I've Got 99 Problems, but I Can't Name One
• Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled his proposed 2014 budget on September 23, which raises millions more dollars for everything from senior centers to homeless shelters to traffic signal retiming. City council budget chair Tim Burgess (who's endorsed McGinn's opponent, Ed Murray) immediately declared that while McGinn has "proposed some significant increases in spending," he "has yet to provide evidence that those increases would be an effective use of taxpayer dollars." Asked three times to clarify what items in the mayor's budget aren't adequately evidence-based, Burgess couldn't name a thing. Huh. What a divisive clown.
• 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 Burgess demands fresh evidence that the toilet is an effective use of taxpayer dollars.)
• We're number one at taxing the poor, according to a new report from the DC-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which found that "Washington's poor families pay 16.9 percent of their total income in state and local taxes," the highest rate in the nation. By comparison, Washington's wealthiest households pay only 2.8 percent, because we totally fucking suck.
• Reversing a years-long open-carry policy, last week Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued an open letter "respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores." Schultz went on to note that it's just a request, not a ban, "because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers," which of course just highlights the whole purpose of open carry: to intimidate other people.
• In early September, Subway worker Carlos Hernandez was fired from a franchise on Capitol Hill, ostensibly because he gave away a 66-cent cookie to a 3-year-old, according to Hernandez and Good Jobs Seattle. However, Hernandez claims he was actually fired for joining fast-food strikes campaigning for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. On September 24, strike organizers with Good Jobs Seattle announced that they filed a lawsuit in federal court against the national chain and a local Seattle Subway franchisee, alleging illegal retaliation against Hernandez for helping organize fast-food strikes throughout the city. Subway didn't respond to requests for comment by press time. As for Hernandez, "I know I was fired 'cause I stood up for what is right," he says. "I went on strike, and Subway fired me."
• Sources say that a man hefting two buckets of coal into the Cowlitz Expo Center on September 17—to use as props for Longview's first hearing on a proposed coal export terminal—was turned away at the door. Longview police had apparently prohibited coal from the premises because they deemed it too dirty and difficult to clean up. Of course, the question of whether trainloads of daily coal shipments are too dirty for the city of Longview and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is still up for debate.