Thursday Jolt: Voting Rights and Sharing Cars
The day's winners and losers.
Today's winner: Car2Go customers
Yesterday, we gave a tentative winning Jolt to customers of Car2Go, the new one-way car-sharing service, based on news that the company planned to expand its "home area" (the area in which members can drop off cars after taking them on one-way trips) to parts of Southeast and West Seattle. (Previously, to our chagrin, the "home area" stopped tantalizingly short of the Mount Baker light rail station, and excluded all of Southeast Seattle and all of West Seattle.)
"Tentative" because Car2Go's spokeswoman told us maps of the exact area were not yet available.
Today, Jolt hears that the new service area will extend south to Orcas St. in Southeast Seattle, and down to the ferry terminal in West Seattle.
In an unsigned letter to council transportation committee chair Tom Rasmussen, Car2Go said, "Current and potential users have specifically expressed their desire to see West Seattle and more of South Seattle included in the home zone, so that they can continue to use a diverse transportation mix to get around the city."
Next week, Rasmussen's committee will consider legislation that would expand the number of Car2Go cars allowed in the city from 350 to 500, reflecting the company's rapid expansion in the city.
Today's other winners: Voters
Bill sponsor Rep. Louis Moscoso (D-1, Bothell) choked up today as he spoke in favor of his legislation, the Washington Voting Rights Act. His bill would give minority communities that can prove they've been disenfranchised at the polls (say, in Yakima, whose at-large city council lacks a single Latino member despite the city's large Latino population) to move to districted elections.
Yakima has a 41 percent Latino population, but a Latino has never been elected to the seven-member city council.
Moscoco then had to endure a series of classic "reverse discrimination" speeches about "special rights" from the Republicans who, while speechifying about an idealized America where everyone's vote counts, ignored the facts on the ground in Yakima, where, bill co-sponsor Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Burien, W. Seattle) pointed out, racially polarized voting has disenfranchised a major voting bloc to the point that they don't have representation in local government. Yakima has a 41 percent Latino population, but a Latino has never been elected to the seven-member city council.
The Republicans, by the way, are the same people who supported a move to change Washington state's "unfair" winner-takes-all electoral college system to a districted system, so that disenfranchised Republicans could have more of a voice in our blue state.
Moscoso's measure passed along party lines this afternoon: 53-44.