On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Bus Cuts, Food-Stamp Cuts, and ... a Minimum-Wage Hike?
Our daily roundup.
1. Contemplate this sentence, from Seattle Transit Blog's roundup of proposed cuts to Metro service on the Eastside, and weep at our legislators' inaction on local transportation funding:
"Service in Mercer Island and east of Issaquah is 'simplified,' in the sense that all service is cut except for one all-day route operating at a skeletal frequency."
Many routes on the Eastside, meanwhile, will no longer include any night service—which, in some cases, means no transit access after 6:00pm.
That's only true, of course, if legislators don't come up with a transportation funding package that includes new revenue options for Metro, which would allow the agency to keep fares between $2.25 and $3 after four fare increases in as many years.
2. Stateline reports on the impacts a November 1 reduction in food stamp benefits will have on hungry people in every state. Here in Washington, 1,113,000 people receive food benefits; 456,000 of them are children. The decision, supported by Republicans in Congress, not to continue funding a temporary extension of food-stamp benefits will mean a $114 million reduction in benefits to Washington state residents next year.
I'll just steal a phrase from my pal Melissa McEwan at Shakesville here: They don't think people, including millions and millions of children, are entitled to food. They don't think people are entitled to food. Appalling.
3. At Crosscut, immigrant rights advocate Pramila Jayapal explains why she voted for firebrand socialist Kshama Sawant (who referred to Boeing's threats to leave the region as "economic terrorism") over 16-year city council incumbent Richard Conlin: People of color, she writes, have been disproportionately impacted by growing economic inequality in Seattle.
That's undeniably true, but it's hard to see mild-mannered environmentalist Conlin—the guy who legalized backyard goats but, more importantly, changed (really, created) the conversation around sustainability at City Hall as the tool of big business or an advocate for income inequality. (Seattle Transit Blog agrees with me on this one.)
4. Meanwhile, in SeaTac, one of the centerpieces of Sawant's platform here in Seattle, a $15 minimum wage, hangs in the balance by a sliver-thin 46-vote margin, which means it's almost certainly headed for a recount. KOMO reports that supporters expect opponents to spend the money—"probably less than $1,000"—to pay for a recount in the race, which has already cost a collective $1.8 million. The increased minimum would benefit workers in the transportation and hospitality industries.
5. Finally: Sorry, Josh—at least one city that has experimented with "parklets"—those parking-spaces-turned-mini-parks that have recently sprouted in a few locations around Seattle—hasn't been impressed with the results. According to the Boston Globe, people don't appear to be using that city's parklets, due to uncomfortable seating, their close proximity to street traffic, lack of lighting or, possibly, confusion about whether they're public spaces.
Despite the seeming unpopularity of Boston's two parklets so far, though, the paper reports that the city plans to add another this year, and is confident that they'll "become more popular with time."