1. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." That's the assessment of one former cabbie-turned-UberX driver who spoke to Bloomberg Businessweekabout the nationwide emergence of disruptive, and controversial, new "ridesharing" services (AKA "transportation network companies," or TNCs) like UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar.
As ridesharing supporters in Seattle have pointed out repeatedly, companies like UberX and Lyft give all drivers with for-hire licenses, including current taxi drivers, another alternative to make money—in some cases, more money than they were making driving traditional taxis.
2. Speaking of ridesharing, here's council member Sally Bagshaw's take on last week's compromise. Bagshaw, who opposed imposing any caps on ridesharing licenses, said the amended legislation—which allows each TNC to have 150 drivers on the street at any one time, "means that each company can have an unlimited number of drivers and vehicles tested, insured, and safety-checked, ready to go, and up to 150 vehicles from each of these companies can be on the street to address market demand when the drivers decide to drive."
"Don't male and female characters have fundamentally the same issues?"
Additionally, Bagshaw argued that the proposed alternative—a hard cap of 300 TNC licenses, total, throughout the city—would "have virtually eliminated options for women drivers who are breaking into the system." Fewer than one percent of taxi drivers in Seattle are women.
3. At NW News Network, Austin Jenkins reports that House Speaker Frank Chopp told reporters Friday that although he supports an increase in the state minimum wage (currently $9.32 an hour), the time wasn't right to push it through the house this year.
Sound familiar? We wrote about the house's failure to pass the minimum wage back in February, reporting at the time that "at this point, it doesn't seem to be the Republican-dominated senate that's the problem for the Democratic priority bill—it's the Democratic house. ...
"Ultimately, perhaps it isn't that weird that the Democrats are choking. They failed to move last year's zeitgeist agenda bill—gun control."
4. Transit-oriented ... Parking? The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that a new light-rail station in SeaTac—the temporary southern terminus for the line, which will open in 2016—includes parking for more than 1,000 cars.
The parking-centric station design almost certainly dooms the new station, which will be about a mile and a half south of the current terminus at Sea-Tac International Airport, to the same fate as the equally car-centric Tukwila station, which is an unwalkable maze of cars connected to its namesake suburb by vast highway-scale boulevards navigable only from behind the wheel of an automobile.
We've been lamenting this type of design for years.
The cost of those 1,000 exurban drivers' convenience (besides the loss of accessibility for those without cars): $30 million.
5. Buzzfeed, in Seattle this weekend for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference, asked female writers at the downtown convention to write down the one thing they—as female writers—are most tired of being told.
Here are 19 of their responses.
My favorite: "Don't male and female characters have fundamentally the same issues?" Also: "Smile."
6. Earthfix reports that Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee is preparing to make a "moral case" for reducing the amount of carbon in our atmosphere by imposing a carbon emissions cap.
Although most of the folks Earthfix talked to seemed skeptical that Inslee could do much to convince the state legislature to take tangible measures to reduce the state's carbon footprint, one, person they interviewed, author Richard Perloff, says Inslee needs to appeal to the public's desire to do the right thing without coming across as a "Jimmy Carter-esque moralist." (Those are fighting words!)
“If he can grab the moral agenda and actually talk in global terms, then he doesn’t seem like he’s self-interested and he seems something of a — to use the Michelle Obama term — a knucklehead, but a very idealistic knucklehead and people say, you know, I like this guy,” Perloff told Earthfix, which says in a recent conversation, Inslee said he was prepared to make a moral, rather than an economic, case for reducing emissions.