CLASS WARRIORS WILLING TO COMPROMISE Filling up half of the Franklin High School gym with their national conference on April 26, 15 Now supporters proved that their detractors—who paint them as fanatics allergic to compromise and pragmatism—are completely wrong. By an overwhelming margin, the hundreds in attendance voted to support a three-year phased-in $15 per hour wage for small businesses (those with 250 employees or fewer) rather than strip that compromise out of the group's proposed November ballot initiative. At the same time, city council member Kshama Sawant said a leaked proposal from Mayor Ed Murray's Income Inequality Advisory Committee—more on that below—is "a Christmas list for big business." In other words, she'll compromise only so far. 15 Now will need to gather a minimum of 30,000 signatures by midsummer to place their initiative on the November ballot. Judging by the enthusiasm and turnout at the event, they shouldn't have any trouble exceeding that figure. ANSEL HERZ

MINIMUM WAGE DEAL? Last week, Mayor Ed Murray threw a rather embarrassing press conference. Set to announce his labor-and-business-backed minimum-wage plan, Murray instead emerged to proclaim... that his stakeholder group was "stuck at the moment." Although, he added, a deal seemed close. By press time, no deal had been announced, but The Stranger was able to obtain details of a plan apparently backed by a majority of Murray's advisory committee. The basics: Big businesses would be defined as having more than 500 full-time equivalent employees and small businesses as having fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees (with nonprofits counted in the small-business category). Both categories would phase in a $15 minimum wage, with inflationary adjustments starting only after they reached $15. Big business would hit $15 in three to four years, while small businesses and nonprofits would have a more complicated mechanism that includes both a seven-year phase-in to $15 (again, without adjustment for inflation until after they hit $15) and a five-year phase-in that counts benefits and tips, though any inclusion of benefits or tips would be phased out at the end. Complex enough? It could be far more complex than we even know, since further details are still shrouded in mystery. ANNA MINARD

BIG BERTHA BILL Now that Bertha, the downtown-tunnel-drilling machine, is off for a year of repairs, the question arises: How much will those repairs cost? An initial guess from the tunnel contractors, according to the Seattle Times, is $125 million. That's more than one-and-a-half times what it cost to build Bertha in the first place. Since we have a whole year to ponder just how messed up this is, let's begin by thinking about other things we could do with $125 million in taxpayer money. Oh, here's something: We could fund adequate Metro bus service in King County for nearly two years (or we could fund adequate bus service in Seattle alone for six years). Instead, we're faced with the prospect—still to be litigated—of throwing lots more taxpayer money down the tunnel hole. ELI SANDERS recommended