Jess Spear Arrested Protesting Oil Trains in Seattle

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Jess Spear, Candidate for WA State House in Seattle’s 43rd LD, put herself on the line to protect Seattle. Every day, trains carrying oil through Seattle put ordinary people at risk. While Washington State government considers the dangers of oil trains after the recent derailment, Jess Spear and two others blocked the tracks at Broad St and Elliott Ave and were arrested for trespassing.

“Oil and railroad companies are gambling our lives and our environment for the sake of ever greater profits,” said Jess Spear to supporters and media. “If an oil train crashed and exploded here in the downtown core or near the stadiums, it could kill tens of thousands of people. Every day two of these bombs on wheels travel through our city.”

Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant, also present, said, “These oil trains are a state issue, who do you see here standing up for people? You see Jess Spear, you don’t see her opponent, Frank Chopp, speaking out against oil trains, he takes money from BNSF and BP.”

Spear, Sawant, the Green Party, and UW Divest announced a September 20th action in Seattle on climate change and fossil fuels. This action will be  in solidarity with the Sept 21st climate action in NYC expected to be the largest environment protest ever.

Also present were Green Party activists, 350.org activists (involved in planning the Anacortes blockade), people from SAFE, and Socialist Alternative.

Jess Spear’s full remarks below.

 

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Oil Trains: Reckless Endangerment of Thousands

Jess Spear and Kshama Sawant say: Stop oil and coal trains!
 
Thursday July 31, 12:30pm, at the tracks in Belltown, Broad Street and Elliot Ave (Facebook event)

Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Jess Spear will hold a protest at 12:30 on Thursday at the train tracks in the downtown Seattle Sculpture Park. The demonstration will take place near the intersection of Elliot and Broad - a mile down the line in Belltown from where an oil train derailed last week

Jess Spear said “These oil trains running right through the downtown area pose a huge risk to life and to the environment. Luckily, last week's derailment did not spill any oil; but we cannot rely on luck. We cannot stand idly by while these bombs on wheels roll through Seattle.”

 “One year ago, a similar train derailed and destroyed half the downtown area in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and led to 42 deaths," explained CM Sawant. "The fact that these train tracks run right by the stadiums, and through Belltown, where tens of thousands of people regularly gather, mean that there is potential for major catastrophe.”

Drawing on her experience as a climate scientist, Jess Spear explained: "Burning fossil fuels has already changed our climate - the superstorms, drought, heatwaves, and rising sea level attest to that - and allowing big oil and railroad companies to not only continue business-as-usual, but to increase fossil fuel activity, is just reckless. We need to rapidly move away from dangerous fossil fuels toward renewable energy. In my election race, I’m calling for a fossil fuel free Washington state, massive investment in clean energy and for a just transition of all fossil fuel energy workers into clean energy jobs.”

This issue will not go away. We will be working with others to end this threat to life and climate. Jess Spear will be making an announcement about an upcoming mass protest against fossil fuels and climate change in Seattle.

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The final primary push

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We've got just one week to reach supporters before the primary elections on August 5.

We're campaigning for rent control - to stop runaway rent costs; a fossil fuel free Washington state - a few days after a potentially deadly oil train derailment; and a tax on the rich to fund education, transit, and clean energy.

To do this, we need YOU. This weekend we'll be campaigning in Capitol HillFremont, and the U-district, as well as standing in solidarity with the people of Gaza on Saturday. Come join us in the final push to get the word out!

Every day our volunteers are out campaigning. If you can't make the above events, email our volunteer coordinator and we can get you together with other supporters in your area. 

Then join us at the election night party to celebrate! It's only through your support that we can win a voice for working people in Olympia!

Jess Spear,

Candidate, WA state House, 43rd LD, Position 2

Jess Spear writes for the Stranger

TheStrangerSlog.pngThe Rent is too Damn High, Let's Get it Under Control

"Seattle urgently needs to stabilize rents. Rent control is a mechanism that limits the amount landlords can raise rent by tying it to inflation. This allows for landlords to maintain properties and keep pace with inflation, while preventing big developers from exploiting the basic need for housing by charging astronomical rates. High rents are also one of biggest obstacles faced by small business owners."

 To read the full article, click here

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Jess Spear and Kshama Sawant stand with Gaza

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We stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and Palestine at this time of vicious repression. This onslaught will achieve nothing but a mounting death toll. We call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza strip.

This carnage we are witnessing would not have been possible without US taxpayers’ dollars, and Obama and Kerry’s support. They are attempting to defend the indefensible. We call for an end to all US funding for the Israeli war machine.

Protests are taking place around the world, including the mass protests in the West Bank and in Israel. These protests within Israel/Palestine especially offer huge hope of ending the destruction. We will work to build an international mass movement against war and terror, and an end to this system of exploitation and oppression.

Join the protest in Seattle on Saturday July 26 (continues on every Saturday) - Facebook event here

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No more oil trains! For a Fossil Fuel Free WA!

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Just days after the Seattle City Council asked the federal government to ban unsafe oil tanker cars, an oil train en route to the Tesoro refinery derailed under the Magnolia Bridge.  Luckily, the train did not spill any oil when the cars derailed.

However, we cannot rely on luck.  These bombs on wheels are endangering our city and must be stopped. 

Our campaign calls for a Fossil Fuel Free Washington and a moratorium on oil and coal trains.  Meanwhile, our opponent, Frank Chopp, is silent on the issue and has accepted $17,325 from fossil fuel companies like:

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Jess Spear in the Monarch Review



"Olympia is broken.

"In 2003, Boeing threatened to outsource jobs and received a whopping $3.2 billion in ransom from our State Legislature. Boeing eliminated thousands of jobs anyway. Last fall, Boeing played the outsourcing card again and this time scored the largest tax handout in U.S. history at $8.7 billion. Already, over 1,000 jobs have been eliminated. Over this same period there have been an average of $6 billion yearly in corporate handouts."

Check out Jess' article in the Monarch Review.

We've also updated our In The Media section, with a whole selection of coverage, from Seattlish, The Stranger, Capitol Hill blog and more - check it out!

Guess who made the front page of the Seattle Times?

Did you see the The Seattle Times yesterday? Our challenge to Speaker Chopp, the head of the political elite in the Statehouse, is featured on the front page!
Our message of independent working-class politics, rent control, and ending corporate welfare is gaining momentum as the primary election nears, while the political establishment is increasingly nervous. 

As the Times writes “If Conlin’s defeat was a wake-up call, a Chopp loss would be a cataclysm for Seattle Democrats.” They also point out that Socialist Alternative is “the 43rd District's other major political party," citing how we "rattled the establishment with the election of Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council."
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The Stranger's Strange Endorsement of Frank Chopp

A Statement from Socialist Alternative
By Philip Locker

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The Stranger, Seattle's main alternative newspaper, endorsed Democratic State House Speaker Frank Chopp instead of Socialist Alternative challenger Jess Spear. This represents a 180 degree turn from its previous scathing opposition to Frank Chopp and support for the Socialist Alternative challenger to him in the last election.

This is despite the fact that Spear’s policies, such as refusing to take corporate donations, opposing corporate welfare, taxing the rich, and rent control are far more in-sync with the people of Seattle, especially the 43rd district she is running in. Just this week The Stranger's own readership voted for Spear over Chopp by a 2/3rds majority in an online poll. On the other side, Chopp is fueled by a seemingly endless supply of cash from companies like Boeing, BP, Bank of America, McDonalds, Walmart, Vulcan, Comcast, the Washington Restaurant Association, and Alaska Airlines to name a few.

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Seattle Times & Mind over Matter coverage

Seattle Times 

"But this year the 43rd District’s other major political party is trying to give Chopp a reason to sweat. It’s not the Republicans — who fielded no candidates in the 43rd — but Socialist Alternative, the leftist party that rattled the establishment with the election of Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council last year. Jess Spear, a Sawant ally who campaigned for Seattle’s $15 minimum wage as organizing director of 15 Now, is seeking to topple Chopp."

Read the full article here

Mind over Matters on KEXP

A wide-ranging interview with Jess on the Mind over Matters show – listen here

Anti-foreclosure rally

“These unelected bankers are trying to legalize the theft of our homes, and the destruction of our communities… [Frank Chopp] takes money from Wells Fargo. He takes money from the Bank of America, JP Morgan, Chase.”