Rodney Tom passes on re-election run
Updated at 12:25 p.m. Rodney Tom, leader of the state Senate's Majority Coalition Caucus, has reportedly decided against seeking re-election, according to Twitter reports from public radio's Austin Jenkins and Publicola. Jenkins says it's for family reasons. The Democrat faced considerable opposition in his party for siding with Republicans to become leader of the Senate.
Publicola has posted a copy of Tom's email. He says, "A sequence of events just makes this the right decision for me." He cites two: work on health issues related to a "kidney stones adventure at the end of the [legislative] session" and leg and hip injuries suffered by his 85-year-old father while hit walking in a crosswalk on Thursday. — J.C.
$15 minimum wage ballot measure filed with City Clerk
A group called Vote 15 filed paperwork with the Seattle City Clerk on Monday for a $15 minimum wage ballot measure. The charter amendment would phase in the wage over a 3-year period for non-profits and businesses with less than 250 full-time employees. The proposed measure comes as an end of April deadline nears for an advisory committee, formed by Mayor Ed Murray, to lay out a plan for raising the city’s pay floor.
Campaign Manager Jess Spear said that Vote 15 would wait until later in April to make a decision about whether to collect signatures to actually get the charter amendment on the ballot. "We will continue to work with the mayor's committee," she said. "We hope it won't be necessary to have a vote in November." Spear worked on the election effort for City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who is a member of Murray's advisory committee and also a high profile advocate of the wage hike. One sticky issue for the committee has surrounded whether compensation like tips should be included in the wage. The amendment would not count tips toward the minimum wage and does not include an exclusion for teenage workers or training wages. It would introduce the $15 pay rate for businesses with more than 250 employees on Jan. 1. The phase-in period for small businesses would also begin at that time, with an hourly minimum wage of $11.
Disclosure reports filed with Seattle's Ethics and Elections Commission show that Vote 15 has raised $2,510 and spent it all. It also owes $2,500 to Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP, a law firm that specializes in labor law, which worked on drafting the initiative. Among the campaign's supporters, according to a statement released on Monday: King County Council member Larry Gossett, Seattle School Board member Sue Peters, and the groups Casa Latina and El Comité. — B.L.
Rideshare companies spend big to overturn new regulations
Lyft and Uber are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign to repeal new city regulations that would limit the number of drivers allowed to use their apps. Lyft has contributed $205,108 and Uber $202,157 to a campaign called Seattle Citizens to Repeal Ordinance 124441, which is pushing to overturn the new rules through a ballot referendum. A third company, Sidecar, has contributed $541. The figures were included in disclosure report filed with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission last Friday.
In order to get the referendum on the ballot, the campaign will need to deliver 16,510 signatures to the City Clerk’s Office by the end of the day on Thursday. If they do so, the ordinance, passed last month by Seattle City Council, will be suspended until a public vote takes place. The ordinance contains a bevy of new regulations, but the companies objected most strongly to a rule that caps the number of drivers allowed to use each of the apps to 150 at any one time.
Of the $63,751 the campaign has spent so far, $50,000 was paid to the California-based PCI Consultants Inc. for “petition services.” The company specializes in ballot initiative field campaigns. The campaign also owes $14,305 to Amplified Strategies, a Seattle firm that provides strategic advice and targeting services for ballot measures. Among Amplified’s prior clients was last year’s successful campaign to stop Initiative 522, which would’ve required special labels on genetically modified food. — B.L.
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