A roundup of what's been going on at City Hall this week. I capitalized that because I mean the building, not the concept. Wait, I'm not sure, actually. Eh, it's a copy editor thing, never mind for now.
Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh BUD-GET!!! On Monday, all of city hall wore their finest robes down to the council chamber, where Dumbledore presented them with a feast and then warned of the imminent return of Voldemort. Or, you know, McGinn presented his 2014 budget or whatever.
Let's Try That Again, with Reality and Facts: Because of the improving economy, the budget this year is the first McGinn's ever been able to propose that doesn't call for cutting services and expands them instead. His proposal spends around $66.5 million more general fund money than 2013's budget, results in the equivalent of 167 more full-time city employees, and funds everything from transit planning to homeless shelters to a water slide between The Stranger's offices and the bar across the street. (But instead of water, it uses non-Russian vodka!) Much of the council still hates him, so this is obviously going to be soooooooooo fun. Ed Murray has mocked McGinn's budget as a Christmas tree; I prefer to think of it as a big civic "Oprah's Favorite Things" show. (And we all have to pay taxes on the free cars, damn it.)
One More Thing About the Budget: If you're really into it, so much of the budget process is available to you. You can go look at the whole thing or look at it by section, you can watch council meetings live, and they encourage you to contact the city clerk (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-684-8344) with any questions. Why the hell not?
Oh, Crap (Literally!), Really Just One Last Budgety Thing: From Sources Say this week:
Mayoral spokesman Aaron Pickus notes that in the mayor's proposed budget, they've set aside $250,000 to purchase and install a toilet in pissy, shitty Pioneer Square as backup in case city negotiations with a developer to install a public toilet in the area falls through. (Here's praying that [Council Member Tim] Burgess demands fresh evidence that the toilet is an effective use of taxpayer dollars.)
Ed Murray Endorses Kshama Sawant: So says Goldy. Really, this is a big deal. Murray's push for an incremental move toward a $15 minimum wage got some national attention. Without any real commitment to how incremental that will be, I'm actually far more interested in Murray's plan to "Establish an Office of Labor Standards within the City to ensure compliance with wage theft, minimum wage and paid sick and safe leave violations." We've pushed for that in the paper, and as we pointed out then, Council Member Nick Licata is certainly interested, too. It would mean better enforcement of the labor laws we love to pass but not always follow up on.
Save UberX Seattle! UberX's blog post this week blew up on social media and made people start paying attention to a taxi fight that Goldy's been covering all year long. For some background, read his piece here. At the council meeting yesterday, they didn't decide much, but you can scroll back through Uber's hashtag to find multiple people live-tweeting the meeting, if you care. Basically, everything you like is illegal and/or hurts people. Just like every other political issue.
My suggestion to "ride share" fans is that you try not to be so insensitive to the plight of taxi drivers and their familes. #SAVEuberXsea