Tag Archives: State

WA Ecology Dept: Salad Oil as Dangerous as Crude Petroleum Oil

WA Ecology Dept. now fears salad oil as much as crude oil

The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) has found a new villain.

Tossed on your salad greens.

DOE doesn’t see vegetable oil as any less of a threat to the environment than crude petroleum oil.  And they are ready to act on their latest fears.

The agency proposed in mid-January that short-line railroads in Eastern Washington that haul animal fats and vegetable oils will have the same requirements as interstate crude oil carriers.

Railroads that haul vegetable oils already must follow rules set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But apparently the state didn’t trust the EPA to control all their imagined  hazards associated with transporting closed containers of  Saffola.

DOE has given no evidence that food oils have caused environmental damage, or are any conceivable threat that requires new regulations. Continue reading WA Ecology Dept: Salad Oil as Dangerous as Crude Petroleum Oil

From City to Farm – Technology Explodes Minimum Wage Debate

Lost opportunities from wage fight

Socialist Kshama Sawant-Seattle City Council
Socialist Kshama Sawant-Seattle Council

Across Washington State and the rest of the country, the battle over hiking the minimum wage continues to heat up.

Governor Inslee proposes that our state’s minimum wage should be $13.50 an hour.

Seattle’s socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant campaigned and won on a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage.  SeaTac also has a $15 minimum wage.

New organizations are quickly springing up to promote the $15 proposal, each with a different spin.

Chicago’s Fight for 15 includes a host of other initiatives along with the $15 minimum wage, including unions and women’s rights.

15Now.org explains that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz makes $9, 637 an hour, compared to his employees. Continue reading From City to Farm – Technology Explodes Minimum Wage Debate

How Fight for 15 will lead to ‘Smart Dining’ and less jobs

“Smart Dining” outsmarts Fight for 15

Unions have focused their “Fight for 15” minimum wage movement on food service workers in large corporations.  Across the country, support has been growing.

Ironically, those big corporations are the most prepared to compensate for increased labor costs with “Smart Dining” — replacing workers with machines.

Restaurant chains are incorporating Smart Dining that will hedge against rising labor costs.  Chilis, Applebees, and Buffalo Wild Wings have already begun using table tablets for many waiter tasks, as demostrated here:

Continue reading How Fight for 15 will lead to ‘Smart Dining’ and less jobs

Lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers erodes small business rights

This is a follow-up to my article published in Watchdog Arena on April 29, 2015.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s legal action against 70-year-old Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman could have far-reaching consequences for many small business owners and entrepreneurs—consequences that haven’t entered into the discussion yet.

Barronelle in her flower shop
Barronelle in her flower shop

Last month, a Benton County judge ruled in favor of Ferguson in his lawsuit against Stutzman, who refused to create floral arrangements for the same sex wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed because of her Christian beliefs.

Based on the judge’s ruling, Stutzman stands to lose her family’s home, her life savings, her possessions, and her lifelong business, which had first belonged to her mother.

She’s not backing down.

Ferguson said that Stutzman’s refusal to create floral arrangements for a gay wedding violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act, which states, “Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.”

Ferguson also referenced Washington’s Civil Rights Act, which has been amended to include discrimination against sexual orientation, among many other things.

The Civil Rights Act says that discrimination includes, but is not limited to: denial of employment, discrimination in real estate transactions, credit, insurance, or HMO services, and denial of the right to use public accommodations and amusements.

The law says nothing about flowers.

The Civil Rights Act also forbids discriminatory blacklists and boycotts.

But that doesn’t stop Ferguson and the ACLU from turning a blind eye to ongoing public boycotts of Arlene’s Flowers. Continue reading Lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers erodes small business rights