By Doug Porter
Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer has vetoed an ordinance increasing minimum wages and allowing for earned sick days for San Diegans.
The City Council now has 30 days to override the veto. Twenty four hours after that vote happens it’s probable that the Chamber of Commerce–given that they’ve been raising money for it– will begin collecting signatures to overturn the ordinance.
The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody–or whatever catchy name they come up with–will have 30 days to collect 34,000 or so signatures. Should they succeed, the ordinance will be suspended until after the June, 2016 vote.
Faulconer released a statement trying to put a positive spin on his veto:
This ordinance unfairly pits working families and our city against economic realities that will make it even harder for San Diego to thrive. I cannot support putting the brakes on our economy. I believe we can and must work together in unison – workers, businesses and government – to move San Diego forward.
Of course the “San Diego” he wants to ‘thrive’ is composed of the selfish few at the top of the economic heap, who’ve used government and politics to amass wealth at the expense of the rest of us.
Raise Up San Diego, the coalition responsible for orchestrating public support for the ordinance, released a statement expressing disappointment with the veto:
“I’m heart broken. The Earned Sick Days and Minimum Wage Ordinance meant families like mine would have the ability to keep up with the rent and put groceries on the table. The Mayor is taking away a chance to make ends meet from hundreds of thousands of families,” said Biviana Lagunas, a full-time student who works to help her family pay the rent. She was among several minimum-wage workers who joined clergy in a meeting with the Mayor to ask him to sign the ordinance.
A new poll found that almost two-thirds of voters – 63% – support the Earned Sick Days and Minimum Wage Ordinance approved by the City Council last month. The poll was conducted July 31 – August 4, 2014 by Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research.
“People shouldn’t have to choose between being a good parent and a good employee. This law gives people the ability to take care of their sick kids or parents by using the days that they have earned by working hard every day,” said Pastor Terrell Fletcher of City of Hope International Church, a San Diego Organizing Project leader.
“Given the success San Jose has had with its minimum wage ordinance, I and a lot of other San Diego business people are surprised Mayor Faulconer vetoed ours,” said Mel Katz, one of San Diego’s most-respected business leaders, who grew the local franchise of Manpower, Inc. into a $100 million business. Katz said recent analysis of the San Jose minimum wage showed that it had generated little, if any, negative impact on local business while helping hundreds of thousands of people better afford the city’s high living costs. “There’s significant proof that the San Jose minimum wage has helped that city’s economy — a similar ordinance could help ours,” Katz said.
Given that this news is breaking on my deadline, I’m going to quote yesterday’s column, where I maintained that this struggle is about more one city council action:
Should the forces aligned by the Chamber of Commerce triumph, the purpose of representative government at the local level is called into question. After all, why bother having a city council if unpopular actions can be vetoed at the whim of local plutocrats?
On a national level we’ve seen the increasing power of entities like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) which presents cookie cutter legislation created by lobbyists to further narrow corporate interests. Since 2011 ALEC and National Restaurant Associated backed legislation has led eleven states to pass laws thwarting local control through paid sick day preemption laws.
They’re the people behind “Stand Your Ground” legislation, voter ID restrictions, and laws prohibiting videotaping in factory farm operations. Most recently ALEC is engaging in a national effort to increase costs for Americans–they call them Freeloaders– who have invested in solar panels for their homes and businesses.
Here in San Diego, since the voters have saddled moneyed interests with a City Council unlikely to consider such actions, they’re out to neuter the institution. I can guarantee that this model of corporate governance, made possible by campaign finance laws (or lack thereof), will be watched nationwide for its potential as tool for corporate power.
Gonzalez Diaper Bill Hits the Spin Cycle
A couple of news stories making the rounds today bring to mind the power of individual words to shape public opinion. Call them “code words” or “trigger words” or “loaded phrases;” or whatever; in each case the use or non-use of word leads people to predetermined conclusions.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez recently introduced a bill (AB1516) giving families with children under two receiving CalWORKS supplemental assistance to pay for diapers. The ideas behind the bill was that such assistance would enable women entering the workforce to meet the requirements of childcare facilities.
Headline writers at some publications have pounced on the bill, calling it a new “welfare” program. Since the 1980’s the term has being used as a political football; now it’s a word expressing contempt or disapproval.
Now the word functions like a dogwhistle for the politically dysfunctional and delusional rank and file of the teahadist set.
10News ran a the headline “A welfare program for diapers?” and a reader poll.
UT-San Diego went with a less provocative headline “Diaper bill draws strong reactions” and a poll asking “Do you favor the state subsidizing diaper costs for families on welfare?”
NBC7News posted “Proposed Bill to Fund Diapers for Low-Income Families”
All three news organizations published matter-of-fact accounts. 10News and UT-San Diego’s accounts have lots of comments filled with loathing. The NBC7 story has two comments, only one of which is wingnutty.
Fox News went all-in for maximum frothing:
“Diaper duty for Calif. taxpayers? Bill would create new welfare program”
Welfare as a Code Word for Minorities
The use of the word ‘welfare’ as a pejorative grew out of the GOP’s southern strategy.
From Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times:
As Thomas and Mary Edsall put it in their classic 1991 book, “Chain Reaction: The impact of race, rights and taxes on American politics,” “Reagan paralleled Nixon’s success in constructing a politics and a strategy of governing that attacked policies targeted toward blacks and other minorities without reference to race — a conservative politics that had the effect of polarizing the electorate along racial lines.”
Thus, Reagan repeatedly told the bogus story of the Cadillac-driving welfare queen — a gross exaggeration of a minor case of welfare fraud. He never mentioned the woman’s race, but he didn’t have to.
There are many other examples of Reagan’s tacit race-baiting in the historical record. My colleague Bob Herbert described some of these examples in a recent column. Here’s one he didn’t mention: During the 1976 campaign Reagan often talked about how upset workers must be to see an able-bodied man using food stamps at the grocery store. In the South — but not in the North — the food-stamp user became a “strapping young buck” buying T-bone steaks.
These days the term has transcended its mutated definition to include all of “them,” the hordes in the minds of the teahadists who are lining up to steal the American Dream.
@omarpassons @SaraLibby yep. This bill has been most polarizing of any I’ve carried– often depending on how characterized
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) August 8, 2014
‘Torture’ is Now Okay at the New York Times
President Obama let the cat out of the bag last week.
President Barack Obama couldn’t have been more blunt in acknowledging that the U.S. crossed a moral line in its treatment of war-on-terror prisoners.
“We tortured some folks,” Obama said during a White House news conference Friday. “When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line. And that needs to be understood and accepted.”
So, now that it’s been acknowledged by the government, the New York Times has seen fit to allow the word ‘torture’ to be used in news accounts. This is a reversal from the paper’s previous policy of referring to “harsh” or “brutal” interrogation methods.
So today at Politico we read:
The change was announced late Thursday in a note from executive editor Dean Baquet.
“Over time, the landscape has shifted,” Baquet wrote. “Far more is now understood, such as that the C.I.A. inflicted the suffocation technique called waterboarding 183 times on a single detainee and that other techniques, such as locking a prisoner in a claustrophobic box, prolonged sleep deprivation and shackling people’s bodies into painful positions, were routinely employed in an effort to break their wills to resist interrogation.”
“Meanwhile, the Justice Department, under both the Bush and Obama administrations, has made clear that it will not prosecute in connection with the interrogation program,” he continued. “The result is that today, the debate is focused less on whether the methods violated a statute or treaty provision and more on whether they worked – that is, whether they generated useful information that the government could not otherwise have obtained from prisoners. In that context, the disputed legal meaning of the word ‘torture’ is secondary to the common meaning: the intentional infliction of pain to make someone talk.”
The Associated Press and Reuters News, the services most local papers rely upon for international and national reporting still have policies in place forbidding use of the word in connection with U.S. policy reporting.
Both of these vignettes I’ve presented today about the use of words are prime examples of how information is all-to-often framed for public consumption.
How Dry We Aren’t at The County’s Waterfront Park
Not long ago I visited San Diego County’s new Waterfront Park. It is an impressive civic accomplishment, something you might see in a really big vision city like Chicago.
Now there are a lot of differences between San Diego and Chicago, but the one difference that struck me immediately was that we happen to be in the middle of a severe drought. And that park has got sky juice shooting out of nozzles all over the place.
Apparently I’m not the only person wondering, as 10News ran a story yesterday probing the amount of water running through county spigots at the facility:
The park opened in May, and the water used is recirculated, treated to public swimming pool standards. On most days, the park is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
About 88,000 gallons of water are used to run the park, but what is not known is how much is lost through evaporation or the kids taking some of that water with them. A county spokesman said because the park has open been open three months, they do not have that data yet. They typically analyze water bills after a year…
…County Supervisor Ron Roberts led the charge on the $49.4 million waterfront park. His chief of staff, Tim McClain, told Team 10 they already shut the water off to three ornamental fountains on the property.
McClain said the park was “designed to meet state water conservation standards,” including the low water Bermuda grass and native plants. He said if there is a heavy rainfall, an automatic sensor will shut the fountains off.
Celebrating Impeach Obama Week
It’s August. It’s a slow news month. And you should be very concerned about the potential for GOP gains in the fall elections. What’s a good progressive to do?
How about celebrating Impeach Obama Week, August 23-31? It’s such a celebratory event they couldn’t fit it into just one week, so they went for nine days.
The organizers say “Everyone is welcome to join in. This is a nonpartisan effort.”
We are not here to argue about what is impeachable, but to demand that this lawless, subversive and anti-American president be removed from office.
So have a few friends over and raise a toast to to “Show Congress that there is public demand for removing the Great Usurper”.
Then go and delete all the emails from the Democratic Party trying to raise money off this lunacy.
Forty Years Ago…
On This Day: 1970 – Janis Joplin bought a headstone for the grave of blues singer Bessie Smith. Smith was one of Joplin’s idols. 1979– The Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America merged with Retail Clerks Int’l Union to become United Food & Commercial Workers 1992 – The “Dream Team” clinched the gold medal at the Barcelona Summer Olympics. The U.S. basketball team beat Croatia 117-85
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Rupert Murdoch says
The rich get richer on the backs of their workers, and the fools who support them, mainly Republicans, yelling “they should be able to keep what they have worked for”. Thus, “NO NEW TAXES” for the greedy rich. What a bunch of idiots.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
The Chamber of Commerce is San Diego’s de facto decision-making body these days, led by former Police Chief and former Mayor Jerry Sanders. His carefully cultivated image as Mr. Nice Guy is now thoroughly discredited. It is scary, what people will do for a buck — or a six-figure salary. It seems even former Chamber and Manpower executive Mel Katz has had enough: he supports the minimum wage and he also supported the right of Barrio Logan to have its own community plan. That’s a story right there.
Too bad the 10 News story on Waterfront Park didn’t address what happens when a kid craps in the water.
I was there one day when they shut the jets off, the security guards ordered everyone out and they drained all the water. According to the security guards that wasn’t the first time “one of the kids got too excited to go up to the toilet.”
What really surprised me was that the fountains on both sides of the park must recirculate the same water. So even though the poop was in a pool on the south side, they had to completely drain all the fountains on the north side of the building as well.
John Lawrence says
It’s amazing how many businesses like the ones Mayor Faulconer referred to can’t afford a modest wage increase for their workers and still remain profitable. If their profits are so meager, they are probably failing anyway. And if raising their prices by a few cents is going to drive away enough customers that all of a sudden their expenses exceed their revenues, we’re talking about the weakest of the weak San Diego businesses that Faulconer is trying to protect. Who said he wasn’t for the underdog?