Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Want a say in where the stimulus dollars go?

Browsing Consumerist this afternoon, I came across this. Drill down to Seattle, and you can browse “shovel-ready” projects that the state has requested federal stimulus dollars for.

This is a completely volunteer built site and there is no official interaction with the Obama Administration, but sometimes sites like this do catch the right eye and can actually make a difference. At the very least, browsing the various projects and voting is a great way to waste a little time this afternoon.

I’m personally a little amused that the most negatively rated project is the Provision of Handheld Ticketing Devices to Traffic Enforcement Police Officers.

Afternoon Starbucks, now smaller and 100% more caffeinated

It seems like we can’t go more than a few hours without news of layoffs these days. Today it was another 6,700 jobs and another 300 under performing stores from Starbucks.

On the (somewhat) positive side, CEO Howard Schultz will take a massive paycut (from 1.2 million in 2008 to 10K in 2009). Now, while I don’t really expect that paycut to result in him ‘sharing the pain’ with his laid off employees, it’s at least a good faith step for him to take and I applaud the effort.

In other interesting Starbucks cost-cutting news, they are eliminating the constant brewing of decaf coffee from their stores after the noon hour. Apparently this will result in a $400 million savings by September. Don’t worry, you can still get your decaf coffee, you’ll just have to wait the 4 minutes it takes for a pot to brew.

Now this move actually surprises me. I don’t drink decaf. I’m lucky that my body doesn’t have a problem with caffeine, even if I have it right before bed. But I do know people who can’t tolerate the caffeine, and for most of those people, it’s a lot more important for them to have decaf after noon than it is before. So I’d actually expect Starbucks to sell a higher percentage of decaf coffee AFTER noon than before.

It’s no secret that I prefer the small, independent coffee shops to Starbucks. But regardless of my coffee choices, I still feel badly for Starbucks employees. Here’s hoping they all land on their feet.

GAU and ADATSA Cuts

I suppose the announcement of Gregoire’s budget cuts and the elimination of GAU and ADATSA happened a little while ago, but why can’t I find any news on it?

After a little bit of Googling, I came up with this article from the News Tribune blog.

“The governor’s budget office says the state can save nearly $415 million over the next two years by making such a move, although Gregoire would boost spending on homeless shelters by $20 million and for community health clinics by $40 million to offset some of the impacts of ending the two assistance programs.”

Gregoire has everything mixed up. Cutting GAU and ADATSA and moving funding to shelters and health clinics does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the problem of chemical dependency rates and homelessness within our city. Without these two programs or Drug Court (which has the potential to be cut in June), hundreds of addicts will remain active on the streets committing crimes, in shelters taking up space, in hospitals racking up bills, in jails costing state money, and unfortuantely, dying a drug or alchohol induced death. Contrast that with the success rate of ADATSA and drug court of transitioning addicts to healthy members of society who then get jobs, buy houses, start businesses, and spend money. Not only is enabling the recovery of addicts good for economy, it’s also saving the lives of countless of otherwise hopeless individuals whose only chance to escape from their disease is to be forced by our legal system

House Speaker Frank Chopp (despite his lack of rational viaduct planning) still has the ability to empathize.

“We’re looking to make some changes (to GAU) in a logical way . . . otherwise some people could die.”

Budget cuts leading to death may seem slightly dramatic, but it is in no way unrealistic. Chemical dependency is a life-threatening disease, leading to death and undoubtedly the destruction of one’s livelihood.

It’s even more frustrating that I could barely find an article on the topic.

Yesterday’s Rally

So, as I posted yesterday morning, MoveOn.org hosted a rally at the Seattle Federal Building in support of Obama’s economic recovery plan. I’m a solution-orientated person so I visited, listened to a few stories, took a few pictures, and left feeling… disappointed.

Before I went yesterday, I had sent a few emails to the Seattle area hosts (there were several of these rally’s set up by MoveOn through out the country) asking for information on how, we, of the Pacific Northwest, could expect to benefit from the recovery plan. The response I received told me that they had not received that kind of specific information. I didn’t exactly arrive at the event with very high expectations.

Nevertheless, this kind of impersonal activism seems to be the downfall of… this kind of impersonal activism. Each region of this country tends to be suitable for a different industry therefore affected by the economic crisis in it’s own unique way. When the passing of Obama’s economic recovery package promises the creation of “green” jobs through the promotion and development of sustainable energy, I have to wonder, where will those jobs be created? Here in Seattle? How will our economy benefit?

Sign from MoveOn rally at Seattle Federal Building; Jan 14, 2009

Sign from MoveOn rally at Seattle Federal Building; taken by Madeline on Jan 14, 2009

There were maybe 30 people milling around, several of them spoke through a muffled megaphone held by a older gentleman with very shaky hands. I stood in front of the Federal Building yesterday and listened to four different individuals share their muffled, shaky stories. The purpose of their speeches: to be something we hear and relate to. “I could be you.” “You’re just like me.” These individuals are suffering as is the rest of the country. We share a similar problem. However, when being asked to blindly support a national economic recovery plan, are we certain we share a similar solution?

(FYI: City elections are coming up. Get informed of the campaigns and what can be done, right here in Seattle!)

What are you doing on your lunch break today?

MoveOn.org is hosting a rally for Obama’s economic recovery plan down at Federal Building today at noon. The goal being to “make clear to Congress and the media that there’s overwhelming public support for investing in green jobs, health care, and clean energy.” After the rally, members of MoveOn will deliver petitions to congress members pleading the case for support.

Well, I’m all about it and am planning to run down there for bit on my lunch breakĀ to hear some first person accounts of the economic crisis from fellow Seattle residents andĀ support the event by showing up.

Economic Recovery Congressional Action
When: Wednesday, January 14, 12:00 PM
Where: Federal Building, Seattle
915 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA

No laying off on layoffs

Starbucks announced Thursday that they would be laying off 100 global store development employees, including 25 here at the Seattle headquarters.

From what this story said, the “global store development” division of the coffee giant works in facilities, design, construction and real estate. The company chief operating officer gave the usual press-fodder about “providing the best quality product to our customers” and completely ignored any acknowledgement that the economy is at a current state of absolute suck. I suppose that’s not in his job description, but c’est la vie.

If company-wide layoffs have trickled into things at Starbucks, I wonder which corporation might be next.

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