Morning Fizz

Including Rob McKenna's Daughter

By Morning Fizz July 6, 2011

1. Students showed up at new UW President Michael Young's office yesterday—his first official day on the job—to deliver  a letter urging him to cancel UW's contract with Sodexo, the controversial food service contractor, which has been accused of labor and human rights abuses.

Several students were arrested this spring when they staged a pair of sit-ins, including one at interim President Phyllis Wise's office, to protest the campus contract with Sodexo.

The letter states:
This summer also brings an exciting new change in leadership with the entrance of Michael Young. An experienced leader with an impressive record, Young has the perfect opportunity to begin his career in Washington by demonstrating engagement with the campus community and a commitment to social responsibility. With the recent termination of Western Washington University’s 50-year relationship with Sodexo, the University of Washington is the only public university in the state that continues to do business with the company. We urge Young to use this tremendous opportunity to stand up for human rights.

The letter is signed by a roster of social justice groups (including OneAmerica, Washington Community Action Network, Washington Association of Churches, and Casa Latina),  local unions (including the King County Labor Council and UFCW), lefty politicians (Seattle City Council member Nick Licata and King County Council member Larry Gossett) and UW leaders including Rob McKenna's daughter, outgoing student president Madeleine McKenna.

2. The city council's land-use committee got an earful last night on more than a dozen proposed amendments to the city's comprehensive plan, the land-use policy document that gets an overhaul once every year. The council will consider the 17 amendments over the course of June and July, and will decide which amendments will move forward later this summer.

The proposals on the table include:

Changes to the city's urban forestry plan that would strengthen the city's commitment to preserving its tree canopy and expanding the city's tree coverage by 40 percent;

A proposal by city council member Mike O'Brien to accelerate the city's reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions---from a reduction of 30 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, to a reduction of 30 percent from 2008 levels by 2024. By 2050, under O'Brien's proposal, the city would reduce its emissions by 90 percent from 2008.

A proposal by council member Nick Licata to allow long-term homeless encampments like Nickelsville in residential zones, where they currently aren't allowed. Several Nickelsville residents spoke out in favor of Licata's proposal last night.[pullquote]Several Nickelsville residents spoke out in favor of Licata's proposal last night.[/pullquote]

Another proposal by Licata---long sought by affordable-housing advocates (and density opponents) like the Seattle Displacement Coalition's John Fox, who spoke in favor of the amendment---to guarantee that, "where feasible," the city would ensure one-for-one replacement of any affordable housing displaced by development.

3. King County Executive Dow Constantine and Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett are holding a fundraiser at Caffe Vita in Pioneer Square for Bellevue City Council member Claudia Balducci, the embattled pro-light rail council member who's facing a challenge from Patti Mann, who's being backed by hefty contributions from anti-light rail developer Kemper Freeman and Balducci's council rival, Kevin Wallace.

4. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has been blaming speculators for spiking the price of gas and demanding that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission get to work implementing overdue rules that Cantwell added to the financial reform bill to limit the number and size of speculative positions traders could hold on various oil commodity markets.

Cantwell says there's a discrepancy between the cost of a barrel of oil when it's based on actual supply and demand and the jacked up price when speculators run the market.

Yesterday, we asked Cantwell to quantify how much of the inflated price was actually due to speculators. Her office provided us with several studies including one showing a $25 dollar per barrel impact.

Twenty-five bucks pretty much tracks the discrepancy between the theoretical supply and demand price that Exxon acknowledged last May under questioning from Cantwell ($60-$70) vs. the going price ($98).

"Clearly, excessive speculation is a problem," says Cantwell spokesman Jared Leopold.
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