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Editorial: After the election

By Alan OldStudent
Friday, Nov 6 2015
Editor and Webmaster

Right now, I’m feeling immensely proud of 15 Now Tacoma and what each one of us has done. We 15-Now-Tacoma volunteers can hold our heads high and pump our fists in the air. We’ve been fierce and valiant warriors, and we’ve won a partial victory. We’re feeling positive and energized. Stay tuned! We’re not finished yet! We’re discussing what to do next, and we’ll need everyone’s help for the next round.

We may have lost the election, but we WON the argument. Here’s why:

For months, we made raising the minimum wage the central focus of Tacoma politics. No longer can anybody in Tacoma credibly question the need for raising the minimum wage. That’s a sea change from before. It’s a giant step forward for us and for Tacoma’s working class.

Although we didn’t win passage of Initiative 1, our efforts accomplished an important gain. Initiative 1B doesn’t hike wages high enough for Tacoma’s low-wage workers to pay for basic necessities. But at the same time, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Initiative 1B’s pay-raises are similar to those scheduled for Seattle and SeaTac until year 2018. Moreover, 1B has no carve-outs.

Our citizen’s group forced Tacoma’s political establishment to raise the minimum wage, even though that raise is inadequate. They didn’t want to do it. We forced them to address this issue against their will. We were on the offensive and had the political momentum from the very beginning. The Chamber of Commerce (CoC) and the power structure remained on the defensive throughout this campaign.

The special interests backing 1B acquired $100,000 from 16 big donors to put in their war chest. We were only able to acquired $8000, mostly from many small donors, working people without deep pockets.

There is only one reason why Tacoma’s working class will see ANY increase in the minimum wage AT ALL! That’s because we put Initiative 1 on the ballot. Everyone knows that. The Mayor, the CoC, and the special interests financing Initiative 1B grudgingly admitted as much on several occasions.

We were David with the slingshot of social justice fighting Goliath. Our weapon was the truth about inadequate wages. Their weapons were beaucoup bucks, public relations firms, contacts and support in the universities, in the right-wing think tanks, and in the media.

Keep in touch! We’re still here, and we’re still energized!

–Alan OldStudent Stancliff–

3 comments to Editorial: After the election

  • Doug Nielson

    I don’t understand why you say in the article that you lost the election. You didn’t get everything you were asking for, but you did get part of it. Minimum wage workers are getting a raise. And as you say, the conversation is changed in Tacoma. Never before in Tacoma have workers taken advantage of their ability to vote themselves a raise.

  • Editor

    Doug,

    Thanks for commenting, and especially thanks for the hard work and dedication you put into this campaign. You have raised some good points.

    This fight is not over. You, I, and many other working people will continue fighting for fair pay and working conditions. In fact, it seems to me that the volunteers are not yet ready to disband. From the comments I’ve seen, the conversations I’ve had with the 15 Now Activists, we are not demoralized. The wonderful volunteer-activists of 15 Now Tacoma fully realize that we won a partial victory and are proud of the progress we made, notwithstanding the loss of Initiative 1.

    At the same time, it’s important for those of us who engage in these fights to make a realistic and sober assessment of what we did right, what we did wrong, what gains we made, and what losses we suffered. That’s how we learn to be more effective warriors next time. That way, we can be more effective in the next skirmish of our asymmetric political war. Personally, I’ve got no regrets about our campaign. This campaign was an important step in the right direction, and our crew was remarkable.

    ***AOS***

  • Walter Halftime

    Getting the minimum wage up is great. Totally stoked. But not getting it up to $15/hr would have been amazing. That would be what my more than what I make now, plus tips even. My one criticism for this campaign is that you guys didn’t campaign enough. The only thing I saw was a little sign posted on Portland ave, two weeks before the elections, which I googled and got me informed. Every person I talked to, who was getting paid mininum wage, up until the election, had no idea there was a minimum wage vote going through city hall. Just like every other bill or policy that gets put through city counsel (and congress) the public at large were unawares. Couldn’t you have put signs up outside Safeways? McDonalds? Home Depots? Burger Kings? Elementary and High Schools? Facebook? #Minimumwage? #15hr? You didn’t crowd fund? Kickstarter? Indigogo? gofundme? There were so many resources at your fingertips that you didn’t take advantage of. It’s not what resources you have available its how resourceful you are that makes a difference. Thats my rant. I wish it had turned out differently and I hope there’s a revote.

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