New York becomes first major U.S. city to issue cap on ride-hail vehicles – Chicago Tribune

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New York City is reining in the growth of Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services with a temporary cap on new cars picking up fares.

The City Council approved a package of bills Wednesday that included a one-year moratorium on new licenses for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

The Council also voted to set a minimum driver wage equivalent to the yellow cab wage for app-based drivers.

Backers of the proposals said both the traditional yellow cab industry and drivers for app-based services are suffering as Uber cars flood the city’s streets. They said the growth of ride-hailing apps has also worsened traffic congestion.

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Seattle Passes Tax on Big Firms to Ease Housing Crisis

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They’re hitting Amazon close to home. The company, Seattle’s largest employer, had threatened to stop construction on a downtown tower if the city passed a planned $500-per-employee tax. Many point to the rise of huge international companies like Amazon and Starbucks as the cause of Seattle’s rising house prices and increased homelessness. In the end, the city council scaled back: Its new tax costs companies $275 per worker, and the anticipated $48 million a year in funding will go toward building affordable housing and battling homelessness

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Mayor won’t resign over ‘Gorilla face’ Michelle Obama rant because ‘that’s admitting I’m racist’

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Washington state mayor has refused to resign over a Facebook post that compared President Barack Obama’s family to gorillas and monkeys because he says that it would be conceding that he is a racist.

According to KYQ, Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing came under fire earlier this week after he confirmed that he had posted the offensive comment on his Facebook page.

 “Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that,” the message said. “The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL.”

Rushing explained the remark as “just playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do.”

Although Rushing offered an apology, the Airway Heights City Council decided on Tuesday that he had not gone far enough, and asked the mayor to resign. But he refused.

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Goober alert…I wonder if this asshole has looked at his ears.

Posted by Libergirl

City of Dallas effectively bans fracking

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The Dallas City Council passed Wednesday new restrictions that bar hydraulic fracturing within 1,500 feet of a home, school, church, and other protected areas. The new rules effectively ban the practice within the city.

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The council approved the ordinance in a vote of 9-6, with Mayor Mike Rawlings voting for it.

The city is on the edge of the Barnett Shale area, predicted to be a treasure trove of onshore natural gas reserves. However, the new limit placed on hydraulic fracturing – known as fracking – effectively bans the practice.

“[W]e might as well save a lot of paper and write a one-line ordinance that says there will be no gas drilling in the city of Dallas,” said council member Lee Kleinman, who opposed the measure. “That would be a much easier ordinance to have.”

A gas industry representative for Trinity East, a Barnett Shale gas company that was prepared to drill, lamented the measure as a death for prospects in Dallas.

“You just can’t drill under these conditions,” said Dallas Cothrum, according to CBS DFW. “It’d require more than 250-acres of property and in an urban area it’s just not possible.”

Petroleum engineer Bill Crowder of Dallas indicated that the economic and legal wrangling over fracking in the city is not yet over.

“I want you to look me in the eye next February or March,” he said, according to the Dallas Morning News, “when I ask you, ‘What the heck were you thinking?’”

Another council member, who supported the limits, said the ordinance doesn’t ban drilling, but is aimed at keeping residents safe.

“I think this is about making sure people are protected in their neighborhoods,” council member Carolyn Davis said, according to KERA News. “It is the right thing to do.”

More from Russia Today

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Austin City Limits Fast Food Restaurants?

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The Austin, Texas, city council will meet next Thursday to consider a resolution that could eventually ban “fast-food food restaurants from locating near areas that children frequent.”

Specifically, the ban, or “Healthy Food Zone ordinance,” would restrict fast food restaurants from locating anywhere near “schools, municipal parks, child care centers, libraries and recreation centers” in the city.

The resolution directs the city manager to work to draft a timeline before the end of the year for developing an ordinance that, if passed, would take effect in 2016.

“If passed, this would only affect new fast-food chains from being built,” writes KEYE-TV’s Alex Boyer. “Existing one[s] (sic) would be allowed to stay put.”

That may be true. But I see nothing in the resolution’s language that would guarantee that customers who like their existing fast food restaurant would be able to keep their existing fast food restaurant.

More from Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Wal-Mart Moves Forward With First D.C. Stores After Mayor Vetoes ‘Living Wage’

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Wal-Mart will move forward with plans for its first stores in the nation’s capital after Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed the city council’s bill that mandated higher wages for so-called big-box stores.

PHOTO: Walmart protest

Image: ABC News

The nation’s largest private employer halted plans for three local stores after the D.C. Council approved a bill on July 10 that would have boosted minimum wages paid by large retailers by nearly $5 an hour.

In a letter to the city council explaining his decision, Gray wrote, “The bill is not a true living-wage bill, because it would raise the minimum wage only for a small fraction of the District’s workforce.”

He called for a living wage for all district residents.

“The bill is a job-killer, because nearly every large retailer now considering opening a store in the District has indicated that they will not come here or expand here if this bill becomes law,” he wrote.

Wal-Mart applauded Gray’s long-awaited decision.

“Mayor Gray has chosen jobs, economic development and common sense over special interests – and that’s good news for D.C. residents,” Steven Restivo, senior director of communications for Wal-Mart, said in a statement. “Now that this discriminatory legislation is behind us, we will move forward on our first stores in our nation’s capital.”

Restivo said the company looks forward to finishing the work that began almost three years ago: “a plan to bring more jobs, shopping options and fresh food choices to Washington, D.C. residents.”

The so-called “living wage” through the council’s Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) was criticized by some council members for unfairly targeting Wal-Mart.

The LRAA forced big-box stores like Wal-Mart to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour. The city’s minimum wage is $8.25. In the U.S., the average wage for a full-time hourly Wal-Mart associate is $12.57, according to the company. That’s about $25,000 a year at 40 hours a week, or just above the federal poverty level of $23,050 for a family of four. But many part-time workers at the company make little more than the minimum wage.

When Wal-Mart decided to open stores in D.C., announcing in November 2010 the initial stage of its plans, the retailer said it was committed to understanding the communities where it hopes to do business. The company has previously said it has participated in more than 200 community meetings and documented its commitment to “help stimulate economic development, expand access to affordable groceries and create quality jobs in the city.”

From ABC News

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Also Read: California set for historic minimum wage raise while DC rejects ‘living wage bill’

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