15 Now Turns Up the Heat; Demands Answers from Howard Wright

Jess Spear is not satisfied. The organizing director of 15 Now, the grass roots effort to raise the minimum wage in Seattle, continues to demand that Howard S. Wright III – Co-Chairman of Mayor Ed Murray’s Inequality Advisory Committee – be clearer on his stance on the issue.

“We want to know is he for $15 for all workers in Seattle? Does he favor exemptions for some workers? He has still not clarified his position,” Spears tells Seattle Weekly today.

“We want to know, too, where he stand on Prop. 1 in Sea-Tac.”

The 15 Now action group plans a protest at the Space Needle this evening, which will center around Wright’s position on the wage increase. His family owns the Seattle landmark. He is also an owner of Cedarbrook Lodge, whose manager was a vocal opponent of the successful SeaTac initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15.

 Wright, as The Seattle Times reports, has said in the past that he agreed to serve on the mayor’s committee in order to help shape a proposal “that had the backing of business,” something he said the SeaTac measure lacked.

“If I were against $15, I wouldn’t be on the mayor’s committee,” wrote Wright — who is out of the country this week — in response to an e-mailed question about his position.

15 Now, says Spear, is recruiting volunteers who will go door-to-door across the city to collect the more than 21,000 signatures required to place an initiative before voters in November.

Murray said last week that he’s committed to the $15-an-hour goal and expects his committee to deliver a proposal by May 1 that reaches that target. An ordinance would require City Council approval to take effect.

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