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There were no women last year among Seattle’s 25 best-paid city employees, and there were just two women among city employees with the 25 highest base salaries in 2013, records show.

Fun. 

This is of special interest considering Murray ran on a platform of hiring more women and then promptly fired his press secretary — a woman who is currently suing the city, in part because the dude who got hired after her got hired for more money. 

But sure. The gender wage gap is totally false and we all should just wait our turn, right?

GUEST VOICE: Jess Spear on why you should care

When we started Seattlish, we did it with the goal of representing a diverse range of voices in our community. However, there are just three of us, and there are a lot of points of view that we can’t represent. So, we reached out to some women who have something to say that we, ourselves, can’t. 

Our first contributor is Jess Spear, a climate scientist by trade who is now running as the socialist alternative candidate against Speaker of the House Frank Chopp. We asked her to write a personal essay about what she sees as being the most pressing issues facing voters, especially young people. Here it is. 

“Balancing perspectives” is code for corporations come first

by Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative candidate for State House 43rd LD, position 2

“It sure seems like Chopp is taking his cues from big donors…” – The Stranger, April 2007

While working people face decaying social conditions and record levels of poverty, corporations that dominate our state economy are swimming in profits.

Almost every day we read about some new social service crisis – how there aren’t enough beds for mental health patients, for example – right next to headlines declaring record profits for multinational corporations. The dysfunctional government in Washington, D.C, where the only consensus that can be found is for funding wars and tax breaks for the wealthy, is mirrored in Washington State, where funding for social services, public education, and clean energy projects is constantly put on the back burner or slashed to make room for more corporate tax handouts.

“We want to bring people together and balance different perspectives,” says Frank Chopp, the Speaker of the Washington State House of Representatives, aka my opponent.

If that was true, if it really was a balancing act, then what exactly is being weighed on each side? The perspective that our children’s public schools are underfunded and they aren’t getting the high quality education they deserve is weighed against what, ensuring Boeing is profitable for the next shareholder meeting?

If this is truly a balancing act then the state government should go back to clown college, ‘cause they suck. Or maybe it’s not a balancing act. Maybe it’s nothing more than a capitulation to corporations that pour cash into their election campaigns, which are really nothing more than glossy brochures painting rosy pictures about how everything is peachy keen, when clearly it’s not.

Because, in case you haven’t looked around, shit is not good. We have the most people living in poverty in Washington than in the past 50 years. One in six kids is living in poverty! Our schools are underfunded by billions. Instead of moving rapidly to increase public transit, drastically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, bus routes are getting cut.

Last fall Governor Inslee called a special session to put together a tax package for one of the most profitable corporations in the world, Boeing. Tied to this package was the demand that the workers, the Boeing machinists, give up their guaranteed retirement packages and wage scales.

But since the record-breaking tax handout was passed, over 6,000 jobs have been cut. Shockingly, the legislature failed to tie job creation to the tax handout. No other state legislature competing did that. They all tied their incentive packages to job creation.

Now, so what? Why should I care about Boeing’s tax breaks? Don’t we need those good jobs? Yes, we do need good jobs. But their approach clearly isn’t defending jobs.

When Frank Chopp, the rest of the legislature, and the Governor attempt to explain away these tax breaks by pointing to job creation, we should be quick to point out not just the 6,000 Boeing workers who lost their jobs, but also the budget deficit it created, the teachers that can’t be hired because of it, the roads and bridges that can’t be fixed.

Here’s another reason you should care: the tax handouts cost us public services. They aren’t free. We all pay for them. They make it nearly impossible to come up with enough revenue to fund schools, public transit, and clean energy infrastructure projects.

The Boeing fiasco is just the latest example of corporate servitude that demonstrates the topsy-turvy priorities of the Democratic-majority state government. By refusing to stand up to this corporation, the legislature is giving working people the middle finger.

I say, let’s reciprocate, but with something more meaningful than our middle fingers: our ballots. Vote them out. Vote for candidates willing to advocate and fight for what we need, not what corporations demand.

'I was scared poop-less to tell you the truth,' said the elderly woman who told us she was traumatized and still having trouble sleeping at night.

A raid on a Seattle-area home resulted in the discover of a secret firing range, a buncha guns, and Robert Swift, a former Sonic. It also resulted in a KOMO story featuring the word “poop-less.”

In my time in the movie business I’ve found that I am regarded as a creature that belongs in the past or hidden amidst the garbage of today’s less fortunate […] I’ve worked my hardest to show how diverse and wonderful our people are. I’m not happy with the way the world ignores us. We are a forgotten people. So many pushed aside and left behind. To most we’re a lonely photograph of the past, the days of white-man in early America. When people see us they see the old-west. We’re only ghosts. Most people I meet are surprised to hear that Natives venture off the rez, attend college, keep steady jobs, and drive new cars. But where do they get this kind of thinking? There is truth in alcohol, dysfunction and broken families on the rez, but I feel that only showing that side of life is not helping our stand in modern society at all. Movies are a major ambassador for any people and so far we’ve only been a people of cheap beer, mysticism and poverty.

Frozen River and August: Osage County star Misty Upham, who was found dead yesterday in Auburn, in the Summer 2006 issue of Native American Indigenous Cinema and ArtsMisty sounds like a badass, and we’re so sad we weren’t more familiar with her before her death. RIP.

The family is accepting donations to help get her affairs in order.

What do we do about sexual harassment?

By now, everyone knows about the man who groped a woman and the SPD officer who didn’t want the photo and the social media campaign that launched as a result.

You also probably know that, in a really great (also gross) twist, the man in the photos was identified as a person of interest in multiple groping cases downtown, and that that person of interest, who hasn’t been confirmed to be the same man who sexually assaulted Julia (and yes, it is sexual assault) is a known sex offender. 

To which we say: Yay, citizen journalism! Yay, Sean Whitcomb for swiftly reaching out and handling it after we contacted him! Yay, Julia for doing a really brave, scary thing! Yay, social justice on social media! Yay, the actual justice system doing its job!

But we also say: Boo local media for still blaming the victims. And boo the lack of information about what other women (and men, for that matter) who have experienced this kind of behavior should do. And boo the way that women are made to feel when they are the victims, generally. And boo the fact that a lot of us have internalized those feelings and it’s damn near impossible to shake. 

As Sean told us when we first reported on this, what you should do (if you can/feel safe doing so) is call the police, because this is an active crime. It is a crime in progress.

That’s a lot easier said than done.

In Julia’s case — a case where a woman did the hard thing — the police mishandled the evidence she provided. However, if we all start doing a lot more of this — and make sure that there is a record of every fucking event — the police have a better chance of doing their jobs, and also, more incentive to do so, because if they do not, this (these social media campaigns, this outrage) happens. 

It’s embarrassing and humiliating and shameful to be attacked or harassed or assaulted, which is really fucked up when you think about it because it puts the shame on the victims and also keeps us silent. It also put the onus on the victims to incite change.

It’s really easy to feel sad and negative and angry about this because it fucking sucks. Probably every woman you know has been harassed in some criminal way — and a lot of women you know have been actively attacked or abused. Most of us just roll with it because we have been conditioned to do so, or, even more often, because we don’t feel safe/credible/powerful enough to report it.

But, like, this isn’t ok. This isn’t a good way to live our lives. And there are things everyone — people of every gender, people who have never been harassed or assaulted — can do.

What you can do is you can constantly remind the world — literally anyone who will listen — that female bodies are not public property. No one deserves to be harassed or assaulted. No one deserves to have their body touched if they don’t want it touched, and certainly not while they’re just out doing their shit, living their lives.

Feeling helpless is terrible. So. We have some action items. They are not perfect, but…we hope they help:

  • Don’t let anyone make you feel like you can’t/shouldn’t report and incident of harassment or assault against you.
  • Tell everyone you know — including/especially the local media — that victim blaming of literally any kind is unacceptable.
  • Tell everyone — including/especially the local media — that female bodies are not public property, and that crimes against them matter. 
  • Take care of yourselves and each other.


We love you. 

Win a piece of the 520 bridge!

WITH A HAIKU.

According to WSDOT, you can win a chunk of the “Bridge to Nowhere” by submitting a bad-ass poem. From the presser:

Between Thursday, Oct. 16 and Monday, Oct. 20, tweet a haiku about the “Ramps to Nowhere.” Include the hashtag #520haiku and make sure to follow the@WSDOT_520 Twitter account. On Oct. 21, three Twitter users who contributed a creative haiku and follow the 520 Twitter account will each win a piece of the “Ramps to Nowhere,” taken from the ongoing demolition work.

Remember: A haiku is five, seven, five (in case you, like, didn’t go to elementary school or something).

DO IT DO IT DO IT!

This is not a crime because it involves sex. It’s a crime because it involves the exploitation of vulnerable victims.

Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in this article in The Seattle Times, highlighting the cities new policy of targeting johns who buy sex rather than the women who sell it. 

Of course not every women who sells sex is a vulnerable victim. Many women enter sex work by their own free will and find it empowering, and enjoyable. 

But, that’s not the story for a lot of women.

The illegal status of selling and buying sex in this region drives the trade underground where the only real authorities are pimps and police. It leaves women vulnerable to exploitation, offers them very few opportunities for legal recourse against abuse, and  stigmatizes their experiences. 

These reframes of the criminal justice system are good because they focus on the prevention of trauma rather than punishing things after the fact. But there is still a long way to go before we live in a world where women’s bodies aren’t commodified, exploited, and victimized.