Murray plugs $15-an-hour wage for Seattle; McGinn dismissive
Seattle mayoral candidate Ed Murray is vowing to press for a $15-an-hour city minimum wage if elected, but says the effort would proceed cautiously and with buy-in from business and labor. Murray said the $15 wage should be phased in — starting with ensuring that city employees and contractors are paid at least that amount. Politically, Murray’s wage pledge serves as a counter to McGinn’s efforts to portray himself the true progressive and Murray as a tool of downtown business interests. But McGinn has repeatedly stopped short of endorsing a $15-an-hour minimum wage for Seattle, saying the wage should be set by the state. Seattle Times, 9-25-13.
Federal Way School board president Tony Moore indicted, arrested in alleged tire theft scheme
Federal Way School Board President Tony Moore was indicted in Oregon on seven counts of felony theft and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted. Moore is accused of scheming with a tire company employee in Portland to steal more than $150,000 in semi-truck tires in 2011. A grand jury indicted Moore on Aug. 23. Moore was arrested Sept. 17 at SeaTac Airport as he boarded a plane to Amsterdam on a trip sponsored by the school district. He was released from King County Jail on Sept. 20 after posting a $50,000 bond. On Wednesday, Moore told The Mirror that the allegations are false, and that he will remain on the school board. He has hired an attorney. The date of his arraignment is unknown at this time. Moore, a Republican, narrowly lost to Tracey Eide (D) in the 2010 race for State Senate. In 2012, he ran for District 30 state representative, but lost in the primary. Federal Way Mirror, 9-24-13.
Backers say SeaTac’s Prop 1 would boost economy by $54M
Supporters of a $15-an-hour minimum wage for SeaTac’s hospitality and transportation workers claim it will boost not only paychecks, but also the local economy. Whether or not voters believe in the broader benefits could determine the fate of the Nov. 5 ballot initiative. Puget Sound Sage, a nonprofit community and labor organization that supports the measure, estimated in a 32-page report released Wednesday that total annual wages for affected workers would increase by $40 million. With more spending money, those workers in turn would create at least 400 new jobs and $14 million in additional income for the region, the group said. SeaTac’s Proposition 1 calls for a $15-an-hour “living wage” for an estimated 6,300 workers at Sea-Tac International Airport and its nearby hotels, car rental agencies and parking lots. That represents a 63 percent pay raise over Washington state’s current minimum wage of $9.19 an hour. Seattle Times, 9-24-13.
Fast food worker challenges firing, but faces uphill battle
A worker fired from a Subway sandwich shop on Seattle’s Capitol Hill has filed charges saying it was illegal retaliation for going on strike. But experts say fighting that kind of legal battle can take years. Carlos Hernandez is in his early 20s, originally from Honduras. He goes to Seattle Central Community College and until recently worked two jobs. Earlier this month, he lost one of them. His boss at Subway fired him for giving away a cookie to a child – something he says he had done in the past with no repercussions. Hernandez says he thinks the real reason is that he’s been trying to organize his coworkers to take part in strikes. He says they don’t get paid overtime when they should, and rarely get raises after working there for years. Now, a group affiliated with the Service Employees International Union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board on his behalf. KPLU, 9-25-13.
Party crasher: How one man’s gambling addiction may have cost Democrats control of the state Senate (or not)
(Editor’s note: This story has created a lot of buzz. It is offered here as an exercise in speculation and fantasizing. All the qualifying words like “may have,” “might have,” “could have,” “arguably,” “allegedly,” “all of whom declined to be named,” “multiple sources suggest,” “one can only speculate” all add up to an amateurish attempt to make something out of very little, until the facts are known. No evidence yet disclosed has established ANY firm connection between ANY of King’s activities and ANY electoral result.)
Michael King’s gambling and alcohol addictions cost him everything: his career, his home, his marriage, his friends, and likely his freedom. But that’s not all that King gambled away at the blackjack tables. The quarter of a million dollars King allegedly embezzled from the Washington State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee (SDCC) to feed his gambling habit arguably cost Democrats control of the state senate, and with it, the opportunity to pass major legislation, including the Reproductive Parity Act, the State Dream Act, and a multibillion-dollar transportation funding package that included desperately needed local taxing authority for King County Metro. While millions of Americans suffer from alcohol, gambling, and other addictions, their personal tragedies tend to remain personal. But thanks to his pivotal role as the SDCC’s executive director, King’s illness, and the actions it allegedly drove him to, ended up (according to one blogger’s imagination) touching the lives of all Washingtonians. David Goldstein, The Stranger, 9-25-13.
Tribes travel to protect sacred land
Master carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation brought a colorful 22-foot healing totem pole to Olympia Tuesday as part of a 1,700-mile journey over 16 days that he and other carvers are making from Wyoming to British Columbia. The trip is a rolling protest against the potential export of Wyoming coal to China via Northwest ports. The pole—mounted on a flatbed truck—has been hauled along the path that coal trains would follow to the proposed shipping docks at Longview and Cherry Point in Western Washington, and to other fuel export sites in British Columbia. James, along with tribal drummers and speakers, called for help to block both proposals. James said the Cherry Point area is sacred because Lummi ancestors are buried there. He said treaty-protected fish runs also might be harmed, and that the health of tribal members all along the routes is at risk. “We need to do what we can to increase the audience that hears their voice and concerns,” James said in an interview, explaining why the Lummi carvers are making the trip to draw attention to the environmental damage he expects to see from coal exports. “We hope the federal government will look at the folly of these proposals and deny the application.” Olympian, 9-25-13.
Lawmakers focus on smaller players in aerospace industry
Washington’s efforts to keep Boeing happy and convince it to build its next generation of jetliner in Everett are well known. But what are the state’s leaders doing to help the rest of the industry prosper? “Somebody needs to speak for the aerospace industry and all of the smaller players,” J.C. Hall of Esterline Technologies Corp. of Bellevue told lawmakers at a roundtable Tuesday hosted by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance at the Red Lion in Bellevue. Sen. Paull Shin (D-21), along with Reps. Larry Springer (D-45), and Bruce Chandler (R-15), took part in the discussion centering on what lawmakers accomplished for aerospace firms this year and what they might pursue in 2014. Each said they understand aerospace in Washington is more than one firm. “There is an enormous sector beyond Boeing,” Springer said. “Everything we do in the aerospace industry can’t be Boeing-centric.” Nonetheless, what’s good for the giant is generally good for everyone else, it seemed from the conversation. Everett Herald, 9-25-13.
PLU wins right to appeal NLRB decision
A new decision from the National Labor Relations Board allows a contentious case regarding union representation of contingent faculty members at Parkland’s Pacific Lutheran University to proceed to appeal. The decision, issued by the board Monday, allows a union representation election to proceed at the university while the appeal is pending. Allowed to vote in that election are 152 present and former contingent faculty members at PLU. If a majority decide to approve the union, the Service Employees International Union will represent adjunct faculty members in contract talks with the university. NLRB regional director Ronald Hooks said the ballots cast in the election will be collected by the NLRB and impounded until the full board issues its decision. Those ballots will not be read and counted until that decision. Tacoma News Tribune, 9-25-13.
Port Angeles-based Border Patrol must share data, undergo constitutional refresher
U.S. Border Patrol agents based in Port Angeles will share records of every traffic stop it makes on the North Olympic Peninsula for 18 months with immigrant advocacy groups. Also, officers will be retrained in the Fourth Amendment. Both conditions are part of a settlement to a lawsuit that said agents were profiling the people they pulled over on the Peninsula by race. The agreement settles a lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project against the Border Patrol that said people were stopped and questioned for the way they looked and without reasonable suspicion. The lawsuit was filed last April on behalf of two Latino men from Forks and an African-American man from Neah Bay, all of whom alleging that they were targeted for traffic stops by Border Patrol agents who sought to learn their immigration status. Attorneys from the ACLU, the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Seattle law firm Perkins Coie represented the three men, all natural-born U.S. citizens. Peninsula Daily News, 9-25-13.
DOE plan for Hanford vitrification plant calls for phased start
Starting treatment of some of Hanford’s radioactive waste without sending it to the vitrification plant’s Pretreatment Facility could speed work while technical issues at the plant are being resolved, according to a long-awaited Department of Energy report released Tuesday. The report is a framework, rather than a proposal, that will aid discussions as DOE works with the state of Washington to resolve concerns about Hanford waste treatment and put the treatment program on a sustainable path, said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a message to DOE staff. Tri-City Herald, 9-24-13. The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council is recommending that members approve the latest collective bargaining agreement proposal after 20 months of negotiations. A ratification vote is set for Oct. 9 at the Richland Labor Temple. HAMTC is an umbrella organization for 15 of the unions performing work at the Hanford nuclear reservation. Tri-City Herald, 9-24-13.
Pierce County cuts jail budget, laying off 16 corrections deputies
The Pierce County Council approved a $3 million budget cut Tuesday, laying off 16 corrections deputies despite objections from jail workers. Council members adopted amendments they hope will reduce the layoffs, including funding a pot of $60,000 in retirement incentives that could be parceled out to five deputies over 65 if they choose to leave. For two weeks, deputies asked the council to save their jobs. But council members said Tuesday they had no realistic option but to cut to help plug a $5 million shortfall in the jail’s budget. The council voted 6-1 to approve County Executive Pat McCarthy’s supplemental budget for this year which called for the $3 million cut. Her budget filled the rest of the gap with $2 million from reserves and increased sales tax revenue. Tacoma News Tribune, 9-24-13.
Yakima Valley residents voice concern over transportation budget
About 150 area residents showed up at the Yakima Area Arboretum Tuesday night to offer their opinions on legislative proposals to reform and fund the state transportation system. More than 60 people signed up to speak at the event, the latest in a statewide tour of elected and appointed public officials to discuss a transportation revenue package sought by Democrats. Meanwhile, the mostly Republican state Senate majority is seeking “reforms” to the transportation budget. The forum comes about two months before a possible November special session in the Legislature to address the state’s transportation system. State Department of Transportation officials have been warning lawmakers in recent years they must find new funding. Yakima Herald-Republic, 9-25-13.
NSA chief defends collecting Americans’ data
The head of the National Security Agency delivered a vigorous defense Wednesday of his agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records for counterterrorism purposes, asserting that the program was helpful in investigations of the Boston Marathon bombing and thesuspected plots against U.S. diplomatic outposts this summer. “It provides us the speed and agility in crises, like the Boston Marathon tragedy in April and the threats this summer,” Gen. Keith Alexander said at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit, a gathering of business and government officials. Alexander’s address follows calls by some leading lawmakers to end the program because of concerns that it invades Americans’ privacy without having proven its value as a counterterrorism tool. Washington Post, 9-25-13.
Compromise passes on San Francisco immigrant holds
San Francisco took a stand against federal immigrant detainers Tuesday, but without a complete break from the controversial practice. Supervisor John Avalos had introduced legislation, with strong backing from immigration advocates, that would prohibit the Sheriff’s Department, which operates County Jail, from honoring ICE requests to hold undocumented criminal suspects for deportation when they are otherwise eligible for release. In the end, Supervisor Jane Kim amended the legislation Tuesday to ensure its passage. Under the amendment, the Sheriff’s Department would retain the power to hold anyone for deportation who was charged with a violent felony and had a conviction for a violent felony in the past seven years. Regular public reporting of the ICE holds also is required under the law, which passed 11-0. San Francisco Examiner, 9-24-13.
Supremacist’s North Dakota takeover plot done in by health rules
An order giving white supremacist Craig Cobb five days to come up with a plan for installing running water and a sewer outlet into his home in Leith expired Monday, and it’s possible the house could be declared uninhabitable. The order was written by the Custer District Health Unit’s environmental health practitioner, Aaron Johnson, who said Cobb owns two other structures in town that possibly will be removed next month. Johnson said Cobb was given time to show the health unit that he will have potable water in his home and a way to remove it to a sewer outlet, and because he hasn’t, the home could be declared uninhabitable. Cobb, a hate crimes fugitive, has said he buys bottled water from Wal-Mart for washing, and Johnson said he believes he may be using an old outhouse on his property. Johnson said he can issue an order declaring the home uninhabitable, or it’s possible the matter could wind up in court, depending on advice from the unit’s attorney. Bismarck Tribune, 9-24-13.
‘Invisible Man’ back in schools in NC county
“Invisible Man” will once again be on the shelves of Randolph County Schools’ high school libraries. The Randolph County Board of Education decided, by a 6-1 vote, Wednesday evening to reinstate Ralph Ellison’s book to the county school library shelves. Casting the dissenting vote was board member Gary Mason. On Sept. 16, the board, by a 5-2 vote, originally decided to ban the celebrated African-American novel after receiving a parent’s complaint about the book, the decision bringing international attention to Randolph County over the past week. The book was one of three selections to choose from on Randleman High School juniors’ summer reading list; both school-level and district committees recommended the book stay on library shelves. Asheboro Courier-Tribune, 9-25-13.
To Think About
Who suffers most from right-wing propaganda? In the short term, we all do; in the long term, the right wing suffers the most
When Senator Ted Cruz of La Mancha jumped on his trusty steed and charged the windmills, he explained: “Everyone in America knows Obamacare is destroying the economy.” He added that accepting the Affordable Care Act would be like appeasing the Nazis. In the 1990s, as conservative talk radio spread across America, liberals felt victimized. But, in retrospect, the rise of talk radio, Fox News Channel and right-wing Web sites may have done greatest harm to conservatives themselves. The right-wing echo chamber breeds extremism, intimidates Republican moderates, and misleads people into thinking that their worldview is broadly shared. That’s the information bubble that tugs the entire Republican Party to the right and that transforms people like Cruz into crusading Don Quixotes. And that’s why Republicans may lead us over a financial cliff, even though polling suggests that voters would blame them. Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, 9-25-13.