OOBT

1. The Seattle Times has the details of a tentative contract deal between workers at four major grocery chains and their employers, which essentially keeps wages and benefits the same as they were before contract negotiations started.

Initially, the chains wanted to renege on a guarantee that workers would start at ten cents above minimum wage, to eliminate health care for anyone working less than 30 hours a week, and to cut back on overtime pay. The deal also gives bonus pay to all workers based on the number of hours they worked in the past year.

2. This Good magazine op/ed for I-522 by two members of the Bronner family (of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps fame) may remind you a bit of a Dr. Bronner's label—verbose, pedantic, and packed with neo-hippie terms like "agroecology." But: Stick with it and you'll find a surprisingly lucid argument in favor of GMO labeling (or at least against GMOs) on, well, agroecological grounds. GMOs, they argue, benefit pesticide-producing chemical companies at the expense of consumers while failing to deliver on their promise to "feed the world."

According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps has contributed $1.7 million to the "Yes on I-522" campaign.

 

3. According to a survey of more than 3,000 adults on behalf of Trulia, the real-estate firm, homeowners who don't want apartments going in next door may have a deeper motivation than just opposing ugly buildings: They don't like renters.

The survey, reported by Yahoo! Finance, found that "people are more prejudiced against renters than any other group living on their street"—more than people of other cultures, non-English speakers, people of different races, or people with different family structures.

The survey, reported by Yahoo! Finance, found that "people are more prejudiced against renters than any other group living on their street"—more than people of other cultures, non-English speakers, people of different races, or people with different family structures. That's especially bad news for renters at a time when homes in just eight of the 25 largest cities in the U.S. are affordable to median-income households.

4. Seattle Transit Blog reports on yet another big development in Columbia City: A 244-unit development at the old Zion Prep site, just east of the Link Light Rail station.

The bad news, they report, is that the development is limited to just three stories by the zoning at the site—a ridiculous oversight for a location just a few hundred yards from the light rail station. Development along the rail line has been stalled for years because the city has failed to upzone the land along the route for transit-oriented development (TOD), and this is just another example. 

If anything, the development (spread out over six buildings) is being designed as COD—car-oriented development—with 222 units of parking, including 129 of them in a surface lot. Surface parking is death to walkability (see: the Rainier Valley Safeway)—but, looking on the bright side, STB notes that if demand for parking turns out to be lower than the developers expected (likely, given the buildings' proximity to light rail), they can always turn the surface lot into more housing.

The demand is certainly there—another big development, this one six stories and 193 units, is going in four blocks away from the station. 

 

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