OOBT

1. A day in advance of the city's latest meeting on proposed new restrictions on ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft (the actual vote will reportedly be delayed another two weeks), city council member Mike O'Brien, along with OneAmerica director Rich Stolz, have an op/ed in the Seattle Times arguing that the restrictions O'Brien is proposing—which include a 300-license limit on ridesharing drivers, plus a 16-hour weekly limit on how much they can operate—will protect immigrant cab drivers from unfair competition from new upstart companies. 

"As Seattle tackles issues of income inequality and a growing lack of diversity because of decreasing affordability, we must consider the economic importance of the existing taxi industry to low-wage workers, including Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities," Stolz and O'Brien write. 

As pro-$15 minimum wage activists prepare to rally on Saturday, tipped workers are pushing Congress for a much smaller raise in their hourly minimum from $2.13 an hour, where it's been stuck since 1991.

 

Mayor Ed Murray, in contrast, agrees with the upstarts that more competition is necessary, and opposes caps on ridesharing vehicles.

Read today's PubliCola "One Question" with Murray about ridesharing here. As pro-$15 minimum wage activists prepare to rally on Saturday, tipped workers are pushing Congress for a much smaller raise in their hourly minimum from $2.13 an hour, where it's been stuck since 1991

2. Speaking of ridesharing, here are three more stories to help prep you for tomorrow's big discussion: A Geekwire interview with Lyft founder John Zimmer, who's in town this week to argue on behalf of his company; a piece on the Sightline blog that argues, not too convincingly, that O'Brien's compromise package ("compromise" because it only restricts ridesharing cars to 300 citywide, instead of restricting them to 100 per company, among other relatively minor changes from the original proposal, and not too convincingly, because the limitations could put ridesharing companies out of business) might work; and, at the Huffington Post, the president of the Internet Association argues that the proposal the council seems likely to adopt is "restrictive, anti-competitive and anti-Internet," and designed to keep Uber and Lyft from operating in the city. 

3. As pro-$15 minimum wage activists prepare to rally on Saturday, tipped workers across the nation are pushing Congress for what would appear to be, on first glance, a much smaller raise: An increase in their minimum wage from $2.13 an hour, where it's been stuck since 1991 (!), to a little over $7. As NPR's The Salt blog reports, though, the restaurant industry is mobilizing to keep their workers' wages at the current level, by claiming that with tips, restaurant workers average $16 to $22 an hour.

But those numbers, NPR notes, are contradicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says food and beverage servers average just $8.84 an hour, including tips—hardly a living wage. Seventy percent of tipped workers are women.

There's no tip credit statute in Washington state.

4. At Gigaom, Stacey Higgenbotham reports on the likely winners and losers if the Comcast/Time Warner merger goes through. Among the winners: Comcast subscribers, who would benefit from the (temporary) net neutrality rules to which the cable giant will likely agree as a condition of FCC approval of the merger.

And among the losers: Companies like Netflix, which Comcast views as a competitor, and consumers generally, one-third of whom will now be subject to Comcast's ability, as a monopoly in their markets, to dictate the terms of their TV and broadband experience.  

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