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–