By Doug Porter
Earlier this year California Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on legislation to increase the minimum wage. The measure would raise the current $8 minimum wage to $9 an hour next July 1 and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. The 25% increase will be the first minimum-wage hike in California in five years, affecting an estimated 2.4 million Californians.
Golden State business interests and their conservative allies railed against the measure. The LA Times quoted the president of the California Restaurant Association, saying the 87,000 eateries in the state would be forced to cut back employee hours and reduce hiring. The California Chamber of Commerce labeled AB10 “a job killer.”
The conservative CalWatchdog.com predicted that 68,000 jobs would be lost over the coming decade and a “reduction in real output of $5.7 billion”, citing the Koch brothers sponsored National Federation of Independent Business.
Today’s New York Times reports that California conservative activist and millionaire Ron Unz is filing ballot language with the secretary of state , declaring his intention to gather enough signatures to place it on the ballot in 2014.
Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire, rose to fame by promoting a ballot initiative that essentially eliminated bilingual education in California. He went on to become publisher of The American Conservative, a libertarian-leaning magazine.
But after decades in the conservative movement, Mr. Unz is pursuing a goal that has stymied liberals: raising the minimum wage. He plans to pour his own money into a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in California to $10 an hour in 2015 and $12 in 2016, which would make it by far the highest in the nation. Currently, it is $8 — 75 cents higher than the federal minimum.
Using what he sees as conservative principles to advocate a policy long championed by the left, Mr. Unz argues that significantly raising the minimum wage would help curb government spending on social services, strengthen the economy and make more jobs attractive to American-born workers.
Public support for an increase in the minimum wage is very strong, with 76% or respondents in a poll earlier this month supporting an increase in the federal rate from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour. Various proposals in Congress aimed at increasing the minimum wage are, like most other significant legislation, mired in gridlock.
Republicans seem much more interested in cutting programs for the poor and needy even as they’re complaining about a “War on Christmas” than even discussing an increase in the minimum wage.
Organized labor groups around the country have adopted a strategy of seeking to tie future minimum wage increases to inflation, a strategy that met with 69% approval in the latest Gallop poll. The buying power of minimum wage dollars has steadily decreased since 1980, leading low paid workers to turn to government assistance programs.
The Times article quotes labor spokesman Steve Smith, saying he’s ‘hardly enthusiastic” and suggests the measure could be a diversion from other efforts by unions underway in the state.
The devil here could well be in the details, as the Times article does not elaborate on the details of Mr. Unz’s plan. Knowing the frequency of right wing efforts to twist and obfuscate issues (the peace talks in Iran being an administration ploy to divert attention from Obamacare, for example) I’ll advise a wait and see on this one. But I’ll enjoy seeing GOP party leaders’ heads explode at the mere thought of a conservative backed minimum wage increase. (h/t @CapitolEVAN for the headline idea)
The Pope Denounces Trickle Down Economics
Speaking of Republican economics…
— Democrab (@democrab) November 26, 2013
From the Washington Post article referenced above:
Pope Francis has released a sharply worded take on capitalism and the world’s treatment of its poor, criticizing “trickle-down” economic policies in no uncertain terms.
In the first lengthy writing of his papacy— also known as an “apostolic exhortation” — Francis says such economic theories naively rely on the goodness of those in charge and create a “tyranny” of the markets.
“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” the pope wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
I can picture our favorite local Very Catholic Conservative, UT-SanDiego publisher Doug Manchester marshaling his troops to denounce this Pope even as I write this. Can you image the workaround they’ll have to come up with to counter the papal assertion “Such an economy kills?”
More Mayoral Debates (And the Election Date, Maybe)
A KPBS story says the probable date of the next round of San Diego’s contest for the top spot will be February 11th.
The candidates also issued a joint statement yesterday saying they would participate in six debates between January 1st and the date of the election.
Via City News Service as reported on KBPS:
The campaigns asked prospective debate hosts to contact them by Dec. 13.
They also want the forums to be broadcast on major media outlets, and asked that questions focus on the following areas:
- — open government and transparency;
- — the U.S.-Mexico border region;
- — city finances and budget;
- — environment and sustainability;
- — neighborhoods and community planning;
- — economy and jobs; and
- — a vision for San Diego.
Birds of a Feather, Jan Goldsmith Editionvia lucas2012infos
The ongoing scandalous behavior of petition signature gatherers employed by the multinational corporations hoping to stop the Barrio Logan Community Plan makes it into court today.
Community groups led by the Environmental Health Coalition are asking for injunction based on literally dozens of reports that opponents of the plan are misrepresenting the facts to sway voters into signing petitions.
The latest version of “the spin” includes a desperate plea indicating that construction of condominiums in the affected area is just a few days away. They’ve also told people the Navy was planning on leaving San Diego unless they signed the petition. At least they haven’t invoked Tiny Tim, but, then again, they don’t have with the taxpayer’s legal team standing up for their right to lie.
If you thought City Attorney Jan Goldsmith would appear in court defending the votes of the City Council in favor of the Barrio Logan plan, you’d be wrong. He will be sitting next to the representatives of the companies responsible for this miscarriage of justice.
As San Diego Reader reporter Dorian Hargrove points out, this doesn’t have to be the case:
In January of 1997, then-city attorney Casey Gwinn released a memo on the need of the city and its attorneys to ensure the “integrity of the referendum process.” The memo at the time focused on an effort to overturn public financing for more than $60 million in improvements to then-Jack Murphy Stadium in exchange for guarantees from the Chargers that they would extend their lease.
But Gwinn’s memo is not the only precedent Goldsmith could use. In 1983, a Superior Court Judge (Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court, 147 Cal. App. 3d 206 -1983) ruled that signatures on a referendum should be invalidated after claims were made that parties were misled.
Here’s a great comment from Mark Roberts following this story that says it all:
Goldsmith is in the pockets of the Shipyards and Chamber of Commerce. He is intentionally misleading the Court, and not representing his client, the City Council majority that enacted the Barrio Logan Community Plan. Goldsmith should be ashamed of himself, but that would require that he have some measure of integrity and professionalism. He has nether.
Seasonal Agriculture Report (Are You Sleeping Yet?)
Are you ready to blame that Turkey Day sluggishness on the tryptophan, the sleep inducing amino acid in the big bird you just ate?
The folks at Snopes.com say’s it’s more likely the booze and the carbohydrates. And they present a snippet from a 1997 episode of Seinfeld that’s like contributed to the modern day legends about turkey’s sedative powers. Read the article, watch the video:
(I say it’s the usually boring NFL games!)
On This Day: 1867 – J.B. Sutherland patented the refrigerated railroad car. 1942 – The motion picture “Casablanca” had its world premiere at the Hollywood Theater in New York City. 1949 – India’s Constituent Assembly adopted the country’s constitution. The country became a republic within the British Commonwealth two months later.
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