Mayor Faulconer’s Republican Unicorns: Jobs! And the Minimum Wage Veto

by on April 20, 2016 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, History, Labor, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

Kevin Faulconer headshot colorrevers Kevin Faulconer headshotThe Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody Lives On

By Doug Porter

Have you seen the Falconer for Mayor ads in social media yet? San Diego’s incumbent mayor is claiming credit –sort of– for a 34% drop in local unemployment since he was elected. If you buy into this claim, you’ll love the expected follow-up ads claiming credit for the sun rising, the sun setting, and better-than-usual surf in Ocean Beach.

Think of this employment claim as like a candidate standing next to a cardboard cutout of somebody famous, hoping for the perceived endorsement. In Faulconer’s case, this cutout could be anybody but a member of his own political party since it would be hard to find a living Republican with a positive economic record. And hasn’t he heard the proclamations from his fellow Republicans about how jobs are fleeing the People’s Republic of California?

Independent mayoral candidate Lori Saldaña called Falconer out this claim this week, pointing to the reality that San Diegans are working more for less money, thanks to his veto of a minimum wage increase in 2014.

saldana minimum wageFrom my column of August 8, 2014:

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.

The reality of Faulconer’s ‘moving San Diego forward’ is that the $1,618 average rent in San Diego means if you make the current minimum wage of $10, you’re literally spending every penny you make a month on housing.

Keeping wages suppressed while productivity increases is a basic tenet of GOP economics. There’s 40 years of evidence proving that there is no such thing as trickle down when it comes to the 99%. Smiles and press conference won’t make that truth go away.

real wages v productivity

Falconer’s Campaign Manager Leads the Opposition to Minimum Wage Boost

As an Assemblymember, Lori Saldaña voted to increase the minimum wage for millions of Californians. She stepped forward to challenge harassment claims by the anti-minimum wage forces during the petition campaign, holding a press conference and releasing videos showing misleading claims being made by canvassers.

Mayor Faulconer’s campaign manager, Jason Roe, was not-so-coincidentally the spokesperson for the anti-minimum wage ‘Small Business Coalition.’ When Saldaña announced she was running for mayor, it was Roe who the Union-Tribune turned to refute her disagreements with the Faulconer administration.

Saldaña criticized the mayor for vetoing a city minimum wage increase in summer 2014, contending his decision has helped increase local homelessness and crime.

“There are more people living in more desperate circumstances,” she said.

Saldaña said Faulconer’s list of campaign donors, which includes a wide range of business interests, is a clue to why he made that move.

“He is taking money from the people who want to build the tallest buildings and pay the lowest wages,” she said. “It’s very clear who he is standing with, and it’s not the people of San Diego.”

Roe said the mayor vetoed the wage increase, which will appear on the June ballot thanks to a subsequent referendum, because it would have hurt small businesses and increased unemployment.

Democratic mayoral candidate Ed Harris voted for a local minimum wage increase when it came before the city council. And when the measure came back before the council following a big-business sponsored petition drive, he voted to let the people be the ultimate arbiter, even as the Chamber of Commerce CEO argued to kill the measure completely.

The City Council’s minimum wage/ earned sick days ordinance is finally coming up for a vote on June 7th.

Both Saldaña and Harris will be on the ballot in San Diego. It seems to me it would be hypocritical to vote yes on Proposition I and not vote for one of the people who actually give a damn about jobs and wages in San Diego.

And here’s the dirty little secret at the bottom of the anti-minimum wage arguments: most corporate executives know they should increase wages.

From PR Watch: LuntzGlobal interviewed 1,000 registered voters and "C-level executives" (CEOs, COOs or CFOs) who were members of their local chamber (46%), state chamber (28%), or the U.S. Chamber (16%)

From PR Watch: LuntzGlobal interviewed 1,000 registered voters and “C-level executives” (CEOs, COOs or CFOs) who were members of their local chamber (46%), state chamber (28%), or the U.S. Chamber (16%)


This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at our associated SDFP.


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