This week: Seattle booms, Amazon revolts, food fights, a lizard, a reef, and bloodhound.
Seattle business boom arrives right on schedule
Back in April, when the Seattle minimum wage phase-in was just getting underway, an editorialist wrote that “If you want to gauge the impact of Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage in the coming months, follow the pho.” So we did… and 7 months later, the count of Seattle pho shops is +4. Amazing what happens when you actually follow up on the professional hand-wringers, Henny Pennys, and doomsday prophets.
In fact, even business groups can’t help but tout the city’s economic boom, including in low-wage industries: the Downtown Seattle Association boasts of 67 new restaurant openings last year in downtown alone, and 1624 new hotel rooms coming on line in the next few years. Keep that in mind when the same crew insists the End of Days is coming if the city does something about the insecure, unhealthy, and unpredictable schedules described by baristas, retail workers, fast food workers, and others.
Denial of Service Attack
An anonymous group of current & former Amazon tech workers called FACE got major attention last week for its website where Amazonians shared stories about mistreatment and called for change… which we’re not linking to directly because just a couple days later the site was taken down by its webhost.
That webhost was not Amazon. The FACE site had in fact been hosted on a Google service. But apparently the execs of the big tech companies treat the execs of their competitors better than they treat their employees, because Google shut it down.
Turns out that blueberry smoothie you had for breakfast is a crime scene
The Washington State House is considering a bill which would strengthen whistleblower and other dairy worker protections after an appalling accident last year when a worker drowned in a manure lagoon. An investigation found that poor safety practices contributed to the accident, and the company was fined $6,800. (It was reduced to $2,200 on appeal.) Among other things, the proposed bill would raise the penalty for death on the job all the way to $10,000, and the agricultural industry lobby is of course opposed.
Meanwhile, Walla Walla County blueberry growers agreed to a $385,000 fine by a Federal judge for systematically paying less than minimum wage for several years.
Guess they were tired of the rat race?
A small lizard named Green Fruit Loop was adopted by a New Jersey kindergarten class after it was found in a student’s tatsoi greens. A representative of the grocery store which was Green Fruit Loop’s previous residence noted that in 17 years of produce experience, he’d “never heard of a lizard making it to the customer.”
An estimated 80% of a critically important Caribbean coral reef was destroyed by Paul Allen’s 300-foot mega-yacht, which has previously been described as a “model of understated luxury”. A spokesman for Allen said he wasn’t there at the time, questioned how much damage was really done, and blamed local authorities for the devastation.
Ludivine, supposedly a “lazy bloodhound”, inadvertently joined an Alabama half-marathon and finished in 1:32:56 for a strong 7th place. Beginning in 2017, the race will be remanned the Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half.