On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Bus Safety, Pot Strategy, and Job Security
1. Calm down, everyone: As the Seattle Times reports today (in a departure from their previous headline about "increasing crime" downtown), the number of assaults against drivers on buses has actually decreased in recent years, going from a high of 189 in 2006 to last year's 107.
Bottom line: Pay your fare. Don't touch the driver. Thank them when you get on and when you leave. See, that wasn't so hard, was it?
2. Related: In response to yesterday's Metro shooting, Seattle Transit Blog just re-posted a piece by a former bus driver about what should (and shouldn't) be done to deal with violence against drivers and passengers on buses.
Although, luckily, the only assault I've ever experienced on a bus has been on my eardrums (seriously, why do people think it's OK to blast music on their speakerphones?), I wholeheartedly endorse many of the writer's suggestions, some of which (all-door exiting, for example) have been put in place since he wrote the post in 2010. Others are still well worth considering. More transit cops on high-risk routes. Swift driver response to crime. More customer respect for drivers. Again, they've got tough jobs.
3. The News Tribune reports that the state is planning to delay new rules allowing the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana until they can come up with limits on pot production under last year's Initiative 502, which legalized pot in Washington state. "That means it could be mid-March before growers, processors and sellers have their state licenses in hand, and perhaps May by the time pot can be bought at stores."
Candidates to replace Kirby Wilbur think the reason the GOP has failed to sweep statewide offices in increasingly blue Washington state is because they aren't conservative enough.
The paper also reports that growers will likely be limited to about 40 metric tons a year.
Well, here's a winning strategy: The Seattle Times
reports that some of the leading candidates to become the next chief of the state Republican Party (former radio personality Kirby Wilbur resigned
to take a job in D.C. last month) think the reason the GOP has failed to sweep statewide offices in increasingly blue Washington state is because they aren't conservative enough.
The five leading candidates for the position include Susan Hutchison (the former TV anchor who lost her 2009 race for King County Executive to Democrat Dow Constantine), interim chair Luanne Van Werven, who tells the Times that Rob McKenna, the party's failed 2012 candidate for governor, was too "moderate" to win east of the mountains; and Grays Harbor GOP state committeeman Jim Walsh, a member of a group dominated by former supporters of Tea Party presidential candidate Rand Paul.
Walkouts by fast-food workers across the country, including in Seattle, have become front-page news in recent weeks. It's the first time in my memory that the nation's lowest-paid workers (the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour; they're demanding a $15 hourly minimum) have organized and made poverty wages a true nationwide political issue.
The reason for the change, the New Yorker
's Surowiecki suggests, is that these low-wage jobs are now held not by teenagers trying to make a little gas money or low-income married women working half-time while they raise their kids; they're older, better educated, and relying on their checks to support families. The shift is not just personal; it's "tectonic": 50 years ago, the nation's biggest employers, like General Motors, were also among its profitable and best-paying; today, the reverse is true.
To change the system, Surowiecki argues, will require both changing the way companies do business—which means convincing consumers to accept higher prices—and improving the nation's social-insurance system. Maybe, in other words, we can all stand to pay an extra dollar for a burger.