Upper West Side Uproar As City Tries To Diversify Schools

Angry Upper West Side parents screamed on the local news, the new schools chancellor made a controversial tweet, and last night Mayor Bill de Blasio approved of the “robust discussion” surrounding a pilot plan to desegregate some of the whitest schools …

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San Francisco mayoral candidates battle for ‘soul’ of city

San Francisco could make history by electing for mayor the first African-American woman, Asian-American woman or openly gay man in a contest that is also the city’s first competitive mayoral race in 15 years. The winner will inherit a divided city rolling …

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Police Chief Should Face A “Credible Threat” On Her Continuing Employment

The Phoenix Police Chief, Jeri Williams, hit upon a way to get a free driver and personal security. Williams appears to have falsely claimed that there was a “credible threat” on her safety which required the diversion of one of the mayor’s police detail for [Read More]

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Former mayor Ed Murray’s former foster son files lawsuit against him and Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — The former foster son of ex-Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has filed a lawsuit against the city and Murray, claiming Murray improperly used the city’s top office to defame him and other men who accused Murray of child-sexual abuse decades ago.

The Seattle Times reports Jeff Simpson’s lawsuit filed Friday also contends the City Council and other public officials negligently failed to investigate his and the other men’s allegations.

In February, Simpson filed required notice that he planned to sue.

Simpson, of Gladstone, Oregon, is the second accuser to sue Murray and the city for defamation and negligence related to the respective sexual-abuse claims.

Delvonn Heckard sued last year, ultimately receiving a $150,000 settlement.

Murray, who resigned in September after a fifth man — his cousin — publicly accused him of sexual abuse decades ago, has persistently denied all of his accusers’ allegations.

Murray’s attorney Steve Fogg said in an emailed statement Friday that Murray is looking forward to a trial.

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NYC Mayor Backs Plan to Open Supervised Injection Sites

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing a plan to open four supervised injection sites for illegal drug users as part of a pioneering yet controversial effort to combat fatal overdoses.The mayor’s endorsement comes as the city’s Health Department on Thursday released a…

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Seattle council member accuses Amazon of “blackmail” over class-warfare tax proposal

Seattle’s high-tech aspirations may run afoul of their high-tax aspirations. The city council wants to impose an employment tax on the city’s biggest businesses in order to raise $75 million to solve their homeless problem. That came as news to Amazon, which had previously committed to adding a skyscraper to the city, along with 7,000 new office jobs to an already massive employment profile in the city. Amazon called a halt to those plans and told the Seattle city council exactly why:

Amazon.com Inc said it has halted planning for a new office building in Seattle and might sub-lease rather than occupy another future tower downtown, pending a city council vote on a proposed tax on top businesses.

Amazon’s decision puts a question mark on more than 7,000 new jobs at those buildings that council members might be loathe to cost the city. Construction work and other businesses that would have catered to the world’s largest online retailer could be at risk too.

“Pending the outcome of the head tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sub-lease all space in our recently leased Rainer Square building,” Amazon’s Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement.

That didn’t sit well at all with some of the council members, who apparently expected Amazon to ignore business costs in choosing expansion locations. One called it “blackmail”:

Mayor Jenny Durkan vowed to seek common ground, while council members pushing the measure gave no indication they intend to back down. Councilmember Kshama Sawant accused Amazon of attempting “blackmail.”

“I’m deeply concerned about the impact this could have on a whole range of issues,” Durkan said in an interview about Amazon’s play, declining to say whether the company gave her advance notice. “Everyone should be.”

Another lamented that Amazon didn’t want to pony up and be a team player:

“It’s obviously a little disconcerting when a major business says, ‘We’re rethinking our strategy here,’” Councilmember Mike O’Brien, a sponsor of the tax measure, said Wednesday before a meeting on the proposal at City Hall.

“If Amazon generally wants to engage about how they can be part of the solution, we welcome that conversation. But we need companies that are profitable and making billions of dollars every year to help with the folks that are being forced out of housing and ending up on the street.”

Well, just how much will it cost Amazon to be a team player? According to the local Chamber of Commerce, the extra tax will cost Amazon over $20 million per year, thanks to their head count of 45,000 employees in the city. That’s only through 2020, though, because after that the city will impose a 0.7% payroll tax on companies grossing $20 million or more annually in the city. That new rate is expected to drive Amazon’s costs even higher.

That could well prompt Amazon to rethink even its current presence in the city, let alone any additions. As the Seattle Times notes, its presence in the city occupies ten million square feet of office space, which comes to 10% of the city’s capacity. They own four buildings and are developing the two others that are being “paused” as the issue unfolds, but they lease or plan to occupy much more space in the city. It wouldn’t be difficult for Amazon to relocate a large number of existing jobs to less costly locations, either in the area or somewhere else entirely. That kind of exodus could completely wreck the city’s economy, which the city council seems determined to do anyway with their track record of very bad business mandates. Remember this?

When Seattle officials voted three years ago to incrementally boost the city’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour, they’d hoped to improve the lives of low-income workers. Yet according to a major new study that could force economists to reassess past research on the issue, the hike has had the opposite effect.

The city is gradually increasing the hourly minimum to $15 over several years. Already, though, some employers have not been able to afford the increased minimums. They’ve cut their payrolls, putting off new hiring, reducing hours or letting their workers go, the study found.

The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one, according to the study, conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city. The study, published as a working paper Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer reviewed.

On the whole, the study estimates, the average low-wage worker in the city lost $125 a month because of the hike in the minimum.

It’s been easy to slam Amazon as it has pitted cities against each other to get tax breaks based on the size of their business. They’ve hardly been innocent of the kind of crony capitalism that undermines competition and unfairly penalizes start-ups. This, however, is a different kettle of fish. Amazon has invested heavily in Seattle even with its nutty politics on the basis of cost-to-benefit ratio decisions made previously to this new proposal. Seattle’s city council is about to dramatically change those calculations in a greedy bid to grab Amazon’s money — and in doing so is making it very attractive for Amazon to write off those investments. They’d be insane not to react to the changing incentives, even more insane than the city council has been in proposing them.

If Seattle wants to cut its own economic throat, then Amazon is under no obligation to offer up its own neck as well. Maybe Seattle residents should ask themselves why that $15 minimum didn’t have much impact on homelessness, and whether massive amounts of empty office space might make that situation even worse as other businesses follow Amazon out of Seattle’s jurisdiction.

The post Seattle council member accuses Amazon of “blackmail” over class-warfare tax proposal appeared first on Hot Air.

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British man arrested after openly carrying a potato peeler in public, faces 4 years in prison

DCNFAndrew Kerr, DCNF

A British man was arrested Saturday after he was found walking the streets of Dunfermline, Scotland, with a potato peeler.

Scott Walker, 39, appeared before the Dunfermline Sheriff Court Monday, where he was charged under Criminal Law Act 1995 for carrying “an article which had a blade or which was sharply pointed, namely a potato peeler,” the Dunfermline Press reported.

The man faces up to four years in prison for carrying the kitchen utensil in public without good reason.

Walker’s defense solicitor said in court Monday her client “suffers from significant learning difficulties which have been lifelong.”

It is illegal in the United Kingdom to carry a knife longer than three inches in public “without good reason.” What constitutes a “good reason” to carry a knife is a decision made on a case-by-case basis by the courts.

“A court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry a knife or a weapon if you’re charged with carrying it illegally,” the UK government states on its website.

The arrest comes amid a nationwide rise in violent crime for the UK. More than 60 people have been murdered in stabbings in London so far in 2018, prompting Mayor Sadiq Khan to initiate a new “knife control” initiative to keep sharply pointed objects off the streets.

“No Excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife,” Khan tweeted in April. “Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”

For years, authorities in the UK have been working to reduce knife crime by ridding the streets of pointed objects.

The Metropolitan Police launched “Operation Spectre” in 2015 to conduct weapon sweeps that seek to dispose of all manners of pointed objects, including scissors, screwdrivers and files throughout London.

The Metropolitan Police has carried out 5,791 weapon sweeps under “Operation Spectre” since 2015, resulting in 2,294 arrests and the removal of 1,435 weapons from the streets of London. The operation is ongoing.

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Irony Overload: James Comey’s Book Ripped Giuliani for Hogging Spotlight, Political Ambitions

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
In his recently released memoir, former FBI Director James Comey was highly critical of Rudy Giuliani, describing the former United States Attorney and NYC mayor as publicity hungry and lacking humility, while accusing Giuliani of using criminal cases as a public attorney to further his own political ambitions.

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