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On Other Blogs Today: Slashing Wages and Selling Papers

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By Erica C. Barnett February 6, 2013



1. The Seattle Times reports on legislation that would allow small employers (those with 50 workers or fewer) to pay a "training wage" of $6.89 an hour, or 75 percent of the state minimum wage, to new employees. Companies could pay the subminimum wages to half-time workers for up to 34 weeks, or to full-time workers for up to 17 weeks. 

Legislators who support the bill say it would "incentivize" companies to take a chance on inexperienced, part-time teenage workers. But the bill includes no age limits: Laid-off middle-age workers seeking low-paying retail jobs could be subject to the same subminimum wages as high school students. And, age aside, it's hard to see how working the cash register at a fast-food restaurant or selling jewelry at the mall could possibly require nearly a year's worth of training. 


2. Just weeks after buying the Seattle Weekly, Sound Publishing—the owner of the Little Nickel, as well as several small community newspapers—announced today that it is buying the Everett Herald from the Washington Post Company, the Herald reports.

It's unclear how the Herald—the company's first large daily newspaper—will fit into Sound Publishing's future business plans; Sound Publishing president Gretchen Fletcher said the company was committed to "community journalism" and acknowledged that there may be layoffs. Currently, the Herald focuses on much more than community journalism—with, for example, a real focus on Olympia. We'll be watching closely to see if Sound Publishing preserves the Herald's commitment to that broader emphasis.

3. Last chance to save Bauhaus Coffee?

Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the city's Landmarks Preservation Board will consider a petition to designate the block that houses the iconic coffee shop as a designated historical landmark, preventing plans to partially demolish the 1915 building as well as a 1916 apartment building next door.

4. The AP reports that NBA Commissioner David Stern says a group of investors led by San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has filed a formal petition to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

While the step is technically just "procedural," the AP says it's "a big one in the efforts to bring professional basketball back to Seattle." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been trying to round up investors to match Hansen's proposed sale price and keep the Kings in Sacramento.

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