David Meinert has been part of the Seattle restaurant, music and nightlife community since the 1980s. Currently, David is the owner of two of the oldest bars / diners in the greater Seattle area – the 5 Point Cafe and Mecca Cafe, and one of the oldest restaurants in Burien, WA, Huckleberry Square. These are just the latest in a long run of businesses owned by David Meinert. Some of these other businesses include: Big Mario’s New York Pizza, Lost Lake Café & Lounge, The Comet Tavern, The Mirabeau Room, Fuzed Music and Fuzed Travel, Onto Entertainment and The Capitol Hill Block Party. All these businesses have coincided with David’s commitment to growing the music and nightlife scene in Seattle. Meinert was instrumental in the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Music, was a founding board member of The Vera Project, and served on the Seattle Music Commission & Seattle’s Music and Youth Task Force, which helped overturn Seattle’s archaic Teen Dance Ordinance.
With decades of experience as a small business owner, music promoter and band manager, David Meinert garnered a bit of influence in regional politics. Going back to his time at Western Washington University, Meinert has always worked for progressive political change. This started with protesting the Reagan administration’s military interventions in Central America during his college years. It then moved to the management of a band called ¡TchKung!, which was made up of environmental activist-artists.
In ’92 the Washington State legislature tried to pass a bill entitled the Erotic Music Law. The concept behind the bill was that certain musical albums could be deemed “erotic” by the nature of their content and banned to any shoppers under the age of 18. It was then that David Meinert joined the lobbying group called the Washington Music Industry Coalition. The group brought awareness to the bill and actively campaigned against it. The bill resurfaced in 1995 and members of the Washington Music Industry Coalition rallied to form JAMPAC. JAMPAC stood for Joint Artists and Musicians Political Action Committee. JAMPAC not only fought the “erotic” bill but helped change legislation in place that forbid teenagers from attending music shows and changed Washington’s rules on teenage dancing.
In 2000, Meinert and other music and nightlife activists raised money and campaigned for Seattle Mayoral candidate Greg Nickels, a proponent of the local music community, who was running for mayor. Their efforts paid off and Mayor Nickels delivered on his promise to support the music community in Seattle. With election of Mayor Nickels, Meinert’s influence in the community skyrocketed. He went on to be named one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people in Seattle Magazine. Meinert helped raise awareness on the economic benefits of promoting the music industry in Seattle and fought to keep music clubs open to all ages.
Today, David continues to use his influence to fight for change in Seattle and across the United States. In his own restaurants, Meinert has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to raises in the minimum wage, Safe and Sick Time, and health care and retirement benefits for his workers. He continues to fight for fair wages and ensuring that those who live off tips are properly compensated.
David Meinert ‘s story in the regions small business community continues. Future blog posts will go into further details regarding Meinert’s new ventures as well as discuss some of the current issues David Meinert is involved in fighting for.