Seattle Educators Ready For DeVos

32958714442_eece84dff1_z

By Staff of Diane Ravitch – My name is Jesse Hagopian and I teach ethnic studies at Seattle’s Garfield High School. I hope you didn’t just stop reading this letter after you heard the subject I am teaching—I urge you to keep reading. I am writing in regards to the Washington Policy Center’s $350-a-person fundraising dinner you will be addressing on October 13 at the Hyatt Regency in the nearby city of Bellevue. Thousands of my colleagues and I will surround the building to make sure the world knows your message of division is not welcome here. Given the recent protests of your speeches at Harvard, at historically black Bethune-Cookman University, and many other places, you must be getting used to this by now. But just so there are no surprises, let me tell you what to expect. There will be bull horns, signs, speeches, and I bet some of the more creative teachers—perhaps the few art teachers your proposed budget hasn’t cut yet—will show up in grizzly bear costumes, referencing the asinine comment you made defending the use of guns in schools to “protect from potential grizzlies.” There will be students there questioning your qualifications to serve as Secretary of Education, given that they have more experience with the public schools than you. They might point out that you never attended public schools and neither did any of your four children.

Seattle To Ban Plastic Straws, Utensils At Restaurants Next Year

Greenpeace UK

By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – Starting next year, Seattle restaurants will no longer provide plastic straws and plastic utensils to its patrons after a 2010 ordinance finally takes effect. “As of July 1, 2018, food services businesses should not be providing plastic straws or utensils,” Sego Jackson, the strategic advisor for Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship for Seattle Public Utilities, told Q13 FOX. “What they should be providing are compostable straws or compostable utensils. But they also might be providing durables, reusables, or encouraging you to skip the straw altogether,” he added. Jackson said the city’s effort to ban disposal plastic food service ware had been in the books since 2010 but was stalled because compostable alternatives were not viable yet. “Early on there weren’t many compostable options,” he explained. “And some of the options didn’t perform well or compost well. That’s all changed now.” The exemption that allowed eateries to dispense plastic straws and utensils is set to expire and will not be renewed. The ban only applies to restaurants serving food, as plastic straws and utensils can still be purchased at city grocery stores. Restaurants that do not comply will be warned and eventually fined but eateries will be given assistance with the transition.

Seattle Makes History – Passes ‘Tax The Rich’ Income Tax

Kshama Sawant addresses a crowd of "tax the rich" supporters outside at a rally before the vote.

By Andre Roberge for Progressive Army – Even though this may seem like cut-and-dry common sense legislation, this ordinance still has an uphill battle ahead of itself. Former Washington State Attorney Rob McKenna laid bare the main issues as follows: 1.[The city] would also have to persuade the Supreme Court to ignore an existing state statute that prohibits counties, cities … from imposing a tax on net income. 2.[What they] would have to do is persuade the Supreme Court to overlook its own precedent. The precedent alluded to above deals with a 1930s Washington Supreme Court decision that states “income is property, and the state’s constitution declares that all property must be taxed uniformly.” Since Seattle’s proposed income tax is a progressive tax and not “uniformly” distributed onto all tax brackets, the Supreme Court would have to redefine property. Some critics have gone even further.

Seattle Mayor, 2 City Council Members Propose City Income Tax On The Rich

57276fbb160000e40031d496

By Staff and Matt Lorch for Q13 FOX News – SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray and City Council members Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold on Monday proposed a new tax on high-income households. The proposal would place a 2 percent tax on joint filers’ income over $500,000 and single tax filers’ income over $250,000. They said the estimated $125 million in new annual revenue would allow the city to lower the burden associated with property taxes and other regressive taxes, replace federal funding potentially lost through President Donald Trump’s budget cuts and enhance public services such as housing, education and transit. Seattle income tax? “Washington state’s tax structure is the most regressive in the country, putting the burden on many of our most vulnerable residents,” Murray said. “Leaving cities with only regressive tax options puts the heaviest burden on working people, families and communities of color. By replacing a system that relies too heavily on property and sales taxes with a progressive income tax, we can ease that burden and generate revenue to invest in Seattle priorities…” Sawant said, “I ran for office four years ago on a program of a $15 per hour minimum wage, to tax the rich, and for rent control.

Seattle Sues Trump Administration Over Threat To ‘Sanctuary’ Cities

FILE PHOTO: The skyline of Seattle, Washington, U.S. is seen in a picture taken March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo

By Tom James for Reuters – The city of Seattle sued U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday over its executive order seeking to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary cities,” arguing it amounted to unconstitutional federal coercion. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told reporters the Constitution forbade the federal government from pressuring cities, “yet that is exactly what the president’s order does. Once again, this new administration has decided to bully.” “Things like grants helping us with child sex trafficking are not connected to immigration,” Murray said, adding: “It is time for cities to stand up and ask the courts to put an end to the anxiety in our cities and the chaos in our system.”

May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer To Strike

Dimitry B.

By Calvin Priest for Counter Punch – On Monday, March 13, the Seattle Educators Association (SEA) took a big step toward May 1 strike action in voting by an overwhelming majority in favor of a one-day strike at their Representative Assembly. The resolution will now require approval by the union’s full membership. The vote was a response to more than a decade of unconstitutional underfunding of public education in Washington State. But it was also a part of a series of recent moves by Seattle unions preparing to take action on May Day against the vicious right-wing agenda of Donald Trump. In February, WFSE Local 304, representing workers at Seattle community colleges, passed a resolution supporting strike and protest action on May 1.

Defunding Police—How Antiracist Organizers Got Seattle To Listen

image

By Melissa Hellmann for Yes! Magazine – Seattle City Council members took their seats on Sept. 19 with the unhurried pace of business as usual. One of them called for public comments, but after a few people spoke, a commotion erupted in the back of the chambers. Six black and brown people shuffled down the central aisle, bounded by chains on their wrists, ankles, and stomachs. Some were clad in orange jumpsuits, while others wore black shirts bearing the phrase “Block the Bunker” in white letters. White activists donning police hats and pig noses trailed behind, nudging them forward with toy batons. “I’ll throw you around if I want to throw you around!” one of them screamed.

Seattle Just Divested Billions From Wells Fargo Over Dakota Access Pipeline

image-1

By J. Gabriel WareJames Trimarco for Yes! Magazine – The movement to stop the controversial Dakota Access pipeline through financial activism took an important step forward today, as the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to approve a bill that terminates a valuable city contract with Wells Fargo. The bank, one of the largest in the United States, has provided more than $450 million in credit to the companies building the pipeline. The move makes Seattle the first city to divest from a financial institution because of its role in the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.8 billion project that would run from western North Dakota to Illinois, and is fiercely opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Wells Fargo is one of 17 banks directly financing the project.

Seattle City Council Committee Votes To Divest From Pro-DAPL Bank

The crowd outside Seattle City Hall on Wednesday. (Valerie Costa / Twitter)

By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – Council Bill 118883 was proposed by Kshama Sawant, the only socialist member currently sitting on Seattle’s City Council. “If Seattle divests from Wells Fargo, it will greatly fuel the inspiring nationwide struggle against the Dakota Access pipeline and the oil lobby,” Sawant said at a rally prior to Wednesday’s vote. “I urge council members to support this legislation as part of Seattle’s fightback against Trump and the billionaire class.” The legislation passed the finance committee Wednesday and, according to Sawant, will go to Seattle’s full City Council for a vote on Feb. 6. Still, many saw Wednesday’s vote as a decisive victory.

Fellow Worker And GDC Member Shot At Anti-Fascist Protest In Seattle

Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 9.55.14 AM

By Staff of Twin Cities GDC – On the evening of Friday, January 20th, a comrade of ours was shot in the stomach in the most public place on the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle – a place called “Red Square” for the color of its bricks rather than its politics. This Fellow Worker (what members of the IWW call ourselves) and Defender (for GDC members) is a longtime anti-fascist and dedicated activist, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the General Defense Committee of the IWW. He’s currently in critical condition at Harborview Hospital in Seattle. They have a Level One Trauma center, so it’s likely he is receiving the best quality care available, for which we are deeply grateful.

Seattle Urged To Drop Wells Fargo Over DAPL

c89a57d9aa

By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – A few weeks ago, actress and activist Susan Sarandon made headlines when she asked supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe – who are protesting the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) – to pull their money out of the banks which are invested in its development. “Water protectors”, who have been camped out near Cannon Ball, ND, since April, argue that the controversial DAPL will uproot sacred burial ground and potentially contaminate the Missouri River. In addition, they maintain that the land is rightfully theirs due to an 1851 treaty which was never revoked.

She Asked For Help And Wound Up Dead

Renee Davis (Facebook)

By Michelle Farber for Socialist Worker – RENEE DAVIS, a 23-year-old Native American mother of three young children and five months pregnant, was reaching out for help. On Friday, October 21, she sent a text message to a friend saying she was “in a bad way” and needed help with her severe depression. Instead of finding that help, the young mother was shot to death by a King County sheriff’s deputy at her home on Muckleshoot tribal lands, some 20 miles southeast of Seattle.

Seattle Teachers Wore Black Lives Matter Shirts To School

Meesh Vecchio/ FB

By Sarah Harvard for Identities Mic – On Wednesday, 2,000 teachers in Seattle — alongside parents and students — wore Black Lives Matter shirts to protest against police brutality and promote racial equity, the Associated Press and KING 5 News report. Teachers organizing the #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool event told AP they held discussions about institutional racism and black history and used the event to rally people together. A Seattle Public Schools spokesman said in a statement that the district supported the teachers’ efforts and said it supports their First Amendment rights.

Supreme Court Delivers A Victory For Supporters Of Seattle’s Minimum Wage Law

57276fbb160000e40031d496

For Cristian Farias for The Huffington Post – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a sweeping constitutional challenge to Seattle’s minimum wage law, in what could have been a test case for future legal attacks on similar measures across the country. In a one-line order, the justices declined to hear a case by the International Franchise Association and a group of Seattle franchisees, which had said in court papers that the city’s gradual wage increase to $15 discriminates against them in a way that violates the Constitution’s commerce clause.

9 Arrested In Seattle After May Day Protesters Clash With Police

Capture

By Elizabeth Preza for Alternet. Seattle, WA – Police in Seattle arrested nine people Sunday after a peaceful May Day march morphed into a riot, with “anti-capitalist” protestors throwing rocks, flares and Molotov cocktails at police. The Seattle Police Department said violence rose out of a peaceful march for workers’ rights and immigration that took place earlier in the day. At least five officers were injured, including one who was hit with a Molotov cocktail, another who was struck in the face with a rock, and a third who was bitten by a protestor. May 1st protests have been increasingly co-opted by anarchists who use the demonstrations to rally against police violence and capitalism.