Letters to the Editor

Censorship at town hall meeting in Redmond | Letter

The purpose of a town hall meeting is to provide an open forum where people can ask questions about the issues they are concerned about. The minimum wage is a topic being discussed in the national media. President Obama has raised the minimum wage paid to the employees of federal contractors to $10.10. Both Gov. Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray have endorsed raising the minimum wage. A bill to increase the minimum wage to $12 was introduced in the state legislature in the current session by State Rep. Jessyn Farrell.

At the 48th Legislative District town hall meeting on Feb. 22 at Redmond City Hall, I gave the staff members a card asking the legislators how they were going to vote on the minimum wage bill and asking them to describe their position on the minimum wage. It is completely appropriate to expect the legislators to discuss this topic in a public forum, given the attention given to the topic nationally.

The moderator of the forum was retired former State Rep. Deborah Eddy. The moderator failed to bring the question of the minimum wage, as well as other questions relevant to labor and poverty, to the floor. She continually claimed that there was not enough time for all topics, but the choice of questions that were accorded time reflected the moderator’s perception of what was important.

It is unfortunate that a Road Kill Caucus Democrat who chaired a Republican State Senate campaign in 2012 consciously prevented the minimum wage from receiving consideration on the floor.

It is important for the public to know this. Reports on the town hall meeting imply that the questions represent the spectrum of what people are interested in. But when there is a suppression of topics concerning the minimum wage (and other topics, such as the funding of homeless shelters), such censorship distorts the perception of what the citizens are interested in.

I am writing this letter because it important for the public to know that the minimum wage was a topic asked about at the forum.

I encourage citizens concerned about this issue to call or write the state legislators and ask them to make public their opinions on the issue generally and on the current bill in particular.

I hope that in future town halls they will have a moderator who does not censor progressive questions. I hope that there will be no more anti-labor maneuvers at town hall meetings and that the forums will address whatever is on our minds.

Linda Seltzer, Redmond



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