FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/15/2014
People’s Budget discussed by Sawant as most City Elected Officials head to Chamber of Commerce retreat on taxpayer dime
Seattle – Councilmember Kshama Sawant and allies from the Low Income Housing Institute, Casa Latina, Transit Riders Union, the East African community, housing advocates, social justice activists and other community representatives released the following statement regarding the Mayor’s proposed ‘business as usual’ City Budget:
"Our city is becoming increasingly unaffordable and unlivable for the majority of us. The suffering is being intensified by the fastest rising rents in the country. Rather than urgently addressing this crisis, Councilmembers and the Mayor are all set to deliver a ‘business as usual’ budget.
"In a brazen display of corporate favoritism, seven out of the top ten elected public officials of this city are congregating at the Suncadia luxury resort in Cle Elum for a retreat with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Scandalously, $10,000 of City funds, in other words taxpayer money, will be used to finance these trips this year. Elected officials will be there with the CEO of Alaska Airlines and the CFO of Boeing, among others. For the entire week, all Council meetings are suspended so that elected officials can hobnob with lobbyists and executives from some of the biggest corporations and businesses. Such networking by elected officials with big business is nothing other than service provided in return for campaign funds, while ensuring future career opportunities. And let’s be honest – they are also taking down their next marching orders from the Chamber.
"I don’t take money from big business. My only priority is to serve working people and those who don’t have a voice in government. In contrast to the Chamber retreat, I am going to hold a People’s Budget Hearing October 30th at 6:00PM in City Hall, so that working people, human service providers, immigrant and people of color communities, social and economic justice organizations, and small businesses can talk about their needs and how we can fund them."