Issue after issue in Seattle pits corporate power and influence peddling against residents and our environment. Initiative 103’s Community Bill of Rights provides the tools residents need to protect and manage what happens in our city.
Take a quick look at some of the issues emerging in Seattle to see how I103 seeks to put people first in decision making processes:
Ending Corporate Personhood
- The phonebook companies’ appeal of its failed lawsuit against the City of Seattle for its opt out program is wasting taxpayer money and they may just win. The entire suit is based on their claim of corporate personhood and free speech rights. Read more
Restricting Corporate Lobbying to Public Forums
- Mayor McGinn and hedge fund investor Chris Hansen announce a privately hatched plan to build an NBA arena with $200 million in city funds. I103 would require these discussions happen transparently, in public from the beginning.
- Washington State has a huge tax fairness problem related to corporate influence peddling in Olympia and tax breaks. In the past twelve years, Microsoft’s lobbying and Nevada tax dodge has saved the company $4.3 billion. As a result, Gov. Gregoire has had to cut $4 billion from K-12 and Higher Education since 2008. I103 would require the company to be public and transparent about its efforts in Seattle and its a first step towards a state lobbying restriction.
- Increasingly, business interests are seeking to control public schools and privatize public school funding through charter schools. Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched public attacks on the Seattle’s School Board and a school charter movement effort (funded in part by wealthy technology families such as Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer’s wife) has launched a state initiative.
Eliminating Corporate Spending on Elections
- In 2011, Costco spent a record $22 million to pass a liquor privatization initiative. I103 would prevent companies like Costco from advertising state initiatives to Seattle residents.
- In 2009, the American Chemistry Council spent $1.4 million on a referendum to repeal Seattle’s plastic bag ban. I103 would outlaw corporate contributions to city campaigns.
- Each year, Tim Eyman uses corporate funds to pay signature gatherers to qualify state initiatives. This year, BP and Conoco contributed $250,000 for Initiative 1185. I103 would prevent any of this money from being spent in Seattle.
Rights for Nature
- Peabody Energy is pushing a major expansion for coal trains on the Seattle waterfront (see also Railroad Union Stretches Truth About Coal Dust and Climate Solutions). No state or federal regulations give Seattle the ability to say no to fifty years of 18 daily mile long coal trains. I103’s Rights for Nature gives both the City of Seattle and Seattle residents the right to stop this kind of environmental pollution. See also Coal Found Along Washington Waterways.
Citizen Oversight of Police
- The United States Department of Justice finds that the Seattle Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and patterns of racially biased policing which include excessive use of force. Nothing in the Mayor’s 20/20 settlement proposal addresses the issue of citizen oversight. I103 would move the internal police Office of Professional Accountability from reporting to the Police Chief to the Mayor. And, I103 establishes a right of citizen oversight of the police.
- The Mayor seems comfortable spending $200 million of public funds for a private NBA arena but unwilling to spend $41 million to begin implementing a more publicly accountable police force.
Rights for Workers
- Seattle-based Amazon has been accused of operating sweatshops and treating its workers poorly) as well as tax dodging and funding right wing lobbying group ALEC). I103 reinforces state and federal rights to collective bargaining and Constitutional rights in the workplace, which will support whistleblowers.
Neighborhood Rights to Approve Zoning Changes
- The Capitol Hill Community Council rejected the Mayor’s proposed zoning changes for the neighborhood. Similarly, SODO area businesses have serious concerns about the new NBA arena proposal. I103’s Rights for Neighborhoods ensure that local residents have majority approval over any commercial zoning changes.
Rights to Network Neutrality
- The City of Seattle pulled the plug on its municipal WiFi pilots and has abandoned its efforts towards a citywide broadband network. Comcast is already violating network neutrality through its private deals with Microsoft. I103 would make present day network neutrality law in Seattle.