1. The New York Times jumps on the Kshama Sawant media bandwagon, calling the socialist council member-elect "one of the few elected socialists in the nation, a political brand most politicians run from."
The story includes quotes from King County Republican Party director Lori Sotelo (dismissive) and mayor-elect Ed Murray (supportive, at least of Sawant's push to increase the minimum wage), and Sawant herself, who alternately accused Boeing of "economic terrorism" and expressed some willingness to compromise on her pledge to pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage for all workers in Seattle (something we noted when she joined Murray's minimum-wage task force).
Sawant, the NYT reports, "said she was seared by the disparities between the rich and the poor around Pune, India, which is near Mumbai and where she grew up. But she was also shocked, and radicalized, she said, by finding sharp income inequality in America when she immigrated here in her 20s."
2. The minimum wage is shaping up to be a zeitgeist issue nationally, and not just for socialists and Left Coasters: The NYT also reports today that Democrats across the nation are seizing on the minimum-wage issue in their efforts to isolate Republicans (who oppose raising the minimum wage from its current level, $7.25 an hour) and build support for the party.
Not that $15 an hour is gaining much traction at the national level—Obama, for one, has only expressed support for a gradual increase to $10.10—but states and cities across the country are proposing initiatives to increase their minimums above that level.
Matt Yglesias argues that "there is no 'sharing economy,'" taking a swing at one of the central tenets of 21st century urbanism.
3. At Slate, Matt Yglesias argues that "there is no 'sharing economy,'" taking a swing at one of the central tenets of 21st century urbanism, which holds that services like Zipcar, bikesharing, and AirBnB are a new economic development that allows people to "share" cars/bikes/apartments instead of owning them outright (or, in the case of Air BnB, renting a hotel).
The problem with the term "sharing economy," Yglesias argues, is that people aren't actually "sharing"—they're renting a car, bike, room, or whatever. It's no different, really, than renting a car from Hertz, or a room from La Quinta.
"My neighbor and I share a snow shovel because we share some stairs that need to be shoveled when it snows and we share responsibility for doing the work," Yglesias writes. "If I owned the stairs and charged him a small fee every time he walked in or out of the house, that would be the opposite of sharing."
So why not just call it the "rental economy"?
4. Paging Mike McGinn: The Tacoma News Tribune's editorial board thinks Seattle should be—and, more importantly, will be—on the hook for any cost overruns on the deep-bore tunnel. (Bertha, the massive tunnel-boring machine, remains stuck on an unknown object downtown and state transportation engineers say they don't know when it will be dislodged or what's causing the holdup.)
The TNT writes:
The 2009 Legislature made a deal: The state would pay $2.8 billion toward the tunnel, but any overruns would come out of the bonanza in property values resulting from the project.
Seattle leaders have been grumbling about that provision ever since.
Some of them say it’s legally unenforceable. The issue will be moot if the project proceeds on budget. But if not, the Legislature has made its intent clear — and lawmakers should make certain it does get enforced.
Seattle Transit Blog looks back on the single term of Mayor Mike McGinn, and concludes that he did a lot of good for transit, biking, and pedestrians.
5. In a sort of post-election endorsement, Seattle Transit Blog looks back on the single term of Mayor Mike McGinn, and concludes that he did a lot of good for transit, biking, and pedestrians—updating the bike and transit master plans, advocating for faster planning on light rail to Ballard, and pushing back against parking requirements for new development.
It's a bit hagiographic for our taste—crediting McGinn for King County Metro's RapidRide, in particular, seems a bit over-the-top—but it offers a good overview of the developments that happened in "alternative" transportation under McGinn's watch, as well, for those reading between the lines, as a look at what might have been under a mayor with both a vision and the political acumen to get it done.
6. Finally, at the PI.com, Joel Connelly reports that the British Columbia provincial Ministry of Advanced Decuation has approved a Canadian law school that bans gay (or any other kind of) sex.