Here's your daily evening round-up of the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to The Stranger to keep it comin'!)
"It is time for a wealth tax in America," proclaimed Sen. Elizabeth Warren while unveiling the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act this afternoon. Warren was flanked by Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Brendan Boyle from Pennsylvania. The tax "would levy a 2% annual tax on the net worth of households and trusts between $50 million and $1 billion as well as a 1% annual surtax on assets above $1 billion, for a 3% tax overall on billionaires," describes CNN.
As Jayapal put it during the presser this morning, when speaking on the racial inequities built into the country's tax structure: "This is no accident. Our history is that much of the wealth of white families was accumulated at the expense of Black, brown, and Indigenous families... The extreme inequality and concentration of wealth and racial inequity is baked into our tax system."
The proposal is popular: "Polls have consistently shown Ms. Warren’s proposal winning the support of more than three in five Americans, including a majority of Republican voters," notes the New York Times. Who is it not popular with? "Republican men with college degrees." Here's the bill.
The money could be used to invest in "child care and early education, K-12, infrastructure, all of which are priorities of President Biden and Democrats in Congress," said Warren today.
The ultra-wealthy need to pay their fair share. It’s as simple as that.
My #WealthTax will generate at least $3 trillion for us to invest in our communities — and if your net worth is less than $50 million, you won’t pay a penny. https://t.co/He2XdEQUEM
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) March 1, 2021
Seattle hopes an upcoming mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Event Center will be able to administer 21,000 vaccinations a day: Of course, that depends on supply. The site, which the City expects to start running mid-March, would probably begin by administering "approximately 5,000 first doses across two days a week," reports CHS Blog. Two more vaccination sites—at the Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle and the Atlantic City Boat Ramp in Rainier Beach—are opening today. Those sites also offer coronavirus testing. Here's where our vaccine dose 7-day average currently is at, says the state's DOH dashboard:
New York Gov. Cuomo faces increased pressure to resign: Multiple women have accused the governor of sexual harassment and New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into Cuomo's behavior. The Guardian has an overview here.
"It's not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union," said the president of the United States today. "It's not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers—full stop. Full stop." The message was directed at Amazon warehouse workers across Alabama who are voting to unionize. Biden's move was A Big Deal, writes Sarah Jones for the Intelligencer. Jones argued there "is likely no historical precedent for Biden’s statement, which explicitly frames unionization as a material and social good."
Workers in Alabama – and all across America – are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. It’s a vitally important choice – one that should be made without intimidation or threats by employers.
Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union. pic.twitter.com/2lzbyyii1g
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 1, 2021
In Seattle, a Black Amazon manager is suing the company for alleged racial discrimination, sexual assault and harassment: Charlotte Newman, an Amazon manager for Amazon Web Services, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit stating Amazon has "a consistent practice of paying Black employees less than similarly situated white employees, and a near-total lack of Black representation in and very few women in the upper echelons of the group’s leadership." The suit argued a senior male employee committed "vile and aggressive sexual assault and harassment" against Newman, "which had distinct racial aspects as well." Katherine Khashimova Long reported on the lawsuit for the Seattle Times. More from the suit:
Amazon’s discriminatory conduct was not limited to paying Ms. Newman less than her white peers and discriminatorily failing to promote her for years after she had already taken on a more senior role. Underlining Ms. Newman’s vulnerable position at the Company, a senior male coworker also felt free to sexually harass Ms. Newman and at times in plain view of others.
Racial and sexual discrimination exists in Amazon’s corporate corridors, not just its warehouses—it simply takes a different form. Amazon has failed to seriously grapple with these issues among its management.
In an update, Amazon said in a statement that it is "currently investigating the new allegations included in this lawsuit."
James Lobb resigned as the executive director of Seattle's Pottery Northwest: The resignation comes after Seattle-based clay artists accused the org of fostering a racist, sexist, and classist environment over the past six years. Here is the statement from Pottery Northwest's board, released this afternoon.
Miguel Cardona is confirmed as US Education Secretary: Cardona, a former public school teacher, was confirmed to the position with a 64-33 Senate vote. The days of Betsy DeVos are behind us, but public schools have perhaps never been in a more difficult position. Alsooooooo... repair the debilitating damage our education system has inflicted on our largest generation by canceling student debt, Cardona!!!
I appreciate @teachcardona’s commitment to use every tool available to help student loan borrowers crushed with debt. The law is clear: Congress gave the Secretary of Education the power to administratively #CancelStudentDebt, and Secretary Cardona should use it. pic.twitter.com/23RvLrHFEo
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 3, 2021
Gas prices are up: In northern Seattle, the average gas prices are hovering around $3.40. The winter storm that hit Texas is partially to blame since it shut down twenty-six U.S. oil refineries. AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano McGee said that "barring hurricane season, March may bring the most expensive pump prices of 2021."
Looking for a nice butt exercise? Here are all of Seattle's public stairs. Start stomping! No gas required.
Another Jacob Lawrence painting pops up in a New York City apartment: I love this. Someone, make a mini-doc:
When a nurse living on the Upper West Side checked an app for neighborhood bulletins last fall, she learned about the recent discovery of a Jacob Lawrence painting in an apartment a few blocks away. It had turned out to be one of five panels long missing from the artist’s groundbreaking 30-panel series “Struggle: From the History of the American People,” which was on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, right across Central Park.
The name Jacob Lawrence rang a bell.
She walked over to look more closely at a small figurative painting on her dining room wall, where it had hung for two decades, its signature barely legible. It was a gift from her mother-in-law, who had taped a 1996 New York Times profile on Lawrence to the back. The nurse, who had only glanced at the back while dusting, learned from the app that Lawrence was a leading modernist painter of the 20th century — and one of the few Black artists of his time to gain broad recognition in the art world.
The Daily Beast chatted with us and a few other alt-weeklies about surviving and thriving during this pandemic: What's The Stranger's secret? It's you, your support, and your porn. May we wank off together for years to come.
The weather is so nice: I'd say I'm feeling hopeful but I don't want to jinx it.
A man in Franklin County, Washington was found trapped under a 1,500-pound bale of hay this morning: Authorities airlifted the man to the hospital. The farmer who owns the hay told authorities the trapped man randomly showed up on his farm and got trapped under the hay. The investigation is ongoing.
In other bizarre tragedy news: Lady Gaga's dog walker posted on Instagram that "a lot of healing still needs to happen" but he is recovering from his violent attack last week. The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot in the chest while walking Gaga's french bulldogs in Hollywood last Friday. The dogs were later found tied to a pole, but they have been reunited with Gaga.
Sue Bird is staying in Seattle: In case you were worried. This has been your one-time weekly sports update from Slog.