By Doug Porter
City Council President Todd Gloria appeared before the press yesterday to announce a proposed November ballot initiative increasing San Diego’s minimum wage, along with a path for workers to accumulate paid sick days.
Gloria’s role in pushing this measure dates back to his call for a “meaningful” increase in the minimum wage during the State of the City speech in January. The big unanswered question for local scribes was “how much” would constitute “meaningful.” We now know the magic number to be $13.09, achieved in three stages by July 2017, should voters approve. But it’s negotiable.
In keeping with Plato’s dictum, “those who tell the stories also hold the power,” UT-San Diego (owned by a hospitality industry magnate, whose business model depends on low wages and government subsidies) is all over this today with a front page story, an “explainer” and, (ta-da!) an editorial denouncing Gloria and blaming California Democrats for the leftovers of the Great Recession.
Given that much of the other local media (due to staffing limitations or just plain laziness) follows the daily Fishwrap’s lead, I think it’s important to point out the essentially propagandistic nature of what passes for news in America’s Finest City.
It’s a win-win for the newspaper, er, media platform; the publisher gets his spin and the reporter walks away thinking he gave ‘balanced’ coverage. There’s little or no context. It’s the questions that weren’t asked or answered that are the problem here.
The New York Times ran an article last week documenting the proportion of income required to pay rent in American cities. San Diego ranked as the fifth most expensive city (41.4% of gross income) behind Los Angeles, Miami, College Station (Tx), and Santa Cruz. Our city is even more expensive for renters than San Francisco, which the UT article points out has the highest big-city wage nationally.
The impossibly high cost of housing might be a good reason why (from the second paragraph in the news account) “The proposed hikes, which would make San Diego’s minimum wage among the highest in the nation…”
An Editorial ‘Home Run’
From the UT editorial:
…when it comes to the economy and job creation, Wednesday’s news conference illustrated that Gloria sticks strictly to the standard playbook of California Democrats. This is the same government-centric, union-centric, regulation-centric playbook that has given the Golden State by far the highest poverty rate in the nation and the second-highest rate of job-seekers unable to find full-time work.
I’ve gotta give the Daily Fishwrap editorial crew credit; they knocked the ball out of the park, editorially managing to distract [the editorial cartoon depicting Todd Gloria looking remarkably similar to Bob Filner], deny [there is no problem here], distort [their very notion of job creation–see “trickle down”] and deceive [the simplistic notion the Democrats in Sacramento were solely responsible for all California’s woes].
There’s tons more coming where that came from. Expect San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders to roll out some major media events this week. After all, raising the minimum wage polls well, and opponents are going to have to come up with some real whoppers to create “uncertainty” in the electorate. My favorite fantasy involves Sanders inviting reporters out to a local shooting range where he uses an AR-15 to shoot up a copy of Gloria’s proposal, while a team of selected “small business owners” cheers him on.
Look out for the “experts”, as I said a couple of weeks back:
You’ll also undoubtedly see Michael Saltsman, Economic Research Director for the Employment Policies Institute, an earnest young man, who’s trotted out in front of TV cameras to refute claims that minimum wage increases haven’t had the promised negative impacts…
His paycheck comes via donations made by restaurants and retailers to Berman and Company, purveyors of the finest right wing snake oil.
I brought my own editorial graphic along today, just to balance out the bad karma emanating from Mission Valley.
One Last Question (Okay, Maybe Two)
This is a biggie.
If the cost of living is so high in San Diego, how can employees making minimum wage survive?
The answer is…. Taxpayers! That’s right. Medicare/Cal, food stamps and other forms of public assistance are in fact enabling companies low paying jobs.
From Bloomberg News:
It seems that welfare queens are back in the news these days. The old stereotype was an inner-city unwed mother — that’s dog-whistle-speak for black — having multiple babies to get ever bigger welfare checks (throw in a new Cadillac and the myth is complete). Regardless, welfare reform of the 1990s ended that narrative.
No, the new welfare queens are even bigger, richer and less deserving of taxpayer support. The two biggest welfare queens in America today are Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.
This issue has become more known as we learn just how far some companies have gone in putting their employees on public assistance. According to one study, American fast food workers receive more than $7 billion dollars in public assistance. As it turns out, McDonald’s has a “McResource” line that helps employees and their families enroll in various state and local assistance programs. It exploded into the public when a recording of the McResource line advocated that full-time employees sign up for food stamps and welfare.
Where is the UT editorial outrage?
How about wage theft? There are thousands of employees getting suckered out their pay, and some are starting to fight back, like this woman working for the largest employer in National City (via the Reader):
Stephene Ortega, an employee of National City’s Paradise Valley Hospital since 2007, filed suit this week against its parent company, the Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley, charging the hospital with “systematic miscalculation of the overtime rate.”
According to the suit, California law dictates that employees must be paid one and a half times their “regular rate of pay.” But many employees work undesirable shifts, such as nights and weekends and reap differential wages, says the suit, and that differential pay is not used in calculating overtime.
If a guy robbing a bank merits coverage (and condemnation), certainly a company ripping off their employees deserves at least a mention.
According to the US Dept. of Justice robbers netted $139 million in 2012 from street, bank, and retail robberies. Employers, on the other hand, walked away with $280 million in stolen wages, according to the Department of Labor.
Another Darrell Issa Twist-o-Truth Exposed
Washington DC’s Think Progress got curious about Congressman Darrell Issa’s claims about the IRS persecution of Tea Party groups. So they filed some Freedom of Information Requests, trying to get a clearer picture of what was going on.
The IRS provided the heavily-redacted lists to ThinkProgress, after nearly a year-long search. From the earliest lists through 2012, the “historical” section of the lists encouraged reviewers to watch out for “progressive” groups with names like “blue,” as their requests for 501(c)(3) charitable status might be inappropriate. Their inclusion in this section suggests that the concern predates the initial 2010 list.
Explicit references to “Tea Party,” included in the “emerging issues” section of the lists, also began in August 2010 — but stopped appearing after the May 10, 2011 list. From that point on, the lists instructed agents to flag all political advocacy groups of any stripe. The documents instructed the agents to forward any “organization involved with political, lobbying, or advocacy” applying for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status be forwarded to “group 7822″ for additional review. Groups under both categories are limited in the amount of of lobbying and political activity each can undertake.
Meh. Enough words. Let’s let the chart do the talking.
Conservs Running From Bundy
Emerging right wing hero Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle rancher who’s upset about being asked to pay grazing fees for his cattle, was featured in yesterday’s New York Times, talking about race.
Bundy simply said what the entire Tea Party would never admit out loud and now some of his new-found friends are abandoning him.
From Raw Story:
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy was quoted as saying to a group of supporters last Saturday. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Bundy’s statements about “the Negro,” published on Wednesday, were made during his daily speech to supporters outside Bunkerville, Nevada, where a crowd gathered to support him in defiance of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) during an attempted round up of his cattle. The confrontation was the result of Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees on federally-owned land for more than 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings against him. Bundy has stated on several occasions that he does not recognize the existence of the federal government.
gif h/t @pourmecoffee
On This Day: 1800 – The Library of Congress was established with a $5,000 allocation 1961 – Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers struck out 18 batters becoming the first major-league pitcher to do so on two different occasions. 1968 – Apple Records refused to sign David Bowie.
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