official point person for GPOS contacts on Nation Builder. She represented us in electoral efforts such as on Seattle Fair Elections/Proposition last year and several times did tabling or other types of outreach to represent the GP. Syd is now also on the board of Washington Public Campaigns, continuing the work on public campaign financing from local to state and national levels. She has fulfilled two previous terms of service on the GPOS CC, one year as Facilitator and in 2013 as Treasurer. She’s been a member of the GPOS since the 1990s.

Candidate Ethan Rourke’s Statement
My name is Ethan Rourke and I am the database manager for the Green Party of Washington State. I have been assisting Jody Grage, the state outreach coordinator with a transition from Microsoft Access to the NationBuilder (NB) community organizing system. We have reached a point where we are ready to implement the system at the local level. I would like to be on the Coordinating Committee as key GPOS NationBuilder trainer and as website manager, helping to fully migrate from the current WordPress site to NB and post new content.

On Wednesday, December 04, 2013 starting around 7:00 PM The Green Party of Seattle will be having a potluck holiday party at the home of fellow member Joe Szwaja in Northeast Seattle.

Contact us for directions and if you plan to attend or have questions on bringing guests or a dish to share. All are welcome! (GreenPartyofSeattle@gmail.com).

This appeared on 10/10/13, and has a quote by fellow Seattle Green Party member Jody Grage:

http://kuow.org/post/socialist-candidate-sawant-keeps-conlin-defensive

The Green Party of Seattle has endorsed these candidates and issues who are up for a vote in November 2013.

We encourage Greens and our friends to actively support these campaigns:

Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Position 2

http://www.votesawant.org/

Sue Peters for Seattle School Board District 4

http://suepeters4schoolboard.org/

Washington State Initiative 522 for GMO Food Labeling

http://yeson522.com/

Proposition 1 Fair Elections Seattle for Public Campaign Financing

http://fairelectionsseattle.com/

 

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