1. In a followup to his story about the high number of Seattle firefighters who are on disability pensions, which we mentioned in Fizz this morning, the AP's Mike Baker reports today that Washington retirement officials now plan to investigate late-career pay raises that allowed some government workers, including some Seattle firefighters, to increase the size of their pensions. Taken together, the muckraking Baker reports, the late pay raises amount to "millions of dollars in future liabilities to the pension fund."
Image by Mark Scott Spatny, Shutterstock
2. Pramila Jayapal, the former head of immigrants' rights group OneAmerica, argues in The Nation that immigration reform is good for women—and feminism. Noting that while two-thirds of immigrants to the U.S. are women while only 27 percent of work visas go to women, Jayapal writes:
previous immigration reform proposals were structured in ways that would have left out millions of women from any path to legalization, and would have weakened parts of the immigration system that women depend on. For example, if legalization and a path to citizenship are tied to showing proof of employment (as has been the case in the past), millions of undocumented women would be excluded who work as domestic workers, in informal industries, or at home taking care of their own children.
Last month, after a drawn-out debate, Congress passed a version of the Violence Against Women Act that protects undocumented victims of abuse.
3. Mayor Mike McGinn announced today that he wants to accelerate a study of his proposed Eastlake-to-Ballard streetcar, which would require building a new bridge parallel to the Ballard Bridge across the Ship Canal, by one year, the PI.com reports. Here's my take on the idea of creating another transit line on Eastlake when Metro is cutting back service across the city, and our take on the proposed new Ballard bridge.
3. In Olympia today, outgoing U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood made the case that the state legislature should fund the stalled Columbia River Crossing project, which would link Vancouver and Portland with a new I-5 bridge and light rail, the Columbian reports. The CRC project is reportedly holding up the transportation budget in the state senate, where Vancouver Republican Don Benton (R-17) adamantly opposes it because it includes light rail.
4. Since the main complaint opponents of micro-housing, or aPodments—small units that share a kitchen—have expressed repeatedly is that they don't have to go through design review, I'm sure opponents will be placated by the fact that a proposed 34-unit micro-housing development in West Seattle will be subject to that process (via West Seattle Blog), and won't complain when the design review board approves the developer's application.
5. In the Mercer Island Reporter, Mercer Island City Council member Mike Cero argues that tolling I-90 to pay for the completion of the parallel SR-520 is unfair because people who drive on I-90 won't benefit from finishing 520. Which is kind of like saying that I shouldn't have to pay property taxes for any school besides the one my kid goes to, because my kid doesn't benefit from other schools in my district. What gets lost in arguments like Cero's is that the link between Seattle and the Eastside, just like Seattle's parallel north-south highways, is a corridor, not a single highway.
6. KING 5 reports that Seattle's pay gap between men and women, the largest in the nation, is due to women making poor "career choices." But, as we noted yesterday, that's just not true—according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, men made more than women for doing the exact same job in 527 of 534 jobs the BLS surveyed, or 99 percent of all US jobs. So even women in the supposedly more equitable engineering and science fields get paid less than men for doing the same work.