Would Pressure from Labor Stop Lorena González from Signing Bold Climate Policies if She Becomes Mayor?

Comments

1

Nathalie writes: "after initially supporting the 2017 head tax, González caved to pressure from the public (and some unions) and voted to overturn it. Second, in 2018, she voted for the bad Seattle Police Officers Guild contract after the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Council lobbied her to do so."

These are absurd claims. The head tax was not killed by public pressure but by local business interests & Durkan promoting fear and misinformation. Gonzalez caved to corporate & political pressure. Of the $457K raised for the "No Tax on Jobs" initiative how much was contributed by unions or working people? ZERO: http://web6.seattle.gov/ethics/elections/campaigns.aspx?cycle=2018&type=campaign&IDNum=602&leftmenu=collapsed

Gonzalez's political calculations are often one's of obsessive moderation and pre-judging what is realistic, often guided by misinformation. This is exactly what happened with her 2017 and 2018 votes for SPD police union contracts. Unions had nothing whatsoever to do with this.

Gonzalez has acted disingenuously at every point in the last 5+ years to undercut police accountability: not allowing consideration of the fully civilianized police oversight model in Newark, New Jersey in 2017; undercutting the 2017 legislation to minimize community control & civilian investigation; knowingly providing disinformation concerning what arbitration meant in the 2017 SPMA police union contract (she claimed arbitration hearings would be public); allowing someone like Andrew Myerberg to head the OPA ( https://hjgale.tumblr.com/post/643859576948654080/february-2021-interviews-with-opa-dir-myerberg ); she promoted misinformation & slandered critics of the 2018 SPOG contract; she has consistently refused to admit any problems with the current system or ask critical questions of heads of OIG, CPC, or OPA; and just yesterday in the Public Safety Committee meeting she grossly confused & misinformed people about the provision for a "right of action" in proposed city legislation on restrictions on "less-lethal" weapons (see: https://twitter.com/bessarabia1/status/1415434821237559298 ).

After the SPD murder of Charleena Lyles in 2017 Gonzalez said, at a June, 27, 2017 public meeting: "I want you to hold us accountable, because we are accountable to you and only to you... we as policy makers need to get a better understanding of what those trainings are... how did deescalation training fail Charleena, how will it fail the next person... making sure we get our inspector general in place to help figure out how we're going to shake the trees around some of these systemic issues that keep happening... we can't wait any longer for these systems to be changed."

"We can't wait any longer for these systems to be changed." After Gonzalez said the above the SPD went on to kill 9 more people in under 4 years without a complaint from her. In fact at least 5 of these nine killings involved people in a severe mental health crisis with either a knife or no weapon in their possession when SPD killed them.

Don't blame unions: blame a middle-of-the-roadism, hyper-rationalized, & misinfromed political instinct that Gonzalez can't shake.

2

Gonzalez is a nightmare--all she's delivered is skyrocketing crime, murders, and homelessness.

Seattle Times just termed her "proven Unfit to be Mayor"

Here's a great article on 10 reasons not to vote for Gonzalez...there are hundreds of reason, so this is a concise list

https://www.stevemurch.com/ten-reasons-you-shouldnt-vote-for-lorena-gonzalez/2021/07

3

The most important thing people should know about Gonzales is she has ambitions for higher office. Remember she was going to run for state attorney general until Inslee decided to run again and that cascaded down the chain. For her, becoming Mayor of Seattle isn't so much about improving Seattle as it is another stepping stone on her way up the ladder to state of federal office. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but you should realize she will be pragmatic so as not to offend too many voters and she'll make decisions based on what's best for her career aspirations.

4

@3 If she thinks being the Seattle mayor is a stepping stone to higher office, she's dumber than I already think. The Seattle mayoralty is the graveyard of politicians.

5

@1: "The head tax was not killed by public pressure but by local business interests & Durkan promoting fear and misinformation."

Misinformation? Down the Memory Hole go the 47,000 signatures collected toward a Referendum on the Head Tax. (When was the last time a SUCCESSFUL signature-gathering effort voluntarily ended before the deadline to submit signatures?) The Head Tax's 9-0 majority on the Council immediately collapsed when confronted with the very real possibility of a well-funded Referendum campaign, fully supported by volunteer GOTV labor from unions, from which none of the Council Members could possibly hide. Mayor Durkan's skillful use of their fear was a masterpiece of political maneuvering.

6

I don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

7

@4 she’s definitely not dumb but like most of her colleagues on the council is pretty arrogant and I would argue completely out of touch with reality from being encased in her ideaological pure Zoom bubble the last 18 months. Just look at her latest ploy to take over the budgeting process that is very likely in violation of the Cory charter. SCC Insight has a great read on it.

8

@3

I agree with 4. If Gonzalez is running for mayor of Seattle thinking it will set her up for a leap to statewide or national office, then she is an idiot who shouldn't hold any elective office.

Being the mayor of a big city is the absolute worst job in politics. It's all about picking up the trash, paving the roads, plowing the snow, arresting the criminals, controlling the cops so they don't become criminals, and making sure that when everyone flushes the toilet it ends up in the right place and not all over the streets and waterways.

Being mayor is a thankless and mostly dead end job.

I already have a low opinion of Gonzalez and have no intention of voting for her, but if she thinks being mayor would help her political career then she is even less competent than I thought.

9

@5 It is absolutely correct that "The head tax was not killed by public pressure but by local business interests & Durkan promoting fear and misinformation." Sorry if you fail to understand the consequences here: campaigns of misinformation can, for a period of time, shift public opinion, but it is not the public driving it & can be turned around. The Seattle Times ran 7 editorials against the head tax over the course of about 6 weeks, warning folks that the tax would kill businesses & jobs.

So, yes, public opinion had shifted against the head tax because of the coordinated campaign by business interests to create fear & misinformation. What happened w/the Amazon tax just 20 months later suggests that it would have been a winnable battle over the course of the 5 months before an election.

"Down the Memory Hole go the 47,000 signatures collected toward a Referendum on the Head Tax." Well, down the memory hole go facts: who saw the 47K signatures? No one except the "No Tax On Jobs" campaign since there was never signature validation.

The "No Tax On Jobs" spent over $376K specifically on paid signature gathering (see: http://web6.seattle.gov/ethics/elections/poplist.aspx?cid=602&listtype=vendors). At $5/signature, which is high, that should have bought 75K signatures during a time when there was a lot of misinformation spread about the head tax in synergy with right-wing NIMBYs freaking out over homelessness & "public disorder." SO, though I question the reality of the 47K signature claim, it is still not proof of anything more than what would have been a temporarily successful misinformation campaign.

"the very real possibility of a well-funded Referendum campaign, fully supported by volunteer GOTV labor from unions" That one you just made up. And far more unions were supportive vs. opposed to the head tax, so there would have been a very well funded anti-referendum campaign.

For an analysis based in reality & facts see: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/06/how-amazon-helped-kill-a-seattle-tax-on-business/562736/

"Unions and progressive groups started 'decline to sign' campaign urging people not to sign the petitions. The paid signature gatherers started getting into yelling matches with the volunteers who they thought were hampering their efforts. On multiple occasions, police were called. 'Tempers really flared,' Wilson, of the Transit Riders, told me. Both sides accused the others of spreading misinformation—progressive groups said signature gatherers were telling people that the head tax would be taken out of employees’ paychecks and that small businesses were affected by the head tax, for example."

10

@9: 'No one except the "No Tax On Jobs" campaign since there was never signature validation.'

Yes, because the Council caved and reversed their previous unanimous (!) vote. Meanwhile, believing the Council might just flat-out lie to voters about that reversal, the No Tax On Jobs campaign delivered their signatures to the City Clerk's office. That's pretty strange behavior for a group of fraudsters, don'cha think?

"...that should have bought 75K signatures..."

(Sure it should have, because whiskey monkey banana telephone, that's why!) They needed ~20K signatures. They collected more than twice that amount before calling it quits. Why on earth would they continue to collect such a vast number of completely unnecessary signatures? (And if the No Tax On Jobs campaign had indeed collected 1 signature for every 10 residents of Seattle, would you have conceded they had popular support? Of course not, it is doubleplus unpossible for something you oppose to be that popular.)

Oh, and you didn't answer my question: When was the last time a SUCCESSFUL signature-gathering effort voluntarily ended before the deadline to submit signatures?

"...and far more unions were supportive vs. opposed to the head tax,"

Union-represented construction workers, drowning out CM Sawant's arrogant lecture to them with their chant, "NO HEAD TAX!", was indeed a pretty powerful image, wasn't it?

Finally, if the City Council reversed their recent 9-0 vote because of propaganda alone, then they should not have been in office in the first place. Somehow, you've made them sound even more cowardly than they actually were, which I had thought to be impossible. Congratulations?

11

@10 You say "the No Tax On Jobs campaign delivered their signatures to the City Clerk's office. That's pretty strange behavior for a group of fraudsters, don'cha think?"

You are debating things not in evidence.

A PR hack for the No Tax On Jobs campaign released a statement that they "filed our nearly 46,000 signatures." That is it. There is no other evidence & no one verified this claim, including the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission since it was not going on the ballot. So, the only thing we know for certain is that a pile of papers with signatures were delivered, with no idea as to how many there were or how many were valid. I am agnostic on this issue, but given the gross misinformation the campaign willingly spread will not accept their word for it.

"When was the last time a SUCCESSFUL signature-gathering effort voluntarily ended before the deadline to submit signatures?"
Probably there are other cases, but none of this is surprising or a measure of anything more than a well funded misinformation campaign that will shift folk's opinions for a time. That same year cities in California passed ballot measures w/taxes based on Seattle's head tax.

Yes the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council were against the tax & you pick on one protest where they showed up in force. But you ignore that the largest unions in the area in fact supported it (see: https://seattlebusinessmag.com/policy/coalition-seattle-labor-groups-call-seattle-city-council-pass-proposed-head-tax ). Facile arguments where you pick & choose your data are nothing more than spin in service to a preordained belief.

Your other points are more empty spin and ignore the overwhelming evidence of a hardcore campaign of disinformation heavily supported by the only daily newspaper in the city.

And you miss my overarching point: big money temporarily scared & confused folks who, just 20 months later, supported the thing you claim they opposed. The battle was won 20 months later, & could have been won 5 months after the scare campaign.
And none of this allows a reporter to claim that Gonzalez switched her vote because of union pressure, especially since more unions supported the tax.

Read up on the horrible tactics used by the No Tax On Jobs Campaign -- including confusing folks by hawking gun control petitions next to the tax ones & lying to folks:

https://southseattleemerald.com/2018/06/14/what-everyone-needs-to-know-about-paid-signature-gatherers/

https://seattle.curbed.com/2018/6/15/17468756/head-tax-referendum-campaign-signatures

14

I must apologize for the naïve belief that Nathalie (and/or editors at The Stranger) could adhere to the basic tenants of journalism.

I trusted that Nathalie's quoting of The Urbanist's concern with Gonzalez was accurate when she said:
"In their endorsement article, the Urbanist's board supported its caution about González's labor ties with two examples. First, after initially supporting the 2017 head tax, González caved to pressure from the public (and some unions) and voted to overturn it. Second, in 2018, she voted for the bad Seattle Police Officers Guild contract after the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Council lobbied her to do so."

Here is what The Urbanist actually said:
"Unfortunately, one of her strongest assets — Labor solidarity — can turn into a liability if Labor can’t get on board for bold climate action, defanging the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), and reprioritizing street space towards people. The MLK Labor Council lobbied hard for the 2018 police contract and González jumped on board, even though it meant erasing the police accountability measures she spearheaded the previous year. We are thrilled both have evolved on the issue (with MLK Labor expelling SPOG); however, between the police contract and her flip flop on the 2018 head tax, a candidate poised to get it right the first time is crucial. We’re running out of time for mulligans." https://www.theurbanist.org/2021/06/28/the-urbanists-2021-primary-endorsements/

Whereas Nathalie claimed The Urbanist was concerned about Gonzalez capitulating to labor on the head tax that is unambiguously NOT what their statement says. In fact, in noting Gonzalez's flip-flop on the head tax they link to their own analysis which makes no mention of labor or unions in overturning the head tax, clearly blaming the actions of big corporations and local Democrats on producing the back-tracking.

So, the whole "unions made me do it" is either a fiction from Nathalie's imagination or, more likely, a down low rhetorical line promoted by Gonzalez. Either way, it is a journalistic fail.

15

Am I the only one who thinks that a candidate who owes the IRS a bunch of money and is paying about 200.00 a month to them vs about 500 a month for her BMW is not qualified to have fiduciary control over the billions that we pay to run our city? I would vote for her truly beautiful baby though, who at least would do no harm, other than adding a bit more shit to our city in random spots.

Am I the only one who thinks that Andrew Grant Houston, a recent carpetbagger "licensed architect" who reportedly has not paid rent in a year is similarly unqualified to be mayor of Seattle. Mind you, this is not a matter of paying reduced rent, but zero rent.

16

@11: "There is no other evidence & no one verified this claim, including the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission..."

Yes, but if the Council had been lying to the citizens, and attempted to wait out the Referendum, then the signatures would have been verified. (The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission would not have verified them, but that's because you made a basic error: the Seattle City Clerk's Office actually does that.) Then, assuming your paranoid fantasy was somehow correct, the No Tax On Jobs crew would have been revealed as the liars and/or fraudsters you feverishly wish them to be. Again, that was a rather large risk for them to take -- unless they indeed had more than enough valid signatures, and knew this.

I know you desperately wish to deny the vast unpopularity of the Head Tax, and the memory of how swiftly it was revoked appears still fresh and painful for you. But making wildly accusatory statements of opinion as if they were facts doesn't help. For example, you've used the word "misinformation" repeatedly in your comments here, but you have yet to quote a single incorrect statement made by any opponent of the Head Tax.

I'll ask you again, since you have yet to answer: "When was the last time a SUCCESSFUL signature-gathering effort voluntarily ended before the deadline to submit signatures?" If you can't cite even a single example, from anywhere, ever, then what does that tell you about the Head Tax? (And please, no speculative statements of opinion, or more babble about supposed misinformation you can't cite. Just answer the question, or admit that you cannot or will not.) Then, we can start to iwonder why such a vastly unpopular law had sailed through our Council unopposed. How did our Council's democracy fail so badly?

Some unions supported the Head Tax, some did not. Your claim that "unions" supported it was itself misleading, because it ignored the union members who opposed it. The Emerald's claim of "confusing" voters was ludicrous, as if claiming the store they were entering "confuses" shoppers by offering multiple items for purchase on-site at the same time.

Finally, the Council believed both the signatures were valid and the Head Tax would lose, and lose badly, if put to an actual vote of real citizens. From your link to The Atlantic:

"It started to become evident to progressives that No Tax On Jobs would easily get the signatures it needed, and then the consequences might be worse than just a tax repeal."

When told the Head Tax might cost Seattle workers their jobs, our Council passed the Head Tax without a dissenting vote. When told the Head Tax might cost our COUNCIL MEMBERS their jobs, they quickly voted to repeal it. Amazing how that worked, wasn't it?

17

@16 It sucks when you try to correct someone by being really accurate but fuck it up yourself, i.e. "The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission would not have verified them, but that's because you made a basic error: the Seattle City Clerk's Office actually does that." Fact: "The City Clerk delivers the petition pages to King County Elections. King County Elections compares the signatures to voter registration records, and notifies the City Clerk when a) they have verified at least the minimum number of required signatures are valid, or b) they have completed checking all signatures and there are fewer than the minimum required number that are valid." (see: http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/initref/ReferendumFAQ.htm ).

The City Council voted to repeal the head tax on June 12, 2018. The No Tax on Jobs campaign submitted their signatures for a non-existent referendum on June 14, 2018. It was a publicity stunt & completely meaningless: they would never get caught if they did not submit the number they claimed. Obviously, it worked for you.

But facts are something you struggle with, since I provided references in my above posts about the vast majority of unions (in terms of both unions & members) supporting the head tax. I get it: you are more comfortable with claims that match the misinformation spread by big business. So be it. All the false claims are out there & well documented, e.g. that employees would have to pay the employee head tax, that small businesses would be subjected to it, etc.

Anyhow, I get that facts will not move you so have fun with having the last word.

18

@17: "It sucks when you try to correct someone by being really accurate but fuck it up yourself,"

Yeah, your persistent failure to understand the Seattle Ethics & Elections Board does not handle Referendum petitions is pretty funny. You even managed to quote the correct process -- but without mentioning your previous error, of course.

"... June 14, 2018. It was a publicity stunt & completely meaningless: they would never get caught if they did not submit the number they claimed. "

If the EHT was repealed and stayed repealed, yes. If the Council reversed course again, and re-enacted the EHT, then the signatures would be on-file, and verified. So there was still a chance for a Referendum. (There was also a lawsuit filed, to invalidate the repeal.) Again, I quoted a source you'd cited to show the Council believed the signatures were real. Perhaps you should have told them it was all a hoax?

"...since I provided references in my above posts about the vast majority of unions (in terms of both unions & members) supporting the head tax."

No, you provided a list of some who opposed it. The only reason you even mention the union members who opposed it was my recounting of how they'd shouted down CM Sawant at the Amazon Spheres, at the very moment she was lecturing them on how she was entitled to speak for them (!).

"All the false claims are out there & well documented, e.g. that employees would have to pay the employee head tax, that small businesses would be subjected to it, etc."

No, you quoted the head of the Transit Riders' Union -- which is not a labor union, BTW -- claiming other people had spread misinformation. You have yet to quote a single opponent of the Head Tax making any statement which is in any way incorrect. But you keep saying they did, and keep showing your contempt for the voters who, you claim, were so easily fooled.

"...so have fun with having the last word."

I'm sure you and your ball will have a great time playing at home, alone.