From Alex Kostelnik, Owner 20/20 Cycle
Egan Orion says he is a champion for small businesses. Well, I’m a small business owner in the Central District, have been for the last 14 years, and I’d like to issue a warning to you. I believe he is not. I am heartily supporting Kshama Sawant.
Kshama is an activist. And people either hate it, ignore it, or they don’t get it. She is also a politician, a left one in a very right wing, corporate world.
Throughout my life I have been surrounded by powerful women. My mom raised three kids by herself, and she was a feminist and an activist.
Seattle has been my home from birth. I went to TT Minor, Meany Middle School, and Garfield. I grew up going to Capitol Hill in the late 70s and put on shows at Oddfellows for our anti-nuclear war organization before there were any restaurants or retail in the building at all. Nonprofit storefronts proliferated.
When I opened my bike shop on East Union St. in 2006, I was thoroughly acquainted with the Central District and Capitol Hill.
20/20 Cycle was the store of my dreams, and we’re still here today. But as I watched my business take hold, and even thrive, I felt we were on a gentrification conveyor belt going backwards. We were thriving, and yet to us, the City was declining. My friends started moving away, and expensive restaurants started moving in – with corporate landlords to boot.
Money was rolling in and my community was rolling out. And now in the age of Trump, things are hitting high gear. Amazon wants my business & they want my town – they want it for themselves. They’re gunning for me. Perhaps you can feel it, too.
Money in and minorities/punks/LGBTQ/artists out. This isn’t rocket science. As for the more affluent in D3, a corporate, right wing world will hurt you, too, but it isn’t as imminently threatening as it is with the poor. They are the ones who are the most vulnerable. That’s worth a whole other discussion.
So, Egan Orion. Have you looked at who is funding him? Does the list below register with you?
Orion was endorsed by the CASE PAC — In fact he asked them for it. CASE’s donors include $450,000 from tax-dodging Amazon, $300,000 from hand-out loving Vulcan, $30,000 from fossil fuel burning Puget Sound Energy, $20,000 from anti-$15 Alaska Airlines, and $20,000 from anti-union Hospitality PAC, along with lots and lots of rich Republicans.
Egan says he will not make large corporations pay more tax for homeless shelters and affordable housing. You know what that means, right? He will try to make you to pay it for them. He tried it before. Egan went after tax struggling homeowners and small businesses when he tried and failed to bulk up the Broadway Business Improvement Area (BBIA) when he briefly ran Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. Egan goes after the weak and he courts the rich. Classic playbook. But in the case of the BBIA, the little folks pushed back and he failed. In the bigger scheme of things, small business owners should get many of those services from the city- and not by paying again and again to try to fill that hole.
Egan ran the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce into the ground and it was swift and breathtaking. Four months, people! Then he jumped ship and now he wants you to put him in our Council Chambers.
Egan wants to work for Amazon and big money and make you pay the taxes they won’t- because they own the key lawmakers that would enforce it. That’s the root of the problem. It’s those people that Kshama is always fighting with!
Egan is supposedly my neighbor. But I’ve never met him. I have met Kshama, though, many times. In fact, we often find ourselves buying coffee together on Union Street and she’s always eager to chat.
But more than that, Kshama helped me find a new tenant when I closed Electric Lady this year. I also want to mention that her staffers Jonathan Rosenblum & Adam Ziemkowski have been there for me innumerable times as I navigated setting up Electric Lady in 2016.
While Orion has tried to portray Sawant as anti-small business, in fact she’s been more attentive to small business needs than you might realize. Here is another example from down the street: Sawant successfully led the fight to win $650,000 in assistance from the city to mitigate against lost business during the 23rd Ave reconstruction. That was right when Electric Lady was opening. Meanwhile, the founder of Alchemy Real Estate, the luxury developers who evicted my friends Saba Ethiopian Cuisine on 12th Ave, gave Saba an ultimatum without adequate notice or compensation. It’s worth mentioning here that Alchemy has given the maximum donation they can give to Egan Orion.
In short, in my humble opinion as a bicycle mechanic, Egan is busy attempting to nakedly leapfrog his way into political power and he’s fueling his campaign on corporate cash. His modus operandi is milking the poor and courting the rich, to put it simply. If he wins, they own him. You know this, right?
So, to the people of D3: We are in this together, and we have a unique mix of wealth and poverty in our little corner of Seattle. It’s late in the day, folks. It’s time again to push back on the corporate tsunami.
Because I, for one, do not want to be one of the “I”s Egan Or!on turns upside down.