Yes On Three

Politics, barbecue mix

Published September 5th, 2006 in The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)

With hundreds of people fed and more on the way, Mike Jagielski was thinking about restocking the supply of burgers and hot dogs.

"I may have to run over to Stadium Thriftway to buy some stuff," he said.

Never in short supply Monday were opportunities to honor America's workers, get involved in state and federal politics and learn more about local initiatives. It was all part of the second annual Tacoma-Pierce County Labor Day Picnic at Tacoma’s Wright Park.

The event was sponsored by America in Solidarity, the Pierce County Central Labor Council, Congressman Adam Smith, ILWU Local No. 23, Roofers No. 153 and the Pierce County Building Trades.

The afternoon's festivities included a union tug-of-war contest, "No Child Left Behind" sack races for kids and free barbecue.

Jagielski, a longshoreman and Gig Harbor resident, is a member of the executive board of America in Solidarity. The organization works toward fair wages, affordable health care and safe work environments.

Jagielski said Monday's event gave the group "a forum to talk to the community." The nonprofit also wants volunteers to help elect politicians who support working-class people, he said. "We need politicians who believe what we believe."

Rich Anderson-Connolly isn't a politician. But he believes in instant runoff voting. Anderson-Connolly, a professor of sociology and international political economy at University of Puget Sound, attended Monday's event to promote a proposal to adopt this method of polling in Pierce County.

It's an election system in which voters cast ballots allowing them to rank all candidates for an office in their order of preference. All votes are counted in rounds until a majority winner is found.

In June, the Charter Review Commission sent a proposal to adopt instant runoff voting, along with eight other proposals, to the Nov. 7 ballot. It would require all county elections, except for the prosecuting attorney and judges, to use instant runoff voting.

"We don't pass up any opportunity like this," Anderson-Connolly said of Monday's event. "Win or lose, we're going to make a lot of mileage."

Tacoma resident Ken Meyer, a 53-year-old apartment manager, walked to Wright Park to soak up the sun and the festivities.

"I heard about the free food," he said of why he went to the park.

But he also liked the atmosphere of political activism. He said he votes in every election.

"If I don't vote, I can't complain about it," he said.


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