Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Friday Likes & Dislikes

How we really feel about the news.

By Morning Fizz October 17, 2014


1. File this LIKE not only under fair play, but under totally true. 

A few weeks ago, we gave a Friday LIKE to the word we'd gotten that longtime Transportation Choices Coalition Director Rob Johnson was seriously considering a run for City Council in the 4th District (basically Eastlake, the U District and all the quaint, pretty and affluent neighborhoods northeast of it.) And we still like that news. 

BUT now ... we also LIKE that 43rd District Democratic activist, Parks Levy champion, and opinionated biker and renter Michael Maddux told Fizz this morning "I'm in" in the 4th District. 

He also told us, when asked for his top priority and his plan to address it—this: 

"The number one issue is ensuring we have a city that is affordable and livable, while living up to our pro-environment values. 

"Some initial ideas include working to find ways to encourage more family-size housing that is affordable for middle class folks. 

"Funding the bicycle master plan, and lead on funding transportation planning focused on: moving people, pedestrian friendly infrastructure, priority lighting for transit, bus-only lanes in high-capacity corridors (and truly bus-only, with right turns being limited to right turn lights similar to the 2nd Ave cycle track). 

"Preserving and expanding the social safety net, continuing to grow affordable housing units, partnering for greater access to social services provided by other agencies (and not duplicating them), especially affordable health care access and reproductive health access for youth."

Maddux also told us that his favorite council vote this year was when they sent the Parks Levy to voters. He told us his least favorite vote was when council shot down Nick Licata's proposal to legalize and regulate homeless encampments. 

Check out more of Maddux's takes on the issues here

In addition to Johnson's likely candidacy, Seattle City Council Member Jean Godden has declared her intention to run in the 4th District. It's also likely the Kshama Sawant ally Jess Spear will translate her current long-shot state house run against popular incumbent—and speaker of the house—state Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) into a 4th District city council run next year. 

2. Speaking of Sawant, we LIKE the press release she sent out criticizing the annual chamber of commerce retreat this week at the Suncadia resort in Cle Elum. Or more specifically, she criticized the city council for attending. 

“Such networking by elected officials with big business is nothing other than service provided in return for campaign funds, while ensuring future career opportunities. And let’s be honest – they are also taking down their next marching orders from the Chamber,” she said. 

He didn't, however mention Alaska's fight against the $15 minimum wage in Sea-Tac last year.

The Seattle Times has more, including Sawant's critique of the costs to the city. 

3. As for the chamber conference itself: A LIKE and DISLIKE from our embedded correspondent. 

He/She LIKED Alaska Airlines' CEO Brad Tilden's speech because he explicitly told the crowd that business had to stop being anti-tax if they want a transportation system that works, and if they want a strong region that attracts talent. (He didn't, however mention Alaska's fight against the $15 minimum wage in Sea-Tac last year; perhaps livable wages for airport workers isn't something that attracts good workers?)

He/She DISLIKED, especially given that Boeing VP Kevin Schemm dismissed a question about the importance of unions during audience Q&A saying "we don't think about unions"—that, as opposed to past years, no major regional labor leaders were at the conference. Notably MIA from the guest list: Previous attendee King County Labor Council leader David Freiboth. 

4. And speaking of workforce issues, we LIKE the email that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent to staffers this week addressing his embarrassing statement last week that women shouldn't disrupt (I'm using that trendy tech watchword on purpose) the supposedly inherently fair Microsoft HR ecosystem by asking for raises. They should just wait for them, he had said

This weeks email (and we've bolded the part we really LIKE):

From: Satya Nadella

Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:21 AM

To: Microsoft - All Employees (QBDG); Retail: All FTE

Subject: Today’s Q&A Session

In today’s monthly Q&A session, I want to give some perspective about the past few weeks — my trip to Asia , Gartner Symposium, the Adobe MAX conference, the Grace Hopper conference and Windows 10, as well as focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) (and, of course, anything else on your minds). In November we’ll have a tightly focused conversation with Terry about Windows 10 more broadly.

Before our discussion, I want to provide additional thoughts from the Grace Hopper conference last week. Thank you to the many people who sent me comments and feedback over the past few days. It was a humbling and learning experience.

One of the answers I gave at the conference was generic advice that was just plain wrong. I apologize. For context, I had received this advice from my mentors and followed it in my own career. I do believe that at Microsoft in general good work is rewarded, and I have seen it many times here. But my advice underestimated exclusion and bias — conscious and unconscious — that can hold people back. Any advice that advocates passivity in the face of bias is wrong. Leaders need to act and shape the culture to root out biases and create an environment where everyone can effectively advocate for themselves.

Make no mistake: I am 100 percent committed to Diversity and Inclusion at the core of our culture and company. Microsoft has to be a great place to work for everybody. I deeply desire a vibrant culture of inclusion. I envision a company composed of more diverse talent. I envision more diverse executive staff and a more diverse Senior Leadership Team. Most of all, I envision a company that builds products that an expansive set of diverse and global customers love. As we make Diversity and Inclusion central to Microsoft’s business, we have the opportunity to spark change across the industry as well. This is the accountability the Senior Leadership Team and I own.

There are three areas in which we can and will make progress — starting immediately.

First, we need to continue to focus on equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity for equal work. Many employees have asked if they are paid on par with others at the company. Here’s what HR confirmed for me: Although it fluctuates by a bit each year, the overall differences in base pay among genders and races (when we consider level and job title) is consistently within 0.5% at Microsoft. For example, last year women in the US at the same title and level earned 99.7% of what men earned at the same title and level. In any given year, any particular group may be slightly above or slightly below 100 percent. But this obscures an important point: We must ensure not only that everyone receives equal pay for equal work, but that they have the opportunity to do equal work.

Second, we need to recruit more diverse talent to Microsoft at all levels of the company. As you saw in the numbers we recently released, we have work to do at Microsoft and across the industry. These numbers are not good enough, especially in a world in which our customers are diverse and global. To achieve this goal — and especially in engineering — we will have to expand the diversity of our workforce at the senior ranks and re-double our efforts in college and other hiring. Each member of the SLT will be goaled to increase Diversity and Inclusion.

Third, we need to expand training for all employees on how to foster an inclusive culture. Although we already offer training and development in these areas, we need to ensure the right level of accountability for modeling inclusive behaviors in all our work and actions. We all need to think about how Connects are written, performance feedback is delivered, new hires are selected, how promotion and pay decisions are made, etc. We need to focus on both the conscious and unconscious thinking that affects all these things, and mandatory training on D&I is a great place to start.

I am personally fully committed to these efforts and so is the rest of the Senior Leadership Team. We are going to work side by side with Gwen Houston, GM, Diversity and Inclusion, each month to drive progress on the three actions above, and Gwen and her team will continue to gather input, refine our existing plans and develop new approaches. I’ll report back to you in future all employee Q&A sessions starting in November.

When I took on my role as CEO I got advice to be bold and be right. Going to the Grace Hopper conference to further the discussion on women in technology was bold, yet my answer to a key question was not right. I learned, and we will together use this learning to galvanize the company for positive change. And I’ll certainly go back to Grace Hopper next year to continue the dialogue. We will make Microsoft an even better place to work and do great things.



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