By Doug Porter
The struggle for a better life for nearly two hundred thousand San Diegans continues, as the forces of reaction desperately fight back following passage of an ordinance increasing the local minimum wage by the City Council.
The San Diego Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from corporate hotel and restaurant corporations, has funded a campaign to force the issue to a referendum, which would have the effect of delaying any increase until July, 2016. While their sales pitch started out with the premise that citizens needed to vote on such a measure, it has gotten increasingly desperate in recent days.
The paid canvassers used by GOP consultant Jason Roe and the big business funded “Small Business Coalition” have quit in droves, mostly because they are unable to collect enough signatures to make a living. The bounty for names on their petitions has risen from roughly $2 per signature to $7 each at retail locations and $10 each if done door-to-door.
Raise Up San Diego, the coalition of faith, business and labor groups supportive of the minimum wage increase has mounted an aggressive campaign to challenge referendum effort.
Taking Back Signatures
Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs is featured in radio commercials urging people not to sign petitions. Former basketball star Bill Walton’s voice is being used in robo-calls (Which could use a little better targeting). The group has dispatched supporters to retail locations hoping to persuade people not to sign and has mounted a campaign to get people who feel they were misled to nullify their signatures.
Increasingly desperate representatives of the anti-minimum wage group have been caught misrepresenting the intent of their petitions.
From the San Diego Reader:
Former California assemblywoman Lori Saldaña held a press conference on Tuesday, September 9, highlighting “hundreds” of San Diego voters officially submitting forms to withdraw their signatures from a signature-gathering effort intended to place the city’s recently-passed minimum-wage and sick-pay ordinance before voters, potentially overturning the law that has thus far survived a veto from mayor Kevin Faulconer via a two-thirds “supermajority” override…
…Normal Heights resident Marilisa Navarro says she was misled into signing the petition initially, being told by the signature collector — paid by foes of the new law, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce — that her signature would allow for a vote to increase the pay of minimum-wage workers. She says she was not told, however, that the increase had already been adopted, and that the vote was actually one on whether to repeal the wage hike, which would see worker pay rise incrementally to $11.50 by 2017…
…La Jollan Anita Simons also said she was led to sign a petition in favor of a referendum under false circumstances, being told signatures were being gathered “just in case they needed to show support for the ordinance.”
Living the Wage, Not So Easy
Yesterday City Council President Todd Gloria, along with Arnulfo Manriquez, President and CEO of the nonprofit MAAC and Queen Bee’s Business Owner Alma Rodriguez ended their week-long “Live the Wage” Challenge, during which time they have attempted to live on the current $9 per hour minimum wage.
Councilman Gloria’s account about his week living the challenge was published in the SD Free Press yesterday and, outside of UT-San Diego (which completely ignored the story), was covered by much of the local media.
The other two participants’ stories were more poignant.
Alma Rodriguez, Business Owner
Alma Rodriquez didn’t make the finish line, posting a video on Tuesday sadly announcing her decision.
She added comments later on, saying:
I would like to Thank Todd Gloria and Arnulfo for allowing me to take part in this challenge with them. I took it on to make the statement, and to see what lessons I could learn from it. It has helped me to be thankful for the opportunities that I have, as well as for the opportunities that I can provide for others. I definitely see places that I can save money on a daily basis by cutting out some unnecessary expenses, but also that there are many things that are necessary to just survive. Not to mention have a good time, eat out, be entertained, and enjoy living in our beautiful city.
Thank You San Diego for all of your Love and Support all of these years. I have been in business here for almost 15 years, and it has been amazing. I have always made sure the people that work for me and with me have been well taken care of. Many of them have been with me the whole time, and still work for me today. Everyone is happy. That is the ultimate goal for EVERYONE, happiness should be attainable for ALL. Right now I have to confess I am going to find some happiness at one of my favorite restaraunts, Swami’s North Park, with breakfast. I have been really missing that!
Arnulfo Manriquez, Non-Profit CEO
Arnulfo Manriquez didn’t even make it to Tuesday. Here’s what he had to say on Facebook:
This week, I didn’t have to buy any other toiletries: deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, dental floss, no other hair products, laundry and dishwashing detergent, cleaning solutions, paper towels and napkins, toilet paper, condiments. Let alone any clothes.
I’ve learned that there is very little room for error. I bought orange juice at the grocery store and later I realized that water would do as I ran out of food by day 4, I couldn’t afford it and shouldn’t have bought it. I have to learn how much gas to pump and miles to drive. I think I failed this challenge by the 2nd day, I tried to stretch, I can learn to spend less, but no amount of learning will make it possible to survive with 3 children while working full time at the current minimum wage.
Local Media Frames the Story
KUSI News ran a story about the Live the Wage challenge, quoting one economist promising that if the minimum wage increases “prices for goods will go up, and businesses will not hire entry level people.” They couldn’t be bothered with a Google search showing that nothing like their predicted scenario happened in San Jose, San Francisco or Santa Fe. Or mention the 600 economists who issued a letter to President Obama earlier supporting a minimum wage increase.
At the onset of the challenge GOP consultant Jason Roe told 10News:
“I think it’s a political stunt that isn’t based in reality,” said Jason Roe, who is leading the campaign to repeal the new ordinance.
Gloria responded, “This isn’t a stunt. This is life for thousands of San Diegans every single day.”
“Todd is acting like a child,” said Roe, of the San Diego Small Business Coalition.
I think Roe is acting like the Spawn of Satan. But that’s just one old man’s opinion.
The Koch Brothers Connection
Over at NBC7 News, they quoted Ann Kinner, owner of Seabreeze Books and Charts in Point Loma as their expert. Au contraire, we’re told. It’s the small business owners who are suffering.
“I’m already about as lean as I can get, so that means in order to keep what I have now comes out of my pocket,” Kinner said. I don’t spend as much on groceries. We don’t go out to dinner. We don’t do things people would like us to do because I don’t have the money to contribute to my own household.”
Kinner is a member of the Small Business Coalition and has a petition about the minimum wage hike inside her shop. She said raising the minimum wage will eliminate jobs.
NBC7 didn’t bother to tell us that Kinner is also Chair of the California Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Business, a (not really) small business group subsidized by the Koch Brothers. Or that her profile with NFIB/CA talks about her passion for (not cheap) small ship cruises. (Inbetween struggling to pay for groceries, no doubt)
Carl DeMaio Fighting for the Little Guy (Sponsored by Koch)
Speaking of the NFIB, congressional candidate Carl DeMaio was out with his own (belated) announcement yesterday:
From UT-San Diego:
Republican congressional hopeful Carl DeMaio on Tuesday unveiled a National Federation of Independent Businesses endorsement, saying it reflects his record of “fighting for the little guy.”
His news conference announcing the endorsement came a week after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsement of freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, DeMaio’s Nov. 4 general election opponent in the tossup 52nd Congressional District election.
The small business group that represents more than 350,000 members nationwide formally announced its backing more than a month ago but DeMaio said the campaign chose not to publicize it until now.
Dinesh D’Souza: Little Guy, Fighting (Sponsored by Papa Doug)
The Feds are asking for a 16 month sentence for Dinesh D’Souza, San Diego resident and part-time filmmaker. You might recall his “epic” documentary 2016: Obama’s America was backed by Papa Doug Manchester, owner of UT-San Diego.
The U.S. government wants conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza to be sentenced to as much as 16 months in prison, following his guilty plea to a campaign finance law violation.
In a Wednesday court filing, federal prosecutors rejected defense arguments that D’Souza was “ashamed and contrite” about his crime, had “unequivocally accepted responsibility,” and deserved a sentence of probation with community service…
…It also said D’Souza waited to “the last possible moment” prior to trial before admitting guilt, and then went on TV shows and the Internet to complain about being “selectively” targeted for prosecution, and having little choice but to plead guilty.
On This Day:1847 – “Oh! Susanna” was sung in public for the first time. Stephen Foster sold the rights to the song for a bottle of whiskey. 1941 – Charles A. Lindbergh brought on charges of anti-Semitism with a speech in which he blamed “the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration” for trying to draw the United States into World War II. 2001- More than 3,000 people died when suicide highjackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell
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