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Kshama Sawant’s use of city resources comes into question

Sally Bagshaw. (City of Seattle)

Seattle Councilmember Sally Bagshaw questioned fellow councilmember Kshama Sawant’s use of resources as Sawant continues to push anti-big business rhetoric.

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“I do not share the anti-business animus that I feel you are sponsoring,” Bagshaw told Sawant.

“On multiple occasions, I’ve seen your staff using our copiers to print your signs,” Bagshaw explained Monday morning. “Most recently the ‘tax Amazon’ by the affordable housing alliance. I just don’t think it’s right for us to be using city resources or the copy machines to promote something that not all of us agree to.”

Sawant, who sounded caught off guard by the honesty, responded.

“She is absolutely welcome to her opinion and I appreciate her being honest and open about this … While I do not agree, at all, with Councilmember Bagshaw’s opinion, I think that’s a rare occasion when a politician has come out and spoken which side they’re on. The animus as Councilmember Bagshaw talks about is the struggle of working people to find affordable housing in this city. In fact, our Affordable Housing Alliance and housing movement have been the most vocal in stating we do not want this tax to land on small businesses.

“And as far as council resources … you can choose not to use your office for really fighting for the interests of working people and to build movements. I strongly believe council resources should absolutely be used to build social movements and not to further the interests of the Chamber of Commerce.”

Council President Bruce Harrell then wrapped up the conversation.

“OK. Thank you very much for that lively debate,” he said.

Promotional fliers from Sawant’s office have been used to raise awareness of public demonstrations ahead of the council’s decision on a head tax on big businesses. Wayne Barnett, the executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, said last week a flier promoting a tax on Amazon — complete with the City of Seattle’s seal from Sawant’s office — did not violate the ethics code.

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