Socialist Kusama Swanto faces call election in Seattle


Seattle (AP) —First, Henry Bridger II helped Seattle’s socialist city councilor, Kusha Masawant. A liberal voter in one of the most liberal regions of a very liberal city, he loved her fresh outlook and support for a $ 15 minimum wage.

Seven years later, Bridger is leading an effort to bring Swanto back. With a vote scheduled for Tuesday night in Seattle’s Third District, the results will further shift the power of the largest city in the northwest, with business-friendly candidates in the council seats and mayor’s office in last month’s general election. May bring another setback to leftist activists who have seen the acquisition.

At stake is how cities tackle homelessness, police reform, taxation and other pressing issues. Sawant is driving rent management, reducing police funding, and increasing taxes on high-income earners such as Amazon, paying for affordable housing, schools, and community services.

“She literally blows up people who disagree with her,” Bridger said. “If you are not in step with her ideology, you will be an enemy. You are called a right-wing Republican. You are called a racist. You are bullied and I’m being pushed away. “

Sawant, 48, an Indian immigrant and professor of economics, is the longest councilor. She has had a major impact on Seattle’s political direction and direction since she began her political career under the banner of the Socialist Alternative Party in 2012 when she was unable to run for state representatives.

She was elected to the city council the following year, and her threat of promoting voter initiatives with a minimum wage of $ 15 was acknowledged by putting pressure on business leaders and signing a contract with then-Mayor Ed Murray to raise wages to $ 15. rice field. Year. Seattle was the first major city in the United States to adopt such measures.

However, critics say she offers more rhetoric than substance, and her cheeky attitude is incompatible with good governance.

For example, in Seattle and other cities, state law prohibits the adoption of rent management. And last month, the Federal Court of Appeals ruled that two Seattle police officers could sue Sawant for defamation after claiming that the deadly shooting they involved was a “blatant murder.”

The voting paper recall question cites three accusations. A minor election fund breach that Sawant admitted and paid a fine. Her alleged leadership in a protest march to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home, even though Durkan’s address was protected by state confidentiality law due to her previous work as a federal prosecutor. And her decision to bring a large number of protesters into the city hall while the city hall is closed due to a pandemic.

Bridger argued that the motivation for the recall campaign was to hold Sawant responsible for those violations, which had nothing to do with her politics.

But for Sawant’s proponents, the accusation is just an excuse for the profitable efforts of large corporations, developers, and commercial real estate to achieve what failed in 2019. Progressive candidates backfired. Sawant was reelected about 4 percentage points.

Sawant denied that he had led the march to Darkan’s house, but she participated in it.

She defended her decision to bring Black Lives Matter demonstrators into the City Hall following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department. She said the protesters were only in the hour, and it’s important that they be seen in the Hall of Fame.

Brian Cooloulis, a spokesman for the Kusama Solidarity Campaign, called for an attempt to launch Sawant, which is part of the public opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. He said even the timing of the vote was doubtful.

The recall campaign required about 11,000 signatures to be submitted by early August in order to put the question in last month’s vote.

Sawant’s supporters say Sawant comes to power as the turnout of the general election increases, especially as young and low-income voters increase, as opposed to other Tuesday special elections between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I believed it would be more likely to be maintained and wanted it to happen. They went as far as collecting 3,000 signatures for a recall effort to ensure a vote in November.

However, Mr. Bridger did not submit his signature in time for the general election. He said the recall campaign had not been fully collected by the deadline.

“This is a blatant act of voter oppression,” Koulouris said. “Due to the nature of the prosecution, and from the time this election is taking place, it begins to hurt the surface of why this is a right-wing recall.”

Raised by two groups that support recalls — Recall Sawant and ABetter Seattle — Nearly $ 1 million in totalSo is Kshama solidarity.

Andrew Villeneuve, founder of the Northwest Progressive Institute, suggested that going to Darkan’s house with protesters was the most serious crime. Even if Swanto didn’t lead them there, he said she should have opposed it as a political leader. Birneuve called it a threatening act.

Still, he predicted that many voters would see the indictment and conclude that Sawant did not need to be dismissed.

“When I read the accusation, I can think of much worse sins committed by others in the office,” Birneuve said. “Some people find her advocacy useful, others find her advocacy counterproductive. Those who find her advocacy counterproductive seem to favor recalls.”