Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Friday Likes and Dislikes

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring: marginalized, misled, and abandoned.

By Morning Fizz May 16, 2014

1. Fizz likes that at the Seattle Department of Planning and Development's presentation yesterday about the city's 2035 comprehensive plan update—an epic 20-year planning document that will serve as the governing blueprint for growth—DPD Senior Planner Patrice Carroll paused on one slide showing that currently a majority of the city's residents are renters (52 percent) to acknowledge that frustrated renters had been advocating for more of a voice in the planning conversation, concluding: "It's really important to hear from them."

Renters are often seen as interlopers. 

Renters are, as the numbers show, the majority in Seattle, yet at community meetings and, as a result, at city hall, they are often seen as interlopers. With supposedly real Seattleites, homeowners, dominating the conversation, urgent planning concepts such as density, workforce housing, mass transit, and parking maximums get unjustly marginalized. 


2. Fizz doesn't like the 15Now campaign's claim that Mayor Ed Murray's proposal to phase in the $15 minimum over several years (as many as seven for small businesses whose employees also receive tips) would, as a flyer distributed yesterday during protests outside local fast-food restaurants put it, "allow [businesses] to pay [workers] a lower minimum wage until 2025." 

It's not that we don't get the basic economics of the claim. Small businesses—say, your local coffee shop—whose employees get tips would be allowed to pay less than today's inflation-adjusted equivalent of $15 an hour, which works out to $18.13, until 2025.

But it's pretty misleading to say that businesses wouldn't have to pay a $15 minimum for 11 years, given that that minimum wage, in dollar figures, would kick in for the smallest tip-based businesses starting in 2021, and for all other businesses (including lots of retail businesses that don't rely on tips as part of their employees' compensation) between 2017 and 2019, depending on business size and what benefits the business provides.

3. Fizz likes that the Seattle Police Department is getting called out (by the Community Police Commission) for its failure, between 2005 and 2013, to file charges for misdemeanor crimes, including nuisance crimes and traffic violations.

The data, according to the Seattle Times, show "steep reductions" in citations for misdemeanors like public urination and drug dealing, and prompted the Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO Kate Joncas to issue a statement yesterday saying, "some officers are not being proactive enough to engage with the people who are causing the problems in areas where we’ve seen street disorder, such as Westlake Park, parts of Pioneer Square and the Waterfront.  We also hear frustration from businesses and residents who call 911, but do not get a response from the police." 

Murray will announce his choice for a new police chief to replace interim chief Harry Bailey on Monday. “With new leadership on the way, we’re optimistic that the SPD will address this issue," Joncas added. 

It's not that we don't get the creeping stop-and-frisk mentality that's intertwined with "Broken Windows" policing, though. As hiphop historian Jeff Chang wrote in his damning description of "zero tolerance"-era New York: "the neocon reaction to graffiti would become one of the hinges on which the politics of abandonment would turn toward a politics of containment."


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