Re-opening schools and closing grocery stores, this week
Bill Radke reviews the week's news with Kiro7 reporter Essex Porter, host of Civic Cocktail on the Seattle Channel Joni Balter, and tech correspondent for the New York Times, Karen Weise.
This week Mercer Island extended its ban on camping in parks to camping in any public area, including in your car. Mercer Island doesn’t have any homeless shelters, so if the police find out you were sleeping illegally, they’ll drive you to a shelter out of town. You could also be fined up to $1000. Is this legal? And how will it effect the county's attempts at a regional homelessness authority?
Plus, Seattle has lost two grocery stores this week. QFC will be closing its doors in Capitol Hill and Wedgewood. Both stores had been underperforming, but the parent company Kroger said the closures were largely due to the city council’s newly required hazard pay. Will this strengthen anti-hazard pay arguments? Or just hurt Kroger's reputation within the city?
While grocery stores may be closing, Governor Inslee wants schools to reopen. The Governor, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says schools can re-open safely with masks, social distancing, and cleaning. The Governor doesn’t actually have the authority to make schools reopen, that’s up to the school districts and teachers unions, but said the announcement is meant to “incentivize” them to return to in-person learning. Will this be enough to get teachers and students back into the classroom? Or are there other factors the governor is missing?
On Wednesday evening Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau and former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best sat down with Joni Balter and Dr. Larry Hubbell to talk about “the promise and peril in Seattle’s new era of female leadership.” All three women will have stepped down from their positions by the end of this year. During the discussion, both Durkan and Juneau pointed to a lack of internal support, with Juneau stating that “Once you're in these positions, the support that comes along with that sometimes is not as present as it should be. What work does the city need to put in to both get and keep women in positions of power?
Finally, we often talk about Amazon’s relationship to Seattle and Washington, so let’s take a few minutes to look at how the company interacts with somewhere else - New York. Last Friday Amazon sued New York’s Attorney General to stop them from bringing charges against the company over covid-related safety concerns at two NYC warehouses. This did no in fact stop Attorney General Letitia James - she sued Amazon on Tuesday, arguing that the company provided inadequate safety protection for workers and retaliated against employees who raised concerns over the conditions. How does Amazon’s relationship with other states or cities compare to it’s relationship with Seattle and Washington?