The Urban Enterprise Center and Sea Beez, a coalition of local ethnic media, are co-sponsoring a candidate "meet and greet" and initiative debate tonight in Columbia City.
The free event — unfortunately on a Friday night when people might have other plans — features an impressive list of candidates and debaters, including Bill Gates Sr., the leading supporter of the proposed state income tax on high earners.
It follows a news story by New America Media illustrating how little political advertising is directed toward minority communities through ethnic media. Only 0.7 percent of the entire political campaign advertising budget spent in the state in 2009 was set aside to directly reach out to Washington's minority communities, the study found. In the story, reprinted by Crosscut, political consultants explained that campaigns usually prefer broadcast over print media and aim limited advertising dollars at mass-market media, preferring to reach out to ethnic communities directly through forums and other community events.
Candidates set to attend tonight are: Julie Anderson, Edsonya Charles, Art Coday, Suzan DelBene, Karen Donohue, Jay Inslee Claudia Kauffman, Adam Kline, Randy Gordon, Joe McDermott, Eric Pettigrew, Dino Rossi, and Diana Toledo.
The income-tax initiative (I-1098) debate will feature Gates and Pramila Jayapal on the pro side, and venture capitalist Matt McIlwain and Alex Porter representing the opponents. Initiatives 1100 and 1105, proposing the privatization of liquor sales in the state, also will be debated.
The evening will be moderated by Bert Caoili, co-host of the Filipino radio show, Bert & Bebot Radio. The schedule is broken down into segments: 4:30 to 6 p.m. for the candidate "meet-and-greet"; 6-7 p.m. for the income-tax debate; and 7-8 p.m. for the debate on the liquor-sales initiatives.
The event will take place at the Life Enrichment Bookstore, 5023 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle.
For more details, see this Q&A with an organizer, published in theRainier Valley Post.
The Urban Enterprise Center is the multicultural arm of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Sea Beez, the ethnic-media group, was formed last spring to help empower ethnic news organizations by helping them with business development.