Is Seattle’s minimum wage hurting low-wage workers? Not so fast

Just days after a study of the effect of a minimum wage increase on Seattle’s restaurant industry found no negative impact, another study says that the raise has been terrible for low-wage workers—worse even than sworn opponents of minimum wage increases have found in past studies. What should we make of these differing results? The simplest explanation is that the authors of the new study, based at the University of Washington, didn’t adequately account for the results of Seattle’s booming economy. Increased competition for workers in a great economy leads to higher wages, which means that there are fewer low-wage jobs because they have effectively become higher-wage jobs. Like this:

Micah Simler, whose window-washing business in Seattle has three employees and 15 contractors, said he had already been paying much more than $15 an hour because of the local economy, not the wage law.

“Seattle is in a boom time right

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Charleena Lyles’ family presses Seattle police for answers in her shooting death

The family of Charleena Lyles wants answers. And who can blame them? After all, Lyles called Seattle police for help on a Sunday morning after an alleged burglary in her apartment and wound up dead—killed by the very cops who were supposed to be helping her. The 30-year-old pregnant mother of four had been struggling with mental health issues. She was known to the police from a prior arrest earlier in the month and her family wants to know why police couldn’t have figured out a nonviolent way to restrain her after she seemed to become agitated during the officers’ visit.

Family attorney James Bible said Tuesday that family members have questioned why police didn’t use a non-lethal option when they knew Lyles had been struggling with mental health issues.

Lyles’ cousin Kenny Isabell said she was depressed but not violent and “was going through some things in her life.”

This is

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Seattle’s $15 minimum wage raised pay with zero effect on restaurant jobs, new study shows

Raising the minimum wage does not kill jobs, no matter what Republicans tell you—and a new study of the Seattle restaurant industry, where some businesses are already paying a $15 minimum wage, provides another data point showing just that. According to the University of California, Berkeley, study, the increased minimum wage had employment effects that were “not statistically distinguishable from zero,” which is a fancy way of saying “we looked and we could not find a damn thing.” The Seattle Times reports:

Indeed, employment in food service from 2015 to 2016 was not affected, “even among the limited-service restaurants, many of them franchisees, for whom the policy was most binding,” according to the study, led by Berkeley economics professor Michael Reich. […]

It can be hard to separate what impact the wage law had on employment in Seattle versus the effect of the

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Seattle cops told Charleena Lyles they wouldn’t shoot her, but that’s exactly what they did

On Sunday, Seattle police shot and killed 30-year-old Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of three after she called police about an attempted burglary in her apartment. While the details remain unclear, the shooting serves as a sobering reminder that black lives routinely meet death at the hands of police. Video and audio footage of the incident have now been released and they appear to show police officers telling Lyles that they would not shoot her, that her children could be heard crying in the background and that the officers considered using tasers to subdue her but did not actually have tasers on them. This raises a lot more questions about the motives and training of the officers. 

Seattle mother called police and was shot by them, reminding us black women get killed by cops too

When Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrice Cullors founded the Black Lives Matter movement, their intention was to talk about the ways that all black lives are routinely denied basic human rights and dignity and the role of state violence in anti-black racism. It is fitting that this movement was founded by black queer women—women who no doubt understand the ways in which the voices of marginalized groups (women, LGBTQ, disabled, undocumented etc.) have been historically left out of conversations on racial justice and black liberation. In fact, they were purposeful in explicitly centering those groups in the hopes of building a more inclusive and modern black liberation movement.

Yet, for many, Black Lives Matter has somehow become synonymous with addressing state violence against black men while women are left out of the discussion altogether. Black women are centered in the conversation insofar as they are portrayed as mourning mothers, partners or relatives of slain black men

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Sikh American shot by man yelling ‘go back to your country.’ Sikh leader: stigma of racism now gone

It has happened again. In Kent, Washington, a Sikh American was shot on his own driveway by a man who had shoved him down and yelled “go back to your country.” This crime echoes the recent shooting of two men who had come from India to live and work in Kansas, along with another man who tried to help. That shooter had shouted “get out of my country” before opening fire. Thankfully, the victim in Washington is “out of danger” after having been wounded in the arm, according to his father. 

Here’s the official statement from the Sikh Coalition:

“While we appreciate the efforts of state and local officials to respond to attacks like this, we need our national leaders to make hate crime prevention a top priority,” said Sikh Coalition Interim Program Manager, Rajdeep Singh. “Tone matters in our political discourse, because this a matter of life

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Seattle mayor lays the groundwork to sue Trump: ‘We believe the rule of law is on our side’

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is ready to challenge Donald Trump’s executive orders targeting Dreamers and sanctuary cities.

Seattle is planning to fire off “a series of Freedom of Information requests” to multiple federal agencies, Murray said in his State of the City address. The city will give the White House and Department of Homeland Security the deadline of 20 business days to respond. […]

“The city must be able to provide accurate information to immigrants and refugees and their families living in Seattle,” Murray will say. “We will seek to determine the administration’s definition of ‘sanctuary cities’ and the enforcement actions the federal government may take against us.

“We will also seek detailed information about the administration’s changes to travel policy as well as changes to immigration status, including the DACA program.”

Detailed information may be hard to come by, considering the dishonesty and incompetence coming out of

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Racism neither taught nor accepted in Seattle classrooms

Back in October, about 2,000 teachers across Seattle wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts to school in solidarity with their students and in opposition to institutional racism. The day after Donald Trump’s (s)election Seattle teachers once again put on their BLM T-shirts.

Sarah Arvey, a Hamilton International Middle School teacher, said the Black Lives Matter solidarity day set the tone for her students’ post-election class discussion and spurred a conversation about the advantages that some students bring to the classroom.

“Multiple students shared that the Black Lives Matter day of solidarity was eye opening,” Arvey said.

Moses Rifkin, a physics teacher at a private high school, had planned a test for the Thursday after the election. But instead of administering it to all the students, he told them they could wait if they didn’t feel ready. In his classroom, he wrote on the chalkboard that he respects and values students

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Seattle educators proclaim ‘Black Lives Matter at school’

About 2,000 educators across the Seattle area wore T-shirts to school on Oct. 19 proclaiming that “Black Lives Matter.” The action, which occurred throughout Seattle’s school districts, were in conjunction with rallies that were held before school began. Seattle’s KING5 news station covered the event:

The purpose of the day was to affirm that “black lives matter in the public schools,” according to organizers, who are members of Social Equality Educators, a group of educators within the Seattle teachers union. Teachers also wanted to show their support for John Muir Elementary, which had its “Black Men Uniting to Change the Narrative” event canceled last month after receiving a threat over teachers’ plans to wear Black Lives Matter shirts.

[ … ]

Teacher Diana Romero said she decided to wear a shirt “to support our black brothers and sisters in support for justice.” As a Latina, she said she has

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Another in a line of studies that says complaints about police drop when body cams are used

Well would ya look at that: over yonder across the pond, a study of British and U.S. police by Cambridge University found a 93 percent decrease in complaints against cops who wore body cameras. Ninety-three percent. As in, close to 100.

The idea behind the study is simple: people who are being observed — and know it — change their behavior. Researchers suggested that cameras encourage best behavior on the part of both the officers and the public.

“Everyone is recording the police except themselves,” said Barak Ariel, a criminologist from Cambridge University who led the research. “Now we have something from the officer’s point of view from the very beginning of the interaction.”

The study says using body cameras could lead to a “sea change in modern policing.”

The study, which utilized 2,000 officers and “1.4 million working hours,” covered the following areas:

“ … West Midlands

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Urban farming: From floating food forests to vacant lot crops

A growing movement is spreading throughout U.S. cities that is feeding people, providing jobs, and helping the environment—urban farming.

This is a lot bigger than putting some tomato and zucchini plants in your backyard. These are local efforts, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, to convert vacant land in America’s cities into small farms.

Sometimes it’s not even vacant land. In New York City, for instance, there are plans this summer for a floating food forest on a barge going up and down the Hudson River that will let people come and pick produce—for free.

Other urban farms are on rooftops. Some are along traffic median strips. Some are indoor vertical farms. Some are mobile farms that go from vacant lot to vacant lot, moving when land is developed and the garden must move to another open spot. Others are intensive hydroponic and aquaculture operations. And some stretch over

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Supreme Court nixes challenge to Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law

For low-wage franchises fighting Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage? No luck.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage from franchise owners who say the law discriminates against them by treating them as large businesses.

This was the latest round in the ongoing saga that has been Seattle franchisers’ attempts to dodge the new minimum wage. They were unanimously denied a stay by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit back in September, itself an appeal of a district ruling a year ago. With the Supreme Court also declining to weigh in, the franchisers will, for now, still be bound by the same fast-track timeline to a $15 wage that the city’s other large employers must follow.

Things aren’t all sunshine and roses for workers, however. Even as franchisers in Seattle continue to lose in their fight against new living wage laws, Republican-led

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Chris Christie goes back to what made him famous: Attacking teachers

Chris Christie went back to his wheelhouse on Saturday. That means attacking teachers, the move that helped gain Christie his early YouTube fame as the kind of bully Republicans can love.

“The single most destructive force for public education in this country is the teachers union,” Christie said at a Jack Kemp Foundation panel discussion in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday. “It is the single most destructive force.”

Not poverty and inequality, which are among the best predictors of school success we have, yet which are ignored by Christie’s corporate education policy crowd. Not school underfunding or swelling class sizes—both things teachers unions fight. No, according to Christie, kids can show up in school hungry after sleeping in the car and sit there in a 40-student class and the teachers union will be the single most destructive force those kids face.

In Seattle, teachers went on strike for

Continue reading “Chris Christie goes back to what made him famous: Attacking teachers”

Chris Christie goes back to what made him famous: Attacking teachers

Chris Christie went back to his wheelhouse on Saturday. That means attacking teachers, the move that helped gain Christie his early YouTube fame as the kind of bully Republicans can love.

“The single most destructive force for public education in this country is the teachers union,” Christie said at a Jack Kemp Foundation panel discussion in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday. “It is the single most destructive force.”

Not poverty and inequality, which are among the best predictors of school success we have, yet which are ignored by Christie’s corporate education policy crowd. Not school underfunding or swelling class sizes—both things teachers unions fight. No, according to Christie, kids can show up in school hungry after sleeping in the car and sit there in a 40-student class and the teachers union will be the single most destructive force those kids face.

In Seattle, teachers went on strike for

Continue reading “Chris Christie goes back to what made him famous: Attacking teachers”

Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control

Wikimedia Commons photo of the Pennsylvania state capitol building taken by Ad Meskens

Pennsylvania state capitol building


Leading Off:

PA Supreme Court: In what was by far the most important victory of the night, Democrats swept three seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, giving them a five to two majority; previously, Republicans had controlled the bench three to two, with two vacancies. This victory isn’t simply about ensuring a more just court, though undoubtedly the cause of fairness will benefit greatly. It will also have an enormous impact on the next round of legislative redistricting.

That’s because the Supreme Court selects the tie-breaking vote for the commission that draws up the maps for Pennsylvania’s state House and Senate. In the prior two rounds of redistricting, the Republican-dominated court chose the tiebreaker, but now Democrats will have that power come 2021 (justices are elected to 10-year terms). As a result, Democrats will have the chance to undo the Republican gerrymanders that

Continue reading “Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control”

Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control

Wikimedia Commons photo of the Pennsylvania state capitol building taken by Ad Meskens

Pennsylvania state capitol building


Leading Off:

PA Supreme Court: In what was by far the most important victory of the night, Democrats swept three seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, giving them a five to two majority; previously, Republicans had controlled the bench three to two, with two vacancies. This victory isn’t simply about ensuring a more just court, though undoubtedly the cause of fairness will benefit greatly. It will also have an enormous impact on the next round of legislative redistricting.

That’s because the Supreme Court selects the tie-breaking vote for the commission that draws up the maps for Pennsylvania’s state House and Senate. In the prior two rounds of redistricting, the Republican-dominated court chose the tiebreaker, but now Democrats will have that power come 2021 (justices are elected to 10-year terms). As a result, Democrats will have the chance to undo the Republican gerrymanders that

Continue reading “Morning Digest: Pennsylvania Supreme Court sweep gives Democrats legislative redistricting control”

There was a lot of good news for progressives that you may have missed on Tuesday night

Democrat Jackie Biskuspki, who will be the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, campaigns with enthusiastic supporters

Democrat Jackie Biskuspki, who will be the first openly gay mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah,
campaigns with enthusiastic supporters

You wouldn’t know it from reading most traditional media accounts or perusing much of Twitter, but progressives actually scored quite a few victories on Tuesday night. Democrats did lose a marquee race for governor in Kentucky, and make no mistake: That sucked. But the prominence of that one election shouldn’t overshadow all of Tuesday’s other results—many of which were very heartening for liberals.
This isn’t about cherry-picking good news or ignoring bad news. Rather, it’s about calling attention to important developments that simply aren’t getting as much play as they ought to. So here are some key results you may not have learned about yet:

Pennsylvania: In what was by far the most important victory of the night, Democrats swept three seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, giving

Continue reading “There was a lot of good news for progressives that you may have missed on Tuesday night”

Hopeful signs across the country as several corrupt and brutal officers get fired, forced to retire

Chicago police Detective Dante Servin listens during his manslaughter trial in Chicago, April 9, 2015. Servin went on trial on Thursday on felony charges in the 2012 fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old black woman in a case that has drawn attention as the nation debates police use of deadly force, especially against young black people.    REUTERS/John J. Kim/Pool - RTR4WQ7Y

Officer Dante Servin, who shot and killed Rekia Boyd

Crumbs don’t make a cake, but across the country some measure of progress is being felt in the fight against police brutality and racial injustice in law enforcement. Brutal and corrupt cops are finally being fired for their actions.
This is just a start but it’s a departure from the norm, in which officers have almost universally been able to keep their jobs—regardless of their actions. Make no mistake about it: In cities like New York, where the officers who killed Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and others still have their jobs, progress is slow. But elsewhere, it’s being felt.

First off, it needs to be said that losing your job is a ridiculously small price to pay for what many of these officers have done. Many of them should be in jail. Others were forced into retirement and received all of

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Seattle teachers back in the classroom after tentative deal ends strike

Teachers walk the picket line as they strike outside Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington September 9, 2015. Classes were cancelled for 53,000 students as Seattle teachers and support staff marched in picket lines on Wednesday on what was supposed

Seattle teachers went back to work Wednesday to prepare for schools to open on Thursday after the Seattle Education Association and school district management reached a tentative deal to end the teachers strike that delayed the scheduled start of the school year. The teachers were pushing for improved pay after six years without a cost of living increase, as well as for mandatory recess, equity teams in all schools, and limits on the influence of standardized testing.

Union President Jonathan Knapp said the agreement addresses major sticking points around pay, testing, student equity, teacher evaluations and the length of the school day.
Knapp said teachers would get a 9.5 percent raise over three years. When cost-of-living raises from the state are included, that would mean a 14.3 percent pay increase over that period, Knapp said.

Teacher salaries in Seattle range now from about $44,000 to more than $86,000,

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Morning Digest: Daily Kos Elections honcho wins election but still refuses to put on pants

David Nir

New York County Democratic Committee member-elect David Nir

Leading Off:
New York County, NY: This is the deepest in the weeds we’ve ever gone at Daily Kos Elections, and in fact, this is just about the deepest in the weeds it’s even possible to go. Utter Some Dude David Nir, an ex-attorney best known for blogging in whatever clothes he fell asleep in the night before, won a dominant upset victory for a spot on the New York County Democratic Committee, taking nine votes in a hotly contested election Thursday night. His nearest opponent, Shota Baghaturia, was far behind with seven votes, though as the top two vote-getters, both will earn spots on the committee. The team of Miriam and Richard Frieden finished with a distant five and four votes, respectively.

Observers had expected Baghaturia, who was listed first on the ballot, to take top honors, but

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