On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Transit, Socialism, and the Compost Police
Our daily roundup.
1. KIRO News reports that "statistics show robberies near public transit have increased," adding, alarmingly, that robbers are "targeting areas near public transportation."
However, the actual stats KIRO cites don't support that claim, showing only that robberies within 250 feet of the light rail route have increased from 9.8 percent of all South Precinct robberies to 16.6 percent in 2013.
That's certainly a percentage spike, but it says nothing about how many robberies there were in the South Precinct each year, which is the information you would need to conclude that "robberies near public transportation have increased." If the total number of robberies in the precinct has declined, for example, a higher percentage of a smaller number of robberies could actually represent a decrease in robberies near rail stations.
Additionally, the alarmist piece notes that "70 to 75 percent of robberies in the South Precinct have happened within 250 feet of all public transit routes." That is hardly, as KIRO suggests, evidence that public transit is dangerous; rather, it's a reflection of the fact that the South End is heavily served by transit. But that doesn't make for sexy headlines about the inherent dangers of buses and light rail.
2. Seattlish has a sympathetic interview with 43rd District state House speaker Frank Chopp opponent Jess Spear, an activist who ran fellow socialist Kshama Sawant's successful city council campaign.
In the interview, Spear acknowledges her lack of experience ("experience sitting in back rooms and hashing out deals with big corporations where they get huge tax handouts and we get crumbs"); says that as someone with a "youthful perspective," she can work in the legislature to "solve homelessness or fund education" in a way that her predecessors have been unable to accomplish.
Spear also blames Chopp for allowing the legislature's priorities to be "very much skewed toward corporations," and says her election would move the entire legislature (including the 98-member house and the 49-member senate) "to the left."
What Spear (and Seattlish) doesn't acknowledge: Influencing a huge legislative body that includes actual conservative Republicans is a lot different than sitting down with a liberal web site for a friendly interview.
3. Jezebel and Al Jazeera America report on a horrifying alleged rape by a "popular athlete" at Garfield High School, whose reported victim, a 15-year-old girl, reported the rape and went to the hospital, where tests confirmed the rape; however, while the alleged rapist returned to school as if nothing had happened, the victim dropped out and ended up in a mental-health facility for post-traumatic stress disorder, putting her family more than $50,000 in debt.
It's somewhat bizarre (and unfortunate) that we're reading about this on two national web sites, rather than in local papers like the Seattle Times.
4. According to Earthfix, Seattle is considering levying fines against residents who fail to compost their food and yard waste—the latest step in the city's "zero-waste" strategy, which encourages residents to recycle or reuse all of the stuff they might ordinarily chuck out as "garbage."
The new rule, which would effectively make composting mandatory, would require residents to put all compostable food or paper in food waste bins and would charge trash collectors with inspecting the garbage for compliance; the owners of any bins that include more than 10 percent compostable materials would be subject to a fine.
If the city council approves the rules, they'll go into effect in January 2015.