On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Traffic, $15 Sooner, Metro Funding, and More
Our daily roundup.
1. The Seattle Times has a survey about "how last night's traffic gridlock affect[ed] you?"
I responded as follows: "It didn't. I take light rail." In response to a followup question, "What else should we know?" I added, "Don't encourage complaints about traffic while simultaneously opposing transit funding," which the Seattle Times editorial board did before April's unsuccessful effort to preserve Metro bus service. Metro now plans to cut service across the board by 16 percent.
(Josh zipped through Queen Anne on his bike, leaving angry motorists in the dust.)
2. The AP reports that San Francisco may adopt a $15 minimum wage that will go into effect sooner than Seattle's phased-in $15 minimum, which won't apply to workers at some smaller businesses for seven years.
Residents of San Francisco will vote up or down on a universal $15 minimum wage that would go into effect by 2018, the AP reports. In contrast, Seattle's minimum-wage workers will reach $15 by 2022, and all businesses will have to pay the same minimum base wage, estimated at $18.13, by 2025.
3. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss to a Tea Party opponent in his primary bid for reelection could spell doom for an immigration reform measure that has long been sought by Pacific Northwest firms such as Microsoft—making it possible for companies to bring more workers in to the region on temporary work visas.
Currently, the U.S. approves just 85,000 or so HB-1, or high-tech, visas per year, and visa holders have a tough time getting green cards or permanent residency status. Cantor had been leading the charge for immigration reform from the House.
4. Also in the PSBJ: The news that Togo's, a fast-food sandwich shop, plans to open about 18 franchise stores in Seattle starting next year—clear evidence, the paper reports, that "not all restaurants are hesitating to expand since the city passed its $15 minimum wage ordinance."
A lesson, perhaps, to the franchise owners who are suing the city alleging "discrimination": Maybe it's possible to operate a business, even a small-business franchise, without paying employees poverty wages.
5. Calling King County Council Republicans' (and lone Democrat Rod Dembowski's) proposal to put off Metro cuts by finding new "efficiencies" and cuts "magical thinking," Sightline writes that King County Executive Dow Constantine's decision to veto the Dembowski proposal was "the grown up thing to do."
"There’s no question," they write, "that the proposed cuts will have profound effects on real people, and our region’s ability to get employees to their jobs, reduce carbon emissions, curb traffic, and offer people viable choices in how they want to get around. But that is the stripped down and unpleasant truth of where we are right now. And that’s why it is essential to find a long-term, sustainable solution to Metro’s current funding problem."