Open Letter from Seattle's Organizers


Jon Grant has a ten year track record of fighting and winning transformational change for Seattle’s most marginalized communities. He personally counseled over 4,000 tenants on their rights, preventing evictions, and homelessness. Through community organizing, he passed policy changes that transformed lives of low-income tenants at the federal, state, and city level. He has demonstrated over and over the ability to organize our communities and achieve results that change lives. Jon’s community-based accomplishments include:

  • Organizing with immigrant residents of the Downtowner building in the Chinatown/International District to prevent the eviction of 200 tenants, which changed national HUD policy on Section 8 housing, preventing the displacement of thousands of tenants nationwide.
  • Playing a lead role in a broad coalition that fought for and won new tenant protections for survivors of domestic violence in 2013. SB 5568 Fair Tenant Screening Act expanded domestic violence protections to stop landlords using screening reports to deny housing to tenants who recently survived and escaped abuse.
  • Securing improved tenant protections for all tenants by updating the Residential Landlord Tenant Act for the first time in 15 years with the passage of SHB 1266 in 2011.
  • Holding slumlords accountable by organizing tenants to the pass the Rental Registration & Inspection Ordinance in 2013, which required the city to proactively enforce health and safety codes, improving living conditions for over 27,000 Seattle renters.
  • Defeating 500% rent increases proposed by Seattle Housing Authority through their "Stepping Forward" policy in 2014. Under Jon's leadership, the Tenants Union took a leadership role in forming a citywide coalition of public housing tenants in opposing a 500% rent increase on over 7,000 public housing tenants. After numerous demonstrations, opinion pieces, and direct actions the housing authority was forced to back down from its proposal that would have radically reshaped the racial and economic makeup of our city.

These are just a few examples of many more that demonstrate Jon’s proven track record of results from organizing with our most marginalized neighbors.

Yet, supporters of our opponent consider these kinds of accomplishments to be inconsequential. We disagree.

When we minimize the impact of the work of organizers, what are we really saying? It is disappointing to see people we know and respect treat the work of organizers as somehow irrelevant to the work of being a Seattle City Councilmember. We support Jon precisely because of his previous accomplishments — victories born out of grassroots struggle and radical demands that transformed the lives of our community.

Those of us who struggle to keep a roof over our head, those of our neighbors living outside, unsheltered, those in our community fighting desperately for fair treatment by their landlords — we can’t afford to wait for incremental policy change. Instead, we are organizing for a candidate with a long track record of success built up from the community, by the community, and for the community.

Those who believe change starts and ends inside a boardroom may never truly appreciate the work of the grassroots organizers outside the building. But we know from first hand experience the importance of that work. That’s why we’re voting for Jon Grant.

Signed

Alouise Urness, former Tenants Union organizer*
Andrej Markovčič, Chair, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America*
Ash Clark, Vice-chair, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America*
Barbara Phinney, past president, Local 3197, AFGE, AFL-CIO*
Ben Lindsey, Our Revolution Ballard*
Brent McFarlane, past NW VP, Local 2001, IFPTE, AFL-CIO*
Cheryl Cobbs Murphy, former Executive Director of Solid Ground*
ChrisTiana ObeySumner, housing justice activist
Collin Pucher, Vice Chair of Activism, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America*
Courtney O’Toole, homeless advocate
Dick Knutson, concerned citizen
Dorli Rainey, Advocate for the Homeless Population
Eliana Scott-Thoennes, organizer with Seattle Neighborhood Action Coalition*
Gina Owens, housing reform activist
Jeff Snyder, organizer, Tech Workers Coalition*
Josh Kuh, co-chair of Garfield Young Democratic Socialists of America*
Kamau Chege, AllofUs.org*
Katie Wilson, General Secretary, Transit Riders Union*
KJ Moon, organizer with Transit Riders Union*
Patti Gorman, M.S.W. and activist
Paul Alexander, Activism Chair, Seattle DSA
Rebecca Massey, homeless advocate and resident of Camp Second Chance*
Sally Soriano, former Seattle School Board Member
Sean Smith, resident of Othello Village*
Shaun Bickley, disability justice activist
Stephen Gose, Vice Chair of Seattle Democratic Socialists of America*
Susan Russell, affordable housing advocate
Susanna Lin, Seattle Fair Growth*
Tiffani McCoy, Lead Organizer, Real Change*
Travis Thompson, organizer with Housing For All*
Ubah Warsame Aden, Tukwila School Board candidate


*Organizations for identification purposes only
 
Add your name! Email erin@electjongrant.com with your name and how you would like to be identified.