Friday Roundup: Predictive scheduling, publicly-funded campaigns, GM foods in India, the geography of inequality

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

The Lens: Seattle Worker Scheduling Law Panned

A 48-page draft “secure scheduling” ordinance would impose monetary penalties and micromanagement by mandate on larger Seattle food and retail businesses. Employers say it will hurt them, and the hourly-pay workers it is intended to protect. 

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin editorial: Reject I-1464: Funding political campaigns with tax dollars is lousy idea

Let’s start with its unnecessary call to amend the law to allow public funds — tax dollars — to be used to finance campaigns for elected offices. This, on principle, should not be a function of government. Nor is it a sensible use of tax dollars…

And the way in which the tax dollars would be collected to fund campaigns is particularly egregious. I-1464 repeals the nonresident sales-tax exemption and would require Oregon residents to pay the sales tax on retail purchases in the state.

Joel Kotkin: Geographies of Inequality 

Housing represents a central, if not dominant, factor in the rise of inequality. Although the cost of food, fuel, electricity, and tax burdens vary, the largest variation tends to be in terms of housing prices. Even adjusted for income, the price differentials for houses in places like the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles are commonly two to three times as much as in most of the country, including the prosperous cities of Texas, the mid-south and the Intermountain West.

These housing differences also apply to rents, which follow the trajectory of home prices. In many markets, particularly along the coast, upwards of 40% of renters and new buyers spend close to half their income on housing. This has a particularly powerful impact on the poor, the working class, younger people, and middle class families, all of whom find their upward trajectory blocked by steadily rising housing costs.

Stateline: Technicians, Farmers Fight for Right to Repair

They want to do so by requiring manufacturers to open access to the manuals, parts, tools, diagnostic equipment and permanent software that is almost exclusively available to their own employees and authorized dealers. The Repair Association has lobbied for “right to repair” bills in five states… None have passed…

The laws are not what electronics manufacturers want. They say they could open the door to the sale of counterfeit devices and the resale of electronics that were improperly repaired. 

The laws could also pose a significant liability risk for the manufacturers if their software is repaired incorrectly, said Walter Alcorn, a vice president at the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group whose members include Apple and Google.

The American Interest: One Step Closer to GM Food Crops in India

File this under good green news: a government panel in the world’s second most populous country just gave a green light to its first genetically modified food crop, a variety of mustard seed. That means that, pending approval from the Modi administration, the south Asian country—home to more than 1.2 billion people—will finally start cultivating the best varieties of crops available.