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Guess what might save Washington’s budget?

WEED.

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Ok, so, it clearly won’tt completely bail out the utter shit-show that is our budget (we see you, public education) but in the revised forecast numbers, there is a decidedly positive uptick in overall funding.

Because of pot.

From the Spokesman-Review:

Washington tax coffers could get a $25 million boost by next July and nearly $200 million by mid-2017 from legal marijuana, state economists estimate. 

Reminder — this is with Seattle only having ONE SINGLE POT SHOP which is nearly always out of marijuana. But, as we’ve pointed out before, when you basically invent a new tax income (like by legalizing a drug where previously, all revenue went straight into illegal channels), it puts money in the state’s pocket. Which is a good thing because the state is preeeeetty busted right now.

A lot of the money that weed taxes bring in doesn’t go to the general fund, which means it can’t just be spent any old way; actually, much of it goes into special programs which do things like help people suffering from addiction. Which is kind of nice, considering money is being pulled from basically every public service to fund education post-McCleary. 

Of course, balancing the books on the backs of pot smokers isn’t exactly an ideal situation because our state also has the least-fair tax system in the country and ideally wealthy people would be paying more. And basically everyone is cautioning that banking on stoners and their desire to part with their money isn’t a great solution.

Plus, the amount of money that we need to shore up the budget is in the billions, with a b, while the revenue from weed is still in the millions, with a not-b.

But still. For as terribly-handled as weed legalization has been, it is a little nice to know that when you buy a slightly overpriced weed during the one day our one pot shop has pot, you’re throwing money back into the state’s very-empty collection plate. 

WEEKEND TRAFFIC: Could be worse!

This weekend, we’ve got: 

—Fremont Oktoberfest all weekend, so drunk people everywhere and also closed streets

—The Huskies are at home on Saturday

—The rematch of the Seahawks v the Broncos at CenturyLink Sunday at 1:25.

Oh, and…

—A total overnight closure of I-5 tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday

So it’s not the worst convergence of potential pitfalls, but our advice, as usual, is to ride the bus (while you still can). 

Poverty rates varied widely across the state of Washington, Romich said in the UW statement. As a whole, the Seattle metro area had a lower poverty rate than the state, but some cities – Everett and Tacoma – face higher poverty rates.

An excerpt from this Seattle PI piece on how the “job creators” of the state are not creating any kind of that supposed trickle-down — because what did you think, that trickle-down isn’t a fairy tale of the conservative and wealthy? — showing disparate poverty rates across Washington. One interpretation of the data not mentioned: Seattle has a lower poverty rate, whereas the poverty rate in the surrounding area is higher, because rapidly increasing rent prices are driving our poorest citizens outside of the city. Just a thought.

RICHARD SHERMAN + LLAMA = BEST ADS EVER????

"He’s won a superbowl. He only has two toes. But they are best friends!"

We could take or leave the actual product itself but this heartwarming series of advertisements for Richard Sherman’s line of sunglasses for Neff Headwear features the following:

  • A llama named Spartacus
  • A llama named Spartacus that is RICHARD SHERMAN’S BEST FRIEND
  • Richard Sherman talking to a llama
  • A llama judging Richard Sherman
  • Richard Sherman wearing a cupcake apron and halfassedly singing “Happy Birthday To Ya” to a llama, who is ignoring him
  • A LLAMA, ALSO IN AN APRON. (And sunglasses. Duh.)
  • A llama interrupting Richard Sherman during a press conference
  • Richard Sherman crouched down, pretending to be a llama

The capaign also features grip of photos of Richard and the llama just HANGIN’ OUT BEIN’ BESTIES

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WE CAN’T. WE ARE DYING. FOREVER.

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UPDATE: A source close to the campaign’s production has told us that “Sherm is a sweetheart,” but that “Llama was a diva.”

That Sounds Cool: Be My Girlfriend candidate Caitlin Doughty at University Bookstore TONIGHT!

Order of the Good Death founder and host of the YouTube series Ask a Mortician Caitlin Doughty is coming to University Book Store tonight to talk about her usual jams — death-positivity, creative funeral options, untangling the process of death from the American funeral industry — plus her new book, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

Seriously, she is one of the best people on the Internet. I still link to her super-personal blog entry on her cat’s death pretty often when I think it’ll be useful to someone losing a pet, and I pretty much lose it every time I read it. 

Also she answers the tough questions, like, can I bequeath my skull to a loved one upon my inevitable demise?

Brendon Kiley interviewed Caitlin in this week’s The Stranger if you want to hear more from her — or just go see her tonight (Thursday, September 18) at 7 p.m. at University Book Store.

Between 2010 and 2013, Seattle renters took a bigger hit to their pocketbooks than renters in any other large U.S. city. The gross median rent here — that is, rent plus utilities — spiked by $113, or nearly 11 percent. That’s the sharpest rise in rent among the nation’s 50 most-populous cities.

The next time someone tries to tell you that there isn’t an affordability crisis in Seattle, bust this little nugget out of your pocket and shut that shit down. 

BE MY BOYFRIEND: New SDOT Director Scott Kubly

Welcome to the rest of your life, Scott Kubly, new Director of SDOT. And welcome into our hearts. You’re officially a Be My Boyfriend candidate, due to your extremely rational, progressive, boyfriendly answers to some otherwise troll-baity questions from KIRO.

In an interview headlined “New SDOT head: ‘Absolutely no war on cars’" **heart flutter** you gave answers like these: 

There’s absolutely not a war on cars. What we have is a very big complicated city that has a lot of different needs. We have people that travel around the city a lot of different ways and they need choices how they get there.

Whoever has their modal preference is always going to argue that they are getting less than everybody else is getting and it really doesn’t matter which mode you pick. What we need to do is try to figure out how to give people as many choices as they can recognizing that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

I think the worst thing you can do as a leader is put something in and then say ‘You know what, we did this, it’s perfect, now there’s nothing we can do to improve it.’ So absolutely I want to be nimble.

I think a lot of those folks are going to be walking. It gets back to choices, creating choices. So we want to give folks ways to get around, whether it’s walking or biking or transit or driving.

Our goal is to give people choices. You may have to drive for whatever reason, but there’s a lot of people that don’t have to. I walk to work everyday because I can. By virtue of me walking into work I’m making it easier for somebody else that has to drive in to drive. The more choices we give people, the easier it is for everybody to get around.

Never leave us. You are literally our dream bureaucrat. 

**ATTENTION** Here’s an opportunity for broads

Set down your Male Tears mugs, my dears, and gather ‘round: the Seattle Women’s Commission is looking for new blood, and we’d love to pack the house with our kind of women i.e. progressive bad-asses like our readers.

The SWC advises the Mayor and City Council, which means you have the opportunity to bend the ear of the people who consistently make us groan with their inaction. 

Info is here. HOP TO IT. 

Only 6% of city-funded construction jobs go to actual Seattle residents

When I first moved to Seattle, someone told me that the more cranes on the skyline, the better, because it meant both progress and jobs. Which is only partially true; yes, construction does mean **some** local construction jobs, but a lot of big, city-funded projects actually send our money elsewhere.

According to a press release from the Office of the Mayor, “a recent city-commissioned study by the UCLA Labor Center found that just 6 percent of jobs on City funded construction projects went to Seattle residents and 25 percent to King County residents. African Americans received a meager 3 percent of work hours despite being 8 percent of Seattle’s population.”

Which is like, really pretty bullshit. So we’re pretty OK with Got Green’s proposal, which isn’t new, and wasn’t Murray’s idea, btw. It’s been going on for over a year (i.e. pre-Murray) but it’s been stuck in gridlock because of course it has / Seattle Process / committees — that is being presented this morning. 

The impetus was the 2012 Rainier Beach community center redevelopment, where only 10 of 348 workers were Seattle residents,” said Meg Matthews, of the Sierra Club, in an email. 

Unfortunately, there may be conflict with the unions; the proposal requires project labor agreements. However, in the City’s press release, this is directly addressed:

The legislation also directs the City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services to execute a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for projects meeting the $5 million threshold for construction costs. PLAs provide a means for unions and union contractors to meet priority hire objectives. PLAs will also ensure that workers and contractors have access to dispute resolution resources and clear rules to help avoid the risk of labor stoppages and/or shortages.

The coalition to make this a reality meets this morning, and Murray will be trying to get City Council to move their asses and make this a thing. Fingers crossed they actually do it and don’t, you know, derp the fuck out like they always goddamn do.