Gee and Ursula’s top stories: Inflation hits 40-year high, Starbucks abruptly closes multiple cafes

Jul 13, 2022, 5:37 PM | Updated: 6:00 pm

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

MyNorthwest is bringing you highlights from the top stories and discussions from the Gee and Ursula Show July 13: Hosts Gee and Ursula discuss the growing inflation rates, Starbucks’ sudden closures, and Harrell’s new police recruitment strategy.

A painful month for everyone’s bank accounts

Brand new numbers show consumer prices soared by more than 9% from a year ago, sending inflation to a new 40-year high.

CBS Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger said grocery prices are up more than 12% compared to a year ago. That’s the most significant jump since 1979. Rent has gone up by nearly 6%. You’re also paying more than 11% more for a new car and driving that car isn’t cheap. Gas prices have skyrocketed by nearly 60% compared to a year ago.

“There’s more than one villain if you take the time to actually look into it. Things started getting more expensive long before Russia invaded Ukraine,” Ursula said. “But the invasion did, in fact, exacerbate the situation. Inflation was actually really low in May of 2020, when the Fed and Congress started pouring trillions of dollars into the economy because of the pandemic. But as soon as the country started opening up, you will remember inflation began to rise. The supply chain was broken which made everything more expensive because there was more demand than supply. So, as you said, bottom line, everything is expensive right now.”

Is Starbucks REALLY closing six stores in Seattle and Everett because of crime?

Yesterday, the company claimed it’s no longer safe for their employees to be at those stores, but that was news to Starbucks workers.

KOMO 4 looked into crime data near the six stores closing at the end of this month. Only one has seen an increase in crime, the Westlake Center cafe at 4th & Pine, where 134 property crimes have been committed so far this year compared to 39 last year.

Starbucks closes 5 Seattle locations, more across the nation, citing increased crime

Some other Starbucks workers are raising issue with the fact that two of the six stores closing are unionized. But the company says any claims of union busting are false.

“Another thing is, they did this right away. So July 31, stores are going to close. No bargaining. No, hey things need to get better or else. None of that. It is just a coincidence. All of the union talk gets talked about,” Gee said. “And then, you know what, let me show you. Here’s your two-week notice: July 31. But you know what, let’s go ahead and stay on this. ‘Starbucks closes stores in crime-filled Dem. cities’ is the headline over there. These talking points are weak.”

Harrell tries new recruitment strategy for cops

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is going to unveil his plan to recruit new officers to the city’s depleted department today. The department has lost more than 400 officers since 2019. Staffing is at a 30-year-low and the city’s population has nearly doubled.

In March, we asked Mayor Harrell if his goal of hiring 500 officers over the next five years is realistic. He said it is and it’s not all about hiring bonuses.

In May, Mayor Harrell seemed to have a more realistic idea of how challenging recruiting is going to be:

“I wonder if the recruiting problems have anything to do with the Seattle Times pointing out that over a two-year period from 2019 to 2021, Black and Native American people continue to be disproportionately represented when force is used,” Gee said. “In June of this year, the King County Sheriff’s Office collected racial data on only about 4% of its service calls. Black people in that time are more likely to be arrested and more likely to be subjected to use of force by police officers. White officers in the sheriff’s office were more than twice as likely to use force than Black and Asian officers. So when you guys talk about recruiting, make sure you don’t leave out the facts of the stories that are happening right here with the police department.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee and Ursula’s top stories: Inflation hits 40-year high, Starbucks abruptly closes multiple cafes