Category: Issues & Causes

Coldwell Banker Bain hosts 50-Family Garage Sale on Capitol Hill in Seattle Dec. 12-13

We’re trying to raise some money for a friend who has been diagnosed
with ALS. He has a wife and two boys and we need to make some
accommodations in his home so he can stay there as long as possible.

The garage sale will be at Coldwell Banker Bain building, at 1661 E.
Olive Way in Seattle this weekend, downstairs in the garage, so it’s rain-or-shine. This is right across the street from B&O Espresso and there is free parking in the lot behind the building.

We are also accepting donations of unwanted items, if you want to help.

You can drop them off at our office at 1661 E. Olive Way or call our office at 206-322-8711 and either I or someone else from the office will do a pick-up.

The big garage sale is Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 13 & 14 from 10am until 4pm. I know this is a busy time right before the holiday’s, but the need is now and we wanted to help him as soon as possible.


The Scab

Every year on November 22nd, I like to pause and reflect about the body of work from writer and rabble-rouser Jack London. Jack London, who died today in 1916, was most famous for writing “The Call of the Wild”, but he was also a brilliant union organizer and author of “The Scab”.

What is a scab? Simply, a person who purports to do the same amount of work as another person, but for less money. According to Jack London, anyone who undercuts another person, as far as wages or compensation for labor, may be considered a “scab”.

In the real world, a scab would be someone who either crosses a picket line to work or someone who agrees to do the same work for less money. “Scab” is also used to refer to workers who cave too easily to concessions or someone who offers their services for less money specifically to undercut a competitor. (In labor terms, what is a scab?)

It’s a good old-fashioned term with a rich history and those who choose to go through life participating in scabby behavoir should embrace the term and own it.

Writes London:

In a competitive society, where men struggle with one another for food and shelter, what is more natural than that generosity, when it diminishes the food and shelter of men other than he who is generous, should be held an accursed thing? Wise old saws to the contrary, he who takes from a man’s purse takes from his existence. To strike at a man’s food and shelter is to strike at his life; and in a society organized on a tooth-and-nail basis, such an act, performed though it may be under the guise of generosity, is none the less menacing and terrible.

It is for this reason that a laborer is so fiercely hostile to another laborer who offers to work for less pay or longer hours. To hold his place, (which is to live), he must offset this offer by another equally liberal, which is equivalent to giving away somewhat from the food and shelter he enjoys. To sell his day’s work for $2, instead of $2.50, means that he, his wife, and his children will not have so good a roof over their heads, so warm clothes on their backs, so substantial food in their stomachs. Meat will be bought less frequently and it will be tougher and less nutritious, stout new shoes will go less often on the children’s feet, and disease and death will be more imminent in a cheaper house and neighborhood.

Thus the generous laborer, giving more of a day’s work for less return (measured in terms of food and shelter), threatens the life of his less generous brother laborer, and at the best, if he does not destroy that life, he diminishes it. Whereupon the less generous laborer looks upon him as an enemy, and, as men are inclined to do in a tooth-and-nail society, he tries to kill the man who is trying to kill him.

Before someone writes in complaining that this definition of a “Scab” is defamatory, consider the following:

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.

This passage figured in a 1974 Supreme Court case, in which justice Thurgood Marshall quoted the passage in full and referred to it as “a well-known piece of trade union literature, generally attributed to author Jack London.” A union newsletter had published a “list of scabs,” which was granted to be factual and therefore not libellous, but then went on to quote the passage as the “definition of a scab.” The case turned on the question of whether the “definition” was defamatory. The court ruled that “Jack London’s… ‘definition of a scab’ is merely rhetorical hyperbole, a lusty and imaginative expression of the contempt felt by union members towards those who refuse to join,” and as such was not libellous and was protected under the First Amendment.

Jack London wrote The Scab in 1903 and died in 1916 at the age of 40…..

How Labor Scabs Work

Labor Unions in the U.S.

Bill Gates to address Realtors at Paul Allen First Citizen Awards

Four speakers from different aspects of Paul G. Allen’s life will share the stage at a civic banquet on Oct. 30 to pay tribute to Allen, this year’s recipient of the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award.

Bill Gates, James Kelly, Sen. Patty Murray and Tod Leiweke will share accolades and anecdotes when they talk about their connection to Allen, founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., and some of the reasons for his selection as 2008’s First Citizen. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the prestigious award, which was created by the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors® (SKCAR) in 1939 to celebrate community leadership, volunteerism and public service.

Paul Allen is an empire builder and with his vision, he has changed the look, feel and vision of Seattle. He owns 2,600,000 square feet in the South Lake Union neighborhood. He’s developed new residential, office, retail and biotech research space and this redevelopment represents one of the largest urban revitalization projects in the country. His employees lobbied the Mayor and Seattle City Council to upzone this and other neighborhoods around the city, changing the social fabric and the conversion of Seattle as parochial backwater to bustling cityscape with distinct high-rise urban villages.

I have mixed feelings about his accomplishments and contributions to our city. On one hand, I appreciate his philanthropy, his donations to the UW and his creation of his Brain Institute. On the other hand, I’m not sure I approve of the uh…. Vancouverizaton of the South Lake Union area. The most interesting neighborhoods grow organically, made up of residents, shops, shopkeepers, services, art and public spaces. I do not believe that planned communities can ever match the vibrancy of a neighborhood that has developed over many years. His South Lake Union community has created residences to house the workers that work there. Like a glittery, upscale company town, it’s a fancy rat cage for the little mousies that can’t step off the treadmill for fear they’ll lose their granite-countered condos.

I am also bitter about problems that only Paul Allen could have solved. I don’t fault Bill for not funding certain frivolous community pet projects. After all, he has a family and is busy saving lives with his Gates Foundation. But Paul, he’s buying yachts and his favorite sports teams and venues, the EMP and the Science Fiction Museum. If he can spend his money on those boy-toy sort of things, he could certainly spend some of that on some of my favorite civic projects.

One of our biggest losses was the Kalakala. a former ferry that operated on Puget Sound from 1935 until its retirement in 1967.

Kalakala was notable for its unique streamlined superstructure, art deco styling, and luxurious amenities. The vessel was a popular attraction for locals and tourists, and was voted second only to the Space Needle in popularity among visitors to Seattle during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

After its retirement in 1967, the vessel was sold to a seafood processing company and towed to Alaska to work as a factory ship. There, a group of artists discovered the rusting hulk in 1984, purchased the vessel, and managed to refloat her and tow her back to Seattle in 1998. The vessel has since been a source of controversy as its owners were unable to raise sufficient funds to refurbish the vessel or even to keep her moored in Seattle’s Union Bay. That’s where Paul Allen could have stepped in. The vessel was sold in 2004 to a private investor, who moved it to an anchorage in Neah Bay provided by the Makah Tribe. Who knows what’s going to happen to it now.

What a great opportunity Paul had, to keep the Kalakala in Seattle and moor it in South Lake Union, at the Center for Wooden Boats and near the Armory where the Museum of History and Industry will be relocating.

It’s probably not too late. He could buy back the Kalakala, restore it, turn it into a floating museum or fancy dinner ship or what ever he wanted. Paul Allen owns the worlds largest privately owned yacht, the “Octopus” plus an entire fleet of other yachts, including the Tatoosh and the Meduse. He obviously loves boats and feels an affinity for the sea. This would have been the perfect public works project for him and the citizens of Seattle.

As you can see, I’m still bitter about this lost opportunity.

But I’ll be there, at the dinner to honor the things he has done right. It’s this coming Thursday, October 30th at the Sheraton in Downtown Seattle. Though this civic award is sponsored by the Seattle King County Association of Realtors, anyone can attend. Click HERE for tickets.