Tuesday, May 15, 2018
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Mukilteo teachers pack meeting, demand renegotiated contract — Roughly 150 classroom instructors and other staff packed the board’s meeting as several teachers called on the elected leaders of the Mukilteo School District to reopen the contract to ensure an increase in state funding is put into salaries for the next school year. The overflow crowd could not fit into board chambers and streamed down the hallway. Many instructors wore red “I Teach Washington” T-shirts. School board members listened but made no guarantees.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Longview high school teachers fight new schedule — Starting next school year, Longview high schools will switch from six- to seven-period days in an attempt to improve on-time graduation rates. But the faculty union and some parents are objecting to the change, saying it will cut a significant amount of classroom time during the school year.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle City Council votes 9-0 for scaled-down head tax on large employers — After a weekend of high-stakes negotiations between Seattle City Council members and Mayor Jenny Durkan, the council voted unanimously Monday to tax the city’s largest employers to help address homelessness. Starting next year, the tax will be $275 per employee, per year on for-profit companies that gross at least $20 million per year in the city — down from a $500-per-head proposal that Durkan threatened to veto. The city declared a homelessness state of emergency in late 2015. A point-in-time count last year tallied more than 11,600 homeless people in King County and one in 16 Seattle Public Schools students is homeless. “We have community members who are dying,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said before the 9-0 vote. “They are dying on our streets today because there is not enough shelter” and affordable housing.
ALSO at The Stand — DESC workers win investments to address homelessness in Seattle
► In today’s Seattle Times — After head-tax vote, Amazon resuming work on one building, but unsure of plans for another — Amazon says it will resume planning to build its 17-story Block 18 tower, but it is still weighing whether to sublease space in the Rainier Square skyscraper that’s under construction.
► From KNKX — Sound Transit getting $75 million for Link light rail expansion in heart of Tacoma — The Federal Transit Administration has approved $75 million dollars for expansion of Tacoma’s Link Light Rail line. Sound Transit says 25 percent of the residents in the Hilltop and Stadium Districts that the extended line will serve are low income. And 30 percent of the households there have no vehicle.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Albertsons closing two Seattle stores — Albertsons said late Monday it will close two unprofitable grocery stores in Seattle’s north end next month, citing increasing costs related to city of Seattle regulations implemented over the last three years.
► From The Stranger — Appeals court ruling deals a setback to Seattle Uber law — In a decision issued Friday, a panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges struck a significant blow to Seattle’s effort to allow drivers for services like Uber and Lyft to unionize.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand — Despite court ruling, for-hire drivers in Seattle vow to keep pushing for rights (May 14)
► A related story from AP — Official: Lyft drivers at Disney World can join union — A regional NLRB director last week ruled about 60 drivers who pick up Disney World guests using the Lyft app can be represented by the Teamsters local in Orlando.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle returns to Wells Fargo because no other bank wants city’s business — Seattle split with Wells Fargo a year ago over the bank’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline and a fraud scandal. But the two are together again after the city could find no other bank to take its business.
► From KOIN — A second Burgerville votes to unionize — On April 23, the Burgerville in Southeast Portland made history, becoming the first federally-recognized fast food workers union. Now there’s two. The Burgerville in Gladstone, Ore. — on 19119 SE McLoughlin Blvd. — voted to to form a union on Sunday in a secret-ballot election overseen by the NLRB.
► In today’s Columbian — Firefighters union hosting first aid class — The Vancouver firefighters union, IAFF Local 452, will host a two-hour course Saturday on how to treat bleeding injuries.
► In today’s Seattle Times — WTO ruling opens way for U.S. tariffs against Airbus for subsidies — The WTO ruled Tuesday that Airbus has failed to fix the harm done to Boeing from European government loans used to develop its A380 and A350 jets. The U.S. said it will now seek to initiate tariffs against the EU.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump’s ZTE tweet sows confusion before trade talks with China — Senior U.S. officials struggled Monday to explain and act on President Trump’s abrupt decision to rescue Chinese telecom giant ZTE — a move that caught many of them by surprise.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump shifts from trade war threats to concessions in rebuff to hard-liners — The shift on ZTE is an abrupt reversal that reflects another twist in the pitched battle inside the White House between the economic nationalists, who channel Trump’s protectionist instincts, and more mainstream advisers, who worry about the effects of hard-line policies on the stock market and long-term economic growth.
► From KING TV — Voter initiative launched to cut carbon emissions — The Initiative 1631 campaign for a new carbon fee officially launched on Thursday, showcasing a coalition of support that proponents hope gives this latest effort a shot in November.
ALSO at The Stand — I-1631 invests in jobs, clean energy future (by Jeff Johnson)
► From KNKX — Broad coalition of groups in state behind new carbon Initiative 1631 — A diverse array of groups from all over Washington state gathered in Seattle to rally support for Initiative 1631. That’s the latest proposal to curb carbon emissions by imposing fees on big polluters.
► From the NW Progressive Institute — Avalanche of corporate money begins flowing into state initiative campaigns — Serious money is beginning to flow into campaign committees organized in support of — and in opposition to — initiatives that could be destined for the November 2018 general election ballot, reports recently filed with the PDC show.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Political newbies and veterans begin filing for offices — A Sultan city councilman wants to go to Congress and a 19-year-old Bothell man is looking to start his political career in the Legislature.
► From KUOW — Mental health looms as next vexing challenge for Washington lawmakers — At a news conference Friday at Western State Hospital, Republican state Sen. Steve O’Ban framed Washington’s mental health crisis this way: “I kind of think of this as, this is a bad analogy perhaps, but McCleary Two.” O’Ban isn’t the only one calling for a renewed focus on mental health. He was flanked by a pair of Democrats from the state House who said this is a bipartisan issue. In addition, Gov. Jay Inslee is calling for an accelerated change in how the state’s two psychiatric hospitals are operated.
► In the USA Today — I still want to work with Republicans to fix health care and lower costs (by Sen. Patty Murray) — As someone who has worked across the aisle on tough issues — not just health care, but others like the budget and K-12 education — I believe there is a path forward. Our bipartisan negotiations on near-term health care reforms showed just how much agreement there really is among Democrats and Republicans about what we should do over the next two years to help people pay less for better care. There’s every reason to focus on that common ground again. As more insurers file rates demanding patients pay the price for the health care sabotage we’ve seen this past year, and as some Republicans throw in the towel on bipartisanship and point fingers, I want any Republican who is interested in solutions, not partisanship, and who is focused on helping patients, not special interests, to know that I’m still ready to get back to work.
► In today’s Washington Post — This is what a death spiral looks like (by Catherine Rampell) — Three states have announced preliminary 2019 premium-rate requests for Affordable Care Act individual-market policies, and the numbers don’t look good. They’re a preview of what we should expect nationwide, as more states announce premiums over the next few months. It is not hard to see why prices might spike. Thanks to Republican efforts to sabotage Obamacare, the pool of individual-market enrollees is getting smaller and sicker — and, as a result, much more expensive.
► In today’s Wall Street Journal — Rebuilding schools, bridges — and lives (by Richard Trumka and Marty Walsh) subscription required — When you see that the ASCE’s infrastructure report card gives the nation overall a D+, don’t hang your head. The U.S. can get that grade up. But it won’t happen with a plan like President Trump’s, which would cut Washington’s contribution to infrastructure projects from 80% to 20%, quadrupling the burden on cash-strapped cities and states. The true way forward is to do the opposite: Put the federal government back in the business of building America’s future.
► In the Boston Globe — Let’s deliver the mail, not myths (by APWU President Mark Dimondstein) — President Trump’s attention of late has been focused in part on the United States Postal Service and Amazon, resulting in a new executive order calling for an evaluation of USPS finances. This is a good opportunity to underscore some important facts regarding the Postal Service, a national treasure belonging to all the people of the United States.
► In today’s Washington Post — The most disturbing part of the Michael Cohen story (by Randall Eliason) — Trump attorney Michael Cohen was reportedly paid several million dollars over the past year by companies seeking an in with the Trump administration. For an administration that promised to “drain the swamp,” Cohen’s brazen behavior sounds decidedly swampy — Washington business as usual, only more so. But based on the publicly available evidence, Cohen’s behavior is slimy but likely not criminal. In fact, it would take a great deal for Cohen’s activities to cross the line into criminal corruption. And that is the remarkable, and disturbing, aspect of the Cohen story: just how freely access to government power may be bought and sold these days without running afoul of the criminal law… Cumulatively, several recent Supreme Court decisions have created multiple safe harbors for behavior that most would consider clearly corrupt. Congress could step in and reform those laws but has shown little interest in doing so. Swamp, drain thyself? I don’t plan to hold my breath.
► From Axios — Report: DeVos dismantles team probing fraud at for-profit colleges — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has largely disassembled a team created in 2016 by the Obama administration to look into widespread fraudulent activities by for-profit colleges, and she hired a number of top aides who previously worked at institutions that were under investigation, current and former employees said.
► From HuffPost — Blake Farenthold gets a new job lobbying Congress — A month after abruptly resigning from Congress in an apparent effort to avoid more fallout from sexual harassment allegations, former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) already has a new job: lobbying his former colleagues on port issues.
► From The Hill — Senate GOP anger over McCain insult grows — Republican senators are demanding a public apology after a White House staffer joked about GOP Sen. John McCain‘s failing health, even as the administration is doubling down on its decision to handle the fallout “internally.”
► From HuffPost — Hundreds protest in cities across U.S. for ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ — Hundreds of people took to the streets in cities across the country on Monday, as part of a new movement seeking to challenge racism and poverty in America. The Rev. William Barber II and the Rev. Liz Theoharis ― the two religious leaders spearheading The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival ― led dozens of demonstrators at a rally and march in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday afternoon.
► In today’s Olympian — Hundreds march down Capitol Way in Olympia Monday to call attention to poverty
► In today’s Seattle Times — Teachers shell out nearly $500 a year from their own pockets on school supplies — Nearly all teachers are footing the bill for classroom supplies, an Education Department report found, and teachers in high-poverty schools spend more than those in affluent schools.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.