Kshama Sawant wants Internet in Seattle tent cities

Nov 14, 2014, 3:05 PM | Updated: 3:32 pm

Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant says the homeless need the Internet to find jobs and look for s...

Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant says the homeless need the Internet to find jobs and look for shelters and basic services. (Photo: KIRO Radio/Brandi Kruse)

(Photo: KIRO Radio/Brandi Kruse)

Councilmember Kshama Sawant wants a portion of the potential $100,000 set aside in the city’s proposed budget for Seattle’s homeless encampments to outfit tent cities with Internet access.

“All of this is better for them and it’s better for the city,” Sawant told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz Friday after the budget committee agreed on changes to Mayor Ed Murray’s proposal. The full panel will take action on Monday.

Rantz has a feeling Internet access won’t be perceived as a necessity, but Sawant argued even the homeless need it to find jobs and look for shelters and basic services. She urges Seattleites to think about how dependent they are on the Internet.

“From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, how much the Internet and having access to it is part of your life and how deeply your quality of life would be impacted if – just imagine that day you didn’t have Internet access at all. You wouldn’t be able to communicate with a lot of people and you wouldn’t be able to know what’s going on.”

Sawant added that the issue raises a larger question about a municipal broadband.

“There are cities, like Tacoma, that have done it and I know that there’s broad support for that.”

In addition to money for encampments, the budget committee also agreed to provide over $1 million so that Seattle’s lowest paid city workers will make $15 an hour in April.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Kshama Sawant wants Internet in Seattle tent cities