Mayor Murray: Uhh, no wage proposal. Yet.
3:44 p.m. Mayor Ed Murray says that his advisory committee on a minimum wage has reached agreement on some principles, chiefly that Seattle should require $15 per hour for all workers, with no exceptions with a phase-in period. But, at the press conference he called to announce a proposal from the committee, the mayor said, "Regrettably, and I know some of you have been waiting here since this morning, we do not have a proposal." He said the committee was continuing negotiations. If there is no consensus plan, he added, he will put his own proposal out at some point. "I would rather be late and get it right than rush and get it wrong," he said.
On Wednesday, Murray had announced a 1:15 p.m. press conference today on the minimum wage. Thursday morning, it was pushed back to 3 p.m. Murray appeared after 3:15.
Update 4:45 p.m. In contrast, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant lost no time in responding, telling reporters that Murray's committee has failed. Crosscut's Bill Lucia will have a full report.
Education money lost
After Lord knows how many warnings, the federal government has yanked Washington state's waiver from some of the more stringent parts of the No Child Left Behind education law. It's because the Legislature — with liberal Democrats providing the main stumbling blocks, ably assisted at the last moment by conservative Republicans — tripped over the simple requirement that student test scores be made some part of all teacher evaluations. On the parental side, hundreds of thousands of families will receive letters telling them that their school or school district is failing. Over the long term, it's hard to guess how that will hit schools — loss of confidence, taxpayer anger or new energy for substantive improvements. More immediately, Gov. Jay Inslee noted that $40 million in federal money for struggling students will be lost, and he expressed hope that ways could be found to avoid impacts on kids and teacher layoffs. Consider that a wish and a prayer. — J.C.
A transit alternative for Seattle?
With a countywide Metro Transit rescue sinking under a sea of 'no' votes in Tuesday's election, Seattle transit activist Ben Schiendelman is pushing ahead with his intriguing plan to put a city property tax on the November ballot. That would be designed primarily to keep today's level of Metro service on routes that run exclusively or mainly within the city limits. The Seattle Transit Blog has an excellent analysis of the strong points and potential questions around Schiendelman's Friends of Seattle Transit idea. Good: The property tax would be relatively progressive (especially compared to sales taxes and car tab fees) and the electorate would be very pro-transit. Worrisome: What about the rest of the county? And watch how Metro allocates money. STB Editor Martin Duke concludes, "Good luck to Friends of Transit. May they exercise care in finalizing the language."
Creative Seattle: fueled by soccer?
Are the Sounders the fuel for creativity in Seattle economy? That might be going too far, but a post by urbanism guru Richard Florida on Atlantic Cities today does show that attendance at Major League Soccer games tends tends to tie into the kind of well-educated creative class (engineers, scientists, tech creators, musicians, even university professors) that drives the new economy. Baseball attendance is a close second among major pro sports, followed by the NFL and the National Hockey League. At the bottom in correlation between local sports fandom and creativity is NASCAR attendance. Second worst — don't tell Chris Hansen — is the NBA.
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