Top 10

Top 10 Stories: Base Fare for Ride Share, the Gender Pay Gap, and Jury Selection

Your weekly dose of top political stories.

By Grace Madigan April 13, 2018

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1. The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution to consider creating a minimum base fare rate for ride shares. The resolution also includes investigating more regulations on for-hire transportation companies and calling on Transportation Network Companies like Uber to turn over anonymous data like drivers' compensation.

2. The city's gender pay gap is much larger when factoring in overtime, Crosscut reported. Before adding in overtime wages, women made 90 percent of what male employees made. That number drops to 78 percent when adding overtime. Male employees increased their salaries by $12,751 through overtime work, compared to women's $2,385.

3. Washington is the first state to enact a rule that combats racial bias in jury selection. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that an attorney can now challenge the dismissal of a potential juror if an "objective observer" sees the reason for the exclusion as racial. Questions typically used to dismiss jurors of color, like whether they trust police, can't be used to dismiss them. 

4. Seattle's tax system ranks as the unfairest in the state. As a city widely accepted to be a liberal bubble, Seattle's tax system reflects a different story. A new report from the Economic Opportunity Institute showed a family making $25,000 in annual income will be taxed four times as much as a family making $250,000. 

5. Students from South Seattle account for nearly half the number of homeless students in the Seattle Public Schools system. The number of homeless students in Washington state is at an all-time high, and in Seattle Public Schools the number rose 22 percent from the previous academic year. In South Seattle, the number of homeless students tripled since 2010.

6. The number of homeless living in their vehicles poses a problem for the city. Former Mayor Ed Murray intended to create safe lots where those living in their vehicles could park and safely sleep. But between complaints and the fact that so few made the transition to housing, the project has long been considered to be a failure, The Seattle Times reported. A lot in Sodo remains as a "safe zone" and will close in July, the city has yet to develop a strategy for how to handle the rise in the number of people living in their vehicles.

7. And King County Metro's fare enforcement program disproportionately harms homeless people. An audit found that 25 to 30 percent of those cited were facing housing instability. In 2016, only 94 of the 3,911 people cited actually paid the fine. The county only made $4,388 and spent $343,760 on processing the citations.

8. Bailey Stober, chair of the King County Democrats, resigned Sunday amid allegations of harassing and bullying employees and mishandling funds. A new chair will be selected later this month.

9. The Seattle P-I is losing almost half its staff. A combination of layoffs and resignations, first reported by Crosscut, will leave only five reporters and one photographer as the P-I's parent company SFGate attempts to find ways to create more revenue with a more efficient model.

10. A person walked off a Seattle-Bainbridge ferry leaving behind their bike share rental, and that resulted in a $17,000 search and rescue operation. Past incidents of people jumping and/or falling overboard triggered protocol for a missing person delaying the ferry by 20 minutes.

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