APPLAUDING THE MARRIAGE-EQUALITY VOTE: Chair Tim Nuse opened the meeting – after agenda approval – with what you see in our video clip, a short celebration of the State House vote earlier in the day finalizing State Legislature approval for marriage equality. The district’s three legislators, all Democrats, all were “yes” votes for the legislation, which now awaits the governor’s signature, and a possible referendum challenge.
Other summaries from the meeting, ahead:
CHARTER SCHOOLS RESOLUTIONS: Pro- and anti-charter schools resolutions were to be considered, but after the anti-charter-schools resolution passed with a strong majority, the pro-charter-schools resolution was withdrawn. The vote was foreshadowed when whoops and applause greeted the motion for the resolution opposing charter-school legislation that’s on the table in Olympia. Two members spoke in support, two against. Leslie Harris brought up the Supreme Court ruling that “we aren’t funding our schools adequately – and yet we’re talking about charter schools taking money away … without accountability?” Yes, public education needs improvement, but “taking the money away” isn’t the answer, contended Harris. She has a child at Pathfinder K-8 and said, “What if every school” could be like that one? Walter Sive, meantime, said he had changed his mind about charter schools, and talked of the 40-year slide in “public-school outcomes.” He said charter schools are “doing incredible things” for neighborhoods dominated by low-income families and families of color. “We need to provide every means we can to help them succeed.” Glen Bafia said, “We want to keep our schools public. Our union has just voted in favor of ‘creative schools’ to be implemented in Seattle Public Schools,” and hopes the School Board will follow suit. Chris Korsmo said she supports the charter-schools legislation because it’s “meant to help those kids who have been traditionally left behind.” The anti-charter-schools resolution passed 58-10, and then the pro-charter-schools resolution was withdrawn (its proposer made the offer, and no one disagreed).
PUBLIC BANK FOR WASHINGTON STATE? John Repp and Cindy Cole have been talking for more than three years about the banking crisis and are trying to get the state to create a “public bank,” wholly state-owned not belonging to the FDIC. They showed a video advocating the concept:
This would not be a commercial bank – it would probably have just one branch, in Olympia, a “bankers’ bank,” they explained. They talked about the bill they’ve been working on with Rep. Bob Hasegawa to create “Washington Investment Trust,” and what they see as the importance of having a bank act in the public interest, because of the power it can use, “creat(ing) money by ‘fractional reserve’ lending,” according to their presentation. They say it would be modeled after one that’s set up in North Dakota. The bill went out this year as HB 2434/SB 6310 (with the 34th’s Sen. Sharon Nelson and Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon among the co-sponsors) but, they say, haven’t made it out of committee yet, with opponents including state treasurer Jim McIntire. They have a long shot at advancing the bills, but not too much hope at this point, so “we’ll be talking with folks all summer,” they vow. They also are pursuing the idea with the city – where they say Councilmember Nick Licata has expressed support – and county.
PRECINCT CAUCUSES: If you’re a Democrat in this area, April 15th is the day, with 11 locations (down from 18 in 2008) hosting more than 200 caucuses around the 34th District, according to chair Nuse. The district caucus is less than two weeks later, at West Seattle High School; then, the county convention is April 29th. It’s a complicated process along the way, he acknowledged, promising that full details will appear soon on the group’s website at 34dems.org, and in their newsletter. The caucus process is a big expense for the group, by the way – costing about $10,000, according to a budget briefing delivered by Walter Sive during tonight’s meeting. (One member asked why are caucuses happening this year, when there’s no question who will be the Democratic presidential nominee? Nuse spoke of enthusiasm-building, “getting the word out to Democrats, that it’s time to organize, time to get it done, time to get people together.” Ann Martin reinforced that, saying it’s also a time to go face to face with neighbors and maybe even to get inspired to get involved beyond just coming to the caucus that day. Former chair Ivan Weiss spoke of the fundraising power of caucuses, and a slogan used in 2008, “What’s raised here, stays here.” He also talked about the other races that’ll be on the ballot with attention needed from local Democrats – particularly for governor.
REDISTRICTING BRINGS NEW PARTICIPATION: The redrawing of legislative districts brought some former 11th District Democrats members into the 34th, and two were appointed as PCO’s (precinct committee officers).
The 34th DDs are online at 34dems.org.