Behind the times
Aug. 22 may not immediately strike most of us as a day of particular note. It is a Thursday, there’s no federal holiday and even the random observances such as National Pecan Torte Day are especially minor.
However, this day — more than halfway through the year of our lord 2019 — is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, marking the pay disparity between Black women and White men.
On average, a Black woman would have had to work all of 2018 and up until Aug. 22 in 2019 to match what a White man made in a single year. Black women earn 64 cents for every $1 earned by a White man.
That is actually worse than in previous years — in 2018, Black Women Equal Pay Day was Aug. 7
Native and Latinx women face even steeper disparities. They celebrate their “equal pay” days on Sept. 23 and Nov. 20, respectively.
This gap in earnings, far behind White men and months behind White women, demonstrate ways in which our country has not only failed to overcome its racist roots, but perpetuates economic oppression on marginalized groups.
Green new deal
Seattle reaffirmed its commitment to a green economy Aug. 12 when the City Council passed the Green New Deal resolution enumerating ways to make the city economically and ecologically vibrant for years to come.
The resolution calls for greater efficiencies from buildings, transportation, affordable housing, more renewable energy, climate preparedness and emergency management and job training for people whose livelihoods are impacted by the shift to a new economy.
City councilmembers made tweaks at the Aug. 12 council meeting. Councilmember Kshama Sawant argued for selling renewable energies on the markets to replace fossil fuels and free transit while Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw put in a plug for tree canopy, among other changes.
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that she approved of the resolution and committed to an executive order to make the city’s existing Climate Action Plan easier to implement.
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett signaled that the county would take up a similar message.
Not everyone was happy, of course.
Conservative commentator Dori Monson attempted to lampoon the measure in a piece titled “Seattle Green New Deal a big step toward communism,” making one wonder yet again what, exactly, Monson thinks communism is.
What follows is a series of extreme interpretations of straightforward wording that cause Monson to claim that the Green New Deal is meant to destroy capitalism — it advocates for selling renewable energies on open markets, which certainly looks like capitalism — and suck money out of taxpayers to be redirected to marginalized groups who … also pay taxes. The end will be a communist system of government and finance.
If the Green New Deal means a survivable planet, bring on the revolution.
SEEC won’t let me be
Moms for Seattle. The Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE). Its lefty twin, the Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy. People for Seattle (CAPE).
Spending from these political action committees flooded the City Council primary, translating into an endless stream of mailers and a handful of political ads on Facebook, a medium that isn’t supposed to support political ads in Washington state.
Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez — who won reelection in 2017 and has announced her intentions for the state attorney general spot — wants to put some guardrails on the process in the name of democracy.
Gonzalez championed an ordinance sent to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) to limit people who want to contribute to independent spending committees to $5,000 per person or corporation. That might sound like a lot, but CASE, predominately backed by business interests in favor of centrist-to-right-leaning candidates, raised more than $1 million as of mid-August, $985,050 of which came from donors who gave more than $5,000.
A person has to count down to the 27th donor to CASE to get to a donation that doesn’t exceed $5,000. Amazon, the corporate behemoth that progressives love to hate, kicked in $250,000, just under a quarter of the total.
That kind of money is practically meaningless in a national election but is a lot of cash to be sloshing around one municipality, even one as dynamic as Seattle. And it’s very one-sided. CAPE, a political action committee helmed by Working Washington, raised $73,000. Its largest donation was $25,000 from Nick Hanauer, Seattle’s uncharacteristically progressive billionaire.
SEEC commissioners didn’t greenlight the proposal immediately, saying that they wanted more time to assess its chances in a near-inevitable legal challenge, according to the Stranger. However, several commissioners signaled support for the concept.
Violence in Portland
Rightwing groups clashed with counter-protestors in Portland on Aug. 17, resulting in intermittent violence, 13 arrests and a declaration of a civil disturbance.
The Proud Boys, a designated hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center that was started by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, came to get the attention of President Donald Trump, according to the Daily Beast.
In that regard, they succeeded — the president tweeted about the confrontation and again publicly mulled over the possibility of declaring antifa — a loosely organized group that fights fascism, sometimes with fists — a domestic terror organization.
Those lumped under the term “antifa” could also claim victory. Video shows them chasing right-wingers back into their buses.
At the end of the day, the Proud Boys released a statement saying they would come back every month until Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler “takes charge and removes the scourge of violent domestic terrorists from his city,” according to the Oregonian.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Read the full August 21 - 27 issue.
We have removed the comment section from our website. Here's why.
© 2019 Real Change. All rights reserved.| Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change and donate now to support independent, award-winning journalism.