Police chief appointment
Mayor Ed Murray put out word this afternoon that he will announce his selection for Seattle's new police chief first thing Monday morning (May 19). He's been promising for months that he'd make his choice public during the week of May 19, so score one for timeliness on the part of a government official. Assuming the City Council confirms Murray's pick — and he or she takes the job — the real test will be how well the new chief performs. — J.C.
Dozens of shots fired
Speaking of the Seattle Police Department, police say gunmen apparently fired more than 50 shots at businesses and vehicles in a single block on the southeast edge of the city late Thursday night. Officers found 39 casings from rifle and handgun ammo in the 9300 to 9500 blocks of Rainier Avenue S. — J.C.
Rideshare drivers make allies
Uber and UberX drivers are taking steps to organize. Some of the ride-share drivers will hold a meeting on Sunday in Tukwila to officially found a drivers' association, designed to serve as a counterweight to some of the policies the well-heeled tech company has in place. The criteria Uber uses to "deactivate" and rate drivers are among the ride-share drivers' central concerns. They are also taking issue with Uber's "unwillingness to provide sufficient liability coverage to protect drivers and their customers," according to a statement issued on Friday. (Ride-share companies say they provide good coverage.)
In a somewhat odd turn of events, this Sunday's meeting will take place at the Teamsters Local 117 auditorium, and representatives from the teamster-affiliated Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association will attend. During the nearly year-long Seattle City Council debate about how to regulate ride-share — or "transportation network" — companies, the taxi cab operators association was one of the main proponents of cracking down on Uber, Lyft and other app-based services. Reps from the taxi group, according to Friday's statement, "will share their experiences operating their own organization." — B.L.
Eastside and minimum wage
The debate about raising the minimum wage in cities around King County may be about to heat up. A group called the Eastside Human Services Forum today announced a June 12 discussion on the impact of Seattle's likely minimum wage hike on social service groups, nonprofits and businesses in the rest of King County.
Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution, wrote earlier this week that King County businesses outside Seattle are more likely than businesses in the city to pay their workers less than $15 per hour. Sub-$15 wages were the norm for 30 percent of workers in Seattle and for 34 percent of workers in the rest of the county. But that small difference added up: All told, some 216,000 jobs in King County (full- and part-time) paid less than $15 in recent years versus 149,000 in the city of Seattle. Berube suggested that Seattle — and other big cities — should keep neighboring jurisdictions in mind as they address regional economic and income-inequality issues. — J.C.
Idaho debates. Oh, yes it does.
On Tuesday, Idaho primary voters will pick the finalists for this fall's gubernatorial election. A televised debate among Republican candidates went viral because two of the GOP challengers are so, well, colorful. Even Fox News calls them "eccentric." The debate featured lots of talk about the Bible, God and his directives. One of the contenders concluded his opening remarks by saying, "Don't think I'm crazy." On the other hand, one of the eccentrics — Harley Brown, the bearded guy in biker leather — did call gay marriage a basic right and say how great it is to see people who love each other and want to marry. Button-down Gov. Butch Otter begs to disagree — all the way to the Supreme Court. — J.C.
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