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Friday, March 2, 2007

We Couldn’t Have Said it Better

posted by on March 2 at 17:38 PM

Today’s P-I has an editorial blasting the state senate for moving forward with legislation allowing dogs in the outdoor portion of restaurants while failing to make progress on important issues like lowering interest rates on payday loans.

This measure illustrates all too clearly the direction we’re going as a society, where it seems we expect the general public to accommodate our lifestyle choices (having pets, strict diets, smoking, etc.), at the expense of common sense. […]

It probably says something about our legislators, and us, as a community, when we’re further along in the debate as to whether to let dogs into restaurants than we are with such issues as delaying the WASL until 2010 (ah, it’s only our education system, folks) and lowering the cap on payday loans from 391 percent down to 36 percent (the poor can wait another year). Clearly, those concerns aren’t as urgent as being able to take dogs to bars.

While I agree with Goldy that a focus on one non-substantive issue doesn’t imply a total lack of interest in substantive issues, I don’t agree that it’s “silly” to suggest that payday interest rates and other pressing issues be resolved before the legislature invests its time and energy debating idiotic proposals like allowing dogs in bars. It certainly isn’t complicated: By allowing payday lenders to charge sky-high interest rates, the state is saying it’s OK to fleece the poor. The solution: Put a cap on interest rates. Not complicated, not silly, and certainly more important than debating over dogs in bars.

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The dogs in bars issue is probably not taking up a lot of time, but because it's an easily understandable issue that is catchy, it's grabbing the public's attention more.

It's possible the dog issue (like all dog/animal-related issues, remember the circus animals?) is getting more play in the media than in the legislature.

Posted by wait | March 2, 2007 5:46 PM

Dear Gawd,

Whatever happened to usury laws?

Posted by Original Andrew | March 2, 2007 5:57 PM

Uh, it's easy to figure out. No one is lobbying against dogs in bars, but lots of very rich people are lobbying against the payday loan cap.

Posted by Gitai | March 2, 2007 6:05 PM

Whats wrong with allowing dogs in bars anyway?

Posted by Art | March 2, 2007 6:27 PM

let's see $300 for 2 weeks at 36% would earn drumroll........ $4.00 - hmmmm that seems like a good investment - perhaps we should have a government agency give out these loans or better yet how about Stranger reporters - it is a shame that people go for these loans but I'd rather have out front businesses in malls than loan sharks in smoke filled er I mean dog filled bars handing out the cash and then breaking kneecaps.

Posted by Sherwin | March 2, 2007 6:46 PM

OK, OK, we get it:

Erica C. Barnettó not a dog person.

Do you think you might encourage someone else on the staff to write the next SLOG update about this tedious bit of legislation? You know, just so no-one mistakes one woman's pooch-resenting tirades for the paper's official editorial position? You might remember this became something of a problem with Charles Mudede's successful SLOG campaign to shut down the Butu Banton show.

Posted by robotslave | March 2, 2007 6:48 PM

Dogs don't like dogs.

The column mug shot does not lie.

Posted by Stranger Danger | March 2, 2007 7:19 PM

Sure makes sense to me, Sherwin. Anyone who can't afford a 16% APR VISA or MasterCard, we should just tell them to the Hell shut up and take the 400% APR payday loan up the ass.

That's what Jesus would want us to do, right?

Posted by COMTE | March 2, 2007 7:35 PM

Hell yeah, Jesus definitely preached the gospel of high-interest loans. James Cameron found his bones!

Posted by otla | March 2, 2007 7:54 PM

The Payday loan industry makes a somewhat valid point, in that for high volume, low dollar amount loans with high risk borrowers, they would go broke if they charged the same interest as banks. And the people that get payday loans most likely wouldn't qualify for a regular bank loan. And even though Payday lenders are little more than state sanctioned loan sharks, they do fill a real need.

But I don't buy for a minute the notion that they can't survive on anything less than 400% interest. That is utter bullshit.

Yes, the administrative costs are higher. Yes, the default and late payments are higher. But still, you would think the state could hire some unbiased accounting firm to actually sit down and figure out what kind of interest is realistic. An interest rate that would allow them to stay in business and fill a legitimate need, but not completely onerous to the poor borrowers. That is the whole point of usury laws. There needs to be a cap on both the interest rates AND fees, not just interest rates. I suspect it would be higher than 36% (a figure that the bill's sponsor probably pulled out of the air), but way way less than 400%. Even if they capped it at 50% or 80%, it would still save a huge chunk over what they are being fleeced for now.

Get with it, legislature.

Posted by SDA in SEA | March 2, 2007 8:07 PM

What is the deal with Sen. Ken Jacobson? First this stupid dog thing, then one of the only D votes AGAINST a majority for approving school levys? Good thing he doesn't represent MY district.

Posted by what? | March 2, 2007 8:15 PM

OUTRAGEOUS. There are other cute animals that might be given due consideration as well regarding their propriety as patrons or the companions of patrons at bibulous establishments in our fair state.
The Ferret for example - an irresistably cute companion animal that no one would even think of bludgeoning with a shovel, except the EVIL MR DAVID DAVID SCHMADER.

Posted by Mustela P Furo | March 2, 2007 8:53 PM

Erica hates puppies.

Posted by The Todd | March 2, 2007 10:03 PM

Jesus would give them the money.

Most paycheck lenders probably claim to be born again.

Why 36% how about 18%? or12%?

If churches want to give low cost loans, that would be great.

Apparently the industry provides a service people want. Should they be regulated out of business? If they are, will their customers be better off? That was my point. Maybe those that wish to kill the industry think so.

If the people that use the service want the regulations, then I support the regulations.

At 52% per annum that would be 2% for 2 weeks or $6 on a $300 loan - does anyone really think the industry would survive at those rates?

Posted by Sherwin | March 2, 2007 10:12 PM

Yeah, pressing issues are very important. I don't understand how anybody can even drive a car or go to work until we solve hunger and homelessness.

And what about the war in Iraq? It's just so idiotic to even think about taking out the garbage when people are dying in Iraq.

Won't somebody think of the children? Or are you all a bunch of heartless morons who aren't paying attention to the real issues?

Posted by David Summerlin | March 3, 2007 12:03 AM


You seem to be the one spending extra time on dogs, your "pet" peeve. You are pushing me toward the self-centered dog owners, you are.

On the other hand if you find me a number to call to get someone to come out and ticket the unleashed-dog owners at the city parks dept. baseball fields, I'll use my cell phone to call. Why don't you do something useful about it? I can be your angel of fate. But you are worried about a couple of dog hairs on the floor of your favorite booze joint instead of kids having to play in poop.

And Goddamit, it's only two months till spring really hits and I'm really worried about the line for Space Mountain being too long in the Summertime.

Posted by mirror | March 3, 2007 12:58 AM

I yave a gorgy-laberador muh, mmmm, mmix.

Is name mis Awly.

Posted by Teeven Hmith | March 3, 2007 7:14 AM

Floor space in bars gets crowded enough on weekends without everyone bringing their labrador retriever. I'd prefer to drunkenly navigate my way to the bathroom without having to worry about stepping on anyne's tail, you know?

Posted by dogs don't need beer | March 3, 2007 8:45 AM

I'd like to see a bill authorizing handicapped dogs to ride express buses to bars...

Posted by Trey | March 3, 2007 9:39 AM

How about discussing other pressing issues here in the Slog before investing time and energy on dogs in bars, ECB? This is your third post on the law, by my count.

Posted by tsm | March 3, 2007 9:39 AM

you fucks banned smoking in bars... and i don't want no fucking dawgs in the bars breathing their nasty dog breath or drooling anywhere near my beer!!

/cat person who recently quit smoking


Posted by war pigs | March 3, 2007 11:17 AM

#19 "I'd like to see a bill authorizing handicapped dogs to ride express buses to bars..."

with extra special service on holidays

Posted by Sherwin | March 3, 2007 12:48 PM

@ 8 says "Sure makes sense to me, Sherwin. Anyone who can't afford a 16% APR VISA or MasterCard, we should just tell them to the Hell shut up and take the 400% APR payday loan up the ass."

Exactly. The very same corporation owns BOTH the bank or credit card subsidiarty AND owns the Check Cashing firm that rips them off.

The reason they can't borrow the money is the bank/cc set them up to not have credit in the FIRST place.

I'm glad they listened to my feedback on the PI editorial blog.

[caveat - I own a few hundred shares in corporations that own both credit card lenders and check cashing firms ...]

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 3, 2007 2:45 PM

Do dogs often attack people?

You getting stared down by a dog?

I've gotten attacked by dogs the same number of times I got attacked by elepahnts.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | March 3, 2007 7:07 PM

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