It ain’t over ‘till it’s over. I quote baseball great Yogi Berra because it appears to me something is going on with the minimum wage increase proposed by city council president Todd Gloria.
On the surface things would seem to be headed towards a city council decision later in June. The Economic Development and Intergovernment Relations Committee agreed yesterday to forward the proposal to incrementally increase to the full council for discussion.
The reality is there is no hard and fast proposal; it’s more like a notion than a motion. Whatever comes out of the council session later in the summer could be on the ballot come November. Or maybe November 2016. Or maybe the city council will simply enact an ordinance, which might then be challenged by the usual pathetic liars claiming to represent San Diego’s business interests.
UT-San Diego reports Gloria saying he’s close to brokering a compromise. City Councilman Ed Harris and committee Chairwoman Sherri Lightner both said yesterday the rates paid and phase-in periods might have to be adjusted when the plan comes before the full City Council.
Here’s what UT-San Diego published:
Gloria and Councilman David Alvarez praised a compromise proposed Wednesday by Harry Schwartz, co-owner of a downtown Ace Hardware store.
Schwartz wants to raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour over the next three years instead of $13.09, with further inflation-based increases beginning in January 2019 instead of Gloria’s plan to begin those in January 2018.
Schwartz’s proposal would also allow businesses to pay the lower state-mandated minimum wage the first 120 days of employment, an attempt to create a training wage that would preserve summer jobs for teens and other seasonal work jeopardized by the wage hike.
Over at City Beat we get some insight into the business side of the equation. The downtown types are eager to remind everybody of their recent political victories, killing a linkage fee for affordable housing and the defeat of the Barrio Logan Community plan. (I’m betting the “study/compromises” promised in both situations will never surface.)
Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, fears the proposed increase will turn into another polarizing political fight.
“I’m disappointed that this is starting to look like a third battle between the council and the business community,” Cafferty says. “This is something that, from the get-go, we all should have been getting around the table to talk compromise on.
“Seattle’s mayor got everybody into a room, and they came out after a month or two of kind of wrangling over it with what they agreed on,” he adds, “and I just think that there has to be some moments in San Diego where we start to do the same thing.”
Their recent string of political successes is based on the audacity of the lies they’ve sold the public, enabled by local journos afraid of not being invited to the next craft beer mixer.
So I’d hold out some hope for a fair compromise except it’s my understanding that these folks really don’t believe in a minimum wage at all. That’s the libertarian paradise at the end of Republican road they’d like us to go down.
After all, the anti-minimum wage folks have refused to acknowledge there might be a problem, even going to the ridiculous extreme of claiming an increase would actually hurt workers. And they simply fail to admit that their employees on the low end of the wage scale need taxpayer assistance to get by.
How do you negotiate with people who refuse to recognize reality? It’s a damned good question and I’m afraid lots of poorly paid employees aren’t going to like the answer.
I’ll end this item with another quote from Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
The Next Generation of Reform,” Says Jerry Sanders (Cough)
While I’m being suspicious about peoples’ intentions, let’s look at Mayor Faulconer’s San Diego Works initiative.
By way of the press release announcing the program:
Mayor Faulconer will challenge employees, labor organizations and management to collaborate and submit cost-saving and operational streamlining ideas in time for next year’s budget.
“The competitive bidding process has already saved us millions of dollars and now it’s time to take another step forward. I’m calling on the City’s 10,000 workers to come forward with innovative ideas that boost productivity and save money so that we can increase the amount of work the City does in our neighborhoods,” said Faulconer. “I believe we must start with empowering employees, who know what needs to change so they can be more effective at their jobs. When City Hall works smarter and faster, we save time and money that can be directly spent on serving San Diego residents….”
The UT-San Diego editorial board offered praise for Faulconer:
Working with former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, a government efficiency expert, Faulconer intends to meet with employee bargaining units to streamline “managed comp.” The process for the four services put out to bid to date took an average of 29 months to complete.
The mayor thinks city employees will welcome changes because of his emphasis on incentives to reward those who figure out how to improve services and cut costs. He also is establishing a new department to do the data analysis that so helped New York City during Michael Bloomberg’s years as mayor.
Sure enough, hizzoner’s press release includes a quote from Mike Zucchet, General Manager of the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, “Collaboration like this is the foundation of a productive organization, and we’re ready to work with him to move San Diego forward.”
Doesn’t this all sound too good to be true? There are plenty of reasons to be concerned. Let’s start with “government efficiency expert” Stephen Goldsmith (No relation to the City Attorney). He was brought to San Diego by then iMayor Todd Gloria last fall, and I warned readers at the time this was a development worth watching.
Known as an expert in privatizing city governments, his claim to fame comes via aggressive programs government services and selling them out to the private sector.
Here’s the lede from the New York Times story announcing his departure from the Bloomberg administration:
Stephen Goldsmith, a high-profile deputy to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who came under fire for the city’s poor response to a crippling blizzard in December, announced on Thursday that he would leave his position after just 14 months in office.
Mr. Goldsmith, a former mayor of Indianapolis, was brought in by Mr. Bloomberg last year with much fanfare: a Harvard professor and expert in innovation poached from the ivory tower to reinvent city government.
But Mr. Goldsmith never seemed to master the day-to-day mechanics of New York’s sprawling government or relish the political intricacies of the job, and dissatisfaction with his performance became widespread in City Hall, according to two aides to Mr. Bloomberg who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of angering the mayor.
And then there’s the matter of the “millions of dollars” in savings touted by Faulconer. There’s a difference between “savings” and “value” needing to be examined here. Sure, we’re saving millions via the managed competition deal the city has for vehicle maintenance. But when we really need those fire trucks that are reportedly in need of repair during a bad fire season, the savings might be of little value to homeowners.
The city’s unions, by the way, have largely “won” most of the managed competitions thus far and that’s another story for another day and it ain’t pretty.
Statewide Sick Days Legislation Advances
The California State Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations today has approved a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez guaranteeing employees in California the ability to earn and use at least 3 sick days annually.
AB1522 passed by a vote of 3 to 1, with every Democrat on the senate committee in attendance voting in support. The bill will be considered by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, most likely on Tuesday, June 24.
Under AB 1522, workers in California would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and employers would have the option of capping an employee’s paid sick leave at 24 hours, or 3 days. Other states and cities – including Connecticut; New York City; Portland, Ore.; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco – have already adopted paid sick day laws.
City Transparency Measure Blacked Out
The Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee yesterday turned thumbs down on a ballot measure proposing new amendments to the San Diego City Charter to make it easier for the public to access city records.
Supporters of the measure, including former City Councilwoman Donna Frye, originally hoped to put the ballot measure in last week’s election, but were thwarted by objections raised by the City Attorney.
Frye told KPBS:
“Our intention is to codify as part of the city charter the public’s right of access, so that they’re not whipsawed back and forth based on who gets elected to office, so they have some certainty and the ability to participate in that process,” she said. “This is such an important issue that I can’t not continue to bring it forward.”
Councilmember Alvarez, a sponsor of this measure, expressed his disappointment with the committee vote.
“I am disappointed that the some of my Committee colleagues chose to not take this opportunity to make our City government more open and transparent.”
“Amending our City Charter to make San Diego a leader in open government would have sent a clear message to the public that the CityCouncil and Mayor are committed to making the City as open and transparent as possible. I look forward to the day when the City takes open government seriously,”
On This Day: 1935 – At age 17, Ella Fitzgerald recorded her first songs. The two songs were “Love and Kisses” and “I’ll Chase the Blues Away.” 1963 – Civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens’ Council. It took 30 years for prosecutors to gain a conviction, following a deadlocked all white jury. 1981– Major League Baseball strike began, forcing cancellation of 713 games. Most observers blamed team owners for the strike: they were trying to recover from a court decision favoring the players on free agency.
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