On February 13, Stranger blogger Sam Machkovech was fired from his temp job at Amazon.com after posting on Line Out, The Stranger's music blog, about a Billy Ray Cyrus concert held at Amazon's office in the downtown Columbia Tower.
Machkovech had been working at Amazon since Thanksgiving through Corestaff, a temp agency. "I hadn't been there very long, but they had a reason to believe I was worth keeping at the company," he says.
Machkovech says he was let go for breaking Amazon's nondisclosure agreement and for blogging during work hours. Machkovech did not identify Amazon as his employer in the post.
According to Amazon spokesman Craig Berman, "The way [Machkovech] wrote the blog post, using the language that he wrote, was just really bad judgment." Adding that Amazon's identity was "very thinly disguised."
Corestaff did not return calls for comment. JONAH SPANGENTHAL-LEE
Colby Underwood, the fundraising consultant who sued a former employee, McKenna Hartman, to prevent her from competing with him after she left his firm, will move forward with his case, currently scheduled for trial in July 2009. On February 15, a judge lifted a temporary restraining order against Hartman that prevented her from going into the fundraising business for herself.
One interesting wrinkle in the case that emerged on Friday was the revelation that Hartman had copied the hard drive of her work computer, which she also used for personal purposes, before quitting Underwood's firm. The hard drive included a copy of Underwood's donor database—the subject of the initial suit by Underwood, who accused Hartman of using his database to start a competing firm. Underwood's attorney, Janyce Fink, says Hartman "took...property she had no right to keep or use."
Hartman's attorney, Roger Townsend, says disputes over company information are "really common," and likened Hartman's copying of her hard drive to "cleaning out her desk." ERICA C. BARNETT
Democrats in Olympia, eager to look tough on crime, have been enthusiastically passing bills to crack down on sex offenders. The latest bill from Democrat Larry Seaquist (D-26), which passed the state house 80–15, requires people who commit certain misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors—including second-degree animal cruelty, indecent exposure, prostitution, and second-degree sexual misconduct with a minor—to give DNA samples to the state.
Obviously, some of these are horrendous crimes (e.g., sexual misconduct with a minor). But that only highlights how questionable it is to require DNA samples for some of the other crimes (prostitution?) on the Democrats' list. JOSH FEIT
As the deadline for passing bills out of one chamber to the other wound down, state senate majority leader Lisa Brown (D-3) resurrected a bill that would thwart strip mining on Maury Island and passed it out of the senate, keeping the bill alive.
On the house side, however, a smart environmental bill sponsored by Representative Geoff Simpson (D-47), which would require the state to consider the carbon footprint of developments when deciding if they pass muster under the Growth Management Act, bogged down in the Rules Committee, where environmental advocates worried house leadership planned to let it die.
The powerful Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) was reportedly putting pressure on house members in swing districts to put the kibosh on the bill or water it down so that local GMA councils don't have actual authority to make carbon footprints an issue. JOSH FEIT