By Doug Porter
Paid signature gatherers, many from out of town, fanned out across the city this week trying to persuade voters to support a Chamber of Commerce led effort to block a minimum wage increase for San Diegans.
City Council President Todd Gloria, a very high profile local politician and author of the minimum wage/sick days ordinance, had the presence of mind to make an instagram video as he was approached outside an uptown post office.
“Have you signed the petition so the state can’t force the city of San Diego to increase the minimum wage yet?” the signature-gatherer asked. “I support raising the minimum wage,” Gloria answered.
Here’s a snippet former State Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña’s encounter, left as a comment at SDFP yesterday:
Today I had my 1st interaction with a petition gatherer, at the Sprouts in Clairemont. I had just finished loading groceries in my car. He yelled out “are you a registered voter in the city of San Diego?” and I knew it was time to try my strategy: read the details.
He started out by asking if I wanted to help raise the minimum-wage. I told him that had already been done by the city Council.
He countered that the mayor had vetoed their action. I replied that they had overridden the veto a few days ago.
Then he told me the purpose of the petition is to keep the Council from “running roughshod” over voters. This is according to man who also admitted he is not from San Diego.
And, of course there’s my interaction:
He told me that the increase in the minimum wage passed by the City Council would threaten the very existence of small businesses because wages would JUMP BY TWENTY FIVE PER CENT over the State’s minimum come January 1st.
That sounded like Republi-Math (™) to me, so I whipped out my official pinko cell phone calculator:
State Wage: $9
City bump: $9.75
That would an 8.3% increase by my calculation.
So that’s three encounters. Three different stories, ranging from pathetically lying, to ignorant, to math challenged.
It shouldn’t surprise anybody that the arguments used by representatives of the so-called Small Business Coalition are lies. After all, this “coalition” is merely the latest incarnation of right -wing ideological and financial interest groups seeking to promote economic and political oppression.
Lies are their stock-in-trade. They lied about Proposition 187, denying access to state services for immigrants; they lied about Proposition 8, denying marriage equality for same sex couples, and they lied to get the Barrio Logan Community Plan thrown out.
Now they’re lying to take away a long overdue pay increase for those at the bottom of the economic scale. They’re lying so sick employees have no choice but to come to work.
Who are “they”? They are the parasites with a symbiotic relationship with reactionary politicians and screw-it-I-got-mine millionaires. People with no ethics; no sense of right or wrong.
The guy who is spokesman (He seems to get a thrill from seeing his name published, so I’ll pass) for the anti-minimum wage campaign once reportedly mailed a knife to a ex-cop to express his displeasure (h/t John Lamb) at a deal gone bad. He’s proud of his involvement in a political campaign that made fun of a double amputee Iraq war veteran.
Proud. Think we should trust anything this guy says?
Business Coalition Pinocchio Speaks
Here’s what he told KPBS about the Todd Gloria encounter:
“It sounds to me like this individual merely just got the script backwards or at least confused,” Jason Roe said. “We will not tolerate anyone misrepresenting this.”
He could not provide training materials given to signature gatherers. Roe said the organization has dozens of people circulating the petition and they just completed training the day prior.
“And we will just continue to train our folks but they’ve only been doing this for less than 24 hours and given the complexity of the issue, I don’t think anyone’s terribly surprised that somebody might not have gotten the script perfectly right,” he said.
Let’s run this in slo-mo.
These guys have got virtually unlimited resources. The buy-in for businesses who agree with this campaign is reportedly $10,000. Yet somehow they haven’t been able to develop a script.
They’ve known they were going to run this campaign since the middle of July, when the Facebook page in support of the effort was created.
The issue isn’t that complex. The petitions are asking voters to put this question on the ballot in June 2016.
And somehow the guy running the campaign just couldn’t come up with a copy of the training script.
I’ve worked in politics (and sales) off and on over 40 years, and every professional campaign has a script. And you get fired if you don’t follow it.
So this is horsepoop. These guys are lying. They’re lying because that’s how they do business. And enabling a business model based on exploiting its employees is a big part of why they lie.
The Downtown Creed: Deny, Deflect, Defer
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the suits at the Chamber of Commerce keep their distance from these lies, but they won’t denounce them. And that’s all the proof anybody should need that they condone this behavior.
And don’t get me started by saying ‘everybody does it’. Politicos of all bents have lied for centuries. That does not make it right. Nor can we roll back the clock. Let’s talk about now.
It’s obvious to me that the system of redress or direct democracy intended by the right of the people to initiate a referendum is broken. It’s unlikely that any legislative fix can change that reality because we live in an era where corporations are considered people and huge piles of cash are considered free speech.
Since apparently we are denied the ability to change the rules of the game, I’d like to suggest a another path, one in keeping with our nation’s anglo-puritan traditions: Shame.
Yammering about what might of been or what could have been does nothing but suck the air of the room. A better life for nearly 200,000 people is what we’re talking about today.
Show us your script, Mr. Small Business Coalition. Fire the “independent contractor” who violated it. Prove that you’re the better person.
Denounce the lies, Mayor Faulconer. Apologize to Todd Gloria on behalf of the business community you claim to represent.
Show us that you’re honest business people over at the Chamber of Commerce fighting for what you really believe in. Try making a sincere argument. Prove to us that you’re not complicit.
And…I’m betting that will never happen.
So let us not mince words. Let’s call these rascals out for what they are.
Let Jerry Sanders catch hell from a waitress. Let Kevin Faulconer see signs on the street calling him out for abetting (what should be) a crime. Let the owners of the corporations funding these lies see picket lines in front of their restaurants.
It’s a nice fantasy….I’m sure it doesn’t poll well.
And I’m sure the consultants on our side of the fence are horrified by the thought. After all, they could be next.
- Take the pledge not to sign the anti-sick days anti-minimum wage petitions.
- Inform as many people as possible that the earned sick days and minimum wage policy HAS PASSED, and that any signature gathering effort is an attempt to TAKE IT AWAY!! Tell your friends: DON’T SIGN IT
If you see a signature gatherer, text the following hotline:
(619) 930 – 3300
On This Day: 1762 – Ann Franklin became the editor of the Mercury of Newport in Rhode Island. She was the first female editor of an American newspaper. 1964 – Martha & The Vandellas’ “Dancing In The Streets” was released. 1986– The Kerr-McGee Corp. agreed to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million, settling a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit. She was a union activist who died in under suspicious circumstances on her way to talk to a reporter about safety concerns at her plutonium fuel plant in Oklahoma.
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