1. You might guess from this week's ThinkTank about city council member Nick Licata's proposal to mandate paid sick leave that all small business owners, particularly restaurateurs, are dead-set against the idea. (Washington Restaurant Association president Anthony Anton wrote a Cola ThinkTank op/ed opposing Licata's idea).

However, a group of local small businesses sent a letter this week to council members---who're being inundated with emails and phone calls on both sides of the issue---supporting the idea of requiring paid leave.

[pullquote]The letter---signed by a group of small business owners including Molly Moon Neitzel of Molly Moon's Ice Cream—says, "We believe that providing paid sick days is the responsible thing to do."[/pullquote]

The letter---signed by a diverse group of small business owners including Molly Moon Neitzel of Molly Moon's Ice Cream, Risa Blythe of Girlie Press, and Ana Castro of the Salvadorean Bakery in White Center---says in part:
We believe that providing paid sick days is the responsible thing to do to support employees and help prevent the spread of disease. Ensuring people can earn paid sick days encourages workers to stay home when they're contagious, and is especially important for workers who handle food, provide health care, or have close contact with the public.

2. The city council's land-use committee should get its first peek next week at a proposal from Mayor Mike McGinn to expand street food in Seattle. The measure would allow food vendors to set up along some roadways (instead of just on private property, which is all the current system allows), and would allow food carts to offer more kinds of hot food than they currently can.

One change that may no longer be on the menu, though: An initial proposal to allow vendors to enter a lottery for the most desirable street corners.

3. Potential zoning changes around light rail stations in Mount Baker and the Rainier Valley have riled up the usual suspects (the same group that managed to sink a transit oriented development proposal back in 2009 with scary pictures of Mumbai), including Mt. Baker activist Pat Murakami and Columbia City landlord Ray Akers, who've resurrected the long-defunct Save Our Valley organization, originally set up to oppose at-grade light rail through South Seattle.

On a recently established Facebook page, group members warn of  "more pawn shops, payday loans, and 20-story-high 'affordable' housing" if the city allows taller buildings in the neighborhood. [pullquote]They've resurrected the long-defunct Save Our Valley organization, originally set up to oppose at-grade light rail through South Seattle.[/pullquote]

In reality, the city is considering a proposal to raise heights to a maximum of 85 to 120 feet, or eight to 12 stories, and to re-work the way traffic moves on the two main drags that run through the area, MLK and Rainier, potentially turning the two streets into one-way parallel arterials.

4. Andrew wrote a story yesterday on the workers' comp legislation that state Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48, Kirkland) is pushing as a compromise between business (which wants a lump sum settlement option in workers' comp negotiations instead of just mandated ongoing workers' comp payments) and labor (which flatly opposes to the concept of lump sum settlements).

However, Fizz now hears that Eddy's proposal (and the senate's more conservative version) may both be off the table.

At a meeting yesterday with Democratic and Republican leaders on the issue—Reps. Mike Sells (D-38, Everett) and Cary Condotta (R-12, East Wenatchee) and Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard) and Janea Holmquist Newbury (R-13, Grant County)—Gov. Chris Gregoire put forth her own proposal.

The governor's version only focuses on older workers, 55  and up. And while the current legislation lets older workers take a lump sum settlement only if they're also eligible for worker's retraining and puts requirements around the lump sum (it has to be at least one third of the disability award), the governor's proposal expands the pool of older workers who can take the lump sum settlement and puts no requirements on the payout.

Labor is sure to reject this idea because, as one labor advocate told me, it expands the pool of "exploitation."

5. There's a serious Cinco de Mayo festival cued up in South Park today. The all-day festivities, which also happen to feature the groundbreaking for construction on the new South Park Bridge along the Duwamish, will feature: a tour of local restaurants;  mariachi; DJs; a meet-and-greet with local fire fighters for the kids; and a 26-foot-long pinata shaped like the bridge. Gov. Gregoire is dropping by as well.