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Uber Seeks Staff Support for Proposal on Drivers as Contractors

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Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. outlined ways staff can support a state measure that would designate drivers as contractors rather than full-time employees, seeking additional backing for a controversial initiative that labor unions and at least one in-house engineer have publicly opposed.

In a companywide email Friday obtained by Bloomberg, Uber’s head of global public policy Justin Kintz said data “show a tight race” to pass California’s Proposition 22, a measure written and funded by Uber, Lyft Inc. and other gig companies that would replace an earlier law designed to treat drivers as employees. Kintz’s email, which includes links to talking points from the Yes on 22 campaign, also suggests ways employees can get involved, including joining a texting bank, and links to a sample email staffers can send to family and friends. Uber will have a special Town Hall-type meeting Oct. 15 to discuss the ballot initiative, featuring several drivers who support it, the email said.

Kintz’s missive highlights the urgency of Uber’s campaign to garner support just weeks before the election for a measure that opponents say will deny drivers crucial benefits. Uber engineer Kurt Nelson came out against the proposition on tech blog TechCrunch this week to flag what he considers overlooked aspects of the measure and encourage workers to do their own research.

Uber’s encouragement of activism contrasts with the mood at some other Silicon Valley companies, including cryptocurrency startup Coinbase Inc., which has banned politicking. Calling it a distraction, Chief Executive Brian Armstrong outlined the prohibition last week and followed up with a severance package offer to any employee who disagreed. About 5% of employees took the package and resigned. Alphabet Inc.’s Google last year posted internal rules that discourage employees from debating politics, telling workers not

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Australia should brace for a wave of business failures and growing mortgage stress, the RBA warns, as support measures fall away


Australia’s central bank expects the number of small business failures will “rise substantially” as income and loan pressure builds.

With income support measures and more than $200 billion in loan deferrals set to expire, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) says between 10% and 15% of businesses in hard-hit sectors won’t make it as they run out of cash.

“These businesses are in a tenuous position and are particularly vulnerable to a further deterioration in trading conditions or the removal of support measures,” the RBA wrote in its Financial Stability Review published on Friday.

“Survey evidence indicates that about one-quarter of small businesses currently receiving income support would close if the support measures were removed now, before an improvement in trading conditions.”

While the RBA acknowledged there was “a high degree of uncertainty about the magnitude and timing” of those failures, the prognosis doesn’t look good.

For one, the number of business insolvencies has been suppressed since March as the government allowed owners to continue operating despite mounting debts.

While helpful at the time, various groups have warned that all that may do is create a business blowout further down the line, that will have even larger ramifications as owners scramble to settle with their creditors.

So too will $200 billion in loan deferrals need to be dealt with by January. It’s telling that even with that option, the RBA notes that commercial vacancies are rising and especially for retail businesses.

“Retail vacancies rose sharply over the first half of 2020. The biggest increase has been in central business districts (CBDs), where vacancy rates have risen to over 10%,” the RBA wrote.

“Further increases in vacancy rates are likely and department stores have accelerated planned closures.”

All of this will have greater consequences for Australian workers, who face the growing

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5-year levy will support Sweet Home library | News

SWEET HOME — Sweet Home residents will have the opportunity to vote on continuing to support the public library with an annual property tax levy of $1.17 per $1,000 for five years via Ballot Measure 22-184 on Nov. 3.

The library opened in 1969, although Sweet Home has had a library since 1942, operating for many years out of the basement of City Hall. In 1942, Sweet Home had a population of about 1,100. There are now more than 9,000 residents.

The levy would begin on July 1, 2021, and is expected to generate $2,383,820 over its five-year run, ranging from $443,977 in year one to $530,670 in year five.

The library’s annual circulation is about 40,000. Its story hour program attracts more than 100 youngsters and its annual summer reading program serves more than 500 children.

The library is a member of the Linn Libraries Consortium and has five Little Free Libraries at the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam; Foster, Oak Heights and Hawthorne elementary schools; and the Crawfordsville Market.

The current library at 13th and Kalmia is 51 years old and was not designed with computers in mind.

The city hired a consulting firm last year to assess library needs and to consider whether the current structure could be remodeled, or if an entirely new building is needed to meet current community needs.

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Battle Creek Air Guard Base completes $5.1M renovation to support cyber and air operations

A $5.14 million renovation project is complete at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.



a group of people standing in front of a brick building: Lt. Col. Terry Brennen, 217th Air Component Operations Squadron commander, from right to left, Col. Shawn Holtz, 110th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, Michigan Air National Guard commander, and Lt. Col. Daniel Guy, 110th Wing Mission Support Group commander cut the ribbon on a newly renovated building at the 110th Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan, Oct. 2, 2020. The newly renovated building will house operations for the 272nd Cyber Operations Squadron and the 217th Air Component Operations Squadron.


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Lt. Col. Terry Brennen, 217th Air Component Operations Squadron commander, from right to left, Col. Shawn Holtz, 110th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, Michigan Air National Guard commander, and Lt. Col. Daniel Guy, 110th Wing Mission Support Group commander cut the ribbon on a newly renovated building at the 110th Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Michigan, Oct. 2, 2020. The newly renovated building will house operations for the 272nd Cyber Operations Squadron and the 217th Air Component Operations Squadron.

State Sen. John Bizon and ranking members of the Michigan Air National Guard held a ceremony Friday to open facilities for cyber and air operations support in Africa and Europe.

The renovations in the 22,789-square-foot building on the base will house the 272 Cyber Operations Squadron and the 217 Air Component Operations Squadron.

Formation of the cyber squadron was announced in 2015, one of 12 air guard installations in the country which will detect and protect the Department of Defense against electronic attacks. The unit was activated in January 2018 and employs 70 people.

The base has about 1,000 employees.

“Our primary role will be in support of the Department of Defense and statewide,” Col. Bryan Teff, then base commander, said five years ago. “Right now we experience millions of cyber attacks each day against the Department of Defense. We will defend networks and infrastructure when it comes to cyber communications. We will be focusing on the defense of that.”

No a Brigadier General and commander of the Michigan Air National Guard, Teff was present for the ceremony and said the renovation of the building will provide the men and women assigned to the squadrons to “fully execute

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Higher tax proposed to support ‘homes for all’ in Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, MI — A tax proposal is back on the ballot for Kalamazoo County voters in 2020 to continue and expand support for rent subsidies and affordable housing first passed by voters in 2015.

The new millage purposes a 0.75-mill property tax for eight years, 2021 through 2028, to provide rental subsidies, permanent housing and related supportive services for residents of Kalamazoo County.

The previous millage was a 0.1-mill tax and was estimated to raise about $800,000 annually, for a period of six years. So far, the money has helped more than 500 families with children. The millage passed in 2015 with 18,971 votes cast in favor and 14,639 against.

The 2020 millage expands the language beyond helping families with school-age children. Housing advocates say this millage would fill in the gap for veterans, individuals and residents with disabilities.

In five years, the homelessness rate has increased exponentially, said Homes for All co-chairs Stephanie Hoffman and Chris Burns. Hoffman is the Executive Director of Open Doors and Burns is a Portage City Council member.

This millage tackles two prongs of the homelessness issue — high rent costs and low availability for housing. The vacancy rate in Kalamazoo County hovers around 5% for apartments, Burns said.

If it passed, the millage would raise a total of $6.3 million in the first calendar year. For the owner of a $100,000 home, the tax adds up to about $38 a year, Hoffman said.

The millage money will go toward subsidizing rent for individuals and families as well as expanding affordable housing options in the county.

Local leaders representing veterans, school districts, community centers and individuals with disabilities gathered at the subsidized apartment complex Milham Meadows in Portage to support Homes for All.

At the press conference, Michelle Davis, executive director of Housing Resources

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