Activists took the $15 minimum wage campaign to local fast-food restaurants on Wednesday, calling for a boycott of places that pay workers less per hour. At a downtown event near the McDonald's at 3rd and Pine, some 50 to 60 marched, waving signs calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage in the city. "Supersize our wages now!" Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant told the crowd, adding "We want more candidates who support workers and their needs." Other "Boycott McPoverty" events were held during the morning at Wendy's, Burger King and McDonald's outlets from Lake City to Ballard and Mount Baker. A late afternoon event was scheduled for West Seattle. — H.W.
Oregon AG just can't defend marriage discrimination
Oregon's attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, has told a federal court that she cannot defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage. As Joel Connelly describes it on seattlepi.com, her statement, filed Thursday, is "one more serious jolt" to the walls blocking full marriage equality. Rosenblum framed her decision in rather dry legal terms, saying Oregon's 2004 constitutional ban on gay marriage "cannot withstand a federal constitutional challenge under any standard of review." But since there's always a certain political risk in failing to defend a voter-approved provision to state law, her decision could also be seen as an act of conscience. — J.C.
Police punishment reversed
Interim Police Chief Harry Bailey told The Seattle Times on Thursday that he erased a one-day suspension for an officer who had threatened news editor Dominic Holden of The Stranger. Bailey said the officer, who reacted when Holden stopped to watch police surround a man at the International District transit station, will instead receive additional training. Holden told The Times that the department has plenty of opportunities to improve training for the officer and others. King County recently fired a deputy who threatened to arrest Holden for taking pictures from the sidewalk, which is legal. — J.C.
Don't weep for Bertha
Sightline's Clark Williams-Derry reports that traffic on the Alaskan Way Viaduct has dropped drastically since the state started its (currently stopped) tunnel project. He suggests four likely reasons for the decline (48,000 trips over three 3 years), including people moving to buses and a general decline in car traffic through downtown. There's also some shifting of vehicle traffic from the viaduct to I-5 and downtown streets. And because of delays associated with construction, some people have started consolidating trips, creating — bonus! — more efficient use of roads and cars. Williams-Derry's conclusion: "Seattle can survive, and even thrive, without a viaduct or a tunnel." So, if Bertha has reached her final resting place, as some skeptics fear, maybe that's not so bad after all. — J.C.
Courtesy of Sightline
Marshawn Lynch about to plea
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will plead guilty to reckless driving and prosecutors will drop a charge of driving under the influence, according to media reports. His agent tells USA Today that Lynch could have beaten the DUI charge but didn't want to go through a trial. — J.C.
Unionizing part-timers at Seattle U.
The Service Employees International Union 925 said Thursday that non-tenure faculty at Seattle University are seeking to form a union. It's the latest in a series of efforts by increasingly large numbers of part-time or temporary faculty at public and private institutions to win greater protections and better wages. Seattle University has a statement on its website expressing concerns about union representation but detailing steps it has been taking to improve conditions for faculty.— J.C.
Juvie records bill
A bill to keep the records of juvenile offenders confidential in most cases will go to a hearing at 10 a.m. Monday before the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee. Under the bill by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, a juvenile's court file would be kept confidential, except in cases of serious violent offenses, sex offenses, first- and second-degree assault of a child and several other categories. Washington is one of the few states that makes minor juvenile offenses public records — and even sells them — which often makes it difficult for reformed offenders to find jobs and housing. The House passed the bill 96-0. Crosscut has been covering this issue with stories here and also here. — J.S.
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