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Tom Shillue


Rantz: Seattle council activism stops when they personally suffer

Seattle City Council member Debora Juarez, right, is embraced by Rachel Heaton, a Muckleshoot tribal member, as Council member Kshama Sawant stands nearby after Heaton gave both women gifts from the Native American community before a Council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Seattle. The City Council voted in favor of removing $3 billion in city funds from Wells Fargo over its funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

This week, not surprisingly, the Seattle City Council decided to punish a business that helped fund a small portion of a project that conflicts with the council’s personal politics — Wells Fargo. But they stopped there: the council wouldn’t dare put any of their own money at risk to punish an organization they disagree with politically.

The city is taking nearly $3 billion out of Wells Fargo’s pockets due to the bank’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline. But the city will continue to profit from the bank, indicating their disgust over a company is only as deep as how much money they can make off of them.

Related: There’s a big wage gap in the office of Seattle gender wage activist

From Broadmoor to West Seattle, Wells Fargo operates 25 banking and ATM locations in the Seattle area. They hire scores of Seattlites who are trying to raise families or put themselves through school, but the council will gladly try to hurt a company — and, by default, these Seattlites — to make a meaningless political point that doesn’t impact DAPL one iota.

Wells Fargo and the city council

We shouldn’t be surprised that too many of these council members don’t quite care about the workers, despite their proclamations otherwise. This is a council led by folks such as Mike O’Brien. He doesn’t truly care about the workers he’s hurting at Wells Fargo (his wife exhibited shockingly unethical business practices that may have been against the law; the only workers O’Brien cares for are ones he’ll ignore after you vote for him).

This is a council led by Lorena Gonzales who, despite speaking out against the gender wage gap, had a horrible gender wage gap (using her logic) in her own office.

Let’s also not forget that Wells Fargo pays plenty of taxes that the city will gladly collect because, despite the council’s self-righteousness, they prefer the money.

If the council truly cared, they’d do something beyond pulling business. This is a mostly symbolic move that won’t hurt the city at all. If the council cared, they’d be willing to suffer some kind of consequences — make an actual sacrifice — rather than hurt a business and local workers.

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