34th District Democrats: Transportation, shutdown, immigration

October 10, 2013 7:14 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle politics

Toplines from last night’s meeting of our area’s largest political group, the 34th District Democrats, at The Hall at Fauntleroy:

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: Speaking to the 34th Dems on behalf of the just-launched, and now renamed, advocacy group were Mat McBride and Joe Szilagyi. “We want to do the greatest good for the greatest number of folks,” explained McBride – not just advocating for the peninsula with Metro, but also addressing issues such as development density without transportation capacity. 6:30 pm November 12th at High Point Center/Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW) is the next meeting, Szilagyi announced, and there will be work to build a transportation-improvement plan “and bring everybody together, come hell or high water, to solve these things” – they’re hoping for all stakeholders, everyone interested, to come and be part of it. (The WSTC website is here.)

SPEAKING OF TRANSPORTATION: Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen spoke toward the start of the meeting regarding the state Senate Transportation Committee‘s upcoming public hearing, Monday 10/14, 6-9 pm at a new location – First Presbyterian Church at 1013 8th Ave. downtown, larger than the original location. “They said they want to hear from regular people – they want to hear from you,” he said. County Councilmember McDermott included concerns in his brief speech toward the meeting’s start, too.

Ahead, other topics from the federal shutdown to immigration reform, and more:

SHUTDOWN CONCERNS REITERATED: Hours after their White Center appearance (WSB coverage here), King County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember Joe McDermott took the microphone at the meeting to again decry the shutdown. Constantine said, “The crazies have taken over the Grand Old Party,” and called the shutdown “a game of chicken… by the Tea Party.”

SPEAKING OF THE SHUTDOWN: A rep for US Rep. Jim McDermott said he’ll be in the area to listen to concerns at Grand Central Bakery in Burien on October 19th.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: Chair Marcee Stone-Vekich spoke about Tuesday’s immigration-reform demonstration in D.C., as she introduced featured speaker David Ayala-Zamora, who leads One America. He began with thanks for Americans “hosting me in this country” – he is from El Salvador – and mentioning that the majority of America’s 12 million undocumented-immigrant residents came here, as did he, hoping for a better life. His is “the largest immigrant-organizing group in the state of Washington,” he said, with chapters in 12 cities around the state, and successes in efforts including the Democratic victory in the 2012 presidential election. Immigration reform, he said, should “create a road map to citizenship … reunite families and keep them together … support gender equity … ensure humane treatment.”

He brought up the immigration-reform bill passed by the Senate, and said advocates are now working on the U.S. House – where, he said, “democracy disappeared with the Speaker of the House” keeping the Senate-approved bill from bringing it to the floor, where Ayala-Zamora contends it would have the votes to pass.

So now what? He invoked a parody Mexican superhero, El Chapulin Colorado and singer Shakira in mentioning that people tend to know entertainers better than they know politicians – such as those who can make the immigration bill become law, or stop it. Now, to make it happen will take a fight – including more protests in the street – he said.

“What should we be doing on the ground?” asked one meeting attendee. Ayala-Zamora mentioned phone-banking and door-knocking. “Immigration reform is becoming a civil-rights issue in this country,” he declared. “Now you will see more direct action in the offices of those not supporting (the reform bill).”

He handed the microphone to a White Center woman who told her story “from my heart” – talking about being separated from her son, back in her country of origin, so she can work here to “support his education.” Bringing families back together would make for a “stronger country,” she said.

ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (who, chair Stone-Vekich mentioned, had spoken to the Admiral Neighborhood Association Tuesday night in support of the statewide ballot measure I-522) … Seattle Municipal Court Judge Ed McKenna, who mentioned that the court is going paperless next year … Stephanie Bowman, running for Port Commission, who thanked the group for its support: “We have so much important work at the Port of Seattle,” including competing with Tacoma (among other ports) for jobs. … A representative spoke on behalf of Seattle School Board candidate Suzanne Dale Estey, also thanking the 34th Dems for their support (with a dual endorsement before the August primary) … Since the 34th also includes part of Burien, one of that city’s council candidates, Joey Martinez, spoke to the group too, saying he was expecting to come to the group next month with the title “Councilmember Martinez.” … Elena Perez from Getting It Right-West Seattle said that the group plans to unveil two alternative development proposals for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way site at its next meeting.

PARKS LEVY: It was pointed out that the Seattle Parks Legacy Advisory Committee is getting closer to recommendations and plans a public hearing on November 7th.

MEMBERSHIP: The 34th DDs have 389 paid members as of this week, it was announced early in the meeting.

The 34th District Democrats usually meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy. Agenda information and other updates can be found at 34dems.org.

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