Measure R’s Pro and Con Narratives in 30 Seconds.

Local civic leader Charlie Bean was chosen to narrate the No On R ad.  Why wasn’t local business leader Fred Sunquist chosen?  Because Charlie makes a great protagonist.  He is a hard working, civic minded individual who also happens to be disabled and a little grey in the beard.  (I’m joining you quickly Charlie).

The 30 second TV ad is the top of the money pyramid.  This is what, if a campaign has enough, money is spent on.  It’s what will reach most of us who may not be paying close attention, may be voting, and may be moved by narratives.  Who tells these stories is as important as the story itself in the case of Charlie’s ad.

The Fair Wage Folks have their own TV ad now.  Their narrative is more straight forward – lift the minimum wage for local workers.  Their protagonists are of course labor, health care workers, Occupy veterans, etc.  Clear message, clear supporters, clear proposal.

So clear that now even No On R proponent and Treasurer John Fullerton is on board (ish).  He too supports a higher minimum wage and even outdoes the Fair Wage Folks by expanding it County wide.  Kudos John, welcome to the “regulate the free market” dark side.  I’m sure this isn’t just a proposal that is based on weakening Measure R’s chances this November.  I’m sure you will be working hard to move this proposal forward after R passes (or God forbid doesn’t) because R will of course be subjected to legal challenges and we do need a proposal to move the higher wages County wide.  Kudos John!  Let’s do that too – starting November 5th.

So electorate – do some critical thinking before the election.  Think about the narratives and whose telling them and how much it costs to get that narrative across.  (All the while avoiding free advertising in the form of answering questions publically.)

Measure R is a proposal and a narrative that is straight forward that people are happy to put their name behind.  Those against Measure R not so much.  $10,000 in revenue to pay for the ads featuring Charlie Bean were either generated fraudulently or with a clear pre-meditated and organized fund raising technique used to subvert financial disclosure laws.

Those who were not afraid to put their name behind their support include Pacific Seafood, and Jaison Chand and Fred Sunquist.  They obviously have interests that affect their own bottom line, and rightfully so.  That’s just not the tale that is politically … legitimate.  Instead we told to focus on a protagonist who represents our senior citizens and our disabled.  Two communities that I don’t feel comfortable promising that there will not be new challenges to meet their needs – as always – and as always the left will continue to insure our society’s and communities commitment to you is not altered.

But Measure R is only peripherally about services to retired and the disabled.  It’s primarily about paying hard working people a living wage with one of the benefits being lowered public assistance being used on the young and working.

Those are the narratives.  Here are some facts. ..

For the $13,000 + amount of print and air propaganda you are about to receive from the No On R folks, 94% ($16,350 of $17,166 as of 10/18/14) of their revenue total was generated by Pacific Seafood, City Cab, and the anonymous 100 (who could be one person with a tricky accountant for all we know).  Let’s hope Eureka begins to understand the game .

Resources and Diversions:

Here is Measure R’s most recent 460 – (Thank you Pam Powell – Eureka City Clerk)

460 Against Measure R_20141023

Here is a nice diversion (and a wonderful frame) for a wet and gusty North Coast Saturday if you have 20 min.  John Oliver on the wealth gap (warning – HBO).  Something we know about all to well about in Eureka specifically and Humboldt generally.


20 thoughts on “Measure R’s Pro and Con Narratives in 30 Seconds.

  1. MOLA42 says:

    Let’s see how enthusiastic Mr. Fullerton is for a countywide minimum wage increase if Measure R is defeated.

    “Oh no! We can’t have a countywide-only minimum wage increase… it must be statewide to make any sense!”

    Even if Mr. Fullerton is sincere in his desire for a countywide minimum wage increase… I’m pretty sure his backers are not.

    I’ve got an idea; let’s get Measure R passed first… then get the rest of the county on board the next election cycle. Fair enough?

  2. Tames says:

    Charlie and everyone else who doesn’t benefit is HURT by Measure R. Prices go up to pay for the wage and because of decreased competition. You guys were incredibly selfish to be so selective in who you wanted to help. Us pizza makers get left out, along with 85% of those on minimum wage in the city. Until Walmart opens a pizza parlor. As long as you get yours, right? If you guys cared about workers instead of pissing on Walmart, this thing would pass easily. Liberal Jon, Arroyo, Bergel. Either you can’t do math, or you just don’t care.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tames might have a point except for the nearly 8 decades of evidence proving higher minimum wages benefit local economies.

    The issue is not the size of the increase, (Los Bagels and Ramone’s said it’s “uncomfortable”, not impossible), but what it takes to keep full-time working families out of poverty. It should be obvious that with fewer working families living in poverty…..there’s less poverty! That means more consumer activity, more employment and less crime and drug abuse making Eureka a safer and more attractive place for Mr. Bean.

    Unfortunately, liberal candidates and progressive measure campaigns keep choosing to play within the rules that are corrupted by money and thus owned by a tiny cabal that almost always outspends their opponents and wins.

    Spending volunteer’s time and effort, and thousands of dollars on media, mailers, headquarters, voter-tracking, events, endorsements, and the fundraising hours to pay for it, is fine…as long as the primary and only known antidote to corruption is a fully-funded priority: canvassing every home to educate and register the majority of eligible voters that never vote!

    Looking back decades at mostly losses, it’s astounding that no one yet realizes that using the same campaign strategy isn’t reaching these folks! And your chance of convincing or changing the mind of half-plus-one of the remaining minority of voters is nil, in fact, it requires massive resources, complex tracking data, and (seemingly) adopting opponent’s values, or back-peddling your own!

    With the assistance of HSU’s Roosevelt Institute my prediction has changed from a 56% to 46% loss, to 50-50. The real winners from “R” are Kim and Natalie. With this much nationwide popularity and local political potential in registering thousands of new voters “R” should have had every member of every union, democratic and Green party pounding the pavement…at least a little…

  4. John Fullerton says:

    The measure R supporters want you to believe that 2 + 2 = 24. Measure R is a job killer beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is simple math, you cannot escape it despite any number of irrelevant studies you pretend to quote.

    Struggling Eureka businesses faced with a 50% increase in their biggest overhead expense in just 8 months MUST either raise their prices or layoff employees or both if they want to remain in business. I ran the numbers on three of my restaurant clients and Measure R will wipe out 100% of their profits. In order to remain in business the owners will have no choice but to raise their prices by 20% or layoff workers. The restaurant business is highly price resistant. I think two of those 3 business may survive with a combination of price increases & layoffs but the third will close its doors.

    Los Bagels & Ramone’s will also have price increases combined with layoffs. The City of Eureka will have its expenses increase by over $350,000 or more and will have no choice but to cut services & have layoffs. Eureka City Schools will be faced with an additional $100,000 expense to add to their already suffocating budget deficit.

    Measure R will give little Eureka the highest minimum wage in California and the second highest in the entire country even higher than New York city.

    My plan would raise the minimum wage the same amount but phase it in over three years giving the local economy time to adjust. My plan would make it county wide so Eureka isn’t punished by comparison to other cities. My plan would give employers six months to train new hires and incentives to offer employees health insurance & retirement plans. My plan would give restaurants a break recognizing the fact their tipped employees make more from their tips than from the wage.

  5. Job Killer = Fear Mongering John.

    50% increase is a statistical lie that looks good on paper, but comes with caveats. The real increase will be and additional $3 from the current minimum wage of $9 (which did go into effect 7/1/14) to $12. 3/9 = 33% or, heaven forbid, you can also look at the change from the perspective of where the wage should be… 3/12 = 25%.

    John, again, you forget to mention the provision that allows businesses to work with their workers to determine a wage that works for all of them.

    This is more about being able to fear monger and blame caps lock inevitable uncapslock price rises on this Measure.

    John, what prompted your plan? Would your plan exist if Measure R didn’t? And regarding your plan, how much thought really went into this? You want to discriminate wages base solely on age? Good luck with that. Where does the “credit” come from for employers paying benefits? In other words would the local government now be responsible for increasing taxes to pay for benefits like health care?

      1. John Fullerton says:

        Jon, you are looking narrowly at the effect of just Measure R.

        In the real world businesses have to look at what is really happening and they will have a 50% in the minimum wage in just eight months time.

        I would have been glad to present my plan but Occupy Eureka wasn’t interested in anybody else’s idea. None of them have ever owned a real business and had to meet a payroll. They, like you, have a totally unrealistic perception of what local businesses really make.

  6. Mr. Fullerton:

    I don’t see where you are getting a 50% increase in cost from a $3/hour raise in wages. Even factoring in payroll taxes going up we are talking maybe about $8-9 in additional employer payroll taxes per week for a 40 hour minimum wage employee, which does not move the needle off of 33% very much.

    Take a look at the (relevant) studies I (actually) quoted (well, linked to really). The real effects on employment and prices of increases in the minimum wage are historically negligible. We are talking 1-2% changes in prices here, if that. This has been studied and studied and studied again. Studies on the economy of my home town of San Francisco for example, home to more “job killing laws” than a Chamber of Commerce halloween haunted house, showed no discernible effect on employment. Studies of other jurisdictions that also raised their minimum wages showed similar results. Even the business friendly Bloomberg Businessweek, in an article discussing increased menu prices as a result of California’s minimum wage hike, quoted price increases in the 1-2% range: That’s about 3 more cents for the price of a delicious Cream Cheese bagel at Los Bagels. (Or about 5 cents more for my favorite, the Veggie Delight. Yum, I’m hungry.)

    These same studies also cite an important cost saving never mentioned in anti-fair wage literature: cost savings from a decrease in turnover, a fact cited by Gap and Old Navy in their recent announcement that they will not raise prices despite an increase in their wages. In running the numbers for your three restaurant clients, did you factor in decreased in turnover and associated cost savings that results from increasing pay? Your clients may be interested to learn that when they hire someone new, they are actually more likely to retain that new hire if they pay them more. For instance one study found that for every 10% increase in minimum wages, there is a 5% decrease in turnover in the first year. I’m sure you know how expensive it is finding and retaining new employees. (The study also found that the employee’s probability of finding a new job decreases by a 5%, but for the purposes of cost to the employer this is irrelevant.)

    Will a bagel maybe cost 3 cents more? Will an expensive $17 steak dinner’s price go up about the same as a postage stamp? Maybe. I think many advocates for a fair wage know that, and are OK with that. Paying an incremental bit more for stuff is worth it if the hard working folks that make it and deliver it to you can take home a fair wage.

    1. John Fullerton says:

      Again, I am not saying Measure R will have caused the entire 50%. I am saying that the businesses will have suffered a 50% increase in just eight months if R passes. June it was $8 and if R passes it will be $12 in February, a 50% increase.

      The studies are irrelevant to Measure R because the circumstances here are far different. Those studies are done in areas with far greater population than tiny Eureka has. Successful restaurants in the Bay Area have more sales in a month than successful restaurants in Eureka have in a year. In San Jose or San Francisco an apartment will cost you $3,000 per month compared to $600-600 here. Despite that the increases in those two cities were far less than the extreme Measure R.

      The economies in those two cities are also far more dynamic than our depressed local economy and their economy can more easily absorbed price increases than we can. Turnover is far less in Eureka than the big cities also because of our depressed economy.

      Seattle understood the negative impact a sudden huge wage increase can have. Though they passed it a year ago it does not take effect for employers with over 500 employees until 2015. Employers with less than 500 employees do not have the increase until 2021, six years away. I believe Seattle also gives employers credit if they have health insurance or retirement plans.

      You are being badly mislead if somebody has told you a ” $17 steak dinner will rise by 48 cents”. If you are doing the misleading you should stop it now. The price increase for restaurants will have to be 20% at least. That is why Los Bagels has come out opposed to Measure R.

  7. John Fullerton says:

    I googled and now I know why Ramsey Hanafi does not understand Measure R’s negative impacts on Eureka’s economy.

    He does not even live here, he is a lawyer in San Francisco.

    1. Hi John,

      I stated in my comment that I live in San Francisco, Also my link on my name goes to my twitter feed which a fairly obvious give-away. In any case I have family in Humboldt, I am a proud HSU grad, I visit up there a lot, and one of my daughter’s first words was “Humboldt!” I have lots of ties to the community and I know people who would directly benefit from Measure R, and in my line of work I (like you) have significant experience with these sorts of things and I enjoy discussing them. The facts I am providing here do not change just because I am typing them in on a keyboard 250 mile way.

      As to your claims, I’m sorry but 20% is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. I’m aware of studies showing how increasing costs have to factor in decreasing customers, but I don’t see how you get to 20%, and as you should know trying to piece together an accurate model of increasing prices based on increasing minimum wages involves a lot of guesswork. I hope you are not misleading any of your clients into thinking that a 20% increase in prices is guaranteed, because it isn’t.

      15.6% of workers in Eureka’s congressional district make between $9 and $11.25 per hour. Eureka’s Gini coefficient (its measure of income inequality; higher is worse) is higher than the national average. That Humboldt has an income inequality problem is something people familiar with Humboldt County know all too well. Increasing minimum wages enriches the entire community by putting more money in the hands of low wage workers and in turn decreasing income inequality. When you put more money in the hands of regular people, they spend it in the community. Any loss in customers to Los Bagels, for instance, might be offset by the additional customers they gain if the restaurant next door puts a few more dollars per hour in its employees’ pockets. In this and other measurable ways (such as studies showing increases in minimum wage actually increase job growth raising the minimum wage benefits the community as a whole. I like to call it trickle up economics. (We tried trickle down and it didn’t work.) Any price model that does not take into account these bigger pieces is missing the forest for the trees.

  8. John, fair warning, there is another lawyer-brother on deck too – this one hailing from The Distict! Just a fair warning, you might want to start singing the praises of R. I’ll talk to James of the Fair Wage Folks, I’m sure he’d be willing to given up his Treasurer spot for you to free his time up for more outreach.

    Rams – John is really good at making statements, telling you it’s true, then proving his point by telling you it’s true. Thus that 20% number. It’s true. John F has spoken.

  9. John Fullerton says:

    If you are accusing me of breaking the law Jon you better damn well back it up or shut up.

    Over 110 people have now donated $99 or less because they don’t want to be defamed by the likes of you either. The more outlandish your rantings become the less credible you are, even to your own side (and you didn’t have much credibility to begin with).

    You rant about big money and then when that doesn’t happen you rant about small money. Nary a word from you about the 90% and higher of the R group’s campaign donation coming just from the unions. That includes almost $2,000 coming from out of county unions.

    1. MOLA42 says:

      Mr. Fullerton… why are you even here? Why even bother to argue with people with no credibility? What do you hope to gain trying to debate before the four (count’em, FOUR) readers of this blog?

      You started out being fairly reasonable in this debate… but now I think this has all overwhelmed you.

      Even your math is getting iffy… (see today’s Sohum Parlance II and your claims on minimum wage buying power over the years).

      For me… the issue is the people who create the wealth for others have no part of that wealth. That’s what the gap between the One Per Center’s and the rest of us is all about.

      And I don’t see you contesting the many measures to create or continue sales taxes (guaranteed to raise the prices you are so worried about). Where is your outrage? You seem to be fine with utilizing the most regressive way to raise taxes and yet you begrudge hard working people of having any chance of being paid what they are worth.

      I personally regret more folks (county wide and all work situations) aren’t benefiting… but we have to start somewhere to turn around the flight of capital away from the workers and to the hoarders of capital.

      And do you honestly believe that once the campaign is over your supporters will rally around your all-county minimum wage plan? If you do then I have a mudflat I’d like to sell you.

      At best you are being used. At worst… you are a part of a dastardly con against the voters of Eureka.

      1. John Fullerton says:

        Sorry to offend your delicate nature “MOLA42” But when I hear stupid comments like yours I just have to react. I should turn off that e-mail alert. I’m trying to educate the three readers of this blog.

        BTW, the “One Per Center’s” (sic) aren’t going to be hurt by Measure R, they don’t own any of the retail stores in Eureka.

        Why are you here ?

        1. John. Thanks for the concern about credibility. That is an amazing cred-o-meter you have.

          While we are at it, I’d love to have a look at your job-killer-o-meter and your vote-o-meter that lets you know exactly what can and can’t pass county wide (also referencing Sohum comments.)

          Some day John, people will realize it’s all smoke and mirrors – smoke and mirrors supported by dark money. Sadly, smoke, mirrors and money are very powerful. I guess we’ll see Nov. 5th. Also, I don’t think it’s just trust (ie credibility) you are depending on. It’s also fear. It’s why you have to use terms like “job killing” and “radical” and always emphasize the outsider.

          You are asking people to trust you and Fred Sunquist and Pacific Choice. The Fair Wage Folks are asking people to trust themselves.

          Your first 460 for No for Measure R is extraordinary and it is absolutely proper to contend that either it’s a) outright fraud OR b) a systematic fundraising attempt organized to subvert financial disclosure laws.

          The lie you are telling is clear. There is no way 110 people would each individually choose to reduce their support for something that is important for them – all because of their “delicate nature”. What did happen to get 101 people out of 103 (an over whelming 98% of your contributors) on your first 460 to give you the $10K lead in fundraising you are now spending – what did happen – in the best case scenario – is a group of donors was told to donate less than $99 to subvert financial disclosure laws.

          That’s giving you the benefit of the doubt. If we don’t give you that benefit of a doubt, what happened was there were a hand full of contributors (or one) and you are now scrambling to get the numbers to work. It’s one or the other and the proof is in the statistics. Anyone like you or I who spend hours compiling donations knows that your first 460 was extraordinary given fundraising norms.

          And I hope the FPPC will be auditing you on this. I have submitted a complaint.

          Btw, John, check your numbers. It’s an established 4 readers thank you very much. Matthew Owen has even admitted that.

          also – thanks MOLA.

        2. MOLA42 says:

          Why am I here? I like the ambiance.

          Offended? No. Sorry that you live down to my expectations? Yes.

          It’s pretty easy to call someone’s comments “stupid” and not explain why. As I said, you started off a few months ago a reasonable person… now you’re just a wounded shill. If you press dishonest arguments on the public (arguments even your supporters don’t want to be associated with) you should expect a bit of rough treatment.

          I recommend you take some deep breaths… realize that some people will never follow your arguments no matter how well you feel you’ve expressed them… then come back and try again. Of course, if you follow my recommendation you will be the first person in history ever to do anything that I’ve recommended so I’m not holding my breath.

          Oh… I think the Walton’s own Walmart… they fit the one percent profile. The rest will just have to live with sharing more with their workers or convincing them they don’t have the money for the raise. Who knows… perhaps at the end of this no one gets a raise? At least their employees will finally know where they really stand.

          In every “raise the minimum wage” argument I have ever witnessed (and there’ve been plenty, bucko!) someone always comes up with the scare tactic that paying the bottom layer of workers more money will destroy the economy.

          Hasn’t happened yet.

          Have a pleasant evening.

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