Tag Archives: Seattle

Seattle City Council approves historic $15 minimum wage


Seattle Times: The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a $15 minimum wage Monday, giving its lowest-paid workers a path over the next seven years to the nation’s highest hourly pay.

The outcome was not in doubt as a progressive mayor and City Council throughout the spring vowed to address the national trend of rising income inequality and a city that has become increasingly unaffordable for many of its residents.

But amid the celebration outside City Hall after the vote, cautionary notes also were sounded about Seattle’s leap into the unknown.

“No city or state has gone this far. We go into uncharted territory,” said Seattle City Council member Sally Clark before the council agreed to give workers a 61 percent wage increase over what is already the country’s highest state minimum wage.

Within minutes of the vote, an organization representing national franchises vowed to sue over the law’s treatment of them as large businesses.

And 15 Now activists, who are collecting signatures for a charter amendment that would speed up the phase-in to three years, said they haven’t yet decided whether to go forward with the measure for the November ballot.

A standing-room-only crowd made up largely of fast-food workers, union activists and 15 Now volunteers cheered the council’s vote.

“We did this. Workers did this. Today’s first victory for 15 will inspire people all over the nation,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant, whose election in November on a $15-an-hour minimum platform helped galvanize the Seattle effort.

Mayor Ed Murray praised the vote as a bold step to address what he called more than three decades of economic policy that resulted in a dismantling of the middle class. “Today we have taken action that will serve as a model for the rest of the nation to follow,” he said.

Council members acknowledged it would take more than a gradual pay increase to make the city more affordable.

Both business and labor representatives who worked on the compromise plan said they would continue to lobby for strong education and enforcement of the higher wages that take effect in April.

Some fast-food workers, whose walkouts a year ago launched the campaign to win workers’ higher pay, cried after the vote. Brittany Phelps, who makes $9.50 an hour at a Seattle McDonald’s, brought her 5-year-old daughter to the council hearing to witness the historic vote. “I’m really happy. This means a lot,” said Phelps, brushing tears from her eyes.

Ubah Aden, a Somali immigrant who works as a home-health-care worker earning $10.95 an hour, also celebrated passage of the ordinance. “A lot of people thought, ‘Oh no, it’s not going to happen.’ It’s happening,” she said.

But the same activists jeered and chanted “Shame!” as the City Council voted down several amendments introduced by Sawant to make the final measure more worker-friendly.

As she did Thursday when the bill was voted out of committee, Sawant attempted to remove provisions that create a training wage for teenagers and disabled workers, that allow tips and health-care benefits to be counted for up to 11 years, and to move the start date from January to April.

After her efforts failed, Sawant denounced her council colleagues as corporate representatives posing as the progressive alternative to the Republican Party, and gave parts of the same speech she made Thursday after the bill passed out of committee.

But even as labor activists began celebrating, the International Franchise Association announced plans to sue Seattle to overturn the ordinance.

Steve Caldeira, the association’s president and chief executive officer, said it unfairly counts local franchise owners as large employers because of their ties to national or global chains and gives them only three years to phase in the increase, while many of their nonfranchise competitors have seven years.

In all, 600 franchisees employ 19,000 workers at 1,700 establishments in Seattle, he said.

“These are independently owned small businesses who have their own skin in the game. They’ve either invested their life savings or taken out loans, or maybe done both, to take a shot at the American dream,” he said in an interview at City Hall.

“We intend to aggressively sue the city of Seattle for what we believe to be an extremely unfair and discriminatory policy against those hardworking, jobs-creating small-business owners.”

Local franchisee David Jones, who owns two Subway stores in Seattle, puts his cost of a $15 minimum at $125,000 annually. He pays the stores’ 18 employees $10.50 an hour, on average; he figures he’ll have to raise sandwich prices by a dollar or more to maintain profits.

“I’m going to increase prices and work hard to provide the best service possible so that I don’t lose sales,” he said, noting that his nonfranchise competitors will have four more years to phase in the increase. “The playing field is not even.”

Murray and representatives of SEIU Local 775 said their legal research showed that franchises can be treated as part of the corporations that license them.

“We never expected the lawyers from McDonald’s to agree with us,” said David Rolf, president of SEIU, one of the unions that backed the fast-food workers strike and helped pass a $15 minimum wage in SeaTac.

Some small-business owners praised the city’s move toward a $15 minimum wage. Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of Molly Moon’s ice cream, said the mandate will drive up her labor costs by $100,000 a year, but she expects to benefit from workers with more money to spend locally.

“A hundred thousand people next year will have more money in their pockets,” she said, referring to the estimated number of workers who now make less than $15. “They’ll have more money to buy ice cream.”

Neitzel has about 80 employees at six stores in Seattle. Last fall, she raised pay for her non-tipped employees to $15 from between $11 and $13.50.

She said another probable benefit from the higher minimum wage is reduced employee turnover. “They’re so appreciative of the raise,” she said of her non-tipped employees. “Retention is great, and their quality of life has increased.”

David Watkins, general manager at the Inn at the Market in downtown Seattle, said his 50-employee hotel will begin paying a $10 minimum next April, as required under the plan, and work toward $15 by 2021.

“I’m glad it’s not $15 Now on Jan. 1. I’m glad it’s phased in. There are some good compromises,” said Watkins, who also is president of the Seattle Hotel Association and a member of Murray’s advisory committee. “We as an industry will have to learn to adjust.”

He said prices will go up in the face of higher labor costs, but no layoffs are planned at his hotel. “We don’t want to sacrifice service for labor costs,” he said.

Under the $15 minimum-wage ordinance, minimum-wage workers will get raises starting April 1, the date set by the council.

Employees of businesses with more than 500 workers will start at $11 and reach $15 in 2017. Large businesses that provide health care will have an additional year.

Businesses with fewer than 500 will be required to pay $15 in 2019. Small businesses that claim a credit for tips and benefits will reach $15 an hour in 2021. The wages increase each year under all plans.

By 2025, according to city projections, all workers will be earning a minimum wage of $18.13 an hour, nearly double the state’s current $9.32 an hour.

Kaylee Bond, 19, who works at a Seattle Subway store, said that earning more than her current $9.32 minimum will mean she can save for a car and move to a better apartment.

“On one hand, it could mean inflation,” Bond said. “At the same time though, people would have more money to spend more. “It could be better for the economy,” she said.


50 Things We Don’t Do Any More.

January 28, 2013 by 

50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology

A study conducted by Mozy last year found that technology is replacing many of the tasks that have been mainstays in our lives for years. When you consider the telecom industry, for example, when was the last time you looked something up in a phone book? Or used a phone book? Sure, they have 50 listings for party clowns for your 8-year-old’s birthday party, but isn’t it just faster to search online? Have you or your children ever called to hear “At the sound of the tone, the time will be 4:13 PM”? Technology is making life easier, faster, more accurate, and more personal. Take a stroll down memory lane with us and review 50 of the things we don’t do (or maybe have never done) thanks to technology.

50-Things-Technology-Has-Taken-Over-4 (1)

Try link if pic’s are not clear enough.



Crime pays for perpetual Seattle criminal?

Man who got $42K for SPD kick is arrested in shooting case

Seattle Times: D’Vontaveous Hoston, who received a $42,000 settlement from the city of Seattle after he was kicked by a police officer, has been arrested on a warrant for allegedly firing a gunshot that almost hit a mother and her infant.

Hoston, 19, was captured by U.S. marshals in the Seattle area, near his last known address, according to Federal Way police. He was questioned by detectives and then booked into jail in Des Moines, police said.

Hoston was wanted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment stemming from the Oct. 15 shooting at the Crestview West Apartments in Federal Way. According to the charges, the shooting happened in the apartment Hoston’s girlfriend shares with another woman. Hoston’s girlfriend told police that the two women and their boyfriends, including Hoston, had been arguing over rent the day the gunshot was fired.

There were three children 1 years old or younger in the home at the time, charges said. The roommate of Hoston’s girlfriend told Federal Way police a bullet went through her bedroom wall and she saw something fly near her 6-month-old baby’s head, according to charging documents. “She believed that Hoston intentionally tried to shoot her through the wall,” police Detective Matthew Leitgeb wrote in charges.

Hoston’s girlfriend said the gun went off accidentally when Hoston went to retrieve it from a bedroom closet before leaving the apartment, according to charging documents. She told police that he’d been carrying a firearm lately because he’s afraid gang members would rob him after he received his $42,000 settlement, the documents say.

Police briefly spoke with Hoston over the phone and asked him to meet with them to talk about the incident, but Hoston refused and hung up, according to the charges.

Earlier this fall, the city of Seattle agreed to pay $42,000 to settle a civil-rights federal lawsuit filed by Hoston after he was kicked several times by a police officer who arrested him in a Belltown convenience store.

In October 2010, Officer James J. Lee arrested Hoston, then 17, and kicked him because the officer believed Hoston had been involved in the assault of an undercover police officer. The incident was captured on store video and broadcast widely in local media and online. Hoston was acquitted of attempted robbery in the incident involving the undercover officer.

Lee was charged with fourth-degree assault, but the City Attorney’s Office dismissed the charge last year after an expert witness for the prosecution changed his mind about Lee’s criminal culpability. Lee was later cleared of wrongdoing in a Seattle police internal investigation.

In a separate case, Hoston was found guilty in February of unlawful possession of a firearm arising from a July 2011 incident in downtown Seattle. Hoston also has convictions for third-degree malicious mischief, cocaine delivery and resisting arrest, according to prosecutors.

The gun went off “accidentally” after “retrieving” it from a closet?  Of all the times in my life I’ve retrieved a gun, I’ve never once had an accidental discharge (AD). From what I understand, the majority of AD occurs when someone places their finger on the trigger and 1) fires having not identified their target or 2) is “trigger happy”. Either Hoston failed to follow the basic principles of firearm safety or he “accidentally” shot the gun, IMO.

I’m counting at least five incidents here where this guy could have/should have been pulled off the streets. What are the odds he’ll blow through this $42,000 and be in jail soon?  I’d bet a hundred bucks on that.


Long Distance Demon-Rat Voter Intimidation Underway in Florida

Remember these goons?

No, it does not rise to the level of physical intimidation, but it is clearly designed to suppress republican votes.

Of course, most republicans are not stupid enough to fall for it, and I find it not a little amusing that those perpetrating this obvious fraud think they are.

Via dailycaller.com:

Fla. Republicans receiving fake ineligibility letters aimed at suppressing their vote

Caroline May

Political Reporter

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections is investigating a number of fraudulent letters sent to voters in the state questioning their citizenship and voter eligibility, in a possible attempt to keep them home on Election Day.

“The Florida Department of State unequivocally opposes all attempts at voter fraud or intimidation and will pursue every avenue to ensure free, fair and open elections for all eligible voters,” Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a statement. “Voter fraud and intimidation can deny voters their voice in government and will not be tolerated.”

The statement alerted the public of the fraudulent letters, which claim to be from Florida election officials and imply that the recipient might be ineligible to vote.

Charles Callaghan, a Republican from Ponte Vedra, received one of the fraudulent letters Saturday.

“Basically, when I read the letter, I got the impression that I was not going to be able to vote, because my citizenship was being questioned,” Callaghan told The Daily Caller. “I wasn’t quite sure why it would be, because I was born in the United States, and I’ve always been a United States citizen, and nothing has changed in my life … that would cause my citizenship to be called into question.”

Callaghan noticed that his letter lacked a return address and included faulty contact information and a Seattle, Washington postmark.

You will find the rest of the article here.

The POS and his corrupt sidekick Whale-Squeeze

Clearly the people behind this puny effort are not exactly the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, as they were stoopid enough to send one of their bogus letters to one Mr. Lenny Curry, who just happens to be the chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

The real howler is that the FBI is “investigating.”

LOL – Yeah, we will see just how far that gets.

Pardon me for refraining from holding my breath.


(h/t: boortz.com)

Help Seattle Police find these May Day criminals!

KIRO News:  The Seattle Police Department on Wednesday released photos of five people wanted in connection with the vandalism and violence that broke out during planned May 1 protests.

Police said they combed through hours of video to, as the department stated on its blog, “put faces to some of the crimes committed.”

Photos of the five — multiple photos in some cases — are available in the slideshow on KIRO’s website.

  • “Suspect 1″ is wanted for smashing windows at Niketown.
  • “Suspect 2″ is wanted for smashing windows at Niketown with a skateboard.
  • “Suspect 3″ is wanted for assault after police said he threw something at officers.
  • “Suspect 4″ threw a bottle at police and struck an officer in the head, police said.
  • “Suspect 5″ is wanted for a hit-and-run attack in which he ran out of a crows and stomped on an officer’s knee, police said.

The department is still reviewing video and photos from May 1 to possibly identify other suspects.

Anyone who recognizes the people in the photographs, or has photos or video of the violence, is asked to call 206-233-2666 or email MayDay2012@Seattle.gov.


Why Seattle Hates Snow – It’s Our Hills, Stupid!

Seattle Green Jobs Bust: $20 Million = 14 Jobs

Last month Seattle PI reported that the highly touted $20 million stimulus grant that would create 2,000 green jobs in weatherization is a major failure.  And, in my opinion, a criminal waste of money!  ~LTG

Seattle Green Jobs Program is a Bust

Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy – able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint – and the announcement came with great fanfare.

McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

But more than a year later, Seattle’s numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.