Apr 19, 2014
commented on Council Member Kshama Sawant Replies to Small-Business Owner Mike Klotz
The takeaways from the trolls and haters here about increasing the minimum wage is:
* People deserve to work and be in poverty because business owners have unsustainable business models.
* If you wave your hands, studies can be ignored.
* Washington State's multi-year experiment in having the highest or among the highest minimum wage in the country in the face of a terrible economy counts for nothing.
* People keep citing a 67% raise when even the complaining business owners note that many of their employees make well above Washington minimum wage, and thus the disparity will be much smaller or very small.
And nobody seems to mention the health-care subsidies which boost the real take-home wages of many workers and could allow businesses to drop healthcare coverage in some cases while still allowing their employees to come out far ahead (with portable health insurance instead of the expensive COBRA post-employment coverage), thus freeing cash for increasing wages.
Apr 9, 2014
commented on Council Member Sawant, Can We Talk?
This letter has so many insane assertions. You can protect lower-skilled workers by ensuring that they always have a low-paying job to protect them from the higher-skilled workers who will flood into Seattle to take $15/hour positions? This is the most patronizing thing I've ever heard.
Some employees will be displaced: they will find it hard or impossible to get a job because people will re-enter the job market or commute in because the new wages are attractive enough to shift from a $9-something/hr job somewhere else.
But for every job that shifts, another job opens up. This will add hardship and require people to move. If a $10/hr Renton assembly job is available because someone in Burien is now commuting to Seattle for $15/hr, then the person who had the Seattle job (who is fired suddenly? how does that happen?) has left an opening.
Some businesses will be displaced. This is the reality of the market. It also sucks if your business can't adapt.
It's possible in your case that you will reduce staff by one or two people because both you wind up with workers who take less time off and are more productive on the job. However, those workers will have more money to spend, which spreads around the economy. (Most companies employ excess capacity to deal with absenteeism, sick days, uneven quality, etc.; with a higher wage, these factors all change. The ACA may reduce sick days by providing lower-income people with better medical care.)
"a 60 percent wage increase": You pay 100% of your workers the minimum wage? You don't factor in the cost of training and turnover in running your business?
You also, on the one hand, want to say that the quality of worker will improve; on the other, that there is no benefit from the increase. A higher wage produces employees who are better able to be good workers while reducing your costs associated with turnover.
"60-hour-plus weeks": That's not very much for a restaurant, and I expect other startup restaurant owners are amused by this.
The reason you are putting in long hours is that you are ostensibly building equity in your business and producing a return for yourself. If you're not making more than $15 an hour at 60-hour weeks and aren't creating a business that might become sustainable or valuable enough to sell when you want to move on, then you aren't in the right line of business.
Your wage-earning employees are not subject to your dreams and rewards (unless you offer ownership, stock, or revenue [not profit] sharing). Your employees shouldn't care whether or not you are working long hours or not, because you own the business.
I do sympathize with the increase in wages, but the proposal to phase it in, if adopted, should minimize the shock to smaller businesses.
However, defending a non-livable wage, which you apparently pay 100% of your employees if you would experience a full 60% wage increase, doesn't seem in accord with the business practices you admire.
Disruption is terrible at the personal level. But why try to deny people a better wage and a better way of life because it doesn't work out perfectly for you in your narrow thinking?
Feb 16, 2014
commented on It Is a Silly Place
I saw a preview (not realizing it was a preview, but cheap tickets) and it was fantastic! We've loved the soundtrack for years.
Didn't know Griffith had moved her. I will seek her out in future productions, cabaret acts, etc., because she does have world-class pipes and total commitment.
"Patsy" particularly stood out.
I sat next to a woman who must have been in her 80s, and she enjoyed it ferociously.
Jan 8, 2014
commented on Gigabit Est Mort, Vive Le Gigabit!
Tacoma didn't, no offense to them! They did something amazing that probably saved the city from total business destruction.
They build a fiber/coax hybrid, in which a fiber-distribution network was created to serve both electrical distribution needs (monitoring and other purposes), and then coax cable for the final mile to the home because of cost of optical terminals when they deployed.
All fiber makes sense now, because it's been proven and affordable.
Dec 31, 2013
commented on A New Type of Sportsball (for Seattle)
Gabriel is the nicest guy in the world, too. Ran into him about a year and a half ago at Powell Barnett, where he was just showing any kids who wanted to learn (including mine!) how to use the ball. Then a few months later, I run into him at my library (he was subbing from his own branch at the time) and had another talk.
He's infectious about it, and great to chat with!
Jul 23, 2013
commented on Correction for the Record: Goodspaceguy
My children were explaining to me this morning the benefit and near-term certainty (in their lifetimes?) of space elevators, which I have always thought were an elegant idea, and yet had never discussed with them. They are 6 and 8. Apparently, aliens are beaming them the necessary education to create this structures when they are old enough. Problem solved.
May 9, 2013
commented on Your Dog Sucks
Such a big peeve; thanks for sharing, Dan.
It's part of the displacement of personal responsibility, this time in dog form. People smoke, and they flick their butts, and the instant it leaves their finger, no longer their problem. People leave their small children in a store and go get coffee; it's the store's problem suddenly.
I was at a playground a couple of years ago, one with sand. There's a giant sign that says "no animals permitted" and we are in a leashed area, in any case (in Seattle). A big, friendly dog is loping all over the place. It doesn't appear to belong to anyone. I look around and finally figure out the owners. My two small children are with me.
"Is that your dog?" I ask. The woman looks at me, exasperated. "Yes." "Can you please take your dog out of the playground?" She rolls her eyes and leashes the dog nearby. It starts wailing.
I am somehow the bad guy, not her. Explain that to me. I felt bad for the dog.
Apr 24, 2013
commented on What I'm Using Instead of Google Reader
I'm an ancient NetNewsReader user (Mac software developed by a Seattle guy, Brent Simmons), and the current owners have pledged to have a solution in place before Google Reader goes into the inky deeps.