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On Other Blogs Today: Socialist Candidate for City Council, Higher Salaries for Port Commissioners, and More

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By Erica C. Barnett March 13, 2013



1. The Stranger has an interview with Kshama Sawant, a socialist candidate and Seattle Central Community College economics teacher who announced her candidacy against longtime city council member Richard Conlin today.

If elected, Sawant, who was politicized during 2011's Occupy protests, says she'll increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour and pass rent control (which is illegal under state law).

Previously, the paper supported Sawant's write-in bid against state House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43,Wallingford), in which Sawant won 29 percent. 

2. Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat opines that a compromise proposal setting a statewide cap on the rates towing companies can charge drivers is a "big win" for the companies, because it still allows companies to charge significantly higher rates (about $270 in Seattle) than a rate-capping ordinance the Seattle city council passed last fall.

But wait a minute: As we reported earlier this week, the new ordinance explicitly protects Seattle from preemption by the state law—meaning that the city's current law, capping rates at around $183 an hour, still stands. The legislation states that it "does not affect the authority of any city, town, or county to enforce, maintain, or amend any ordinance, enacted prior to January 1, 2013 and valid under state law in existence at the time of its enactment, that regulates maximum allowable rates and related charges for private impounds."

Wouldn't it be awesome if you could vote to raise your own salary sevenfold?

That doesn't help cities that didn't adopt maximum rates before January 1, 2013, but it does protect Seattle—the city Westneat cites in every example he gives of "exorbitant" tolling rates.

3. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could vote to raise your own salary sevenfold?

That's exactly what the Port of Seattle did yesterday, the AP reports, agreeing 3-0 (with two members absent) to increase their annual salaries from $6,000 to $42,000 a year. Added to a potential $12,500 per diem (not to mention free travel around the world), that's a $54,500 annual paycheck—not bad for a part-time job.

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