By Doug Porter
San Diego iMayor Todd Gloria’s call for increasing the minimum wage during the State of the City address on Wednesday is drawing sharp reaction from the local wannabe plutocracy. What Gloria proposed was putting any such proposal before the voters next November. The very idea scares the crap out of them.
You take it to the bank that these “checkbook” democracy types who see it as their duty to pay signature gatherers to spread misinformation getting their corporate vetoes of city council actions blessed at the ballot box will now act to make sure that a proposal via our elected representatives never makes it before the voters.
The same folks that have spun community planning, environmental stewardship and housing for low income people into a conspiracy to drive JOBS out of the city are busy figuring out a way to drive a stake into the heart of any minimum wage increase, even if it’s to be decided at the ballot box.
As the Los Angeles Times points out, it took UT-San Diego exactly 16 minutes after Todd Gloria finished his speech to post an editorial challenging his call for an increase in the minimum wage.
From the LA Times account:
The editorial sought to cast doubt on Gloria’s assertion about the benefits of raising the minimum wage. Gloria “insisted [the increase] would be good for business in San Diego.”
A news story posted later quoted former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now the chief executive of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and possibly the most popular political figure in the city. Raising the minimum wage “could stunt job growth,” Sanders told the reporter.
Here’s the conclusion of the UT editorial:
At least some of what he said and proposed will be eclipsed early next month when voters elect a new mayor, who will lay out his own vision, his own proposals and his own goals for San Diego.
In other words, they’re hoping that Kevin Faulconer will win the mayoral election and find a way to deep six this ‘radical idea.’
Economic Inequality Should Be the Central Issue
I’m glad they’ve chosen to make that call. Let’s make raising the minimum wage the defining issue of this campaign. A vote for Kevin Faulconer should be construed as a vote against raising the minimum wage.
Activist Linda Perine has great take on this issue and its implications for social justice in an article posted at LGBTWeekly:
A slow, but powerful awakening is transforming our country. When McDonalds and Wal-Mart instruct their employees to apply for government assistance because their billionaire owners refuse to pay a living wage; when Warren Buffet and Bill Gates tell us the system is rigged against the middle class; when someone attempting to register people to vote on a public square is arrested and abused by our city police – as Dylan said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
Rev. King told us that the arc of history bends toward justice. If this is so it is because the joined hands of a coalition of the willing – LGBT folk, neighbors, women and workers – push back against the forces of greed and intolerance.
San Diego is at the center of these historic political currents. Feb. 11 we can build on this national wave of progress and inclusion by electing David Alvarez as our next mayor. Or we can take a giant step backward and become the only one of the twelve largest cities in the U.S. to choose the party of exclusion and homophobia.
What we can expect over the next few week is an unrelenting wave of ‘experts’ warning the San Diegans of dire consequences should any increase in minimum wages occur.
What you need to know is the ‘science’ behind these claims is as suspect as that bandied about by the climate change deniers. The minimum wage has been raised repeatedly since Franklin D. Roosevelt led the charge for its enactment back in the waning days of the Great Depression and we have all somehow survived without capitalism collapsing.
(Getting into an argument here with the corporate apologists who will inevitablely write in to challenge this assertion is a fools errand. Here’s my backup. And this. And this. And I’m standing by it.)
Here’s my favorite part (because it’s true) of the conservative argument for raising the minimum wage by Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who’s bankrolling a statewide initiative on the subject. (Unz has his own issues with immigrants, which I strongly disagree with.)
Our federal and local governments currently spend vast sums of money subsidizing the social benefits and living standards of our working-poor, including mailing them checks via the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These expenditures constitute an enormous corporate welfare program in which businesses obtain the full value of their low-paid workforce while shifting much of the cost onto the general taxpayer, a classic example of economic special interests privatizing their profits and socializing their costs. Private sector employers should cover the expenses of their own workers rather than force middle-class taxpayers to pay the tab.
Gosh. Shrinking government assistance programs, lower taxes and a better life for hard working Americans: how can any red blooded patriot be against that?
You see, it’s not so much that our modern day Ebenezer Scrooges don’t want to pay people; it’s that raising the minimum wage is a fundamental attack on corporate welfare. If the world doesn’t collapse with a minimum wage additional things like making companies pay their fair share of infrastructure costs might be next. Or ending subsidies. Who knows? (FYI-The vast majority of small businesses already pay their employees more than minimum wage)
Let’s make raising the minimum wage The Issue in the mayoral campaign over the next few weeks. Fighting it out at the ballot box makes a whole lot more sense than (figuratively) building guillotines out in front of the Chamber of Commerce.
Big Bucks for Empowerment in San Diego
The little engine that could, i.e., the grass roots groups fighting for access and empowerment for the disenfranchised in the area, has received a big hug and a pile of cash in recognition of the good work
The Open Society Foundation yesterday announced $1.9 million in support for a team of organizations in San Diego County over the next two years.
From the press release announcing the grant:
This is really about making San Diego more open, just and democratic. It is time that we bring in those who have been marginalized in our community, as a means to make San Diego a more productive and thriving region,” explained Clare Crawford, Executive Director of the Center on Policy Initiatives.
Efforts funded by the grant will focus on the full integration of immigrants and people impacted by the criminal justice system into the region’s civic and economic life through increased access to key services, improvements in the workplace and better access to middle class careers.
“When you are an immigrant it is hard to meaningfully participate in the civic life, if you aren’t making a fair wage or you are afraid to speak up. This grant will help us build the infrastructure to include more residents in rebuilding San Diego in a more equitable and inclusive manner,” said Gloria Morales, a San Diego Organizing Project leader.
The team includes Employee Rights Center, Center on Policy Initiatives, San Diego Organizing Project, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Christie’s Place, San Diego Youth Development Office, Pillars of the Community and SEIU/Service Employees International Union, Local 221 and United Domestic Workers, Local 3930.
Their goals for this proposal included:
- Increasing access to key services that help immigrants and people impacted by the criminal justice system integrate fully into civic and economic life.
- Decreasing workers’ rights abuses and improving workplace conditions.
- Reducing barriers that prevent immigrants and people impacted by criminal justice system from having access to middle class occupations.
Local Bank Used for Earlier Run of Target Credit Card Scam Software
In the wake of Target’s admission earlier this month that 70 million (as opposed to 40 million) customer’s credit card transactions may have compromised, comes word via Bloomberg News that this hack was likely part of a much larger attack on businesses.
The assaults on retailers may involve multiple groups of hackers who appear to be working from a sophisticated piece of software code that began circulating on underground websites last June, said a report by iSIGHT Partners, a Dallas-based security company that tracks cyber criminals.
The report doesn’t say whether the software, dubbed Kaptoxa, was used in the theft of as many as 40 million customer credit and debit card accounts from Target. A person briefed on the investigation, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential, said Kaptoxa is the same software that infected Target. Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target, declined to comment.
The New York Times reports the recent breach in security at Neiman Marcus is much bigger than originally suggested.
The computer network at Neiman Marcus was penetrated by hackers as far back as July, and the breach was not fully contained until Sunday, according to people briefed on the investigation.
The company disclosed the data theft of customer information late last week, saying it first learned in mid-December of suspicious activity that involved credit cards used at its stores. It issued another notice on Thursday, elaborating slightly.
Over at KrebsOnSecurity.com, a site specializing in reporting on cyber crime issues, we learn that earlier uses of the malware involved “customers of major US banks, such as such as Chase (Newark, Delaware), Capital One (Virginia, Richmond), Citibank (South Dakota), Union Bank of California (California, San Diego), Nordstrom FSB Debit (Scottsdale, Arizona).”
The source close to the Target investigation said that at the time this POS malware was installed in Target’s environment (sometime prior to Nov. 27, 2013), none of the 40-plus commercial antivirus tools used to scan malware at virustotal.com flagged the POS malware (or any related hacking tools that were used in the intrusion) as malicious. “They were customized to avoid detection and for use in specific environments,” the source said.
That source and one other involved in the investigation who also asked not to be named said the POS malware appears to be nearly identical to a piece of code sold on cybercrime forums called BlackPOS, a relatively crude but effective crimeware product. BlackPOS is a specialized piece of malware designed to be installed on POS devices and record all data from credit and debit cards swiped through the infected system.
According the author of BlackPOS — an individual who uses a variety of nicknames, including “Antikiller” — the POS malware is roughly 207 kilobytes in size and is designed to bypass firewall software. The barebones “budget version” of the crimeware costs $1,800, while a more feature-rich “full version” — including options for encrypting stolen data, for example — runs $2,300.
President Eisenhower Warns of Military Industrial Complex
On This Day: 1961 – In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned against the rise of “the military-industrial complex.” 1972 – Highway 51 South in Memphis, TN, was renamed Elvis Presley Blvd. 1994 – The Northridge earthquake rocked Los Angeles, registering a 6.7 on the Richter Scale. At least 61 people were killed and about $20 billion in damage was caused.
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John Lawrence says
Eisenhauer warned against the rise in the military-industrial complex. Progressives are against the MIC as a general principal, but when it means that union jobs at NASSCO might leave San Diego, progressives run to the other side vowing to protect union jobs. However, if we really want to shrink the MIC let’s start here at home and make it clear that the Navy is free to leave San Diego. In fact we want that shrinkage of jobs; we’re willing to do our part to shrink the MIC, and General Dynamics NASSCO can take their jobs and shove them making it clear that the Barrio Logan Community Plan shall go ahead and damn their jobs. Unions are complicit with the MIC because they will fight to retain those jobs and the MIC is happy to have them do so. With cost plus contracts the more the MIC has to pay labor, the more profits they make for the big boys upstairs.
Doug Porter says
Telling all these working people who depend on their jobs that they’ll have to starve their families lest we be accused of supporting the military industrial complex is a terrible idea.
It’s right up there in wrongheadedness with spitting on veterans returning from Vietnam because “we’re anti-war”. (and yes, I’m aware the number of times that actually occurred is vastly exaggerated by the right)
The “shrinkage of jobs” you refer to has real world impacts on real people. Tell us how you’ll put roofs over their heads or feed their children?
The point is that you can’t dismantle the military industrial complex from the bottom up, just like you can’t tear down a tall building starting on the ground floor.
John Lawrence says
Doug, whether you dismantle it from the bottom up or the top down the result will be the same. The point is that corporations in the non-military economy want to reduce labor costs and so are anti-union whereas defense contractors and unions are in cahoots because both want to raise labor costs. You need to distinguish between the two situations. I explained about the cost plus contracts which make it beneficial for defense contractors to increase the cost of labor whereas in the real world corporations are trying to decrease the cost of labor. Two different situations.
I agree that people needing to support their families are stuck in whatever godforsaken job they happen to have like I was when I worked in the MIC and saw first hand how desperate all those people were to hang on to their jobs. That’s why they all voted Republican. Fortunately, for me personally I was able to extricate myself from that situation. However, the real solution is to transition those jobs to the world of peace instead of the world of war. Jobs of construction rather than jobs of destruction. Jobs that build a peaceful world instead of jobs that are about destroying it. We don’t need to be the world’s f##king policeman.
Doug Porter says
When you speak of “go ahead and damn their jobs.” what you’re saying is directly threatening to the people who have those jobs. You may not mean to say it this way, but I guarantee what’s being heard is “damn you workers.”
I strongly believe that the US economy needs to be demilitarized and the role of world policeman as the centerpiece of our foreign policy is bad for everybody involved. I understand that much if not most of our military/intelligence complex exists as a service to multinational corporations, both in the protections it provides and the sweetheart contracts available.
But screwing over or vilifying a bunch of employees and/or their union is just not an acceptable path towards achieving the goal of demilitarization. Martin Luther King and others who have sacrificed in the cause of world peace and justice saw the difference between the sin and the sinner.
Is business unionism an inherently corrupt arraignment? You bet it is. But in denouncing the unions in this context you are putting the cart before the horse.
John Lawrence says
Well, Doug, I apologize for the hyperbole. What I didn’t mention was that I want those jobs recreated or transferred to more peaceful pursuits like repairing infrastructure. I believe I did go into that in the article I submitted to you. I didn’t mean to imply that I wanted those workers to be out of a job, just out of a job related to the military. And I think that in the argument regarding the Barrio Logan Community Plan, the two sides, rightly or wrongly, were the preservation of jobs vs the welfare of the community. In the larger picture, since those jobs are military related, my argument is that that side of the argument (preservation of jobs) should carry no weight at all, and the side of the welfare of the community should win hands down. Now I know that the loss of jobs if the BLCP goes through has been shown to be a lie, but Faulconer is still making it and people are still believing it.
It’s not that I want those particular workers to lose their jobs. I would rather have them working in jobs for peaceful purposes. But this aspect of the situation was never even brought up.
John Lawrence says
Maybe I didn’t explain sufficiently about the cost plus contracts. Defense contractors are paid for all their costs, even cost overruns, PLUS a profit on top of that, usually 10% so it is in their interest, as it is for the unions, to increase labor costs rather than to decrease them which is in the interests of the non-MIC world.
Dana Levy says
All we have to sell is our labor (whether a person is college educated, fresh into the labor market, or somewhere in between) and whether it is with our minds or backs or both, it is all we are worth to any employer. Nobody pays us money or provides medical and pension benefits. etc., out of the goodness of their hearts. These “treasures” must be earned by determination, sweat, and sometimes tears. Unions know that the minimum wage issue is a social issue not a monetary one and if the least of us don’t prosper we all pay for it one way or the other through government assistance or medical trips to the ER as the last place for care with no insurance coverage, etc. Labor unions do create jobs with a trained ready labor force and better jobs through training and the constant demanding of fairness and dignity. If it weren’t for organized labor we’d all still be working long days for less, have no weekends, child forced labor would abound, and have no security at all (like the good old days!). The phrase that “a rising tide raises all boats” fits here perfectly. We are all better off when everyone gets and expects to get decent raises in wages, benefits, and working conditions to at least keep up with the inevitable inflationary movements and having more discretionary money at the end of the day benefits the economy as a whole, to which we all depend.
I hear a bit of jealousy and resentment in the John Lawrence remarks and the casting of unions as the bad guys is patently false. I know for a fact that when an employer can do with out “us” as an employee it will happen no matter what we think or how long we have been there or how loyal or dedicated we might be. Working at Mc Donalds does require skills for that workforce (just not those required for brain surgery) and those workers should be appreciated just as well as the “elite” among us who can garner higher wages. Regardless of what JL thinks we are all in this together and we all need to succeed at all levels to keep the economy and society as a whole chugging along to the benefit of all. I am glad that unions keep the conversation moving to help protect and serve us all whether directly or indirectly by association and community. The minimum wage needs to reflect the base cost of fair and equitable livable standards that our society will not allow to be lower than the minimum acceptable poverty levels and it should be raised the same as the cost of living through cost analysis and observance to decency. Raising minimum wages has never caused jobs to disappear and it is impossible to automate those positions that are subject to “minimum wage” pricing. Yes, it may cost fractionally more for us all to buy these services but then does one ever consider to not shop when the prices go up when we don’t know about it? Cars would still cost 100 dollars and where would we be then? I don’t want to return to the depression era or anything like it where no one has a chance. Minimums are just that and we should all aspire to do better than minimum when what it takes to rise up is education, perseverance, time, and dedication. The starting bar is the minimum wage level and it should reflect where we are and want to be as a society. Raise it now to a livable wage category!
The Navy (and Marines) will be somewhere and San Diego is the perfect fit both in location and histroically. JL’s reflections on the Military Industrial Complex are misguided and Eisenhower was referring to the political clout and potential domination by this business structure that we must be wary of, not the actuality of the entity existing. Progressives aren’t ostriches with their heads in the sand. War and peace in today’s world demand a strong offense creating a deterrent to aggression which seems inherent in human nature, and, religious intolerance will be our downfall as well if we lose sight of it’s divisiveness and potential for violence and destruction. Without a strong defense we will fall to our demise. Until there is another way to go the military is a necessary evil and the San Diego region benefits from fulfilling this need. That is not the issue. The city of San Diego internally needs a strong labor friendly mayor not one tied to big business with no allegiance to the citizenry at all. David Alvarez is the candidate that will serve the entire population best as out leader. The military is also a member of our community and we are and should continue to be glad they are here not try to run them out of town and JL suggests. It is Faulconer of which we must all be wary and do our best to keep him and his ilk circumscribed.
John Lawrence says
And that’s exactly the way people feel about their military and MIC jobs in all 50 states and exactly why the USD will continue to be a militaristic nation. Vested interests include not only the big defense contractors but employees at all levels. Nobody wants their ox to be gored. There is not even the vision of a transition to peace oriented as opposed to war oriented jobs.
Dana Levy says
Last go-around. Your latest effort at a comment is quite correct but does nothing to address the fact that the minimum wage needs to be increased for the benefit of us all. You are way off topic and have left the base paths and are floundering in right field. Minimum wage effects a lot of people directly and everybody else indirectly and it is only right that it be increased to a livable level. Not even addressing the fact that it is the American thing to do to help out others who are the least among us is completely missing. No other rational reasoning applies! I too deplore war and all it entails but short of giving up and giving in is shortsighted as it will be a fact of life for a long time to come, like it or not. We can endeav0r to not start wars like the W one in Iraq and keep a keen eye open for the lack of justification for why we do it, as in Afghanistan still, but to do nothing is not a strategy we as a nation follow. Perhaps in another era we won’t be at war but it seems we are doomed to repeat history’s mistakes again and again with nary a thought to the consequences. 911 was a wake up call that we are actually vulnerable (as if Pearl Harbor wasn’t enough), so short of walling us off from the rest of the world we are stuck with our lot as “peacekeeper of the free world” and must try to make the best of it. Ask any Republican why we have a military and they will say it is in our own best interests to keep it going. There in lies the problem. Fear and guilt rule the minds of too many people. That is why I am a Democrat. At least we feign a disdain for war and what it entails. If there was a credible answer or alternative I would support it wholeheartedly, short of becoming a Hari Krishna or joining a similar disengaged strategy. Peace at any cost is a strategy that seems too disengaged for the resat of the world to employ. So we stumble along doing the best that we can as a nation in the USA and continue to raise a voice of reason where ever it is needed. It is still everyone (or country) for themselves in today’s world and we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past over and over again. Education for all and livable wages for all will go a long way towards achieving nirvana with no war but without both we are lemmings on a revolving tread mill with no end in sight.
John Lawrence says
” Not even addressing the fact that it is the American thing to do to help out others who are the least among us is completely missing.”
After all this was only a comment not an entire article. However, I did write a more elaborate article where I talk about some of the things that could be done instead of spending the money on war and preparations for war. Doug indicated he wouldn’t be responsible for publishing it, but maybe someone else will.