Bad day for coal trains
The state Department of Ecology says it will conduct a wide-ranging environmental study of the proposed coal export facility north of Bellingham. Environmentalists hailed the decision, saying the study would show huge climate impacts. The Sightline Institute said the greenhouse gases that would be created just by burning the coal in China's electrical generating plants would be equal to the entire annual carbon output of "every activity in the state of Washington combined." So, for a state with a policy of reducing its carbon footprint, this could be the ultimate no-go. Supporters called the decision unprecedented and warned that it had the potential to lead the state into altering its "long and historic support for trade, which today supports 4 in every 10 jobs in Washington." Crosscut's Floyd McKay will have a full report.
The Good Jobs Seattle movement is gaining momentum, demonstrating at two fast-food outlets today and scheduling a late afternoon demonstration Thursday at Westlake Park. (Events are being scheduled using the Twitter tag #MakeThemPay.) Today's demonstrations called attention to complaints about alleged criminal wage theft that several fast food workers filed last week with the Seattle Police Department. In 2011, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that expanded wage theft penalties to include the revocation of business licenses. Seattle has yet to prosecute anyone for wage theft. The Good Jobs group says wage theft includes having workers start before clocking in or after signing out, and shorting them on time for lunch and rest breaks.
Seattle isn't an isolated case of fast-food workers unrest, however. Forbes reports that food workers in seven cities are on a week-long strike over low wages. On Monday, protestors in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Flint, Mich., walked off the job. All are reportedly making around the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Washington state's minimum wage is currently $9.19 per hour.
Mayor Mike McGinn released what may be the last commercial to come out before the primary. It got panned on Publicola for a lack of substance, but praised for style, including its perfectly described "twinkling background music." One plus: McGinn's humble introduction to the video is easy to like, fitting his theme of having learned lessons in office. But, really, twinkling music for the pugnacious attorney and street basketball player-turned Whole Foods basher? Where's the Macklemore, Your Honor?
If that's a little über-sweet, here's a recent ad from longshot challenger Charlie Staadecker.
Seattle's rain (or lack thereof) makes the news
Usually, when Seattle and weather are placed in the same sentence, there's a pattern — rain. This time, however, Seattle makes the news for a record-setting lack of rain. According to the National Weather Service, and as reported by seattlepi.com, the month of July was one of the driest on record. Sea-Tac only recorded trace amounts of rain (less than 0.01 inches) for the entire month. The last time this happened? 1960. As the end of the month arrives, the record should be sealed. Not a day too soon, though, as forecasts predict higher chances of rain for Thursday (a welcome sight to those battling fires in Eastern Washington).
The Seattle Times reports that a statewide burn ban has been declared by the Department of Natural Resources. The ban is in effect through Sept. 30, and bans campfires and other open flames on DNR-protected land.
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