Folks, Shaun Scott and I agree: “Progressive” is a meaningless word in Seattle. Anyone can (and everyone does) slap the word on to just about every political thing they want to do. Frankly, too often politicians attempt to engage in bumper-sticker ideology, while striving to take things out of context in order to achieve some sort of “win.”
Actions speak far louder than words. The ability to get things done is far more important than being able to politically grandstand. In fact, this worldview – effective advocacy – earned me the endorsement of the Stranger back in 2015.
Scott’s piece yesterday included a big chunk focused on a Tweetstorm I did pushing back on an oft-repeated campaign theme of Jon Grant – that a $250 contribution amounts to Teresa Mosqueda being “bought.” Scott, unsurprisingly, misquotes a piece I wrote for #Hashtag, and withholds the context, to further his argument. That he goes on to insult using data as part of a method to reach a conclusion is emblematic of the Jon Grant campaign: ignore facts, ignore data, and say whatever you think people want to hear.
It’s telling that Scott and Grant ignore my extensive writing on public policy (which I routinely translate into advocacy). This has included calling for more publicly owned housing, advocating for rent stabilization measures, ways for cities to participate more in combating global warming, and exploring ways to expand revenue options in the city. Not to mention pieces supporting more Missing Middle housing, and looking at Single Family zones, and whether it is appropriate to maintain so much detached single-family zoning, is in order. While Jon Grant and Shaun Scott are holding water for white detached single-family homeowners, I’m more in line with Democratic Socialists in Portland in my support of more housing types throughout the city.
Scott’s characterization that the Tweetstorm somehow amounts to a call for renters to negotiate individually with landlords is absurd. The Tweetstorm included a bit on how developers interact with communities when they are developing. Go ahead and read the whole thing (all 30 Tweets). It appears that Scott and Grant are conflating developers (people who create development) and landlords (people who collect rent – like Jon Grant does at $83.33-374.95 per month for one bedroom in his detached single-family house).
Here’s the thing – developers working with communities on design elements is a good thing. Whether that is for-profit developers, or strictly non-profit developers. In my own neighborhood, this happened with the East Howe Steps project, wherein Daly Partners (a for-profit developer) worked with the community on what the project would look like, and what developer-funded amenities would be included. Or the Marion West building in the University District, where non-profit developer LIHI worked with the community to ensure a better project that better served the needs of not just its tenants, but the neighborhood as a whole. This has nothing to do with landlords like Jon Grant.
These are the details and facts involved in public policy that Grant and his team completely miss. Whether it is out of ignorance, or out of a lack of caring about being honest, I can’t say.
What Scott’s piece illustrates is that Seattle can pick a direction this November. We can vote for the man who created of a toxic work environment for women and people of color, and then has exhibited his toxic masculinity most recently while aggressively accosting a woman canvasser.
Or we can elect a woman of color who has shown an ability to turn words into action, to turn ideas into policy, and to be able to effectuate radical change on a macro level. See, I do believe that people’s actions can be progressive, and when looking at track records of actions, Teresa Mosqueda is the only candidate who has successfully advanced a progressive agenda. She has most definitely earned a seat at the table.
While Jon Grant and Seattle DSA may believe that landlords like Jon Grant deserve the perch of power, and women like Teresa Mosqueda should do the organizing work (as evidenced by Seattle DSA’s own Tweets), I disagree. Empowering women of color must include ensuring their voices are heard in the proverbial “halls of power.” That our city – over 50% renters – still does not have a renter on council is horrible, and Teresa Mosqueda remains the only renter on the ballot this November. By my count, we don’t need more landlords, we need more renters. If we really want to change power dynamics, then let's actually do that by electing women of color who have a history of accomplishment, not another white landlord.
And I say this because we need actionable steps on affordability now. My rent keeps going up, and Mosqueda is the only candidate who supports allowing more housing types throughout the city (while Jon Grant supports keeping detached single-family zoning as-is). That the Washington Low Income Housing Association supports Mosqueda tells me she is the one to make more affordable housing happen.
We need actionable steps to curb gun violence. Just this week, my son’s school had a window broken by a stray bullet. That Alliance for Gun Responsibility is supporting Mosqueda tells me she will be able to get things done to keep my kid safe.
We need actionable steps on access to abortion services, and to implement ideas that show that we as a city will be a partner to women who see their access erode further around the country. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Planned Parenthood agree, and both are supporting Teresa Mosqueda.
Our city must be a leader on environmental stewardship, so future generations can enjoy our planet. The Sierra Club has long agreed, and is supporting Mosqueda as the candidate who will be able to effectively advance policies to protect our planet.
This broad support from activist individuals and organizations isn’t just because Teresa Mosqueda says the right things. It’s because folks who have worked with her know that she gets shit done. Hell, folks who have worked with Grant – from former Executive Directors and Board Members of the Tenants Union to the founder of Solid Ground – agree that Teresa Mosqueda is the best choice. SEIU Local 6 and Robby Stern – both supporters of Jon Grant in the Primary – can now be found on Teresa Mosqueda’s endorsement list.
While Shaun Scott and Jon Grant may be of the belief that we can never work with people where our interests align, I am not. That is a recipe for gridlock, and getting nothing done. And when we get nothing done on affordability, the environment, abortion access, gun violence, so on and so on, it’s not landlords like Jon Grant who suffer – it’s renters like my family. That Jon Grant and Shaun Scott will throw us under the bus says a lot about them, and that Teresa Mosqueda is prepared to continue her work for effective change that benefits working families, low-income households, and kiddos across our city informs me that she is the right choice.