Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Living Wage For Eureka?

I'm against it, although I've said before even the minimum wage wasn't something I lose sleep over at night. Problem is, with minimum wages, inflation takes place and it doesn't seem like it's all that long before minimum wage earners are back to square one.

So it will probably be with this proposal to establish a living wage for Eureka of $10.00 an hour. Certainly employers will be more leery of hiring additional help, just for starters. Some might be let go and you can't help but wonder if those making more than minimum wage now will be wanting more money since they could argue their pay wouldn't be worth as much anymore.

Hard to say just what effects this would have since the living wage would supposedly be limited to Eureka. I see one guy in the T-S web site comments section saying he'd be moving his business to Fortuna if such a thing passes. I don't blame him and I wish him well.

But would it pass? Apparently the guy sponsoring the initiative- some guy who's never held a job up here according to one of the T-S commentors- has more than one reason for filing this initiative: He wants to get more people to the polls.

Maybe he thinks that by getting more people to the polls he'll be getting more people to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, or, maybe he's just one of those people with the bizarre notion that the more people that end up voting, the better society will be?

Regardless, he may be surprised. I'm sure he probably thinks everyone feels like he does on the issues. Most people hang with people that feel as they do on issues so they assume most other people feel the same way. He may end up with an unpleasant surprise if he's wrong.

62 Comments:

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

Like Jacqueline Debets pointed out, minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation. So $8 per hour is not in keeping with the philosophy of a minimum wage in the first place. I might support the initiative because I know it requires at least $10 per hour (at 40 hours per week) for a single person to survive in Eureka, living a minimalist lifestyle. However, I don't think it's fair to burden Eureka businesses with a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state.

 
At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

State living wage campaigns helped voters turn out to the polls in higher numbers in 2006, one of the reason the Bushies lost control of Congress. I don't see why it wouldn't have the same affect in Eureka, especially when you combine that with the presidential election. Polly Endert is going to have a tough time getting re-elected under those conditions.

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

i own a business and i support the minimum wage increase. first of all, i pay all of my employees over $10 an hour,so my payroll will not be affected by the change. what will be affected is the amount of people who will be able to afford to frequent my business. if everyone in eureka made at least $10 an hour, there would be more disposable income to spend at my business.....

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Interesting that Wal Mart went on record a while back in supporting an increase in the minimum wage. I forget if it was the federal minimum wage, or some particular state's.

They were accused, rightly in my opinion, of doing it to undermine their competition.

Wal Mart already paid over the minimum wage and could afford it. Some of their competition couldn't. If some of those businesses were forced into a minimum wage increase, they may not have survived.

Not sure what ended up happening with that affair.

Not saying you're doing that. Doesn't sound like it, but something for people to keep in mind.

 
At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

theo therme....thoughtful commentary. Thanks.

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

What is your business Theo?

 
At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Bill Holmes said...

Hello Fred,

To answer one question, yes one of my motives in btinging forth this intitiative (and there may be more) is to drive up both the voter turnout and new voter registrations.

I want to defeat the Republican Party this year, both nationally and locally. I want to work towards a progressive majority on the Eureka City Council.

I do know lots of fine Republicans on an individual level but the Republican party has damaged our country almost beyond repair. It is time to send them packing for another 50 years.

I do understand that this is controversial and obviously not everyone will agree with me. But controversy will serve to drive up the turnout and defeat the Republicans, and that is my goal, along with obviously helping the working poor here in Eureka.

I myself will probably vote for Nader, and I do hope there will be progressive candidates for Kerrigan's and Endert's seats.

So if we are on different sides on this issue it is ok, we probably agree on the mandatory trash issue.

Life has more dimensions than just right or left.

Have a peaceful day,
Bill

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Theo wrote, "i own a business and i support the minimum wage increase.".

I don't think it's right of you to tell other businesses how much they should pay their employees, regardless of how much you pay yours.

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Hmmm. "...from each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs."

Where have I seen that concept advanced before? Must have been a social science class at HSU or CR. No. Wait. It was those two German guys writing in 1848. The rub of course is, who decides the "needs".

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Bill Holmes acts and smells like another famous Humboldt County implant that left us last year. What the hell, one falls, another crazy person rises to take his or her place?

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

"who decides the needs"?

Hopefully not the Spartan.

 
At 8:07 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

fred,
as a business owner, i dont get an extra vote. i get one vote for being human.

as for setting wages, who do you think is the largest employer using minimum wage? the GOVERNMENT!!! they keep wages low, they keep the dollar low, and they print the money. ill never forget when i was offered a job with the city of eureka and they offered me minimum wage. i was so excited to get offered the job, but when i saw the wage offered, i declined the job in sorrow. not everyone is in the same position as me, and they may well take that job. AT LEAST the government should have a minimum wage of $10. if your theory is correct, then businesses will follow.

 
At 9:05 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

So theo, what is your company? I mean you are rather outspoken on this, sing it from the rooftops.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

CPR: " Hopefully not the Spartan."

Bingo!! We are finally in total agreement.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Pogo said...

I could be in error but would bet theo is involved in the agriculture industry and pays his trimmers the going rate plus all they can smoke. If he believes that Eureka " keep[s] wages low, [...] keep[s] the dollar low, and [...] print[s] the money." he has been ingesting too much of his product or needs to write more cogently and use the caps key to begin sentences rather than just for shouting.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

I can dig it pogo, sounds groovy to me.

 
At 12:25 AM, Anonymous theo therme said...

pogo,
we are talking about an hourly rate here. if you are so good at pointing out growers, you should know that trimmers get paid per pound, not hour....

and if i didnt make myself clear enough, i think that ALL governments should be required to pay at least $10 an hour. i understand perfectly well that the city of eureka doesnt print money. whether they (city officials) keep wages and the dollar low is questionable. i can think of many ways that city officials have stiffled the economy and offered low wages at the same time, but you may think differently....

 
At 12:26 AM, Anonymous theo therme said...

funny how on easter, keeping down the little guy is the theme.....jesus would have been so proud...

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

Lovely, those Christians, aren't they?

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Theo Therme,
As a sometimes "libertarian" you appear to have very little understanding of the workings of government. Government has no resources (money?) that it does not expropriate from taxpayers at the point of a gun. It does not compete with individual businesses whose owners have saved and invested in order to engage in providing a product or service to those customers who are willing to part with their money in exchange for it. As a rule every expenditure of an elected government will tend to be minimized, as politicians are loathe to be turned out of their cushy positions. They will therefore tend toward penury with regard to wages and salaries for the lower echelons of employees. Any increase in wages must come from the pockets of potential voters.
If a $10.00/hr minimum wage is good, why not increase it to $50.00 or $100.00? After all, I am told that a gardner at the presidential palace in Harare earns 147,692.50 Zimbabwe Dollars per hr. (US $5.00). It would therefor seem that Mr. Mugabe has implemented to your plan big time. When he assumed power in the early 1980s the Zimbabwe dollar was close to par with the US dollar. He is not however, overly concerned with elections.

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So supporting a living wage now is equated with supporting dictatorships in Africa? Even for these simpering neoliberal Demo Central Committee fake liberals, that's quite a stretch.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

11:16,
i have no idea what your point is....

as a libertarian, i favor no minimum wage at all. but since the government and the voters have established minimum wages, i think that they should be living wages. if they arent living wages, why implement them? if they are "training" wages, then call them that..

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Theo wrote, "but since the government and the voters have established minimum wages, i think that they should be living wages.".

Thing is, Leonidas is right, in this regard. Minimum wages, or living wages, are inflationary. Why not make the "living wage" $20.00 an hour?

We end up in a vicious circle here.

 
At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Bill Holmes said...

Except Fred,

I am not proposing a $20.00 an hour minimum wage but a $10.00 minimum wage, so there is no circle, vicious or otherwise.

Have a peaceful day,
Bill

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Yes there is a circle.

It could just as easily be a $20.00 minimum wage as a $10.00 one. Regardless of what you chose as the minimum wage, it's inflationary.

Bottom line is, pretty soon the minimum wage earners, earning $10 an hour, will be back to square one when $10.00 becomes the equivalent of $7 or $8 now.

Senseless, especially as someone else pointed out that it especially won't work if just applied to Eureka.

For that matter, would it even work if it was county wide?

As the Times- Standard brought up, this could end up with all the low income earners heading for Eureka for the extra money. Is that what we want?

It's kind of like something I brought up a while back: What kind of people do you want coming to this county? Those looking for the best public services, or those that want the best climate to start a business in?

I think most people, including those who want the best government services, know it's in their best interests for the business folks to move here, not those looking for government services.

Same goes with this "living wage" thing of yours.

We don't want people up here looking for the highest minimum wage.

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

"It could just as easily be a $20.00 minimum wage as a $10.00 one."

we are going around in circles here. let's all focus like laser beams: bill is proposing TEN dollars an hour. he is not proposing $20 an hour. that tactic is getting old fast...

 
At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Bill Holmes said...

Now I am puzzled. Isn't it doctrine among you free enterprisers that higher wages will bring better employees?

Larry Glass and Jeff Leonard looked me right in the eye a couple of weeks ago and told me that higher wages would bring better police to Eureka. Is that true or not? They said that's "how the market works."

If the market works that way, won't you get better employees? Don't better employees equate to better outcomes for your business?

Or is it all horseshit?

Have a peaceful day,
Bill

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Remember, Bill, it's not a higher wage. Ten dollars will be the minimum wage. Everybody gets it, no matter what kind of work they do, assuming they have a job that pays minimum wage.

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It represents a higher wage for the working poor, Fred. Just because you don't work for a living any more doesn't mean those who do should be treated with such contempt by you.

 
At 1:31 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

theo, what is your company?

Bill, do you work for a living in Humboldt County?

 
At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theo runs some sort of physical fitness spot, I heard. As for Bill, he's lawfully retired after many years on the line.

 
At 4:16 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

anon.r.mousy,
if you didnt posses the tendency to attack folks, i would gladly tell you the name. i can tell you this: i own a local business(my wife runs it), i work a 40 hour a week job, and i manage some residential rentals.......

so yeah, ive got plenty of credentials that allow me to have an opinion about a living wage in eureka....your attempt to dehumanize me, or bill, or anyone else, just makes you look petty and hateful. what i or bill does for a living matters not one bit. we all get a vote, whether we are employed or not....

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Bill Holmes said...

Hello anon.r.mous,

My source of income is public knowledge. I get Social Security benefits. But you know that.

How about you? What's your name and your source of income?

Have a peaceful day,
Bill

 
At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome to sign up to support the Eureka living wage, no matter you work for or who you used to work for.

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As soon as the "living wage" in Humboldt county is determined by political fiat to be $10.00/hr and the disastrous results are experienced as evidenced by more unemployment the usual suspects will be clamoring for more welfare benefits and ANOTHER increase in the minimum wage. The Marxists will never give up.

 
At 7:45 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

O, I just wanted NOT to support your company, I mean your wife's company. That's all.

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger Paws The Cat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Paws The Cat said...

Is it Marxist to be concerned for single mothers trapped in poverty and unable even by working full-time to properly take care of their family? I call it common sense. Besides, Marx wasn't even a woman.

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

O, I just wanted NOT to support your company, I mean your wife's company. That's all.


Was that a Dave Berman/Jess McGuinty reference? Well Jess is good buddies with James Faulk, who called the living wage a Bolshevik conspiracy, so maybe that makes some sense.

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Dave Berman doesn't give a good goddamn about a living wage, since he can't plug it into his stolen election-9/11-illuminati conspiracy matrix.

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous theo therme said...

demanding that the government respond to the people's needs is NOT marxist. the people who are being marxist are the ones who are arguing for the government to set the minimum wage. i prefer to let the people control the government.

the people who want to let the government make decisions without input from the community members are the TRUE marxists on this issue.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous theo therme said...

anon.r.mousy refuses to support businesses that pay decent wages!!! lol lol lol

that is THE funniest thing ive heard all day....

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous theo therme said...

anon.r.mousy refuses to support businesses that pay decent wages!!! lol lol lol

that is THE funniest thing ive heard all day....

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Paws The Cat said...

Is it Marxist to be concerned for single mothers trapped in poverty and unable even by working full-time to properly take care of their family? I call it common sense. Besides, Marx wasn't even a woman.

11:05 PM


Their family means there is more than one, which would make her not be a single mother. Why did you go to the single mother heartstring? Why not single fathers? I'm going to tell you something, and I want you to listen close. "Not my child, not my problem" If she couldn't have taken care of the child, I believe there is a Planned Parenthood right down the way in Eureka and she could have fixed that problem.

It isn't the fault of the American people that you got knocked up and had a kid. It's not.

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

demanding a decent wage isnt asking for welfare!!! the nerve of some people......

also, taxpayers will not be affected one bit by a raise in the minimum wage. if anything, local tax revenue will INCREASE due to the higher prices that everyone is saying will happen after the minimum wage increases. state revenue will also increase due to increased payroll tax. tax payers will NOT be responsible for paying more taxes in order to increase the minimum wage.

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

no, just yours theo

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

theo thinks that people won't drive to Fortuna or Arcata to buy items there that are now cheaper.

 
At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might also mention the burden which the current poverty-level minimum wage imposes on social services. These people earn so little money that they qualify for food stamps, Section 8, MediCal and other government social assistance programs. More of these people earning a livable wage means they will need less of these government dollars spent on bureaucratic programs. Combine this with the increased payroll tax and sales tax revenue from the working poor (who earn and spend almost all their income locally) and you have an improved budget situation for city and state government right when they need a boost.

 
At 6:47 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

anon.r.mousy,
yeah, im sure tons of people will spend $4 a gallon to drive to arcata, which has higher sales tax, or to fortuna, which is 40 miles round trip, just to spite owners of businesses that pay a living wage.......to try to make the claim that stores in eureka will become more expensive than ones in arcata or fortuna is a complete joke. winco more expensive than wildberries? or even safeway? yeah, right. eureka businesses will see an INCREASE in revenue since so many workers from arcata and fortuna will be in eureka all day working and will need lunch, and gas, and supplies...........

by the way, i already make many big ticket purchases out of eureka. i often purchase things on the internet, through catalogs and in the city when i am there. and when it makes sense to buy in eureka, i do.

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Yes, they would theo. I sure as fuck would. I don't buy cheaper fuel at the casino in blue lake because I'm not going to support groups like that, and the same will happen in Eureka.

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

The question is this theo, would people drive to Eureka to work? And what jobs, what massive amounts of jobs are their to be had in Eureka that would cause all the people in Fortuna and Eureka to drive there?

What company is going to move in knowing they have to pay more for less?

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

anon.r.mousy,
people already drive to eureka to work and shop. look at highway 101 coming from fortuna or mckinleyville towards Eureka at 7:30AM. tons of traffic towards eureka, very little traffic away from eureka. the majority of jobs and shopping are ALREADY in eureka. it blows me away that you didn't know that....

now about the casino: why wont you buy gas there? you werent clear on the reason. does it have to do with the wages that they pay? that is what this thread is about.....

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Minimum wage doesn't work. Price of everything goes up because of the minimum wage increase, and those workers are back where they started in short order. A much better solution is a maximum wage. This would lower costs and there'd be no need for a minimum wage.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Since I reported the "minimum" wage if the gardener at the presidential palace in Harare day before yesterday his "wage" has increased by Z$1295.00. Has the "value" of his services increased? The "dictator" issue is a red herring (bullshit) as a "Democrat" such as Anonymous 2:13PM can accomplish the same thing.

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Pogo said...

Theotherme: "we are talking about an hourly rate here. if you are so good at pointing out growers, you should know that trimmers get paid per pound, not hour...."

Please learn to READ. I said "the going rate" we both know they are paid on the "piece work" basis.

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You couldn't be more wrong Jeff. The SF living wage only caused a 2% average jump in prices, and virtually no job loss. Read the studies, not the anecdotes, if you want the true facts and not the "have you heard" facts.

 
At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Bill Holmes said...

One reason for passing this ordinance is to discourage big box retailers from coming here. I have been explicit about this from the beginning.

When you characterize low income workers as "less" you are being abusive and obnoxious. Try to live without them.

Have a peaceful day,
Bill



anon.r.mous said:

What company is going to move in knowing they have to pay more for less?

 
At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Bill Holmes said...

What would you set your maximum wage at Jeff?

Bill

jeff said:

A much better solution is a maximum wage.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Bill wrote, "One reason for passing this ordinance is to discourage big box retailers from coming here. I have been explicit about this from the beginning.".

Hmmm...first time I've heard it brought up. Good to see that out in the open.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Anon 8:37

Good point, I'm being flippant more than serious. But I would question if SF is a representative sample of the nation as a whole. It may well be, but I'm not convinced.

Bill,

Something like 10 to 20 times the lowest paid employee. If not in wages, then at least in bonuses. As stated above, my comment was mostly flippant, but I think the concept is sound and worth considering, but only philosophically. Implementing such financial controls would be nightmarish. What I foolishly wish for is a voluntary sharing of the wealth.

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous theo therme said...

jeff,
a maximum wage would not share the wealth one bit. a maximum wage wouldnt apply to the owners of companies, or to the boards or directors or to stockholders, or to investors, or to politicians, or to lobbyists.

the only people that a maximum wage would hurt would be workers. it would sure help the owners to keep costs down. there is no doubt about that...

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

True enough theo, although if workers were given raises so the supervisors could make more, that would be sharing the wealth. As a catch phrase, maximum wage can also refer to caps on total net worth of the individual. But again, I don't really believe such a policy could be implemented as such. In a way, the tax breaks for donating create incentive to share wealth. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation does some wonderful work. Would they do it without the tax breaks. Maybe, but it's a nice bonus for them.

 

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