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An Idea

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jad
4 days ago
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Rockville, MD
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kleer001
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Guest Editorial: The UW Study on $15 an Hour Does Not Reflect My Life As a Minimum Wage Worker

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by Crystal Thompson

Since the minimum wage passed, Crystal Thompson has been able to afford her own place.
Since the minimum wage passed, Crystal Thompson has been able to afford her own place. Courtesy of Crystal Thompson

I keep on seeing news about this report that says workers in Seattle are hurt by the $15 minimum wage. But I'm a worker in Seattle, I'm making $15 now—and that report sure doesn’t look like my life.

I’ve been working for Domino’s Pizza since 2009 and active with Working Washington since 2013. My official title is shift manager, but I do pretty much everything: open the store, answer phones, work the cash register, manage the orders, run the ovens, dispatch the drivers, deal with customer complaints. Whatever needs to get done, I do it.

I still remember the day an organizer came into the store and talked to us about raising the minimum wage. It seemed like a great idea. Back then, I couldn’t even afford my own place—sometimes I had to get a payday loan just to pay the phone company so they wouldn’t shut my phone off. I was trapped in a bad cycle, and I wanted to get out of it.

I knew we had to do something, so I started going to meetings to talk. Back then, we weren’t even discussing a number to raise the wage to. We just knew it had to go up. The first time I went to a protest and saw those big signs calling for raising the wage to $15, I couldn’t believe it. Fifteen dollars an hour—was that even possible? It just seemed like the people in power were way too greedy to let that happen. I remember everyone saying it could never pass. Then they said if it did pass, it would put everything out of business and we’d all lose our jobs. Now that we won, they’re trying to tell me I’m actually doing worse now?

When the minimum wage passed I remember it felt like it was going to take forever to get to $15, but the time went by really quickly. I have my own place now, and my kids get their own room. I’m saving to buy a car, and I can afford to take my family out to dinner sometimes. My bills are all paid—and no more payday loans!

The study says workers have fewer hours with the new minimum wage, but my hours have been steady, and they give me the days I want so I can get my kids from school when I need to. Nobody’s hours have been cut at my store. We’re actually having a hard time finding people to work here, we’re growing really fast and not enough people are applying. Business has gone way up since the wage was increased. We were so busy we had to cut our delivery area in half. They opened another Domino’s at the corner of MLK and Othello to cover the extra business, and there are more opening in White Center, Alki, and SoDo.

When I see how quickly we’re growing, I can’t really understand how someone could be saying things are worse for us. Apparently though, if we weren’t a chain and we opened up another store like we did, that would show up that we all lost our jobs in this study. But we aren’t even in there in the first place! How is someone studying the effect of the $15 minimum wage without actually looking at the people who needed it bad enough that they went on strike to win it?

I don’t think $15 has fixed everything. It doesn’t end poverty. My rent’s gone up $400 a month over the last couple years. I still need food stamps and Section 8 to get by, but the fact that I have some savings gives me a little peace of mind. My goal is to get off assistance, and I’ll get there. They just gave me another raise, for 50 cents an hour.

We’ve been making some plans for the future. Once my mom gets out of the hospital, we’re talking about a family vacation—taking the kids to Universal Studios. I’ve never been on a real vacation before. And my youngest is eighteen months, but I’m thinking about going back to school when he’s a little bit older. I want to become a Spanish interpreter, and I hear Bellevue Community College has a good program. I took Spanish for four years in school, and I’m pretty good at it. I think I’d be great at that line of work.

Crystal Thompson works at Domino's Pizza and serves as a leader for Working Washington.

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jad
6 days ago
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Rockville, MD
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Ask a librarian: My library is requiring proof of citizenship to get a library card. How do I fight back?

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Question from an author who recently learned that her library is requiring proof of citizenship for patrons to get library cards. She wanted to know what she could do about that.

I’m sorry the library where you’re from is doing this. We’ve been seeing a lot of boldness recently in terms of how people are treating people with any sort of issue in their citizenship or country-of-origin status. It’s undemocratic and lousy. Everyone should be allowed to use the public libraries and everyone should be welcome. I’ve been personally working with my Senator (Leahy) to try to get the Bill of Rights as it appears on WhiteHouse.gov to be accurate and show that the rights in the bill of rights are for EVERYONE in the country and not just citizens.

So as you write your letter it might be worth a few things

1. Consider writing to the library board to let them know this. They may be on board with what the library is doing but they also may not be and can change library policy.
2. Consider speaking with your state library association. I looked at your website and it looks like you are from Illinois? Apologies if that is not correct. If that is correct you could contact the Illinois Library Association.

Website: https://www.ila.org/
Advocacy page: https://www.ila.org/advocacy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IllLibraryAssoc

Elizabeth Marszalik is the chair of the ILA Cultural and Racial Diversity Committee (CARD) and a Polish American librarian. I can’t find her email offhand but she’s reachable at her library and could probably let you know what the state rules are concerning citizenship status.
http://oppl.org/meet-elizabeth

Illinois is also home to the American Library Association (in Chicago). They have a lot of resources on the subject of the rights of immigrant (and undocumented) Americans but it can be a little daunting to dig through here.

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advocacy/diversity/libraries-respond-immigrants-refugees-and-asylum-seekers

Your best bet for people to speak to within ALA might be the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table

website: http://www.ala.org/emiert/
twitter: https://twitter.com/ALA_EMIERT

These are all librarians from all over the country who work on this project under the ALA banner, committee members. They have a staff liaison at ALA proper who works for the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services

Phone: 800-545-5433 x4294
Email: diversity@ala.org

If I am wrong and this is NOT about Illinois, please do let me know and I can find you some local resources. You can check out some of the stuff here for more national-level stuff, not quite the same populations but not unrelated. I think it’s important to push back on this sort of thing where we see it. Libraries are for everyone and no one should be made to feel unwelcome. If I can help more let me know.

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jad
76 days ago
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Rockville, MD
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Worst Reason Not to Run

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In the Washington Post, Arelis Hernández reports that Rep. Donna Edwards is receiving encouragement from progressive Prince George’s activists to run for County Executive. However, the possible entry of Sen. C. Anthony Muse is giving her pause:

Longtime state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who is close to Edwards and has his own deep base of political support, has also been considering a run — one factor that could dissuade Edwards from getting into the race.

Like Edwards, Muse is touting his outsider credentials:

Although Muse has been in Annapolis since 2007, he is known for his independence from the Democratic leadership there and would also likely try to claim the outsider label.

“Muse is the only one who has built his career on standing up to the establishment,” said Wayne Clarke, a veteran political operative who is close to the senator.

Except that Muse has stood up to the Democratic establishment by opposing it from the right, not the left. In contrast to State’s Attorney Alsobrooks, a leading candidate for County Executive, Muse was a leader in the effort to fight bail reform this year:

Alsobrooks was the only state’s attorney in Maryland to publicly oppose a bill sponsored by Muse to revive the state’s cash-bail program. The legislation was denounced by progressives who had worked for years to eliminate bail for poor defendants. It passed in the Senate but died in the House.

Muse also opposed marriage equality. According to political science estimates, Muse has been the seventh most conservative Democrat in the Maryland Senate. Unlike other more conservative Democrats, Muse does not represent a swing district. Other Prince George’s Democrats are among the most liberal in the Senate.

Muse’s financial past also raises eyebrows. He led two Prince George’s churches into bankruptcy. Muse’s own financial situation looks much happier. At the time of the second bankruptcy, he owned four properties–his own home, a vacation home, a rental property in Silver Spring, and a vacant lot in Fort Washington.

Todd Eberly sees an Edwards bid as a good way to wreck revenge on the Democratic establishment, which doesn’t support her:

[t]he former congresswoman might consider it “wonderful revenge” against party leaders who embraced then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen instead of her during the Senate primary.

But Sen. Chris Van Hollen has been a progressive leader. A big part of the reason Edwards lost was that there was just not enough daylight on issues between the two candidates.

For someone who is a progressive champion, the idea that  Anthony Muse could become county executive should be seen as a reason to run–not to hit the pause button.

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jad
84 days ago
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Rockville, MD
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Addicted To Spectrum

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Addicted To Spectrum

You know a tool that’s proved incredibly useful to the theater world? The wireless microphone. It sounds small, but it’s actually a really huge improvement over what they previously had.

These devices, which have come into their own over the past two decades, have helped to improve actors’ freedom of movement allowing their performances to be more natural while still remaining fairly easy to hear. But they haven’t always been perfect. A great piece on Shure’s blog breaks down how earlier forms of wireless microphone technology created some major issues for performances—including changes in costume design simply to allow actors to conceal the battery packs they were wearing, along with plenty of problems with battery packs not being ready for the action on stage.

Zoe Milton, an administrator at the United Kingdom’s Association of Sound Designers, noted how complicated the wireless mics often made things, particularly one day when a power socket for the rechargeable battery packs was accidentally put out of commission during a performance of The Coast of Utopia:

We ran around like crazy and managed to find some AA batteries, we put whatever rechargeables we could on to charge for as long as possible, and then we watched the LEDs on the receivers from the wings. In those days, when the lights started to flash, they would die about five minutes later. We had to keep swapping transmitters on actors as soon as they came off stage, and hoping that the AA batteries we’d found actually had some charge in them, and that the actors whose packs we needed to change would be making an exit from the stage before their transmitters stopped working … ! It was awful!

But nowadays things work pretty well, thanks to improving designs and the drumbeat of innovation.

But there’s a problem, and that problem is the smartphone. Phones are great, obviously, but their growing demand for spectrum is crowding out stage productions, particularly in the United Kingdom, where Ofcom required wireless mic users to give up their frequencies (in the 800MHz range) to mobile providers. While they were given a replacement band (in the 700MHz range), it caused significant disruption of theater productions. (Nobody seems to like cell phone towers either.)

And now the mobile industry wants that range, too. Ofcom is pushing those wireless mic users off the 700MHz range on an accelerated schedule—and is compensating them so that they get out of the way. They’ll get a new range—between 960-1164MHz, which they’ll share with distance measuring equipment used in airplanes—but it sounds like a huge pain in the butt for stage performers who simply want to put on a good show. Plus, the current technology on the market isn’t designed for these headaches.

“At the moment there is no wireless mic equipment that can operate in the air band,” Autograph Sound Recording’s Duncan Bell told The Stage. “It’s also difficult to say what impact there will be on existing equipment. It’s hard to define how much spectrum will be available from location to location and how much of the air band we will need to do what we do.”

If I worked in the theater industry, I’d write a play about it. There’s one hell of a plot in this story—how the drumbeat of innovation is screwing with the arts.

(Photo by clanlife/Flickr)

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jad
92 days ago
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Rockville, MD
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invigoration

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what about the parts of the body that need a reminder to keep going? it’s not all muscles gang

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jad
97 days ago
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Rockville, MD
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satadru
96 days ago
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If you can do 60 min of CPR, either you have superpowers, or you're pushing so weakly your patient will die.
New York, NY
fxer
95 days ago
Listen for the snapping of ribs, then you'll have the pressure right
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