Sawant, D3 candidates respond to reports on Socialist Alternative influence at Seattle City Hall

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant has responded to reports on the control the Socialist Alternative party has over her Seattle City Council office.

Meanwhile, her possible opponents in a race for the D3 seat have weighed in with harsh criticism.

In her statement, Sawant does not refute that she is “democratically accountable” to Socialist Alternative.

“I was elected and then reelected to the Seattle City Council on the basis of my pledge to unwaveringly use my office to help build movements to win victories for ordinary working people,” Sawant’s statement on the reports reads. “A recent article from SCC Insight, now happily picked up by the corporate conservative media, argues that pledge is somehow at odds with my long-standing and publicly declared commitment to remain democratically accountable to the members of my organization, Socialist Alternative.”

Her full statement is here.

Seattle City Council Insight reported this week on findings from a trove of internal Socialist Alternative documents and communications that showed the extent to which Sawant “has handed over her Council responsibilities to Socialist Alternative.”

CHS examined the documents and reported how the Socialist Alternative structure determined Sawant’s votes on City Council actions like the confirmation of Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.

The documents and letters show that not only is Sawant beholden to the tenets and causes of Socialist Alternative but that the political organization is also calling the shots in Sawant’s City Hall office, setting her policies including how the veteran council member votes, what she will say about her decision in the council chambers, and who works on her city payrolled staff. Continue reading

‘Beto for Seattle’ — from Capitol Hill’s little pink house to a run for City Hall

Beto Yarce announced his candidacy with supporters and partner Phil Smith at his side

When he first arrived on Capitol Hill in the early 2000s, Beto Yarce’s living arrangements were pretty typical for a young, gay person in their 20s. You may have seen his home — it was hard to miss the little pink house on John just above Broadway.

“I lived with three drag queens and two of my friends were women from Mexico and that’s how it really started, my journey here, you know,” Yarce tells CHS. “I’m seeing the different components of the CD and Capitol Hill and the complex diversity and, now, the needs of having this movement today.”

Yarce talked with CHS Thursday after coming to Capitol Hill for his big announcement — and the start of this movement he’s talking about. He is running for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council currently held by Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant.

Back in his early days in Seattle, Yarce wasn’t thinking about public office. Working as a busser, and then a waiter, and, then, eventually the manager at Broadway’s dearly departed Mexican restaurant and lounge Galerias, Yarce began his life in America as an undocumented immigrant from Guadalajara.

“Today, you see me wearing a jacket — but it was not like this all the time,” he told CHS Thursday. “I lived here, I struggled. I worked as a busser. I worked 12 hour days.” Continue reading

In search of a District 3 candidate at mayor’s Capitol Hill ‘community celebration’ — UPDATE: Yarce is in

Mayor Durkan chats with Rachel’s Ginger Beer owner Rachel Marshall during Monday’s “Capitol Hill community celebration” (Image: CHS)

If there was a prospective District 3 candidate inside Rachel’s Ginger Beer on 12th Ave Monday night at the mayor’s Capitol Hill stop on her “community celebration” tour to mark her first year of office, they weren’t talking.

Neither was Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“I can’t get distracted by that,” Durkan said. “We proved this year and in the budget that Seattle gets things done when we work together.”

Ok, Mayor Durkan, but what about the lone council member who voted against your $5.9 billion budget package? Surely, you have to be thinking about District 3 in 2019.

“Every city needs different voices,” Durkan said. Alas, the mayor wasn’t on Capitol Hill Monday night to back a horse in a race for the seat currently held by Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant. Continue reading

One year in, what’s your Jenny Durkan Capitol Hill approval rating?

During Seattle’s annual “Kitty Hall,” Durkan faced what was *probably* the easiest decisions of her first year in office (Image: City of Seattle)

Last year around this time, newly sworn-in Mayor Jenny Durkan stopped through Capitol Hill and was met by a disruptive protest as she kicked-off her administration. It was the start of a sometimes rocky year for Mayor Durkan — and Seattle including an ugly fight over the Amazon head tax and the slogged out final miles of the police union contract. Monday, with her new $5.9 billion city budget in hand, Mayor Durkan returns to the neighborhood to start her second year with a “Capitol Hill Community Celebration,” part of a week “crisscrossing Seattle,” “listening to community members,” and attending “nearly a dozen community events and roundtables in all seven Council districts, from Northgate to West Seattle to New Holly to Ballard.”

Take the Durkan Approval Survey
View latest results

Monday’s Capitol Hill event is mostly a social calling. Taking place at 12th Ave’s Rachel’s Ginger Beer starting at 4:30 PM, the Capitol Hill gathering will be short and sweet. The mayor’s people only gave her 90 minutes to enjoy a Moscow Mule and make it through Seattle traffic to a second celebration scheduled in Ballard. If only it were the late 2030s, she could take the train. Continue reading

Pete Souza

Pete Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama and the Director of the White House Photo Office. His new book, Shade (October 2018), is a portrait in contrasts, telling the tale of two presidencies through a series of powerful visual juxtapositions between the Obama and Trump administrations.

Van Jones

Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor, and host of The Van Jones Show on CNN. Famous for his heartfelt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red and blue states throughout the volatile 2016 political season.

“First Ten Years of American Communism” Discussion Group

This collection of letters and articles by James P. Cannon, one of the founders of U.S. communism, focuses on the years 1918-1928. Cannon gives a personal overview of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) out of which he emerged, and goes on to describe the founding of the Communist Party, which was inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution.

In 1928 Cannon established the U.S. wing of the Trotskyist opposition movement, which split from Stalin’s bureaucratic and increasingly nationalist direction.

This book addresses the questions: who popularized Marx, Trotsky, and Lenin’s ideas among working-class Americans and why didn’t a similar revolution happen here? How did these ideas influence Black liberation and other civil rights movements in their infancy?

These questions and more are the subject of this weekly study group. Everyone welcome.

Monday nights beginning August 13 from 7:00-8:30pm
Snacks available at 6:30pm for a small donation.
New Freeway Hall
5018 Rainier Ave S. Seattle
On #7 bus line and near the Columbia City light rail station

Copies of the text available for sale at each session.
For info, call 206-722-2453 or email
FSPseattle@mindspring.com | www.socialism.com

Sponsored by Freedom Socialist Party

Capitol Hill Art Walk features a night for Washington reproductive rights at Generations

A work by Mari Shibuya

Capitol Hill’s monthly art walk brings a dose of political action in May. Tonight from 6 to 9 PM at E Mercer’s Generations gallery, NARAL Pro Choice Washington will host an event with artist Mari Shibuya and State Rep. Nicole Macri.

“I’m doing this event with NARAL to promote access to reproductive health care, and I am very glad to support them,” Macri said. “What they’re aiming to do at this event is to make sure we keep and elect legislators both in the House and the Senate in Olympia who will be strong pro choice voices.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Hillary Clinton draws a crowd — and cookies, capes, and cheers — on Seattle’s Capitol Hill

Bigly loser Hillary Clinton still has lots of fans on Capitol Hill. Readers carrying her new book, What Happened, lined up on a chilly Tuesday outside 10th Ave’s Elliott Bay Book Company where the politician who nearly became the nation’s first woman president made a signing appearance.

Plenty of Capitol Hill luminaries found a place in line. Some like Linda Derschang whose Little Oddfellows operates inside the bookstore, came armed with gifts like HRC cookies. Others let their Hillary Clinton super capes do the talking.

Continue reading

Durkan sworn in as Seattle’s 54th 55th 56th mayor

Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s first woman to serve as mayor since 1926 — and the Pacific Northwest metropolis’s first out lesbian mayor, ever — was sworn in at the start of a five-stop tour from the south of the city to its north Tuesday afternoon. Fittingly, the whole thing was planned to come to end Tuesday night with a beer — Lake City Way’s Elliott Bay Public House marked the final stop.

Any Seattle voter who chose Durkan because she seemed like she might be a tough ally in the seeming culture war underway in the country probably liked what they heard Tuesday.

“We will not be bullied and will not be told what to do,” Durkan said. “We’re not spoiling for a fight but we will not back down from what we know is right.” Continue reading