By Doug Porter
The Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) has long been a fighter on the San Diego scene for economic justice causes. Whether it’s advocacy on the part of financially distressed homeowners facing foreclosure or fighting for an understandable, open and fair budget for the City of San Diego, CPI has been in the thick of it.
Now they’ve jumped into fray over Mayor Filner’s refusal to sign off on a deal negotiated by the previous administration that would hand $1 billion over the next four decades to a group essentially run by San Diego’s large hoteliers.
CPI has asked supporters to focus on the Mayor’s demand that the big hoteliers pay a living wage to their employees as part of any deal with the City. They’re asking the hard questions:
If San Diego’s profitable hotels get $30 million a year in public funding to advertise themselves, is it right that half their employees make $24,400 or less per year?
Why do housekeepers at Doubletree San Diego make only $8 an hour and have to pay $400 a month for family healthcare when those at the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront are paid $15.50 an hour and get full family healthcare for $50 a month?
The group contends that “if hotel companies pocket those tourist dollars and don’t pay the San Diego residents who work in the hotels enough to live on, that’s a direct drain on our economy.”
So CPI has a letter writing campaign going on and we’ve gotten more than a few letters. Initially we kind of scratched our heads, since sending the San Diego Free Press letters on this issue is kind of like preaching to the choir.
But then I realized the story here is really that so many people care. Paying housekeepers $8 an hour while charging people as much as $489 a night (I checked) is just wrong.
So, thank you to each and every one of you who wrote in:
P. Gayle Chenoweth
Stephen R. Jesionka
Rita & Dave Pinkerton