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Sawant Released Past Solidarity Fund Annual Reports; She Failed To Meet Campaign Promise 8 Of 9 years In Office

Kshama Sawant Seattle

After “multiple pauses” and an impromptu interview, Councilmember Sawant updated the Socialist Alternative site with her donations in 2021 and 2022. A win for financial transparency! The site also reflects the Councilmember’s current salary of “over $140,000 a year” AND pledges to only keep $50,000 of that in solidarity with the average worker.

In another win for financial transparency, we have confirmation that Councilmember Sawant met her campaign promise for 1/9 years in office. We now know that only 68.8% of all donations made by the Kshama Solidarity Fund went to organizations financially connected to the Sawant household.

Financial Transparency Issues

But in a step backward for financial transparency, the Socialist Alternative site no longer shows the Councilmember’s post-tax income nor the annual solidarity amount. Screenshots of the Socialist Alternative site pre and post-update are below.

Screenshot of SA site 3/4/2023

Screenshot from SA 3/8/2023

Although not found on the Socialist Alternative site anymore, a table with the council member’s salary, estimated donation goal (based on worker’s salary of $40k), and the amount actually donated can be found below. Salary information comes from the most reliable source Wikipedia, and donation goal estimates are calculated using the linked site.

YearSalaryEst. Donation GoalActual donations

The Councilmember said that she would only accept an average worker’s salary of $40,000 in 2022, once in March at a Starbucks workers rally and in a June profile in Salon magazine. But the update to the 2021 and 2022 said that she would only accept $50,000. A table with that donation goal can be found below for those years.

YearSalaryEst. Donation GoalActual donatations

In total, Sawant donated over $357,000 over her tenure to organizations both financially connected to her household and not.

Solidarity Fund in 2022

Before the site update, the Councilmember had a remaining balance of $101,000 yet to be donated. As of today, the balance is down to $46,744. Even though the 2021 donations were severely under the donation goal (only $27,231 donated), the massive donation total of nearly $100,000 in 2022 covered that, and more. A screenshot of Kshama Solidarity fund donations in 2022 can be found below.

Screenshot of 2022 Kshama Solidarity donation report.

The Councilmember was extremely philanthropic to workers throughout the United States in 2022, the only year she met her campaign promise. The Solidarity fund gave $20,000 to Amazon Labor Union, $6,000 in direct donations to Starbucks unionization efforts, and $2,020 to MN teacher’s union.

Three “donations” stand out, two donations to the Socialist Alternative totaling $42,000 and one “donation” for $5,264 labeled “IRS Tax Payment.” Paying your taxes can further social justice and worker movements. Sometimes. But I think even the IRS would agree that paying one’s taxes is not a donation to social justice movements. It’s something that everybody is legally obligated to do.

Next, the $42,000 given to Socialist Alternative is in line with the thousands donated to her political party, but this is a complete escalation of this trend. In her nine years in office, Councilmember Sawant has donated $130,786 to the Socialist Alternative, the most for any organization.

Donations to Socialist Alternative account for 36.6% of all donations made by the Councilmember during her tenure in office

15 Now continuing to receive donations

2021 has an interesting donation as well. The Solidarity Fund donated $4,800 to 15 Now, the nonprofit created by Calvin Priest, Sawant’s husband. 15 Now has been administratively dissolved and inactive since June 2019, according to the WA Secretary of State. Since June 2019, Councilmember Sawant has donated $12,000 to 15 Now.

In total, the Councilmember donated $105,050 to 15 Now during her tenure in office, accounting for 29.4% of all donations made.

Screenshot of WA SOS site

Financial Transparency questions remain

The March 2023 update to the Socialist Alternative site has answered some questions, failed to answer others, and created a whole new set of questions.

Questions Answered:

  • How much Councilmember Sawant donated in 2021 and 2022.

Questions Not Answered:

  • Do massive donations made to 15 now, Socialist Alternative, and Tax Amazon create financial conflicts of interest or other ethical problems?
  • What were the causes of the “multiple pauses” in updating the site for the past two years?
  • Why did the Councilmember fail to meet her campaign promise 8/9 years in office?

New Questions:

  • What is the $5,264 “IRS Tax Payment” and why was it labeled as a donation?
  • What was the $42,000 Socialist Alternative donation used for?
  • Why update the site not reflect the Councilmember’s current post-tax income and annual solidarity amount?

I hope that I can get these questions answered directly and honestly by the Councilmember or her team in the future.

– By Connor Nash

Emerald City Comic Con is On at Seattle Convention Center

Seattle Comicon 2023

The Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) is currently in full swing at the Seattle Convention Center. The event is happening at the new Summit building at Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

As a 20th-anniversary celebration event, the Emerald Comic Con in Seattle has attracted over 75,000 visitors. It takes 4 days. At the event, visitors have a chance to meet celebrities, see and buy unique items, and even attend interesting panels. Actor Mark Ruffalo was said to be in attendance too.

The Emerald City Comic Con has seen thousands of attendees from different parts of the country and even Canada.

According to Chris D’Lando, manager of the event, the city is proud to host this year’s 20th anniversary of the Emerald City Comic Con. The response has also been overwhelming. Saturday saw a huge crowd of more than 25,000 attendees, many in colorful costumes.

There were also many vendors with all sorts of items inside the venue. “One thing that hasn’t changed though is that the event is a bunch of nerds from all parts of the country and beyond having great fun together,” D’Lando said.

Game of Ham Co-Chief, Laura Berns, stated that it was a fun and busy time for all in attendance. “It’s great to talk to a lot of people and watch the great costumes and people just having fun,” she said.

Another great thing about this year’s ECCC in Seattle is the fact that it is the first to be held without stringent Covid-19 restrictions since 2020. There were no masking and social distance requirements. “There are of course recommendations for masking but we encourage all attendees to make the best decisions for their sake.

However, everything is being done to ensure everyone remains safe and comfortable at the event,” said D’Lando. “After all, the goal of Comic Con and other similar events is to be yourself and have fun.”

The Emerald City Comic Con was previously known as the Emerald City Comicon. It is a convention for comic book and movie fans that takes place in Seattle. The event first used to be hosted at the Qwest Field, then later at the West Field Plaza and Event center before it moved to the Seattle Convention center in 2008.

The ECCC features a wide range of exciting activities including celebrity signings, discussion panels, prize draws, photo opportunities, and costume competitions. It is attended by many leading industry guests.

The ECCC also includes a large exhibition inside the Exhibitor’s hall where comic retailers from all over the Pacific Northwest showcase a wide array of both vintage and modern comics, statues of famous comic characters, and action figures among others. Some areas of the convention center even have tabletop, RPG, and CCG gaming.

This year’s Emerald City Comic Con has seen a record number of attendees from across the country and Canada. As the 20th anniversary Emerald City Comic Con event, it also marks an important milestone since the ECCC began.

“Lea Thompson at Emerald City Comicon presents Back To The Future at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown – by Lavid Dichterman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Shooting at a Shoreline Parking Lot Leaves Deputy Sheriff of King County and a 34-Year-Old Man with Injuries

Seattle Police

As the city continues to grapple with the problem of rising crime rates and homelessness, another shooting incident involving a King County sheriff and another person happened last Sunday at Shoreline. Reports by investigators suggest that both the deputy sheriff and the 34-year-old man suffered gunshot wounds during a gunfire exchange after what was termed a serious “altercation.”

According to a statement by the investigative team in King County, the shooting happened after 2 A.M when the deputy was on official duty investigating a suspicious car around the 1500 block of Northeast 145th Street.

Court documents filed on Monday after the suspect was arraigned in court indicate that shortly after 2 AM, the deputy sheriff of King County, Clayton Stultz discovered that the owner of an Audi vehicle parked at Chevron had a pending warrant on charges of driving with a suspended license.

The deputy then informed the owner of the car, Ezequiel Medina Parra of the warrant but the suspect simply walked away. The deputy followed but Medina Parra swung around and fired a dozen shots. The deputy sheriff also returned fire striking the suspect.

Both the deputy and the suspect fired their weapons at some point during the altercation striking each other. The deputy and the suspect were both given emergency treatment at the scene before being rushed to the Harborview Medical Center. The reports indicate that none of their injuries were life-threatening.

The 34-year-old man was later discharged from the hospital on Sunday night. He was booked in jail pending investigations for charges of first-degree assault. The deputy was also cleared from the hospital on the same night. In an email sent by the spokesperson of the investigative team, Meeghan Black, the deputy has been serving the Sheriff’s Office since June 2021.

The shooting scene including a food mart and a Chevron gas station was cordoned off by the police on Sunday. Northeast 145th Street was also closed on Sunday. There were several yellow flag markers on the ground at the parking lot and along the street denoting the presence of evidence such as shell casings.

According to one of the residents of the area, Taylor Houghtaling, the shooting occurred after 2 A.M. He described hearing gunfire while in bed and texting his mom while the shooting continued. “Everything then went silent for 30 seconds or so then I heard sirens immediately after,” he said.

According to the witness, the police didn’t take long to arrive at the scene. They searched the entire area with a team of officers, a drone, and K-9 units. The independent use-of-force team will review the incident further. The independent use-of-force team was formed after the passage of a police reform measure known as Initiative940. The initiative was approved by voters in Washington in 2018.

On Monday, the West Seattle suspect was held on a bail of $3 million for allegedly opening fire and shooting the deputy sheriff. He is facing multiple charges including opening fire and injuring a deputy sheriff. The charges against the assailant were filed by the King County prosecutor on Monday morning before the suspect could get a bail hearing. It normally takes 72 hours before the charges are filed but this time they were filed much earlier.

Sawant Denies She Failed To Donate The Majority Of Her Salary To Social Justice Orgs But Her Website Says Otherwise

Sawant Councilmember In Seattle

By Connor Nash

*A summary of Councilmember Sawant’s donations is at the end of the article*

On March 4th, Councilmember Sawant launched the Workers Strike Back movement. The rally had many guest speakers; Amazon union organizer Griffen Ritze, independent journalist Nick Cruise, supporters of Seattle’s caste discrimination ban, and members of Socialist Alternative. After the speakers and a donation drive that garnered $41,000 were over, the Councilmember was ready to speak.

The Councilmember was introduced by one of her council aides who touted her boss’ accomplishments. The aide emphatically affirmed that Kshama Sawant only takes $40,000 of her salary and donates the rest of her six-figure income to social justice organizations.

When Councilmember Sawant took the microphone, she gave the same speech she’s given for the past decade. How the Democratic establishment has been sold out to big business, mentioning the failures of AOC and the Squad, and how capitalism is destroying America. Just your everyday Sawant speech.

Once the rally was over, I asked the Councilmember questions in response to her aide’s claim about her salary, and to follow up on my previous article. I said the Socialist Alternative site does not reflect her only taking a salary of $40,000. I asked if she believed she followed through with her campaign promise when she only donated $4,473 to Social Justice Orgs in 2021 (per the Socialist Alternative website).

Councilmember Sawant responded, “That’s not true.”

I asked if she made donations in 2021 and 2022. And why has the Socialist Alternative website not been updated since 2021?

The Councilmember walked away while directing me to speak with a Socialist Alternative member.

A Workers Strike Back volunteer chimed in, “We’ll update it. We make donations all the time.”

Calvin Priest, the Councilmember’s husband, seconded that statement, “Yes, we made donations.” When responding to the Socialist Alternative website not being updated in two years, Priest said, “That doesn’t mean we don’t make donations. And there have been pauses in updating multiple times.”

Councilmember Sawant told Priest they were leaving, ending the impromptu interview.

Although the Councilmember wants to believe my statements are false, the Socialist Alternative website backs me up while contradicting her. Below is a screenshot of the Socialist Alternative website from March 4th, 2023 showing the Councilmember only reported $4,473 in donations for 2021. A “2021 donations are still being updated” message is at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot from Socialist Alternative website

The “pause” on updating the website may show a lack of motivation by the Sawant team to prove she is still following through on her campaign promise. But this lack of financial transparency contradicts the values of the Kshama Solidarity Fund.

“Seattle City Councilmembers received over $117,000 a year –  the second largest of any city council in the country. Inevitably, such a salary removed Councilmembers from the realities of life for poor and working people.

“I take home just $40,000 per year. This amount is roughly the full-time take-home pay of an average Seattleite. The remainder of my salary goes to a Solidarity Fund to help build social justice movements.

“Towards the end of each calendar year, and more regularly as needed, I will give a full account of my income and how my Solidarity Fund is being used.”

Screenshot from Socialist Alternative site.

The Socialist Alternative site states they would give annual accounts on how the Kshama Solidarity Fund donated funds but failed to meet the last two annual reports. The site also claims that Seattle council members make $117,000 a year, but that was in 2014. Councilmember Sawant made $145,157.04 in 2021, according to Tacoma’s The News Tribune.

The Councilmember’s aide said they will update the Socialist Alternative site with all of the donations Sawant has made. Maybe an update to the site will also include the Councilmember’s current salary and the annual fund amount needed to have a take-home pay of $40,000.

Or maybe the “pause” on financial transparency will continue.

Kshama Solidarity Fund Facts, as of 3/4/2023

The Councilmember’s yearly donation goal is $42,000. The remaining balance rolls over to the following year.

“Sawant-connected orgs” are organizations with a direct financial connection to the Councilmember. Includes donations to 15Now, Socialist Alternative, and Tax Amazon.

2014 Donations
Total amount donated$35,145
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$29,500
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$5,645
Remaining balance$6,855

2015 Donations
Total amount donated$37,600
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$29,250
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$8,350
Remaining balance + roll over$11,255

2016 Donations
Total amount donated$40,675
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$25,325
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$15,350
Remaining balance + roll over$12,580

2017 Donations
Total amount donated$31,759
  Total donated to Sawant- connected orgs$25,325
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$6,434
Remaining balance + roll over$22,821

2018 Donations
Total amount donated$21,424.53
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$18,000
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$3,424.53
Remaining balance + roll over$43,396.47

2019 Donations
Total amount donated$38,974.85
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$31,920
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$7,054.85
Remaining balance + roll over$46,421.62

2020 Donations
Total amount donated$24,518.30
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$17,200
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$7,318.30
Remaining balance + roll over$63,903.32

2021 Donations
Total amount donated$4,473
  Total donated to Sawant-connected orgs$0
  Total donated to non-Sawant orgs$4,473
Remaining balance + roll over$101,430.32*

*I wanted to take this opportunity to make a correction to my previous article. As of 2021, the total amount donated by the Kshama Solidarity Fund is $234,569.68. The total amount donated to non-Sawant organizations was $52,733.68. The total yet to be donated as of 2021 is $101,430.32.

– By Connor Nash

Elyes Gabel Releases New Single – LACUNA. Read More About His Career & Music

Elyes Gabel's new single called LACUNA

On February 28th, 2023, Elyes Gabel released a new music video and single on his Instagram and YouTube Channel called, “Lacuna (Live)”. The single also features Koi Anunta and Glenn Holdaway. The performance was done in Los Angeles and will be available as a single track on March 24th 2023. You’ll be able to grab a digital version at your favorite streaming platform.

The song, LACUNA, has a nice sound and I would describe it as being soulful. It has a mix of Gabel on guitar (fingerpicking) and Koi Anunta on violin & Glenn Holdaway on trumpet.

Elyes Gabel – Live performance of his new single – LACUNA (Koi Anunta on violin & Glenn Holdaway on the trumpet)

Elyes Gabel has made a name for himself as an actor, starring in two hit television shows, Game of Thrones and Scorpion. However, his favorite role to play is himself—a musician. He says music is the only platform where he feels he can be himself, and he’s happiest when he’s playing his guitar. His YouTube channel goes back as far as 11 years, when he started posting homemade videos. He sings his blues rock soul music with his raw, raspy voice that seems to slide from bass to alto effortlessly. He sings from somewhere deep in his soul while strumming his folksy acoustic guitar melody. Many of the videos he has shared are exactly that: him playing guitar and singing the impeccable composition of his songs.

Raised Roman Catholic, Elyes Gabel went to college at the young age of 16. However, when he was 18, he decided to pursue his television acting career instead. London-born Gabel has a well-rounded background, all of which feeds into his unique sound as a musician. His voice has been described as having a “naturally light northern accent.” He was raised partly in Canada and partly in Manchester, and he has an eclectic ancestry. His heritage includes countries such as India, Ireland, Algeria, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Pulling from this range of cultures, his music stands alone. You can hear the influential echoes of his diversity as they merge into one unique and passionate vibe accentuated by lyrics laden with poetic beauty. The ambiance of his sound resonates with the serious and classic truthfulness of an old soul.

On his demeanor, he’s been described as “Real, honest, and edgy with superb natural energy.” The creator of the TV Show Scorpion, Nick Santora, said of him, “Gabel was able to play the difficulty of expressing emotion while being emotional” for his role as Walter O’Brien, a character who had difficulty expressing and processing emotions.

In addition to acting and singing, Gabel has tried his hand at television and short film writing, directing, and producing. His last short film Game Show Hurt debuted in 2019. He also appeared on Apple TV+’s Suspicion alongside Uma Thurman in a thriller based on False Flag, a hit Israeli TV series.

In addition to acting and singing, Gabel is an active philanthropist with interests in a number of non-profits such as American Forces Network’s Stop Bullying Body Positive, the US Tennis Association Foundation, CBS Cares Autism, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the One Step Closer Foundation, the Cerebral Palsy Celebrity Poker Tournament, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Children in Need. He also supports the ALS Association in honor and memory of his maternal grandmother, with whom he was very close. Sadly, she succumbed to ALS when Gabel was a teenager.

These days, he is the frontman for his band, El & The Broken Bones. His website hints at a music project that’s been years in the making and features “imbuing arrangements with his own patina of chaotic yet elegant melodies.” It goes on to describe the music as “rooted in contrast of rough & smooth timbres; the lyrics evoking this duality at times.” Fans of Gabel look forward to the release of more of his indie blues-rock folk music. His deeply moving and poetic lyrics and his aurally appealing and flexible vocals complement the soft acoustic melodies we’ve heard from him thus far. While Elyes Gabel’s career as an actor spans 12 films, 20 television shows, and nine theater roles, he has expressed that his passion for music is what truly inspires him. Looking forward, he plans to make music his main focus in 2023.

Throughout his filmography, Gable has exhibited a wide, extensive range of his performances, giving masterful appearances in a variety of different productions. Here are some of his most memorable performances, gaining him wide appeal across all genres:

Game of Thrones

Premiering in 2011, Game of Thrones took audiences by storm, creating an international fanbase that is still going strong, even after the end of the show. Elyes Gabel’s run on Game of Thrones included working alongside Emilia Clarke, who played iconic heroine Daenerys Targaryen, otherwise known as the Mother of Dragons. Gabel played Rakharo, a Dothraki bodyguard tasked with protecting Daenerys after her ascension to the title of Khaleesi.

Gabel’s first appearance in the show was episode three of season one, titled “Lord Snow,” where he defends Daenerys from her controlling brother Viserys, lashing Viserys around the neck with a horsewhip after he talks down to her. From there, Rakharo’s strong allyship with Daenerys helps her successfully fulfill her role as Khaleesi, despite being viewed as an outsider. At the beginning of season 2, Gabel’s character is unfortunately killed by a rival Dothraki clan, but his character’s loyalty to the Khaleesi followed him until his death.

World War Z

Released in 2013, World War Z is the film adaptation of the 2006 Max Brooks novel of the same name. Starring Brad Pitt, the plot follows the outbreak of a highly infectious zombie virus that inevitably takes over most of the population. Among the survivors are Brad Pitt’s Gerry Lane, a former ranking United Nations official, and Elyes Gabel’s character Andrew Fassbach, a virologist. Deployed to South Korea to track down the virus’s source and maybe develop a vaccine, Fassbach argues that nature is cruel to understand. However, analyzing the pieces left during these trying times is necessary for solving large-scale issues such as the zombie infections at hand.

As soon as they land in South Korea, zombies attack the security personnel sent to accompany them on their journey. In the panic that ensues, Gabel’s character winds up accidentally taking his own life. The complexity of a character like Fassbach humanizes the cast of world elites left over in this apocalypse scenario, reminding viewers that these survivors are all still people. Despite his tragic death, Gabel’s character stands out as a necessary way for the audience to sympathize with the characters in the film.


In this action-drama series, Gabel’s character Walter O’Brien heads a homeland security intel group called Scorpion, whose main goal is to protect the nation’s cyber security. As the starring role of the series, Gabel’s character is central to the plot of the show, which is based on real-life events. Walter’s character is rather stoic, leading his team of experts through their exploits with little to no emotion; however, during times of distress, he drops his cold exterior and shows how he’s feeling through a passionate release of his emotions.

One of the most pivotal plot points in the show includes O’Brien’s father figure, Cabe, lying to O’Brien about a particular project, ultimately changing their relationship for the rest of the series. The interaction begins with Cabe asking O’Brien to build a certain kind of software, and O’Brien, trusting him, complies with the request. Later in the show, O’Brien finds out that Cabe used the technology he built to try and kill a middle eastern leader, but instead, the software led to the death of 2,000 civilians. Gable’s portrayal of O’Brien shows a strong dichotomy between the character’s serious leadership side and his wounded inner child, bringing an intense sense of complexity to the role.

Justice League vs. The Fatal Five

In this animated superhero film, Gabel stars as Star Boy. This previously unknown superhero inevitably joins forces with the Justice League to defeat Mano, Tharok, and the Persuader of the time-traveling supervillain group The Fatal Five. After traveling back in time, Gabel’s Star Boy triggers a trap set by another superhero, inevitably throwing him into a rage and causing Batman to put him into Arkham Asylum. To Batman’s demise, Star Boy breaks out and rejoins the rest of the Justice League; where after he is deemed trustworthy by the rest of the League, the group convenes to solve the problems brought forth by The Fatal Five.

As the heroes and villains battle, Star Boy and Jessica, a newly chosen Green Lantern, begin a sweet and loving friendship. The film climaxes with the Justice League, accompanied by Star Boy, attempting to stop supervillain Eye from splitting the sun and ending the world. Star Boy then sacrifices himself to save the planet, cementing his place as a renowned hero. Gabel’s performance in this film shows his range as an actor by proving he can do more than drama and action movies, highlighting a lesser-known superhero and turning him into a star.

Upcoming Projects

Since the conclusion of Suspicion, Gabel has begun focusing on more passion projects that put him in the director’s chair. Gabel has a penchant for telling stories from behind a camera since he enjoys delving into the details that give rise to fully developed complicated storylines. Stakes, a short film highlighting the stressfulness and explosive dynamics in financial culture, was directed by Elyes in 2017. The 2018 short film Grimshaw, which explores issues of drug addiction, relapse, and the loss of personal autonomy due to addiction, was also directed and produced by Gable. Gable is currently working on his next short film project Game Show Hurt, writing, and directing the film himself. With such a nuanced catalog of work, Gabel’s artistry and commitment to his work are undeniable, leaving fans eager to see his next project.

Are Vehicles Now Crashing More Frequently Into Buildings in Seattle?

Seattle Car Crashing

Just how frequently are cars ramming into buildings across Seattle? Well, you’d be surprised to learn that in 2022, a truck or vehicle crashed into a building in Seattle every three and a half days on average. That is over 100 times in a year.

According to records by the Seattle Fire Department, 2022 saw the highest number of cars crashing into buildings since 2012. Bear in mind that building crashes represent just a small number of all traffic collisions in Seattle. There are thousands of vehicle collisions in the city each year. However, the sheer scale of destruction and danger to human lives caused by cars ramming into buildings are now becoming a cause for concern. The danger of being hit by a car is no longer confined to the streets alone.

Most of the incidents end up causing serious injury. Some like the one that happened in Lake City in 2017 even caused fatalities. The damage caused by cars and trucks to buildings and even residential homes runs into tens of thousands of dollars every year while disrupting businesses for months. A few of the dramatic crashes get a lot of news coverage but their frequency is hardly tracked.

A review of the Seattle Fire Department’s records reveals that cars and trucks have rammed into buildings over 700 times since 2012. Most of the crashes did not even get any news coverage or a response from the fire department. There are many times when a driver reverses into a building but the incident never shows in any report or record.

Last year had 105 recorded collisions into buildings, which was the highest in 10 years. The increasing number of collisions into buildings comes at a time when the entire state is experiencing a record number of traffic-related deaths. Speeding and injuries are on the rise while enforcement remains lower than it used to be in 2019.

Some incidents of vehicles crashing into buildings cause more serious damage than others. For example, in one incident in North Seattle, a vehicle rammed into the Jays Cleaners business and in another one, a car smashed into an auto repair shop on Roosevelt Way. The damage caused by both crashes was serious enough to catch the attention and response of the Fire Department.

Almost a third of buildings that have crashed in Seattle involved a car colliding with the building. Last March, the driver lost control after his car was T-boned along Eastlake Avenue and rammed into the entrance of a popular 90’s music club known as Lo-Fi Seattle. The damage caused by the crash left the popular club closed temporarily as the owners searched for funds via the GoFundMe online platform.

In another incident two months later, a vehicle drove through the Coastal Kitchen restaurant in Capitol Hill during business with customers inside. Luckily, nobody was injured but the car completely damaged the restaurant’s façade and rammed into a support pillar. The damage was enough to elicit a good amount of work and funds to restore the building’s structural integrity. The restaurant was even closed for 6 months.

Cars are not only ramming into commercial buildings but into residential homes too. A third of the 2022 incidents involved single-home or apartment residences. As the rate of vehicle collisions into buildings continues to rise, it is high time they were monitored more seriously by the relevant authorities.

Low Income $1 Fare Expanding to Pierce Transit Soon

Pierce Transit Bus Seattle

The $1 low-income fare is soon coming to Pierce Transit as well. The Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners recently approved a proposal to finally join Seattle’s ORCA LIFT program for low-income fares. The unanimous vote extended Pierce Transit’s low-income fare services to all areas that use ORCA with the exception of Washington State Ferries. ORCA LIFT fare for Pierce Transit will just be $1.

Other transport companies currently running the program include Sound Transit Services, King County Metro, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, Seattle Streetcar, and other intra-county ferries. Pierce Transit plans to start charging the $1 low-income fare starting from April 1, 2023.

The proposal was presented to the board by the senior planner at Pierce Transit, Lanai Tua. According to statistics, 2% of Pierce Transit users are riders who already carry the ORCA LIFT card since they frequently transfer between Sound Transit and Pierce Transit. In a recent poll, 88% of respondents supported PT’s change while just 2% opposed the idea.

Almost 30% of the respondents are already users of the ORCA LIFT program. There was only one public hearing testifier, Laura Svancarek who lives in Downtown-On-The-Go. She fully supported Pierce Transit’s decision to join the ORCA low-income fare program.

The low-income fare program has been gaining ground for some time now. The Sound Transit Board made a decision to make its $1 fares permanent at the end of January this year. This was after the company’s pilot program had reduced the low-income fare to a dollar.

The ORCA LIFT low-income fare has been welcomed by many across Seattle. You qualify for the low-income fare if you are aged between 19 and 64 and if your income falls under 200% of the federal poverty level. The qualification provides you with the chance to pay $1 in fare for a period of one year and can be renewed annually.

If you are above 65 years old, you are entitled to the Regional Reduced Fare Permit, which has the same low fares as the low-income fare program. Children and other riders below 19 years ride free because of the new state grants offered to transit. The grant is offered to every public transport company that accepts the ORCA LIFT program, except the Seattle Center Monorail which charges $1.75 for riders aged between 6 and 18.

The ORCA LIFT program was launched in 2015 by King County Metro, Seattle Streetcars, and Link Light Rail. The low-income fare program had been around for years. Kitsap Transit had been running its own low-income fare program from as far back as 1985. Kitsap Transit was used as a model for the ORCA LIFT program.

There are still other transit services that charge over $1 for low-income riders, such as Seattle King County Ferries, Community Transit, Seattle Center Monorail, and Kitsap fast Ferries for their westbound services.

Low-income fares are also not unique to Seattle. They are available in other cities including New York City, Miami, Dallas, Jacksonville, Columbus, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco Bay Area, and Austin just to mention a few.

Photo is provided by Atomic Taco

Sawant criticizes other socialists for abandoning campaign promises, but did she follow through with one of her own

Seattle Sawant Councilmember

By Connor Nash

On Jan 19, Councilmember Sawant announced that she would not seek reelection but instead start Workers Strike Back, an independent campaign led by and for “rank and file workers.” In her announcement speech, Sawant lambasted not only her usual opponents like Amazon, the parasitic capitalist class, and the corrupt democratic politicians but also her fellow Socialists. She stated:

“…[S]ince 2013 more than 200 self-identified Democratic Socialists candidates have been elected nationally, but unfortunately, with rare exceptions, many have abandoned their campaign promises…”

But it seems Sawant herself has abandoned her most central campaign promise: that she is not in politics for the money. Sawant promised Seattle voters that she would refuse to accept her full councilmember salary, and as a 2013 Seattle Times article states,”… will donate all but about $40,000 to mass movements for social justice.”

The Councilmember has repeated this campaign promise throughout her political career, most recently at a 2022 Starbucks Workers Rally claiming “I accept only the average worker’s wage, taking home only $40,000 of my $146,000 City Council salary, after taxes…”

Despite repeating this promise for nearly a decade, Sawant has failed to fulfill it even once while she has been in office. The total donation goal during Sawant’s tenure in office would be nearly $378,000, but according to her records, she only donated $234,000, a shortfall of $150,000. Of the funds that have been donated and reported, over $181,000 worth of donations went to organizations that have a direct financial connection to Sawant or her household. In total Sawant only donated $52,233.68 to other social justice organizations.

Dr. Phil says, “The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.” So, as we predict how Workers Strike Back will be run, let’s focus on how the Kshama Solidarity Fund and Campaign have been run and which “social justice movements” have received the most.

I also want to apologize for the number of numbers in this article, it can be confusing which is inherent in any article focusing on any organization’s financials. A TLDR is located at the end.

Kshama Solidarity Fund

Located on her political party website, the Socialist Alternative, Councilmember Sawant posts the donations made by the Solidarity Campaign each year. Every year the councilmember failed to donate the website’s stated goal of $42,000 a year, coming close in 2016 ($40,675) and 2019 ($38,974.85). In other years, the Councilmember was severely under her stated goal; $21,424.53 was donated in 2018, $24,518.30 in 2020, and $4,473 in 2021.

Although the Councilmember failed to donate nearly $150,000 over the past decade, she has donated around $234,000, which is to be admired. However, of the total funds donated, 77% were donated to organizations in which Sawant or her household has a vested financial interest.

The organization that the Councilmember donated to the most was 15Now, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on a $15 minimum wage that was registered and run by her husband, Calvin Priest. The Kshama Solidarity campaign stated they donated over $93,000 to 15Now between 2014-2020, many years had high-dollar donations; $19,000 in 2015, $18,000 in 2017, and $7,200 in 2020.

Sawant’s donation to 15Now in 2020 stands out because that was the year the nonprofit failed to renew its nonprofit status with the WA Secretary of State. Priest is still reported to be an officer of 15Now, according to the Councilmember’s 2022 financial disclosure form, even though the 15Now website has not been updated in nearly five years and their Twitter account for almost two years.

2020 was also the year Sawant donated $10,000 to Tax Amazon, an organization created by the Councilmember and whose husband, Priest, was the Political Director. Priest claimed to have earned between $10,000 – $24,999 that year according to the Councilmember’s 2021 financial disclosure form. Tax Amazon operated for only 17 months and was administratively dissolved in September 2021, according to the WA Secretary of State.

The second largest receiver of the Kshama Solidarity Fund is Socialist Alternative, the Councilmember’s political party, receiving nearly $79,000 from 2014-2021. Again, large value donations were made to the political party; $13,800 in 2016 and 2017, and $21,200 in 2019. In return, the Councilmember received trips from the Socialist Alternative party totaling $23,506. Between 2015 and 2020, the Councilmember was flown around the world from Boston and Minneapolis to Brussels and Brazil, all paid for by her political party.

Sawant does report a wide variety of donations to other social justice movements throughout the years including: PFLAG ($22.02), flowers for Edmund Witter($66), the Fair Work Center ($50), memorial flowers for Amina Ahmed ($47.28), graffiti removal ($100), and flowers for activist Imogene Williams ($58.30).

Although these donations seem cherry-picked, they are not outliers, roughly 73% of all the councilmember’s donations were $500 or less. Any amount donated to these organizations and florists is helpful, but the Councilmember has enough in her fund balance to double all donations of $500 or less and have funds left over.

Although Sawant’s Socialist Alternative website shows $0 donated by the Councilmember in 2022, she does claim to have made some donations: $5,000 to the Seattle Educators Strike Fund and $5,000 to the Starbuck workers strike fund.

Kshama Solidarity Campaign (2021)

Kshama Solidarity Fund’s purpose is to donate money from the fund to social justice organizations, while the Kshama Solidarity Campaign’s main goal was to reelect the Councilmember. The Solidarity Campaign is a blueprint for what the political arm of the future Workers Strike Back movement will be. The financial disclosures during the 2021 Recall race show transactions that counter its overall mission, to go after big businesses and the “parasitic capitalists.”

From March to December 2021, the Solidarity campaign made over four dozen transactions at Amazon totaling over $14,000. Purchases include button supplies, ink toner, canopies, printers, paper towels, more canopies, more ink, reusable bags, more canopies, more ink, etc. All the canopies and printers were essential to Sawant’s win in creating her legal pop-up voting sites. The campaign did return over $6,000 worth of equipment in 2022, once the Recall race was over.

Along with Amazon, the campaign made over $3,000 in purchases at Home Depot, which according to Open Secrets is a major donor to the National Republican Senatorial and Congressional Committees. Purchases made at Home Depot were for supplies such as umbrellas, chairs, and more canopies.

These thousands of dollars worth of purchases at multiple big businesses, which attack workers’ rights and support right-wing politicians, seem counter to a Councilmember who in a recent press conference said that “the right wing is on the attack against abortion rights and LGBT issues.”

After 15Now and Tax Amazon failed to renew their nonprofit status, Priest worked on the Kshama Solidarity Campaign at $2,360 per month. Over the course of the Recall campaign, Priest made over $28,000.  Everybody deserves to be paid for their work, but this is yet another example of thousands of dollars going from a Sawant-led organization to the Sawant household. The councilmember herself donated $600 of her own money to the Solidarity Campaign, making the net amount from the Sawant household to the effort nearly -$27,400.

Looking ahead

As we predict the future work of the Workers Strike Back movement, what is the relevant recent history of the Kshama Solidarity Fund and Campaign? We can predict a failure to meet stated financial goals, a siphoning off of money from the movement to organizations directly affiliated with the Sawant household, and thousands spent at corporations that are the anthesis of the movement.

Kshama Solidarity Fund Facts

Total donation goal? $378,000
Yearly donation goal ? $42,000 per year
Total Number actually donated$234,069.68
Total Number of donations119
Total donated to Sawant Organizations$181,836
As Percentage of total donations77.7%
        Total donated to 15Now$93,050
        Total donated to Socialist Alternative$78,786
        Total donated to Tax Amazon$10,000
Total donated to Other Socal Justice Orgs$52,233.68
As Percentage of total donations22.3%
Number of donations ? $50088
Number of donations ? $10019
Funds yet to be donated (as of 2021)$108,825.32

Kshama Solidarity Campaign Facts (2021)

Salary for Calvin Priest$28,316.80
Total Spent at Amazon$14,167.22
Total Returned to Amazon-$6,360.81
Net Spent at Amazon$7,806.41
Total Spent at Home Depot$3,283.09
Total spent on Airline Tickets$543.58
Total Spent at Socialist Alternative$5,066

Read the follow-up article: Sawant Denies She Failed To Donate The Majority Of Her Salary To Social Justice Orgs But Her Website Says Otherwise

Connor Nash

Business Owners in Seattle Decry of the Rising Crime Rate Crisis in the City

Seattle Crime and Police

Reports indicate that crime is on the rise in the city of Seattle. So much so that business owners in the city called an urgent meeting on Tuesday in a barber shop to speak out about the danger and violence plaguing the city. They also called on the city leadership to come to their assistance in the ongoing crisis.

Business owner, Kevin Rinderle, reminded the Seattle City Council of their primary job of protecting the citizens. “We have collectively gathered here to beg for help,” said Rinderle, who runs the Yukon Trading Company.

The meeting was organized by Matt Humphrey, who owns the Steele Barber and Spa. According to Humphrey, the goal of the meeting was to speak out against the rising crime issue in the face of widespread break-ins, violence, and vandalism. The city is also struggling against rising cases of drug use and homelessness. As Humphrey stated, when it comes to crime, people should no longer remain silent but speak out against the vice.

Councilmember Sara Nelson, who was in attendance and a business owner herself faced a barrage of grievances from several business owners including Karen Jahn of Wax Bar that has allegedly been broken into four times. She expressed concerns about making insurance claims repeatedly fearing that the insurer might drop them out altogether if the break-ins persist.

Sara Nelson noted that she had heard all the concerns expressed by the business owners and as a business owner herself and chair of economic development stated that the city cannot afford to lose any more business because of rampant crime.

Some businesses are even taking security matters into their hands. For example, Steve Naramore of the Sip and Ship coffee hybrid store claimed that they now need to have employees standing guard at the door of the store ready to lock in with a deadbolt if they see a suspicious character approaching.

According to Naramore, they have to deal with increasingly aggressive behavior so much that it is common practice for a barista to stand guard at the front door with hands ready o the deadbolt lock. “We are terrified that they may enter and can’t tell what will happen when they do,” said Naramore. The crime in the city may soon force some businesses to pack and leave.

Seattle Violent Crime Spike

In the last few years, Seattle has had to confront the problem of rising cases of violent crime. For instance, fatal shootings increased by 23% last year. The crime wave has not spared major brands as well.

The Seattle Credit Union was forced to close two branches due to low traffic in areas with safety concerns. Starbucks, which is headquartered in Seattle, closed down 6 locations across the city in 2022 citing safety concerns.

Search for Solutions

Several suggestions were offered at the meeting to help curb the rising incidents of criminal activity in the city.

Some business owners suggested bringing in more foot police patrols while others called on the city to reimburse businesses for the losses they undergo whenever they are vandalized.

The business owners also shared helpful tips and advice on how to help a stranger in distress outside their business premises.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis Announces That He Will Seek Reelection in the November Polls

Seattle Election Andrew Lewis

Seattle Councilmember Andrew Lewis has announced that he will defend his seat in the November ballot. Notably, Lewis is the first among the incumbents to announce that he plans to run for another term.

As a self-declared “labor democrat” Lewis takes pride in being an influential voice in “bridge building during his first term.

He was elected as a representative of District 7 in 2019. District 7 covers the areas of Queen Ann, Pioneer Square, and Magnolia. Lewis is also recognized as the youngest council member. He was elected at 29 years of age after serving as an assistant city attorney.

Lewis stated that once he’s reelected, he’ll focus on working closely with all stakeholders in the city including Downtown Seattle Association and 360 Seattle to confront key issues facing the city such as the lack of affordable housing and decline in public safety.

Speaking on Sunday, Lewis stated that it is time when Seattle needs people who are practically ready and willing to work with every coalition. “Seattle is a great city with amazing potential despite having looming problems,” he said.

The Issue of Crime and Police

Councilmember Lewis readily agrees that the most pressing issue for Seattle is crime. To combat crime, Lewis said he plans to find sustainable solutions, especially in high-crime areas such as a section of Third Avenue that has been shortlisted as a crime hot spot. Lately, there has been an increased police presence in the area, fortunately.

Keep in mind that Lewis was among the council members calling for a defunding of the Seattle Police Department by half after the summer protests but he later abandoned his support for defunding the SPD claiming that 50% was too much and possibly a mistake.

Lewis now maintains that his focus is to provide Seattle with a fully funded and staffed police and jail for anyone who threatens public safety. He also promises to seek for alternative responses for better public and behavioral health for the rest of the law-abiding citizenry.

According to Lewis, Seattle is lagging behind in seeking for other alternatives to policing. “Other cities have already taken steps to implement other alternatives to policing in a bid to lower crime,” he said. Lewis further stated that sending people to jail when they don’t need to be incarcerated is not only unsustainable but inhumane too. 

Lewis has previously collaborated with Mayor Bruce Harrell as president of the Parks District Board to almost double the budget of the district and bring in more services. For instance, the board hired over two dozen park rangers and created a ranger program that serves as a non-police security service in the city’s parks.

In the upcoming November election, seven out of 9 council seats are up for grabs as the terms of the incumbents will end on December 30. There are also two citywide seats to be contested in 2025. Other incumbent council members who have hinted at seeking reelection include District 1’s Lisa Herbold, Alex Pederson of District 4, and Deborah Juarez, District 5.

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