Updated: 3:48 p.m.
Protest or campaign event?
Seattle Police arrested State House of Representatives candidate Jess Spear, according to a tweet from her campaign, and threatened to arrest Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for blocking a set of railroad tracks on Thursday afternoon. According to an article by Q13Fox.com, the situation played out on a set of BNSF tracks near the Olympic Sculpture Park. The council member and and the house candidate, both socialists, were joined by others protesting oil train traffic in the city. Photos on Twitter also showed some of them holding up a large Vote Jess Spear banner that spanned two sets of tracks. For more on Spear, who is running against Speaker of the House Frank Chopp in Seattle's 43rd Legislative District, check out Crosscut writer John Stang's article on the race today. — B.A.
Immigration trouble doesn’t fall far from WA apple trees
A glitch in the U.S. State Department’s computer system has created a backlog in their system for issuing entry permits for legal migrant farm workers. It could take weeks for the system to get up and running again at full capacity, which has furrowed the brows of many Northwest farmers, worried about the upcoming apple harvest. The majority of temporary foreign workers have already arrived, Dan Fazio of the Washington Farm Labor Association told KUOW, but up to 2,000 more with contracts to work in Washington are still waiting to cross the border. — E.W.
Plutonium-contaminated groundwater? Don't worry about it!
The U.S. Department of Energy is proposing that it leave groundwater contamination around one of Hanford's nine defunct plutonium-production reactors to dissipate on its own rather than cleaning it up. The DOE predicts that the radioactive and non-radioactive contaminants would dissipate or decay to benign levels in 35 to 150 years, according to the Tri-City Herald.
The Hanford Advisory Board — which includes everyone from Westside environmentalists to Tri-Cities business interests — is leery about the concept, afraid it might set a lax precedent for tackling groundwater contamination at eight other defunct reactors along the Columbia River's shore. — J.S.
Preschool unions team up
The battle pitting preschool union leaders against city councilmembers just got hotter. Union leaders behind I-107, which mandates a $15 minimum wage and more training for early education workers, filed a lawsuit against the city and county on Wednesday. The suit claims that officials seek “to deny voters of a clean vote on I-107.”
In June, the Seattle City Council decided in a 6-3 vote that I-107 contradicts an existing city-backed ballot initiative to expand preschool access to 2,000 low-income children, KPLU reports. That meant that voters would have to decide between the two measures, rather than approving both. Backers of I-107 wrote in their court filings that I-107 and the city’s preschool measure “provide different solutions to different problems."
But Mayor Ed Murray says that boosting wages immediately would counter the $15 minimum wage deal he made with businesses leaders. The city also points out that I-107 doesn’t identify funding sources, while the preschool measure includes a $58 million property hike. — M.L.
Snobby in Seattle?
Movoto Real Estate got bored of open houses and decided to dive into “journalism,” posting a list of the snobbiest small cities in America on their blog. Four Seattle-area cities made the cut. Kirkland came in 19th place, followed by Redmond in 31st, Olympia in 38th and Sammamish in 44th. Movoto’s snobby scale was based on a wide range of criteria, including median household income, art galleries per capita and scarcity of fast food restaurants. (We think measuring designer handbags per capita and caviar consumption would have led to more accurate rankings). — E.W.
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