$15 repeal is falling short
5:17 p.m. Backers of Seattle's $15 minimum wage law say the measure has survived an attempt to overturn it at the polls. The King County Elections Office today sent out an email updating the verification of signatures and the numbers indicate opponents of the law, calling themselves Forward Seattle, failed to get enough signatures to force a November vote on the minimum wage. Sage Wilson of Working Washington said in an email, "At this point, Forward Seattle could not meet the minimum standard of 16,510 valid signatures even if every single one of the 3,924 remaining signatures were verified. " The Forward Seattle press contact did not immediately return a message left for comment.
King County's email does say its numbers are subject to possible change. But the latest numbers show only 11,412 signatures have been accepted as valid out of 15,004 that have been reviewed. There were 18,928 signatures submitted. There would have to be more than 1,000 reversals on already-rejected signatures — plus validation of all the remaining 3,924 signatures — to even get close to the 16,510 valid signatures that are needed to put the law on the ballot. — J.C.
Today at City Hall (AKA Kitty Hall)
4:25 p.m. Mayor Ed Murray signed the new rideshare rules into law and announced he has picked Cuc Vu, a labor and non-profit leader, as director of the city Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The mayor and his office also made a little something of an event to promote adoption of cats and kittens that included bringing dozens of them to what was renamed Kitty Hall for the day. At last count, we had seen 20 tweets from the official Mayor’s Office Twitter account about the event, most including the Internet’s favorite, cat photos. We are just trying to figure out why we never saw a picture of Ben Huh there. In any case, it’s a good cause. — J.C.
I-90 communications fail
4:06 p.m. As commuters hunker down for a traffic apocalypse on Friday — when I-90 west will shrink to one lane between Bellevue and Mercer Island for one week — many are wondering why the state can’t waive tolls on the 520 bridge to mitigate impending traffic jams. The Seattle Weekly posed that question to the agency that has the authority to suspend tolls during traffic projects, the Washington State Transportation Commission. Its response? The commission was unaware of the WSDOT’s project until hearing about it on the news, which left little time to consider a potential toll waiver. WSDOT officials came back by sharing an email with KING 5 showing that the department actually did notify the commission on July 1. Even so, 16 days wouldn’t allot much time for the commission to consider a temporary toll waiver — which would cost the state an estimated $1.3 million. But is that too much to pay in comparison to the potential millions of dollars lost in productivity while workers sit in traffic? Dori Monson asked. For the cash-strapped state, the answer seems to be “no”. Regardless of the waiver controversy, the communication between these two agencies is akin to an aging freeway: sometimes, you just need a big repair. — M.L.
Feds: Poor oversight contributed to I-5 bridge collapse
What caused the I-5 bridge to crash into the Skagit River last May? The federal agency investigating the accident blames poor planning, distracted driving and an inadequate state permitting process. Among several recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday, was the need for the Washington State Department of Transportation to revise its permitting process. Currently freight companies are responsible for checking height and weight restrictions for specific bridges and tunnels when they apply for permits online, but do not receive any evaluation from the state. Increasing oversight of oversized vehicles would be no easy (or inexpensive) task however: A spokesperson for WSDOT told Crosscut that the agency issued 136,000 permits for overweight and oversized vehicles last year alone.
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