Dispatches, Local Politics

Endorsements 2020

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Close-up photo of Sherae Lascelles, color gradient map with green highlights and deep blue shadows, who is running against Frank Chop. White text is overtop with the words Seattle DSA Endorsements 2020

Endorsements and voting guide from Seattle DSA for the 2020 General Election are as follows:

Electoral Endorsements

Sherae Lascelles for 43rd Legislative District

Close-up portrait photography of Sherae Lascelles with glass, blue-dyed hair in braids, glasses, and nose ring, lowing upward at camera.
Sherae Lascelles

Members overwhelming voted to endorse Sherae Lascelles for 43rd legislative district. They are running on a progressive platform against veteran Democrat, Frank Chopp. Their platform includes:

  • create alternative first responders to reduce incidences of arrest, state violence, trauma, and egregious fines
  • decriminalize sex work
  • treat drug use as a public health issue,
  • housing as a human right,
  • healthcare as a human right,
  • create a municipal bank to fund the people, infrastructure, and reduce debt,
  • fund green infrastructure projects and union jobs,
  • approach housing, healthcare, air quality, transportation, education, public health, police, labor, and harm reduction as issues of race,
  • universal childcare and tuition-free futures.

Ballot Measures

The Local Council endorsed County Charter Amendments 5 and 6:

Charter Amendment No. 5 – Make Sheriff an Appointed Position

The current position gives too much autonomy to the sheriff with no accountability, especially compared to other departments. Amendment 5 would move to an appointed position, allowing for the County Council to hold the entire department accountable.

Charter Amendment No. 6 – Structure and Duties of the Department of Public Safety

If Charter Amendment No. 6 is adopted, Charter Section 350.20.40 would be amended to provide that the county sheriff’s duties be specified by ordinance, allow the council to combine the department of public safety with other departments, and give the council the authority to decrease the department’s duties. 

This amendment allows the people to eliminate policing duties and divert budgets to build public safety around human dignity, not brutality. We need fire crews, counselors, and other specialized personnel suited to care, not more armed patrols that harm. To uphold that Black and Indigenous lives do indeed matter, we must start from zero.

Public Safety offices, like the Sheriff, are unaccountable to the County Council under the current charter. No exaggeration. Neither their duties nor their budget can be changed, let alone diverted toward community needs, by the County Council or Executive today.


Chapter Priorities

  1. Fighting alongside activists to defund the Seattle Police Department by 50%; redirect those funds towards housing, health and safety initiatives in BIPOC communities via the 4-point plan; and release all protesters without charges. We will:
    • Use the strength of our rapidly growing membership in all Seattle districts to pressure councilmembers to follow through with these demands. The Local Council will provide support to all members in leading phone zaps, phone banks, and organize town halls where a city councilmember is invited to speak with their constituents online to put pressure on specific councilmembers.
    • Build off our work that brought together a left coalition of union activists that successfully kicked the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) out of the MLK Labor Council, by continuing to help build a labor-rooted campaign to defund the SPD.
    • Discuss with other activists the idea of organizing a mass march in late September or early October around these demands to step up pressure on the City Council when it is debating the biannual City budget.
  2. Campaigning to pressure companies to divest from the Seattle Police Foundation and for the City Council to ban the funding or sponsoring of the police by corporations or individuals, through the DivestSPD campaign, which includes: 
    • Continuing to build up the DivestSPD social media accounts and longer blog articles. These are opportunities to make the connection between big business and the police, as an informational and educational service to the movement;
    • Connecting with workplace organizing groups and unions at companies currently invested in the Seattle Police Foundation (including Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon) to assist in building worker-led divest campaigns;
    • Helping organize meetings, teach-ins, protests, and other forms of participatory and escalatory peaceful action.
  3. Raising the need to fight any attempt at austerity imposed on working-class communities. We will raise the demand for taxes on big business and the rich to fund COVID-19 relief and reparations in the form of massive investments in BIPOC working-class communities (non-coercive social services, social housing, green jobs, free transit, childcare, and healthcare), and other priorities decided upon by these communities.
  4. Assisting efforts to force Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign or be removed from office on the basis of her violent suppression of protesters, dismissal of the demands of the movement, and career-long history of anti-black and -brown, anti-working class, anti-homeless policies.

Raising the need to fundamentally change society, overcome capitalism, and fight for a democratic socialist society that uses the resources on this planet for the benefit of all on the basis of racial, gender, environmental, and economic justice. We recognize that to overcome a system based on exploitation and oppression we need to fight for political and economic power. This means building a strong, fighting labor movement; working towards a new socialist, working-class political party; and ultimately fighting for an end to capitalism.

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