Morning Fizz: Struggling within the Same Broken System
Caffeinated News and Gossip featuring Eyman, SDOT, O'Toole, and Jayapal.
1. Conservative ballot measure maven Tim Eyman filed an initiative yesterday that would undo Seattle's new $15 minimum wage law.
Calling it "the fair and uniform minimum wage act," Eyman's proposed measure would grant sole wage-setting authority to the state, stipulating that there could only be one wage "to preserve a uniform and constistent minimum standard for wages."
Eyman would need about 250,000 valid signatures by year's end to send the anti-local control measure to the legislature in 2015; the legislature can either pass it or send it to voters that November.
In more news of a backlash against Seattle's new $15 minimum wage, a group of small business owners called Forward Seattle is planning to file a charter amendment with the city to overturn the legislation and replace it with the $12.50 minimum wage idea they floated back in April while Mayor Murray's task force was still hammering out the $15 legislation.
2. File this under PubliCalender or Pedestrian Chronicles: the Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA), the ID non-profit that hosts the Lunar New Year the Dragon Fest, among other neighborhood events, is unveiling Seattle's second micropark on Friday afternoon in front of Oasis Tea Zone on 6th Ave. S.
The micropark (or parklet) program, inspired by the DIY tactical urbanism movement, is an official SDOT program now that lets anyone who can afford it transform parking spaces into mini-parks. The CIDBIA funded the park through Kickstarter.
3. The city council’s public safety committee held the first in a series of confirmation hearings for Mayor Ed Murray’s police chief nominee, Kathleen O’Toole, yesterday afternoon.
The meeting was truncated and a bit of a love-fest, with council members lobbing softballs (Sally Bagshaw, referring to downtown crime, asked, “How can we encourage you to work to get the changes that we need” to fix the problems) and O’Toole responding largely (again) with practiced sound bites (asked about low morale in the department, she responded, “I hope that I can bring a strong leadership voice to the table but that will have to be a collaborative effort).Male SPD employees make, on average, 21 percent more than female employees, and SPD’s officer ranks are 86 percent male.
O’Toole was firm, however, about a few things. Asked about complaints of racially biased policing, she responded, “I won’t tolerate bias in policing, period,” and pointed to her work to combat racially biased policing in the New Jersey State Police and as inspector general for Northern Ireland’s police force. "I think for too long we've encouraged the wrong type of policing," she added, referring to the macho police stereotype people see on TV.
And when gender equity committee chair Jean Godden asked her what she would do about a gender wage gap that is “pretty bad at SPD”—male SPD employees make, on average, 21 percent more than female employees—she responded, “I think, unfortunately, we’ve been slow across the U.S. to recruit more women in policing,” and said that when she was in Ireland, the final five classes of cadets the police force recruited were between 36 and 42 percent female. SPD’s officer ranks, in contrast, are 86 percent male.
4. Continuing our series of "Power Lines" profiles in the magazine, Josh has a feature story on former OneAmerica-founder-turned-state-senate-candidate Pramila Jayapal this month:
"Stepping up on behalf of immigrants, though, quickly turned Jayapal’s work into a de facto social service agency referring people to lawyers and agencies. It was the first point of contact for immigrants, who were calling Hate Free Zone’s help line or streaming into its headquarters, a one-room office now home to a yoga studio on Rainier. 'It was a bit of a triage center initially,' says comedian Hari Kondabolu, who worked at Hate Free Zone between 2005 and 2007. 'When I got there, that was my job, to talk to people who called our number. Our phone number was a big number for social services. But around this time we started thinking about comprehensive immigration reform, and voter registration, and trying to get immigrant communities to organize and connecting different groups.'
"Jayapal always had a broader vision. She saw a larger canvas, one where Muslim victims of hate crimes, African American kids who were MIA in Seattle’s infamous education achievement gap, low-wage Latino workers, and low-income communities plagued by environmental hazards were all struggling within the same broken system."
5. Erica will be on KUOW's "The Record" at 1:00 this afternoon to talk about the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission's decision to change the explanatory measure for the August parks district proposal in response to a complaint from neighborhood activists.