Striking Teachers March Downtown Today: Teachers from 57 school districts voted to go on one-day strikes to protest lack of funding for public education—specifically on issues of smaller class sizes and educator pay. Today, "several thousand" teachers and educational staff from the Seattle, Mercer Island, and Issaquah school districts will be marching from Seattle Center to Westlake Park, according to a statement from organizers.
And Alaska Airlines Food Workers Will Protest Tomorrow: The union Unite Here says workers delivered a letter on behalf of 10,000 airline catering employees to Alaska Airlines representatives, asking them to set aside a nickel per passenger toward food-worker wages and health insurance. More than 40 percent of airline food workers make less than $10.10 an hour, according to the union, and the airline's health-care plan sucks up 25 percent or more of workers' incomes.
Traffic Tickets Will Increase by $12 Across the State: The state supreme court decided to raise the traffic-ticket floor on Monday, despite the ACLU warning the state that such a move would disproportionately impact poor people and people of color. Even though some of the ticket revenue is supposed to go to public defenders, the new rule also means that people who, say, live in their car, would have to pay more. And people of color are disproportionately stopped for traffic violations. Ferguson, Missouri, for example, derives its second-largest source of income from traffic stops and fines, largely from black residents.
A Bill That Regulates How the Government Can Use Drones Cleared the State Senate: While the Federal Aviation Administration is figuring out how journalists can use drones, a new bill recently passed the state senate looking at how state and local government should be able to deploy drones in Washington. Before law enforcement agencies start ordering all the quadrocopters they can find, the bill requires that the state legislature or local municipal governments approve those acquisitions. And while drones can be used for emergencies (think wildfires), they need warrants for expeditions used to spy on people.
Council Member Tim Burgess Invited a Briefing on Washington's Regressive Tax Structure Tomorrow: One of the city council's more notably conservative members will host a briefing from economist Dick Conway during a Wednesday morning committee meeting to discuss why Washington's current tax structure (i.e., no income tax) sucks.
The City Has Issued a Notice of Violation Against the Port of Seattle, Shell, and Foss Over That Arctic Drilling Rig: After Saturday's kayak protest and Monday's block-party blockade at the worker entrance of Terminal 5, the city's Department of Planning and Development issued a formal notice of violation against the Port of Seattle yesterday. Earlier this month, a DPD interpretation found that hosting Arctic drilling equipment was not in compliance with the terminal's use for loading and off-loading cargo, but instead of doing a goddamn thing about it, the port made a weak "maybe delay working on the rig, maybe, please?" gesture to its T5 tenant and decided to appeal the city's decision. (In that appeal, it called the city's interpretation "irrational" and suggested challenging the port's stewardship of its terminals could be environmentally damaging. This is sort of like someone pooping in your living room and then telling you that cleaning up that poop could be damaging.) The city has now given the port until June 4 to kick out Shell or apply for a new permit.
But How Much Will the Notice Actually Accomplish? The fines that go into effect if the port doesn't clean up its mess cost $150 a day for 10 days after June 4, then $500 a day. Shell is the second-largest oil and gas company in the world. Will the city explore other enforcement options?
It's Up to the People to Revoke the Port's Social License: Because now the port has proven, without a doubt, that their interest in working for the public is next to nil, and that they will capitulate to corporate oil industry and shipping interests (interests that directly threaten the well-being of great swaths of humanity) whenever asked.
Yesterday Was Just the Beginning: With not much more than a tiny budget and a grassroots spokescouncil model, organizers of yesterday's blockade were able to bring hundreds of people down to a little plot of land located in a labyrinth of highways at seven on a Monday morning and stay there with a full program of DJs and speakers (some of whom had traveled from Alaska to be there) for seven hours. Police definitely anticipated activists' presence at T5 early in the morning, and it's unclear how much the blockade actually functioned as a full blockade (there appeared to be a slow trickle of vehicles coming in through an access road). Nevertheless, protesters shouted, "We'll be back!" as they marched back across the truck flyover from Terminal 5.
Obama Administration Says It Is "Balancing" Oil Demand with Climate Change Concerns: Which makes no sense, because the latter directly contradicts the former when it comes to averting dangerous climate change and pursuing Arctic drilling in particular. (Also, how can we anticipate demand for oil decades from now, when Arctic oil and gas will come on line, without considering a renewable future economy? Talk about cognitive dissonance.) But maybe this statement about climate change also means someone in the White House is paying attention to what's happening in Seattle.