Morning Fizz

Uber Drivers, Land Use Attorneys, and Trump Voters

A few post–Labor Day questions.

By Josh Feit September 6, 2016

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1. Last month, the city decided to delay implementation of Seattle's groundbreaking legislation to let ride-share workers, such as Uber drivers, unionize. As I reported at the time, there was a sticking point over which drivers would get to vote in a union election.

And KUOW had a report from the August council hearing where part-time drivers and full time drivers sparred over that question.

Yesterday, Labor Day, we published a guest opinion piece from the former general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board under Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, Ronald Meisburg, who argued that the Seattle legislation as it stands, doesn't pass federal labor standard muster.

The legislation is reportedly coming up for further discussion next week.

2. I spent last week immersed in a big deal Seattle Hearing Examiner hearing about a city proposal to encourage more backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments; the Queen Anne Community Council is challenging the proposal, arguing that it would have serious consequences on single family neighborhoods.

Two quick follow-ups. First, the attorney arguing the case for the Queen Anne Community Council, local attorney Jeff Eustis, is actually a board member for the green land use policy group, Futurewise. He's the chair of the Futurewise board's legal committee.

Increasing density through land use regulations—like encouraging more urban housing—has been a central policy goal of Futurewise for years. Futurewise's in-house legal director Tim Trohimovich has been a driving force behind advocating for more pro density laws like the one the city is proposing. And Eustis's fellow Futurewise board member Chuck Wolfe, an attorney and urban planning professor at the UW, is one of Seattle's premiere urbanists.

I'd like to be a fly on the wall at the next Futurewise board meeting to see if the Futurewise board grills Eustis on his dissident position.

Second, the Seattle City Hearing Examiner herself, Sue Tanner, whose been hearing the landmark case, is up for reconfirmation at today's full council meeting. I hope city council member Mike O'Brien—who's sponsoring the backyard cottage legislation—susses out Tanner's position on his proposal today.

3. Trying to get a handle on just who Trump voters are? Mother Jones published a long literary piece on it late last month tracking voters in Louisiana where blue collar, white men are all in on Trump. I strongly recommend taking the time to read the article. 

At the local level, Seattle Times reporter Bob Young, diving in to Washington state's working class voters in Cowlitz county, recently surveyed Trump's appeal (and Clinton's.)

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