Truth is a Casualty
The old adage says that truth is the first casualty of war. It often doesn't survive much longer in politics, either.
Last week, Mayor Villaraigosa signed legislation championed by Bill and his colleagues Janice Hahn and Eric Garcetti. The package of three ordinances provided a minimal safety net to the workers of the hotels along Century Boulevard, including a requirement that they be paid a "living wage." That turns out to be $9.39 with health benefits, and $10.64 without benefits.
For Bill, it is not just a matter of social justice, but also part of a broader effort to improve Century Boulevard, including public works improvements and support for a proposed new conference center to attract new business. (You can read his and Janice's Daily Breeze column on the issue here.)
But the ink wasn't dry on the mayor's signature before opponents launched an effort to repeal the living wage.
The tactics of at least one person collecting signatures for the repeal are interesting.
Shopping at the Ralphs' market on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice yesterday, I noticed someone collecting signatures. The store, in the heart of lefty Venice, near Lincoln Place, and a flashpoint in the 2003 grocery strike, is a popular spot for people to gather support for progressive causes and candidates. I asked the signature collector what effort he was supporting.
"This is for a living wage for hotel workers," he said.
"FOR a living wage," I asked? "I thought the city already approved that."
"Yes, but this would have the voters approve it instead of the city council."
"Aren't you really collecting signatures to try to repeal the ordinance?"
"Yeah, but it won't win, so this way the voters will approve the living wage instead of the City Council, and that is better. It's not good to have the government doing that. It is better for the voters to do it."
Translation: we're trying to repeal the living wage ordinance in order to save it.
If opponents collect enough signatures, expect to see the measure of the May municipal election ballot.
Chief of Staff