1. At the Seattle Times, editorial board member Jonathan Martin points out a major category of employers that won't be subject to the $15 minimum wage, if it passes: Government employees (other than workers at the city of Seattle, who, under an executive order from Mayor Ed Murray, now make a minimum of $15).
That government worker category includes not just employees at other governments like King County, but public institutions like the University of Washington, which employees tens of thousands of workers, about 3,000 of whom make less than $15 an hour.
It's a good gotcha, though Martin does downplay the explanation: Murray can't mandate that the UW (or other Washington cities, or the federal government, for that matter) pay a $15 minimum, because, as Martin notes briefly a few paragraphs into his piece, the city can't pre-empt the minimum wages set by other governments.
It's unclear, Martin reports, how many workers would not see wage increases because they work for non-city government agencies. But what is certain is that the number of workers in Seattle who'd see higher wages from the measure is far greater than those whose jobs would be exempt.
2. Seattle Transit Blog's map genius Oran Viriyincy has created a precinct-level interactive map that shows exactly how every precinct in King County voted on Proposition 1, the Metro transit funding measure that failed last month, including vote totals, turnout, and the pro-con vote breakdown.
Scrolling through the "no" precincts, I found that at least one, in Tukwila, was 100 percent opposed to the bus service-saving proposal; that the eastern part of the county voted overwhelmingly (by margins, in many precincts, of around 85 to 15 percent) against the measure; and that my own Southeast Seattle precinct voted 75 percent for, 25 percent against.
In general, Southeast Seattle—one of the more transit-dependent areas of the city proper—supported the measure, with the exception of wealthy Seward Park, where a dozen or so precincts voted against it.
Get lost in the wonky details of Oran's map here.
Legislators seem less likely than at any time in recent years to pass a comprehensive transportation package to fund roads and transit systems like Metro, thanks in part—or so legislators say—to the stalled tunnel-boring machine.
3. If your bus route is being cut, don't count on the state legislature to bail you out. According to a piece by Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner, legislators seem less likely than at any time in recent years to pass a comprehensive transportation package to fund roads and transit systems like Metro, thanks in part—or so legislators say—to the stalled tunnel-boring machine and cracked pontoons that led to cost overruns on the reconstruction of the 520 bridge.
For the past two years, the Republican-dominated state senate has failed to pass a transportation funding package that would raise the gas tax to pay for roads, road maintenance, ferries, and bicycle and pedestrian projects; the package would also give Metro new local funding authority.
With the failure of Prop. 1 and the ongoing lack of action from the legislature, Metro will start implementing service cuts of up to 17 percent this September.
4. Mother Jones has crunched the numbers on which industries are providing the most corporate campaign contributions in every state, based on the most recent (2012) federal election cycle.
In Washington—no huge surprise (and see today's Jolt)—the biggest corporate donors to state-level campaigns come from the tech industry, putting us in the company of just one other state, Minnesota of all places, where tech spending dominates.
Nationwide, the biggest campaign donors (or at least, those that wield the greatest influence in the largest number of states) are the energy and health-care industries, and the smallest is the gambling industry, which dominates in just one state: Rhode Island.
5. Infamous landlord Hugh Sisley—notorious for his dilapidated properties—is back in the news, with a KOMO report that the Roosevelt boarding-house magnate now owes some $3 million in back fines for more than 400 housing-and zoning-related complaints against him. Sisley owns more than 50 houses in the Roosevelt area, most of which he has subdivided and rents out to low-income tenants.
According to the KOMO story, one house whose tenants they interviewed has broken electrical outlets, is infested with bed bugs and ants, has toilets that don't work. "You flush it and sewage comes up," one tenant told the KOMO reporter.