Minimum wage warmups: Opponents in force
This report was updated with additional items at 5:50 p.m.
Seattle City Council members had an in-depth discussion Friday morning of issues that would arise with any legislation to raise the minimum wage locally. Councilmember Bruce Harrell zeroed in on the need to think about what the council's goal would be: Helping affected workers? Juicing their buying power as a way to fuel the local economy? Reducing poverty? Councilmember Kshama Sawant noted that part of the decision-making could rest on how many and how much supporters and opponents of any measure push for their preferred outcome. The first six speakers during Friday's public comment period raised concerns about imposing a higher local minimum wage. — J.C.
Sailing into ferry leadership
You may have heard by now, but running the Washington state ferry system is no easy task. Friday, State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson announced the interim appointment of Capt. George A. Capacci. Meantime, the state hiring committee is conducting a national search for a permanent replacement for David Moseley, who is leaving after six years at the helm. That's a notably long run for this job. Capacci has been deputy chief of operations and construction since 2010, so he's used to challenges. As the ferry ops chief, he oversaw system maintenance. Last weekend, a crew accidentally drilled through the hull of the Walla Walla while conducting routine maintenance. Oops. — K.H.
State pushing feds on Hanford
The state has told Hanford to speed up the timetable for pumping highly radioactive sludge and fluids out of the site's first leaking double-shell tank. In October 2012, experts conformed that Central Hanford's Tank AY-012 had radioactive liquid leaking through its inner shell. The fluids have not penetrated the outer shell — yet. The state ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to begin pumping fluid out of the tank by Sept. 1, which is 18 months earlier than DOE had planned. The state wants enough waste out of the tank by Dec. 1, 2016 to inspect the actual leak. Failure to do so, said state officials, will lead to a fine. — J.S.
Hoping to kill the messenger
State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, thinks newspapers are "litter" — at least the paper whose reporters have questioned his credentials on practically everything. Benton, a fierce anti-tax legislator, has proposed a six-year $150,000 "litter tax" on the Vancouver Columbian newspaper. Clark County Commissioners appointed Benton as the county's environmental services director last year, despite his apparently scant qualifications for the job. The Columbian wrote numerous stories about the squirreliness of that decision, and followed up with a big piece claiming Benton's touted managerial experience was overblown. As environmental services director, Benton had to figure out how to pay $3.6 million in fines and court fees that Clark County owes for violating state and federal clean water laws. The litter tax was his solution. It is applicable only to newspapers exceeding 28,500 in circulation, which means only the Columbian. — J.S.
We Day: Well-known visitors
Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Flo Rida, and Joe Jonas joined several other beautiful and famous people Friday at KeyArena, where they inspired students and teachers from more than 450 Washington schools during the second annual We Day. More than 140,000 students applied for one of the 15,000 spots at the Key today. Those chosen to be there were chosen for their dedication to community service: We Day, founded by the international charity Free the Children, calls upon kids to creatively contribute to their communities and the world as volunteers. The fortunate few (thousands) rocked out, won prizes and got to see the Lombardi Trophy live and in person. — C.H.
Porch founder on success: “Having real purpose”
One of Seattle’s newer startups held an open house today to share its rapidly expanding space with the community. In just six months, Porch (a data-intensive home improvement site) has grown from 25 to 125 employees. In Geekwire’s video tour of their hyper-hip offices, their CEO Matt Ehrlichman discusses their rapid growth: “What I’ve learned…is having a purpose behind what you’re trying to do.” Porch’s purpose? Creating another “great company” for Seattle. — K.H.
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