A couple weeks ago, an overflow crowd packed into city hall for a public forum on Seattle’s growing affordable housing crisis, hosted by city council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata. It was a loud, emotional, and politically charged event that clearly demonstrated to Mayor Ed Murray the need for bold and decisive action:
SEATTLE (May 12, 2015) – Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen proposed legislation today that would strengthen election and ethics rules. The legislation amends existing law to explicitly prohibit campaign activities at, or adjacent to, official City sponsored events.
“City Hall should be – and is – a forum for ideas and civic conversation, but taxpayer-funded events should never supplement or support outside campaign activities,” said Mayor Murray. “We need to ensure public resources are not being used for political purposes. Electioneering and fundraising have no place at, or during, City-sponsored events.”
Jesus. Could Ed and his allies on the council tie their undies any tighter in a knot?
To be clear, there was nothing unethical about that affordable housing forum. What some of Sawant’s colleagues are really upset about is that she has once again latched onto an issue that is turning out to be one of the most dominant issues in the 2015 campaign. But she didn’t do that through illegal electioneering. She did that by being in touch with actual working people.
I really wish my friends in the Democratic establishment would focus more on solving the problems that Sawant is attacking instead of focusing on attacking Sawant.