On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Lying with Statistics, Boycotting Vodka, Finishing the Missing Link, and More
Our daily roundup.
1. An op/ed in the Spokane Spokesman-Review eviscerates a recent Washington Policy Center "study" concluding that mayors in Washington state—including the mayor of Spokane—make too much money compared to their counterparts elsewhere.
Where, exactly? The WPC turns its focus south, to Mobile, Alabama, where the mayor only makes $38,240 a year.
Why Mobile? Because, the Spokesman-Review argues, it makes Spokane Mayor David Condon's $169,000 salary look profligate.
"The report, which is stained red from cherry-picking, emphasizes that firefighters and cops here are overpaid," the paper argues.
"Which perhaps they are. They’re certainly well-paid, and they’re certainly very well-paid compared to the city’s median income, and you can decide for yourself whether that’s appropriate.
"But the Washington Policy Center report goes looking far and wide for its comparisons. If you compared Spokane’s public safety salaries to cities in Washington – as the center’s report does not do – the numerical comparisons would lose their drama. If you cherry-picked some different cities – like Austin, Texas, or any little hamlet in New Jersey – you’d find that some cops and firefighters are actually paid more than our overpaid cops and firefighters."
2. Seattle Bike Blog reports that, after more than a decade of appeals by businesses that want to block the completion of the "Missing Link" of the Burke-Gilman Trail through Ballard, the city has started implementing a (hopefully temporary) Band-Aid solution, painting "advisory bike lanes" along the "suggested" route through the missing section of the trail.
Businesses have argued that if the city completes the trail, trucks will run into cyclists; cycling advocates have countered that requiring cyclists to detour several blocks and ride on surface streets through Ballard—including a notorious stretch of wheel-grabbing railroad tracks—endangers bikers far more than a few trucks.
Meanwhile, the litigation against the Missing Link proposal continues.
3. The Sacramento Bee reports that Sacramento arena supporters want Seattle arena backer Chris Hansen, the San Francisco hedge-fund manager who tried to bring the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, to do more than just apologize for financing a campaign to defeat the Sacramento arena proposal; they want him not to file the signatures his money funded.
Hansen spent $100,000 on the anti-arena effort, which would require voter approval for any sports facility in the city, and failed to file required public-disclosure documents until the state filed a lawsuit demanding that arena opponents reveal who was secretly funding their efforts.
4. In a New York Times op/ed, Russian political scholar Mark Lawrence Schrad, author of "Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State," argues that a boycott of Stolichnaya vodka launched by Stranger editorial director Dan Savage is useless at best (because Stoli is produced in Latvia and owned by a company in Luxembourg; and its founder fled Russia decades ago), and harmful at worst, because it gives Russian president Vladimir Putin an excuse to "portray the American boogeyman as intent on violating Russian sovereignty."
Needless to say, Savage doesn't agree; on Slog, he calls the piece "hugely stupid."