(The following was posted on socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant’s blog.)
In the face of increasing controversy and public outrage, Mayor Murray hasdecided not to give Jorge Carrasco a raise ‘at this time.’ This striking reversal is the outcome of strong public pressure on the City’s political establishment and a sign of the disgust working people feel about executive excess. The lowest paid workers in Seattle must wait years to achieve even a basic living wage, while a massive raise of up to $120,000 a year was being considered for the highest-paid city employee.
This reversal is also a direct result of having a socialist elected representative, without which this issue would have been business-as-usual in City Hall. I first brought this issue to attention in committee, and I thank Councilmember Nick Licata for joining me to vote No in Full Council.
My opposition to Carrasco’s salary increase does not imply any support for right-wing rhetoric against the public sector. In fact, working people need to defiantly oppose corporate politicians who condone and promote Wall-Street-style CEO salaries within the public sector. Salaries of all City employees need to be capped at no more than $150,000, and all City workers should be brought up to at least $15/hour immediately. While the City pays me $117,000 as a Councilmember, I keep only $40,000 a year and use the rest to build social justice movements.
Furthermore, the argument made by Councilmembers that this salary increase to Carrasco was motivated by the need to retain ‘talent’ is belied by the recent revelations of blatant CEO image-polishing and the copper thefts from City Light.
This development is yet another example of how having even one independent, working-class fighter in an otherwise thoroughly corporatized political environment can succeed in holding the establishment accountable. Imagine what would be possible if we had more independent left candidates, not just in Seattle, but statewide and nationally.