Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Fundamental Principles

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring polling, recanting, and surveillance.

By Morning Fizz May 7, 2014

Morning Fizz


EMC Research, the pollster that did the defining $15 minimum wage poll earlier this year—finding overwhelming support and consequently framing the mayor's Income Inequality Advisory Committee discussions and eventual pro-$15 deal—is polling on the issue again. 

And reportedly, they're doing the polling on behalf of the chamber of commerce—which abstained from the vote approving the deal—and other business interests that presumably are weighing support for a more conservative version of a $15 minimum wage proposal (or perhaps $12.50, according to one poll question) as the council now takes up the mayor's version.

Specifically, according to someone who got the poll last night, EMC is testing the waters on: the mayor's IIAC compromise proposal with its four-path phase in (three and four years for big companies and five and seven years for small businesses); City Council member Kshama Sawant's simpler model with an immediate $15 wage for big business and a three-year phase in for small business; and a business proposal with an eight-year phase in for everyone, plus a permanent tip/health care/total compensation credit, and a sub-minimum training wage for new employees

The IIAC rejected the "training wage" idea. And at Monday's council hearing on the $15 proposal, when Council member Sally Bagshaw brought up the idea, it got a chilly response. 

Murray's policy chief Robert Feldstein told Bagshaw flatly: "There were discussions. There was no training wage in the final proposal, and I'm going to leave it at that."

"If we have a conversation about training wage, it undermines [the deal]."

And Sarah Cherin, an IIAC member from the left-wing United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 21 (a key signatory lending credibility to the deal), was adamant: "One of the fundamental grounding principles of this compromise is that there are no exemptions, including no sub-minimum wages."

She went on to say that the state minimum wage law doesn't have a training wage—it's "one of the most progressive state minimum wage laws in the country," she said, "and we'd like to keep it that way." Cherin concluded: "I can't say it enough. One of the foundational compromises [of the deal] is we will keep the spirit intact in our state minimum wage. I believe we did that. If we have a conversation about training wage, it undermines that."

King County Labor Council leader Dave Freiboth seconded Cherin, calling the discussion of a training wage "exasperating" and saying it "wasn't in the scope of this discussion." 

Sawant added that the notion of a training wage was "one of those innocuous sounding, but insidious concepts," noting that "the Republicans are always trying to push this at the state level, and we have to make sure that in Seattle we don't open the door for training wages, it's quite harmful to the interests of workers."

Republicans in Olympia pushed training wage legislation without success this year.    


Here's a reverse-Jolt, or maybe a short-circuit on yesterday's Jolt when we called the Seattle-only bus measure campaign, Keep Seattle Moving, winners for getting a parade of endorsements from local state legislators. (Following last month's failed countywide Metro funding measure, Keep Seattle Moving is proposing a property tax to fund Seattle bus service.)

We're not issuing the reverse Jolt to Keep Seattle Moving, though. We're issuing it to Mayor Murray. 

Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, Southeast Seattle) recanted his Keep Seattle Moving endorsement, after, as the Stranger's Slog reported late yesterday, he got a pitch from Mayor Murray to hold off because the mayor was going to present a plan of his own.

We've got nothing against Murray making his own proposal—which he hasn't done yet—but pressuring people to pull support for a separate proposal is tacky business.

Roll out your own proposal publicly and let people compare and contrast then. Don't pull rank with behind-the-scenes politicking—Kline is an old Murray ally from Olympia— to undermine a proposal that beat you to the punch. That sort of childish behavior poisons an honest debate.

"My preference was and remains a regional solution, and I hope one emerges." —Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon    

We have a message in to the mayor. And to other legislators who endorsed Keep Seattle Moving to see if they got a call from Murray. One state rep who endorsed, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, West Seattle), tells Fizz he was not contacted by Murray, though we've heard others did get called and Murray wasn't happy with them.

As for Fitzgibbon, a local environmental all-star, he told us: "If Ed comes up with a better plan to save buses, I'll support that. At the moment, [Keep Seattle Moving] is the only one out there. My preference," he concluded, "was and remains a regional solution, and I hope one emerges."


U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1) is emerging as a key player in the debate between two bills—a bill from her house judiciary committee and a competing bill from the intelligence committee—that address NSA surveillance

The New York Times has a good breakdown on the differences this morning, but suffice it to say that the judiciary bill, which requires pre-court approval and more limits on surveillance, offers stronger reforms.  

Rep. DelBene has been a tough critic of the NSA  and according to a writeup in Politico this morning, the tech industry is looking to DelBene to push for an amendment formalizing and strengthening rules the intelligence committee doesn't like that allow companies to disclose to customers what the NSA is up to.

Politico writes: "Whether lawmakers will agree to add back into the bill language allowing for more transparency on the part of tech companies was Tuesday’s big question ... The industry has been watching Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Suzan DelBene, two lawmakers who they felt might offer transparency-focused amendments at the markup." 

DelBene spokesman Viet Shelton tells Fizz: "Rep. DelBene has been working with the committee chair [Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)] and [Silicon Valley] Rep. Zoe Lofgren  (D-CA) to reinsert transparency provisions into the bill today."

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