Should Seattle’s elected officials raise the MINIMUM WAGE within the city limits? Concerned about the affordability of our city, officials are considering a 61% increase from the State’s $9.32 per hour to $15, the highest of any major U.S. city. Seattle’s new Mayor Ed Murray formed a 23-member task force and gave it until April to provide recommendations. Newly elected Councilmember Sawant said she will put an initiative on the November ballot if the task force does not recommend at least $15. City Council has already set aside funds to estimate the impacts of an increase, but that study is not likely to be completed by April. Ideally the task force will consult neighborhood businesses like Chaco Canyon Café, Shultzy’s, and others throughout the city as well as obtain an economic analysis of major impacts to the city. Why is $15 the magic number? Should any increase be phased in? Should there be a regional approach? [Context: Washington State’s $9.32 is the highest minimum wage of the 50 states and it increases with inflation each year. The federal minimum is $7.25 and President Obama has talked of raising it to $10.10. Washington DC recently voted to raise its city’s minimum from $8.25 to $11.50 starting in 2016 and using a regional approach with surrounding counties. Voters in SeaTac (population 27,000 vs. Seattle’s 609,000) passed an initiative (by 77 votes) to raise it to $15, but just for hospitality and transportation workers.]
Searching for a classic or obscure movie and Netflix or Amazon Prime are coming up empty? SCARECROW VIDEO will have the movie. Their library of films and encyclopedic staff are why Scarecrow Video is our Store to Adore this month. The dark days of winter are the ideal time to rent special movies from Scarecrow in our own U-District neighborhood. As highlighted in the Seattle Times, “Two steps in and you’re surrounded” by movies. I ventured to Scarecrow with the kids and was surprised by how much fun we all had. While enjoying a coffee from their café, my son and I played a quick game of chess in the sitting area. They were thrilled to find an animated Batman DVD not available anywhere else. Being There in person, touching the movie cases, and discussing which movies to take home created conversation — much more fun than passively surfing pre-made options with a remote on the couch. Scarecrow, celebrating its 25th anniversary, lives up to its mantra: uniting people with film. There can be a short wait, so go to Scarecrow for the experience of browsing — allow yourself to get lost in the maze of movies. Located at 5030 Roosevelt Way NE across the street from the University Branch library, Scarecrow is open 7 days a week 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Browse at Scarecrow before shopping at Trader Joe’s or enjoying food at nearby Chaco Canyon Café. Do the Right Thing and rent from Scarecrow Video.
Keep moving during the winter months by joining a gym, taking a brisk walk every day, or hitting tennis balls at the new TENNIS CENTER AT SANDPOINT. There are now so many fun activities to enjoy at Magnuson Park, and the public Tennis Center is just one of the newest. With 10 indoor courts and online registration, the Tennis Center is open 7 days a week from before dawn all the way to 11:00 p.m.! Treat yourself to a new tennis racket and shoes at the pro shop and then treat yourself to a latte or lasagna at the café. Yes, they have Wi-Fi, but don’t check your e-mail, check your backhand. If you’re going solo, the enthusiastic staff will set you up with a ball machine or show you how to meet and play tennis with someone else at your level as part of the Center’s program of “flights.” Parents, this is a great place for the kids to learn the game and you can hit the outdoor playground or soccer field after the lesson. The Tennis Center even has programs and court time for seniors over 65. Getting there: Enter Magnuson Park’s main entrance at Sand Point Way & NE 74th Street, go 3 blocks, follow the signs, and take a right. Questions? Call 206-522-5008 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Serve up some Fun in the New Year.
Does your personal “bucket list” of must-do activities include attending an INAUGURATION? The afternoon of Monday, January 6 is your chance. Come to City Hall to see the public swearing-in ceremony of our new Mayor Ed Murray and our newest City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. On the same afternoon your Seattle City Council will approve new committee assignments and select a President of the City Council. While you can watch all of the city’s political drama on your TV or computer via the Seattle Channel 21, why not visit City Hall at 600 Fourth Ave downtown to see your elected officials in the flesh. These are the leaders who are going to decide how to spend $4 billion dollars for your city budget (including our city-owned utilities), craft a high-quality preschoolprogram available to all 3 and 4 year olds, and decide whether the city’s minimum wage should be raised. To track the actions of these new leaders in City Hall, you can find news and analysis online with the Seattle Times (see photo), the Seattle PI, Crosscut, andPublicola. After connecting with your city’s electeds, enjoy the architecture of this modern City Hall completed in 2003 with a magnificent “blue bridge” over a stream that cascades down the central stairs.