(Daily Clips will not publish Thursday January 9, so that the editor can attend the monthly meeting of the 34th District Democrats. See you there.)
New interim chief to head Seattle Police Department
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has decided to replace Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel with a former SPD official, Harry C. Bailey, who retired as an assistant chief in 2007, according to sources briefed on the mayor’s plan. Murray is expected to announce his decision Wednesday, adding another chapter to tumult and change that has rocked the Police Department since the Department of Justice found in December 2011 that officers too often resorted to the use of excessive force. Pugel has said he would seek the permanent job, a stumbling block in light of what sources described as Murray’s desire to not have an interim chief seeking the position. Murray is concerned that top candidates might not apply if they believe an interim chief possibly has an inside track, the sources said. Seattle Times, 1-7-14.
Airport workers urge Port Commission to adopt $15 minimum wage passed by voters
Airport workers are urging Port of Seattle commissioners to adopt the $15 per hour minimum wage that voters in the city of SeaTac passed last November. The Port of Seattle, which oversees the seaport and Sea-Tac International Airport, argued in court late last year that it doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the SeaTac minimum wage initiative. King County Judge Andrea Darvas agreed, and as a result, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and other airport workers who had been hoping for a jump in pay at the beginning of this year haven’t gotten one. Supporters of the initiative are appealing the decision. At the same time, they’re asking port commissioners to just go ahead and adopt the living wage ordinance. Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire says she and other commissioners will hold public hearings early this year and take action by June. KPLU, 1-7-13.
Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani announces retirement
Tay Yoshitani, the Port of Seattle’s CEO since 2007, said Tuesday that he will retire this year. The move leaves port commissioners to fill one of the region’s most important economic development positions. The port operates both the seaport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Together they support nearly 200,000 jobs with a payroll of more than $6.8 billion. The employment contract of Yoshitani , 67, is up on June 30, port spokesman Peter McGraw said. Puget Sound Business Journal, 1-7-14.
Why Seattle Public Library surrendered its gun ban
When Seattle Public Library lifted its ban on guns in early November, officials there said they had done so because patrons had complained. Internal library e-mails reveal that there was just one patron complaint in several years–a man with a Yahoo e-mail account who didn’t identify himself as either a patron or Seattle resident. That man, Dave Bowman, lives in Seattle and has a library card (which he uses, he noted in an e-mail to KUOW), and said he demanded the policy change on behalf of all gun owners. He described himself as “neither a conservative, nor liberal, but a libertarian.” The library e-mails, obtained by KUOW through a public records request, show the library dropped its gun ban without a fight. “They asked us to brief them on the law, ‘What is the likelihood that our ban will survive?’” City Attorney Pete Holmes said. “We had to tell them there was a significant risk.” KUOW, 1-7-14.
Bellevue City Council names Balducci mayor
After three rounds of voting were held up by outgoing Bellevue Mayor Conrad Lee Monday night, he reluctantly turned over his fourth ballot clearing Claudia Balducci to take the reins for the next two years. The City Council elected Balducci as mayor and Kevin Wallace as deputy mayor under a new voting method adopted in early December, where council members vote for all nominees simultaneously using written ballots rather than voicing their choice on each individual candidate. Lee was not nominated to be a candidate for mayor after serving in the position since 2012. Bellevue Reporter, 1-7-14.
Boeing Machinists file complaints with NLRB seeking revote
Charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board by Machinists angry over the latest vote could undo the seemingly resolved question of where the Boeing 777X will be built. One of those who filed, Robley Evans, vice president of Machinists Local F, said he has been told by NLRB representatives that the filings are being seriously considered. Evans, who filed his own complaint on Dec. 23, before the Jan. 3 vote, said his primary issue then still pertains, which is that the vote was consciously timed to skew the results. Since the election was immediately after the Christmas holiday, he said, people with lower seniority, more likely to approve the contract, were more likely to be back at work and to vote, while those of higher seniority, who would tend to oppose the contract, were more likely to still be on vacation. “It’s pretty evident to me that by them scheduling it over the holiday, they were able to influence who voted in the election,” Evans said. “Our district begged the International to wait to Monday or Tuesday, let people get back.” Puget Sound Business Journal, 1-7-14.
Oregon says study indicates that CRC is financially feasible
Charging tolls on Interstate 5 could generate enough money to make the Columbia River Crossing financially viable, Oregon officials said after releasing a new report Tuesday. An investment-grade analysis found that tolling the I-5 span between Vancouver and Portland could produce $1.35 billion to $1.57 billion in net revenue—enough to make the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement pencil out. Leaders hope to begin construction on the $2.7 billion project next year. Tolling on the existing bridge could begin as early as September 2015, according to the analysis, and would continue until at least 2060. The report was prepared by project consultant CDM Smith, and released Tuesday by the Oregon Department of Transportation. It comes as project backers prepare to make another push for support from the Oregon Legislature, which convenes in February. A joint legislative committee on the CRC could hold its first hearing as soon as next week. Columbian, 1-7-14.
State Sen. Paull Shin resigns, citing Alzheimer’s as factor
State Sen. Paull Shin (D-21) is stepping down from the Senate. He cited Alzheimer’s disease as a factor in a prepared statement. Shin, 78, was elected to the Senate in 1998. When campaigning, he’d often tell his life story, of being an orphan living on the streets in Korea and being adopted at age 16 by an American soldier. He went on to earn a doctorate in history, ran a successful business, and later became a trade adviser to Washington governors. In his statement Tuesday, Shin said, “I have loved this place and the work we do here on behalf of the people of Washington. Unfortunately, I have determined with the assistance of my family that recent health problems and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner they deserve.” (Shin already had said he would not run for reelection in 2014). Seattle Times, 1-7-14.
Yakima’s new mayor is … no one (for now)
Yakima will operate without a mayor until further notice. Tied 3-3 over whether to give Councilman Micah Cawley a third term or hand the job over to Councilman Rick Ensey, the City Council voted 4-2 to wait until they appointed a seventh member to the vacant District 2 seat. Ensey, who voted for himself, and Councilman Dave Ettl, who voted for Cawley, were the only two members to vote against the decision to table the issue. They said it would unfairly put the question on the back of whoever is eventually appointed to fill the vacancy created by last month’s departure of Councilwoman Sara Bristol, who moved to Oregon. The council hopes to name a seventh member early this year, but no firm date has been set. The application period for the vacancy closed Dec. 31 with 13 applicants total. The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in nature, as Yakima operates under a council-manager form of government. Yakima Herald-Republic, 1-8-14.
Op-ed: Compared to Washington, uninsured kids, unhealthy politics in Idaho
Five years ago, a federal effort to enroll more children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program was launched. This is apparently a point of debate in America, whether covering children with health insurance is a good or a bad thing. But there were a lot of kids without health insurance—around 9.2 percent. A lot of kids who qualified for the federal CHIP program were, for some reason, not enrolled. What happened then, in Washington and in Idaho, is a microcosm of the way that blue states and red states have approached health care. Washington has expanded health care programs for the poor. Idaho has done its best not to. As a result, millions upon millions of dollars have come into Washington to provide medical care for the poor and near-poor and, especially, their kids. In Idaho, meanwhile–where a lawmaker once compared Obamacare to the Holocaust–millions and millions have not come, in what has become an annual show of penny wisdom and pound foolishness. Shawn Vestal, Spokesman-Review, 1-8-14.
Food industry to fire preemptive GMO strike
The giants of the U.S. food industry who have spent millions fighting state-by-state efforts to mandate new labels for genetically modified organisms are taking a page from their opponents and pushing for a federal GMO law. But the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents such food and beverage leaders as ConAgra, PepsiCo, and Kraft, isn’t exactly joining the anti-GMO movement. It’s advocating for an industry-friendly law with a voluntary federal standard—a move that food activists see as a power grab by an industry that has tried to kill GMO labeling initiatives every step of the way. The most powerful players in the food industry say they are simply trying to find a national solution for GMO labeling, rather than having to navigate a patchwork of dozens of state laws for every packaged food item on the grocery shelf. According to a discussion draft of GMA’s proposed bill obtained by Politico, labeling standards would not be mandatory and the industry would submit to more FDA oversight. Politico, 1-7-14.
GOP memo: How to spin delay for unemployment benefits
The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to move ahead with legislation restoring—for three months—unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans that expired on Dec. 28. In the House, however, Republican leaders are telling the rank and file how to “spin” a delay. A leaked memo from the House Republican Conference, chaired by Washington’s Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5), surfaced in the Washington Post and other news outlets, giving “talking points” on unemployment insurance, and suggested answers to questions on why benefits aren’t being extended. The chief advice: Express sympathy in soft focus. A second familiar theme: Go negative on Washington, D.C., while subtly suggesting that unemployment is a kind of handout. Seattle P-I, 1-7-14.
Bank of America employs 20 full-time social media spies, watches anarchists and Occupy protesters
Bank of America works with fusion centers, the FBI, state and local police, and campus security to monitor public protest in the United States, newly disclosed documents confirm. A Washington state public records request has unearthed an e-mail chain which includes a message from a Vice President of Global Corporate Security for Bank of America, describing efforts to combat economic justice organizing. The official explains that the powerful financial institution employs a staff of 20 full-time social media spies, and references public-private surveillance efforts directed at activists who aim to hold banks accountable for social crises like the foreclosure disaster. The bank official, Kimberly Triplett-Kolerich, says she is a former Washington State Patrol officer with 25 years of experience in law enforcement. Privacy SOS, 1-5-14.
To Think About
Retirement theft in four despicable steps by the 1%
The fear of running out of money in retirement is America’s greatest financial concern. It’s a fear greater than death. But the American workers who have paid all their lives for retirement security are being cheated by wealthy individuals and corporations who refuse to meet their tax obligations, and who have found other ways to keep expanding their wealth at the expense of the middle class: Federal tax avoidance, state tax avoidance, corporations playing one state against another, and bank fees taking a big chunk ouit of everyone’s retirement accounts. Connect the dots at Truth-Out, 1-6-14.