1. After yesterday's big minimum wage announcement (Mayor Ed Murray's income inequality task force proposed a $15 minimum wage, phased in over three, four, five, or seven years, depending on benefits and the size of the employer), a new analysis from CNNMoney finds that Subway is the fast-food company most likely to cheat its workers out of their wages.
According to CNN's analysis, Subway franchisees were found to be in violation of pay and hour rules in 1,100 investigations between 2000 and 2013, resulting in a total of some 17,000 violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The violations included infractions like failing to pay overtime and requiring workers to do tasks while off the clock (i.e., unpaid labor or wage theft).
Just another reminder that even a higher minimum wage won't work without a strong enforcement system in place to ensure that employers are actually following the letter of the law.
2. Over at the Seattle Globalist, Irina Vodonos writes at length about a subject that's close to my heart: P-Patch gardens in Seattle! Specifically, the Russian-born Vodonos talks about being a rare foreign-born member of her Queen Anne-area garden, and about how P-Patches give immigrant and refugee community members a way to grow plants that are native in their home countries but may not be widely available here.
But more important, she found, were the ways that people from other countries use produce that's common to many P-Patch gardens—pickling garlic in rice vinegar, braising turnips with shallots, black trumpet mushrooms, French thyme, and Port, or, in Vodonos' case, slicing radishes into a salad that includes hard-boiled eggs, scallions, and sour cream. (As for me, I'll be turning peppers, cilantro, onions, and tomatoes into a Texas-style pico de gallo and quick-braising favas with a smoked ham hock, like butterbeans.)
Urbanistas, meet your newest allies: Inner-ring suburbanites.
3. Speaking of subjects close to PubliCola's heart: The Olympian reports that one of Olympia's parklets—mini-parks that convert one or more parking spaces into places for people to hang out—is being dismantled because it attracted "troublemakers" at night.
The parklet was located in front of a bar, and police and the bar's owners reportedly found it tough to monitor at night (we're assuming people were drinking illegally in the mini-park, but the story doesn't provide details.)
Two other Olympia parklets, both outside coffee shops, remain in operation.
4. Urbanistas, meet your newest allies: Inner-ring suburbanites. According to the Washington Post, residents of increasingly dense inner-ring suburbs are increasingly likely to vote Democratic and to support dense, mixed-use developments. As these suburbs, known as "mature suburbs," densify and become, in many respects, cities, they start to skew more liberal, more urbanist, and more in favor of government spending on amenities like mass transit and affordable housing. Bellevue?
5. The ridesharing wars just got internecine. Geekwire reports that Uber is offering Lyft and Sidecar drivers $500 to switch their allegience and come drive for their company instead—and drivers get the bonus even if they make just a single trip for UberX.The pitch: Uber drivers make more money than drivers for other ridesharing services.
Meanwhile, all of the ridesharing companies are pushing for a referendum that would overturn new regulations on the companies that the city council passed earlier this year, including, most controversially, a limit of 150 drivers active on any system at any time.