2 more big election issues, plus how to take climate action, @ 34th District Democrats

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two statewide ballot measures on which you’re about to vote were considered Wednesday night by our area’s biggest political organization, the 34th District Democrats.

And they got suggestions on how to take action on the climate crisis.

First, the ballot measures. In Seattle, they’ve been overshadowed by the City Council races, so you might not have heard much about them.

Referendum 88 will ask you whether to approve or reject a measure that passed the state Legislature, Initiative 1000, which would restore affirmative action, 21 years after a ballot measure outlawed it. The 34th DDs voted to endorse approval of R-88.

Initiative 976 is the latest car-tab-limiting proposal from Tim Eyman. Two high-level 976 opponents spoke: State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon said it would lead to – in this area – ferry cuts, bus-service “impairment,” and transportation infrastructure maintenance challenges. He acknowledged it was likely to be popular outside Seattle, so, “Every vote we turn out in this community (matters extra) … the way we defeat a Tim Eyman initiative is to run up the score in districts like the 34th.”

Also speaking against 976, King County Executive Dow Constantine, who added that 976 could be a threat to West Seattle light-rail funding. The 34th DDs agreed with the electeds and voted to oppose 976. Voting starts late next week, once your ballot arrives; the deadline is Election Night, Tuesday, November 5th.

Before the endorsement votes, the 34th DDs heard from a climate activist:

CLIMATE CHANGE: The featured speaker was Alec Connon of 350 Seattle.

“Climate change is so big and so scary … it’s really hard to talk about it,” and that’s why many people don’t talk about it. So Connon started by asking attendees to pair off and, well, talk about it – for two minutes. The topic: Why you care about climate change.

Some then shared what they’d said. A woman said her love for Lincoln Park and the fragility of its wildlife motivate her. Another woman said she is concerned about the looming climate-refugee migration. Connon said 143 million people are projected to be displaced in three regions by 2050.

What is one thing somebody has done about climate change? was his next question.

A woman spoke of her young daughter’s love for orcas and politicians’ inability to take action. Her daughter’s generation, she said, teaches her – “they know what to do.”

Connon said youth give him hope. “Our crisis is grave, but in the last 12 months,” youth activism has taken center stage. New efforts like the Sunrise Movement and Green New Deal have emerged.

34th board member Chris Porter said that as a beekeeper, he’s been turning his yard into a wildlife habitat.

Individual behavior changes are great but, “The crisis is way past driving a Prius and changing your light bulbs … we need to transition away from fossil fuels in the next 10 years,” he declared.

Moving into his presentation, Connon first showed the correlation between carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the temperature of the Earth.

Besides the climate-change effects you’ve probably hard of, there are others such as a 40 percent decline in Phytoplankton populations since 1970 – 50% of the world’s coral reefs dead or dying because of acidification. He said he’s a diver and “it breaks my heart to know there’s an entire world (underwater) dying” because of human misdeeds.

So what can you do about it? Connon ran down a long list of local groups doing a lot. His group “works toward climate justice by organizing people to make deep system change, resisting fossil fuels, building momentum for heathy alternatives; and fostering resilient, just and welcoming communities.”

He had a photo from the Shell No! “kayaktivist” protests centered in West Seattle waters four years ago. That fall Shell abandoned its Arctic-drilling plans. Locally, the Fossil-Free KC initiative was co-sponsored by Councilmember Joe McDermott. Connon talked about other local actions including protests at the Tacoma LNG site and Chase banks. “Just three US banks are responsible for 1/3 the world’s fracking funding” – US Bank, Chase, and Wells Fargo.

He talked about the Seattle City Council’s endorsement of a “Settle Green New Deal” and stressed that the world needs to be carbon-neutral by 2050 and “we need to be the leader on that.” He would “rather see us aim for 2030 and make it by 2040” but if we aim for 2050 “and don’t get there unti 2060 … we’re screwed, we’re really screwed.”

He pitched for the proposed natural-gas piping ban in new Seattle buildings, repeating that much gas is “fracked.” This policy alone would reduce Seattle’s climate pollution by 5%, he said. He also said 60% of homes cooking with gas stoves have indoor air quality problems.

He pitched for joining his group’s Civic Action Teams.

What else can you do? Connon’s suggestions:
Get involved with a climate activist organization
Join the Seattle for a Green New Deal campaign
Support Healthy Homes, Healthy Buildings (gas piping ban) policy by calling CM LisaHerbold
Donate to a climate justice organization

The 34th District Democrats meet 7 pm second Wednesdays most months; watch 34dems.org for updates.

10 Replies to "2 more big election issues, plus how to take climate action, @ 34th District Democrats"

  • 935 October 10, 2019 (4:26 pm)

    “run up the score in districts like the 34th”Hyperbole like this is what keeps the political divisions growing. Way to exacerbate the disaffected conservative voter with no voice and even less representation.

    • Felix Hrounds October 10, 2019 (5:48 pm)

      Maybe conservatives should run some candidates with ideas other than “give more money to rich people”.

  • Mj October 10, 2019 (5:48 pm)

    Initiative 976 could very well pass.  The issue is the unrealistic vehicle valuation schedule used by Sound Transit.  This is the issue that the legislature failed to fix and was the issue that caused the initiative to pass in the past.  

    • Yeah October 10, 2019 (6:22 pm)

      I don’t see a flawed valuation schedule as a reason to gut transportation funding completely and remove taxing authority over vehicle tabs.  I didn’t realize just how broad this initiative was until I got my voter’s pamphlet and read the legislation.  This is beyond awful.  It’s clearly directed at Sound Transit, trying to defund them.  Why does this referendum include automatic repeal of rental vehicle taxes?  These taxes are mostly paid by tourists and your insurance company.  These taxes are helping to maintain the state’s transportation infrastructure and public transit systems.  Why limit voters’ ability to approve future MVETs?  How is that democracy?  It even bars MVETs to pay for passenger-only ferries, even though there are none in existence.  Look, I want to keep all my tax money and spend it at Full Tilt just like everyone else, but that money pays for things we need.  That affect ALL modes of transportation, not just the light rail.  I reduced my car tabs plenty by buying used cars instead of new ones.  This measure is WAY too extreme.

  • Arn October 10, 2019 (5:53 pm)

    935, if you’re a disaffected conservative voter, you have one person to blame – and he’s sitting in the White House.

  • Mj October 10, 2019 (7:38 pm)

    Yeah I too buy used cars, and the last time was from a dealership and the State valued the vehicle at more than I paid a dealer!  Years ago a similar initiative passed and polling after showed that the flawed valuation schedule was the reason.  If the legislature simply fixed this it would remove a major annoyance for many people.  It’s simply not fair to tax someone based on false valuation.  If the initiative passes this item would likely be the reason.

  • TJ October 10, 2019 (7:41 pm)

    935, I am with you, but there is no use to complain about conservative voices not being heard. It doesn’t matter who “is sitting in the white house”, the Democrats won’t like any R’s. They constantly rail about “giving more money to rich people” and the burden on middle and low income of taxes, yet are in the midst of passing along the biggest increases ever in the last 5 years. Crying about any iniative that limits their tax income, while somehow actually backing the ridiculous capitalism killing Green New Deal is a sign of their ihnorance. This progressive social experiment here is already starting to crumble. I’m 47, and if my business can continue for 2 more years at my current level I will be in a position to sit back and not care how bad things get. 

  • Sillygoose October 11, 2019 (3:44 pm)

    I am VOTING YES on 976, this city and its ridiculous non budget all in one money pot has to be stopped.  How many years are the city planners and council going to be allowed to tax us illegally with no accountability!!!  The voters have voted this down twice yet the corrupt council continues to approve it.  VOTE YES 976 stop the stealing of our hard earned dollars!! The roads and bridges are failing and need repair due to misappropriated funding by the city officials not Tim Eyman.  YES 976

  • anonyme October 11, 2019 (5:07 pm)

    Everything you need to know about why there has been no effective action on climate change is in the responses above.  Every single one is about car tabs.  Nothing else.  Everyone is so obsessed about anything to do with their precious automobiles that they can’t see the giant tombstone sitting on the hood like a taxi beacon.  Buh-bye, homo sapiens. 

    • Canton October 11, 2019 (8:15 pm)

      The earth has experienced climate changes for all 4.5 billion years of existence. Greenhouse periods, last hundreds of millions of years, with zero ice on the planet. There have been 5 prominent ice ages, that average 80,000 years. Humans are a tiny speck in the earth’s existence. The earth has a ying/yang effect that does what it wants, climate wise. Not saying we can’t be good stewards, but it has little effect on what the earth will do naturally.

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