Missouri enticing Boeing
Boeing could receive up to $1.7 billion in tax breaks if it builds the new 777X airliner in St. Louis. That's the proposal from Gov. Jay Nixon anyway, who called a special session of the state Legislature to put together a swag bag for Boeing. Lawmakers are making noises that they want to look more closely before acting — but legislators here said the same kind of thing before approving Gov. Jay Inslee's 777X tax break package. Missouri's plan, to be sure, would be far smaller than the $8.7 billion in tax breaks for staying here — but who knows where Boeing will land. St. Louis scoffers, beware: Boeing has had deep roots there since the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas.
That pot smell on the streets
Seattle City Council and City Attorney Pete Holmes appear to be working out a law for fining people who smoke marijuana in public — it may be legal to enjoy pot, but you can't do it in public anymore than you can legally drink alcohol on the street. The Stranger's Dominic Holden reports that Councilmember Nick Licata has introduced an ordinance that cuts the $50 fine Holmes sought to $27, to match the alcohol-consumption penalty. With court costs, offenders would pay $55. Of course, all this still leaves open whether police will even choose to enforce the fine: A 2003 local initiative made marijuana offenses the city's lowest law-enforcement priority.
The bigger question: Will there be enough local control to keep the feds from swooping in and cracking down on pot? That's a good question for Holmes and Alison Holcomb, the author of the state marijuana legalization measure. Both will be discussing pot and policy at Wednesday's Civic Cocktail, co-sponsored by Crosscut. You can still get tickets by calling CityClub, 206-682-7395. Or come to the event at Palace Kitchen Ballroom, 2100 Fifth Ave., and buy tickets there (always a few no-shows). Doors open at 5:30 p.m., program begins at 6 p.m.
$15 an hour: a starting step
A new report from a Seattle-based group, the Alliance for a Just Society, says that the proportion of jobs that pay a living wage shrunk again last year as the "jobless recovery" masked a growing reliance by employers on low-wage jobs. Washington legislators, the report suggests, could help workers by increasing the minimum wage, purchasing health care insurance coverage for low-wage workers who currently fall through the cracks and raising state revenues overall. The state's $9.19 minimum wage is the highest in the nation, but the report says a single worker would need $16.04 an hour in order to save money for emergencies and plan ahead. A $15 minimum, as SeaTac voters appear to have approved for some workers, "would be a significant step in the right direction." By the time the Seattle City Council gets to work on the issue, $16 may well be the new $15.
Everett School Board murkiness
The president of Everett's school board has abruptly resigned, and the district's only explanation so far is that old standby — "personal reasons." The Herald reports that Everett superintendent Gary Cohn called the resignation of president Jeff Russell "solemn news." The Herald's Eric Stevick also dug out the district's policy on replacing school board members, which seems likely to compound the lack of public explanation: The remaining board members will have to interview and vote on replacement candidates in public, but they can talk about what to do and who to pick behind closed doors. This is a "public" school system, right?
Idaho governor's race
The president of Boise's school board, A.J. Balukoff, has become the first Democrat to enter the 2014 Idaho governor's race, and he has such strong support that he should win the party nomination easily, according to the Idaho Statesman. The mayor of Boise turned out to cheer him on — evidence of how different Boise is from the rest of the generally conservative state. Idaho hasn't had a Democratic governor since Cecil Andrus left office in 1995, but there's always a chance.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!