Morning Fizz

Increasing Police Accountability? Workers' Wages? and Trees?

Caffeinated news featuring the progressive agenda in Olympia and trees in Seattle

By Josh Feit February 2, 2015

Caffeinated News

1. The ACLU doesn't like the body camera bill that was introduced by state representatives Drew Hansen (D-23, Bainbridge), Eric Pettigrew (D-37, Southeast Seattle), and Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-21, Mukilteo) late last week. The bill, the ACLU worries, gives too much discretion to police on how to use the footage.

For example, it doesn't prohibit the footage from being stored and used as police evidence.

The ACLU much prefers an alternative bill from state senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37, SE Seattle) and house representative Cindy Ryu (D-32, Shoreline) that says body cam footage can only be accessed and used in instances when citizens are filing complaints about police misconduct.

The ACLU bill also prevents police from turning cameras on and off at their own discretion.

2. Conservative state legislators who decry Seattle as an anomaly of radical liberalism—Exhibit A: a socialist city council member and gay mayor who forced business to accept a phased in $15 minimum wage last year—may want to update their analysis.

The political dynamic that played out in Seattle in 2014—a legislative approach to raising the minimum wage that favored lefties at the bargaining table because the likelihood of a more progressive version brewing at the ballot box loomed over business' head—is now being replicated at the state level.

Weighing in on a Democratic bill in the state legislature (sponsored in the senate by Seattle senator Pramila Jayapal, D-37, Southeast Seattle and in the house, again, by Seattle representative Jessyn Farrell, D-46, North Seattle) that would incrementally raise the state minimum wage to $12 over the next four years, Association of Washington Business lobbyist Gary Chandler, evidently wary of AWB's own polling, told the Longview Daily News: "that recent polling showed a $15 an hour initiative 'would be tough but saleable to the public,' while a $12 an hour initiative would likely pass. This seemingly hippie-dippy question is actually an existential one for Seattle. 

The house labor committee passed the bill last Thursday on a party line vote: The four Democrats voted in favor of the bill and the three Republicans voted no.

3. Here's another outtake from former Seattle city council member Peter Steinbrueck's big report on Seattle's neighborhoods last week

Bushwhacking into a longstanding debate over tree canopy in the city (has it increased or receded?), Steinbrueck reported that it's increased in the neighborhood hubs he studied. 

Though it does come with lots of footnotes about incomplete data, his report states:

"Canopy cover increased within all but two of the urban villages over the 20 year period of this study. Six urban villages (Ballard, Downtown, North Beacon Hill, University District, West Seattle Junction, and Westwood-Highland Park) had increases that were statistically significant."

This seemingly hippie-dippy question is actually an existential one for Seattle with increasing or receding tree canopy standing in, Joni Mitchell style, as an indictment (or not) of increased development.



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