If Our Local Media Looked More Like This, Could R Have Passed?

“Another California town rejected a similar initiative to raise the local pay floor. Voters in Eureka provided the only defeat for a minimum wage ballot initiative on Tuesday night.”

–  Think Progress

Common wisdom seems to be that the well deserved raise was too much too soon.  Too bad, because we in Eureka had a chance to lead the curve instead of continually being behind.

There are many reasons why a $12 could have invigorated our local economy – one of them being good national and international press.  Unfortunately, we decided to trust John Fullerton, Matthew of the “Middle”, Fred Sundquist, Pacific Choice, et. al. instead of economic realities.  Emotions like fear and as not so clearly disguised disdain over good, sound, necessary policy.

One “whopper” as the video demonstrates is this isn’t about teenagers as JF and No On R wanted to make you believe – its about people who pay rent, have families and need a living wage for their hard work.  The video, if you can make it past the BP commercial, will tell you 80% of minimum wage workers nation wide are 20 or older.

Here was another chance we had to shine in national and international news.  Our local powers that be (looking at you corporate owned and now Reporter – leaning T-S) chose to pass on protecting those both Party’s rhetoric would lead the voter to believe are deserving of protections – those that work hard.  Right now most earning between $8 and $12 can’t earn a living, but that wasn’t a topic of discussion during No On R’s expensive and anonymously funded advertising campaign, nor the T-S’s editorial.

Remember, both Natalie who won overwhelmingly and Kim who either will win or come within a hair’s breath of winning supported R.  Eureka’s electorate was amenable to accepting R as part of a deal they generally favored.  I think what has to change is the narrative.   This is not about good v bad.  We are all good, we all deserve a chance to succeed with our hard work.  From Fred Sunquist to every single one of his 50+ non-teenage non-temporary employees.  I think if the media and our local community leaders looked more like the national and international reporting in both the NBC and DK stories, Eureka would have passed R and we would have been a shining example for the rest of the state on what is possible, instead of being the odd community out.  But fear will do that.  It prevents progress and No On Rers and the T-S knew that.


 

Resources: (now with bonus commentary)

NBC News:  Minimum Wage Hikes: Where Voters Gave Themselves a Raise

Think Progress:  Even In Deep Red States, The Minimum Wage Won Big Last Night

DK (Danish Broadcasting Corporation):  Midtvejsvalg får middelklassens lave lønninger frem i lyset.  Now with more Sarah Torres!

Rumble in the Redwoods.  The Chronicle’s take on the Reporter v the Times Standard from back in the day. (“The Eureka Distorter”  tee-hee-hee – I hadn’t heard that)

DHF! post number crunching wages vs potential public assistance eligibility.

The sad, sad Times Standard editorial against R.  Their argument admits people have to work 3 jobs to survive, the only problem being the Measure wasn’t County-wide.  Why not support it then support our supervisors in a County-wide measure before the “time bomb” *sigh* goes off.  Look forward to you pushing John F, Matthew in the Middle, Charlie Bean, the former soldier air mechanic in the ad, Jaison Chand, and all the others who cried foul at the Republican Party and conservatives that minimum wages are not only essential, but should be higher – county wide.  I’m looking forward for this broad support of a County increase in minimum wage significantly above and beyond Our Nation’s and California’s.

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24 thoughts on “If Our Local Media Looked More Like This, Could R Have Passed?

  1. But we read it! says:

    Eureka’s electorate was not amenable to accepting R, or it would have passed! I think many liked Natalie and Kim in spite of their support for R. Among other things R wanted to alter the way the county structures welfare-to-work wage/hour relationships and I think some of that is federal. I believe it was lawsuit bait all around. Plus, the supporters gave no data on minimum wage increases’ effects on small, isolated communities. Comparing Eureka to Tech Center San Jose is disingenuous. No, they need to go back to square one and rewrite the darn thing, perhaps taking the entire county into account. And the door to door canvassers weren’t sure it would apply to local McD franchises with fewer than 25 employees per store, headquartered out of area. And they said they weren’t sure when I asked them directly. You’re smart, Jon, admit that it needed a rewrite.

  2. realist says:

    Thank god it failed. I really dont know many who work for minimum wage. If you do your nor much of a go getter. With obamacare you all ready as a business person have huge increase of a burden to employ people unless you limit everyones work week to under 30 hrs. eureka all ready has wage increase on the books. but to tell an employee they have to pay x to be in business dont work. with a failing economy this fair wage would have just slowed it down even more. if you dont like what the pay is then go get another job. really how many people do you know that stay at minimum wage for long? lets see 100 9 dollar an hour worker or 75 12 dollar an hour workers. which is better for bottom tear people. is it better to have 100 people working or 75? humboldt minimum wage will be 10 buc next year. atleast there was enough people to shoot down this bad bad purposal.

  3. I don’t know about the smart part, but thank you. Why should we allow the perfect be the enemy of the good when labor is involved?. This wasn’t about incremental change. This was about a necessary minor storm surge if not the even more necessary sea change..

    You are smart But we.., admit that we have to make some serious changes to address wealth and income inequality and we are so far failing miserably – globally, nationally and locally. R would have been a step in the right direction making not only a real positive change protecting those we all want to protect – but also beginning to change the dangerous narrative that is tearing apart a middle class that we along with FDR, WWII and an expansive West built.

  4. Mitch says:

    Jon,

    The problem was not media coverage. Proposition R failed because the people who would benefit from it couldn’t be bothered to vote. It’s that simple, no matter how many pretty baubles you hang in order to move blame.

    Maybe it’s because they don’t believe Measure R would have helped them. Maybe it’s because they have been disappointed too many times in the past. Maybe it’s because they’re mostly stoned. Maybe it’s because they look at James Decker with a lawn chair and a megaphone, laid out on the lawn by the courthouse, and they say to themselves, “no fucking way am I for what that’s for!” Maybe it’s because they were not well-educated. Maybe the people who brought down the twin towers and spray the chemtrails put special anti-Measure-R chemicals in the Eureka shipment, and hired extra aliens to spray. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

    While democracy clearly no longer exists at the national level, a local election is still democracy at work. But for democracy to reflect the popular will requires that people devote a bit of time to learning about issues and then voting. If the only people who do that are retirees and government workers looking to get more money for the government, we’ll get the results we get.

    It really IS that simple.

    1. I don’t think they didn’t vote, I think they voted against their interests. I would wager the majority of my former employer Fred’s employees voted against this.

      Mitch, do you think the local electorate would look the same if our papers had a business and a labor section? What if the media were more critical of candidates who did not answer policy questions.

      Way to pile on Occupy. Sorry if they do not meet your standards of what you think people want to see or hear. Life isn’t always Disney and button down ties as you know. We can hide this from voters, but it would be false. James, Verbena, Don, Bill, and Sarah had a message. They got it out there, some people voted against it because James doesn’t look or act like they want him too. So be it. It’s on us – you, me, and our neighbors to remind people that elections are not popularity contests, not to continue to pretend they should be.

      I agree with you that the local is where we can see Democracy in action, let’s work on keeping it that way. Sometimes we will win, sometimes we will lose, we shouldn’t present ourselves as something we are not simply to win.

      But as always, thank you for your thoughts. I know we agree more than we disagree and I hold you in the highest of regard. (Little known fact, I was replying to you in Sohum as you were writing this 🙂 )

      1. Mitch says:

        Mitch, do you think the local electorate would look the same if our papers had a business and a labor section?

        Yes.

        What if the media were more critical of candidates who did not answer policy questions.

        Yes.

        Way to pile on Occupy. Sorry if they do not meet your standards of what you think people want to see or hear.

        No need to be sorry. Reality is reality, whether you or I like it or not. James Decker in a lawn chair, or Verbena shouting at the police, does not a movement build. Your finding exactly the right box to put me or anyone else in serves no purpose to you or anyone else except lowering your cognitive hunger to be able to explain everyone away. Good luck.

        …elections are not popularity contests…

        Oh?

        1. “Your finding exactly the right box to put me or anyone else in serves no purpose to you or anyone else except lowering your cognitive hunger to be able to explain everyone away.”

          Awesome! Guilty as charged.

          “Good luck.” Thank you, we need it.

          If it wasn’t for the fact your incredible analytic skills always seemed to end with the same conclusion – we suck and we are screwed, I would find so many of your arguments where we disagree so compelling. I do pigeon-hole many of them with so many other current rationalizations for doing nothing. A million different reasons not to try to find ways to change. I do hold people like you Mitch! and myself to higher standards. If we see what is going on, we have the responsibility to do everything we can to tell the story and change our behavior.

          I think from the little I know about you, despite your negative outlook, you have done much more than your share to towards improving people’s stations and as you know I appreciate the little I know of your work.

          btw, how did the MayDay movement go in 2014? Or Move On, or hundred other “movements”. Let’s continue building movements but, please, lets not forget that our best chance to change the lot for those without money is through a framework established for exactly that. An individual’s work can be leveraged exponentially with the help of others in our public institutions. Things like our party’s and, yes, our government, our public sector cannot be forgotten. What I am convinced happened from the 80’s to 2006 is many on the left, in an attempt at purity or whatever, accidentally added fuel to the Right’s quest to diminish our shared public sector.

  5. Hypocricy says:

    Since it hasn’t been answered on other posts, I’m posting again here.Since Shane Brinton was so vocal and he contributed money to the “Yes on R” campaign , why did he not bring up the wage in Arcata while on the council? Why is it only good for Eureka? Why is the current council not doing it? They could raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour two council meetings from now if they wanted to. Why isn’t the most progressive city in the county leading on this?

    1. hypocrisy: I think it’s because many on the left are the owners themselves. Look no further than the Eureka Coop’s owner’s editorial in the TS. I want to vent on this in the upcoming weeks, but the uphill battle R had was uphill in part because many of the left that voted on P did not vote on R. Those who are on the left AND have mutual funds may not have the same passion to raise hard working people’s wages as they do to ban the poorly defined GMOS.

      Like I’ve been trying to say, a living wage should be a very conservative notion, unfortunately our local or national conservatives or Republicans are not the Party of Lincoln.*

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/opinion/bring-back-the-party-of-lincoln.html?_r=0

      1. Hypocrisy says:

        That doesn’t answer the question. Why have the leaders of Arcata not brought this to their own town? Shane Brinton is not a business owner. He was on the council. Why wasn’t this done 5 years ago in Arcata? Salzman made a passioned plea for implementation in Eureka. Why not his own town? He doesn’t have any employees? Do you realize there were more letters to the editor in the TS supporting R from Arcata than from Eureka?

        1. Why not. I thought I answered it. Here are more answers. Maybe because Aracta has other means of keeping national franchises out of their down town?

          Shane was first a politician. His constituency was himself, his constituents and home health care workers from what I know of him. Notice R did not come from Linda Atkins, it came from Occupy. Occupy members who happened to live in Eureka. When the schizm in Occupy happened, the 99% moved to Arcata, they were a little more button-down, more image conscious.

          R happened in Eureka rather than Arcata because that is where Verbena, Don and others chose to have it happen. I agree with their choice of City’s if I don’t know exactly why they chose it – maybe it’s as simple as this is where they live.

          Eureka is a living city, Arcata is a city that depends on HSU, the majority of it’s workers working on wages between 9 and 12 may not actually need the money as JF and No on R was implying.

          Did that answer your question, or will it only be answered when I say Shane Brinton or Richard Salzman is a hypocrite? They are not – at least not any more than you or I.

          Best wishes to you and yours Shane btw. Arcata will miss your leadership. Hope to see you in public life sooner than later.

          1. Hypocrisy says:

            No. That was quite disingenuous. So was this about keeping franchises out of town or raising wages? So you use a national statistic for the age of Eureka’s workforce, but you use you own anecdotal judgement about the age of Arcata’s workforce. Linda Atkins absolutely pushed for this and was rebuffed. She even dissented in the vote to allow voters to decide to take a stand. I’m sure the workers in Arcata appreciate you think they don’t need the money. Just like you didn’t feel the pizza boy at Angelo’s needed the money. In your little mission against your former employer, Sundquist, and Eureka Natural Foods you seem to be willing to justify things quite well, however inconsistent. You might examine your true motives and decide why you’ve so colored recent history. You are losing credibility.

            1. Hypocrisy says:

              We agree that occupy brought this. The question remains that with all the money and support coming from Arcata did they decide it was better for Eureka and not good for themselves? As near as I can tell, there is zero movement in Arcata to bring a higher minimum wage, which indeed makes Shane and Salzman hypocrites. There are several others to add to the list. It sounds like you don’t have a good answer for the hypocrisy, which is OK. Otherwise it wouldn’t be hypocrisy.

            2. I wish upon Arcata and I wish upon Angelo’s worker a $12 minimum wage. I cannot fight their battle, only the one brought before us. If the question posed to me is if we should raise Arcata’s and Eureka’s wage, I’d emphatically say yes. If the question was should we raise Arcata’s wage – I’d say meh. Good on Arcata, just as it was good to raise taxes on crazy-high electricity usage, but I understand the changes Arcata makes stay in Arcata.

              I celebrate that Berkeley raised taxes on soft drinks, but it’s not something I can fight for here. Does this make any sense?

              I bring up City Cab because I lived the experience. I know it inside and out. I know when they are selling a vision of what they want the public to hear vs what is. I would love you to let me know my true motives. Is it the bitter former employee tale? Because I can tell you I’m not bitter, not that you would believe me.

              I really don’t understand your point. Is your point that progressives really know that $12 is a job killer, they don’t want to have to pay it themselves? Thus the hypocritical progressives in Arcata will not support it for their own employees, but will for that other town to their South?

              Look, my eyes glaze over when the whole “hypocrite” tag gets bandied about. To me it’s a subset of the character argument, confusing the bottom line which should always be about policy.

              The bottom line is $12 an hour is good policy for businesses of 1 to businesses of 300 million. I would support a higher minimum wage in our society where wages have been decoupled from productivity and income and wealth inequality have reached dangerous levels. I would support and vote for that measure if it was in Arcata and I lived there or Eureka and I lived here.

              I would support it until the day when our society began to show levels of inequality which were not reminiscent of a feudal society.

              Is that clear? Does that make me a hypocrite? If so, your focus on that sin seems to me to be missing the point of the sin of not doing every thing we can, every chance we get, to insure equality of opportunity in our society.

              BTW, the point about the franchises is a selling point for many liberals. Occupy focused on it as did Tuluwat. It’s the “stick it to the man” mentality which may be great for a surge of votes, but doesn’t in and of itself make for good policy. Many of the opponents at R pointed out that this was largely aimed at WalMart and McDonalds. WalMart and McDonalds make for easy targets – I’m not in the game of picking on easy targets. I want to talk about policy. It’s boring stuff to most people.

              But thank you for being concerned about my credibility. I find that so many on the right are, I guess you all are good like that.

  6. Mitch says:

    Jon,

    We suck. We are screwed. We still need to try. That does not include pretending that we do not suck or that we are not screwed, or that James Decker, sitting on a lawn chair and holding a megaphone represents a path forward.

    1. James Decker siting on a lawn chair holding a megaphone renews my belief in our county and our country. It reminds me of someone demonstrating the courage of his convictions. James understands this method isn’t hugely popular, as did Bill Holmes. But this is how he chooses to show his frustration and beliefs and more power to him. I would have a problem if James wanted to promote Kim or Natalie in a manner he chose, but he and Verbena, Don and Bill created R and they have every right to support it the way they chose. Look, it’s on every person who looked at James and said, I’m going to vote against that guy because I don’t like his style, not on James. If that means we lose an election, so be it. James has that right, he and others created R. With out them, lawn chair, megaphone, veteran, elder, the whole package, there would not have been an R to begin with, and we would not have found out that John Fullerton and everybody else in town actually supports minimum wages higher than our States.

      We need James Decker, we need Lawrence Lessig, we need Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. We need you, we need all of us to continue to change the conversation and thus the voting, and I’m sorry if the tactics or the look of some offends you. I’m offended by the guy in the faux ad you posted a while back. I’m offended if we too are supposed to trick a populace into voting for policy rather than saying, this is who we are and this is what we recommend, and here is why.

      1. Mitch says:

        I agree with you completely that James Decker and Verbena have every right to do anything they please within the law. I agree we need more people that emulate James and Verbena in having the courage of their convictions.

        That does not change a word I’ve said.

    1. Working on it. In my defense, I did watch the climate change video you recommended right away. Common, isn’t there a you tube video or a tweet that will tell me what I’m supposed to get out of it!

  7. Mitch says:

    Sorry, Jon. I don’t know of a youtube video or a tweet that will tell you what you’re supposed to get out of it. But here, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes. 1) We suck. 2) We are screwed. 3) We are obligated to try.

    1. Awesome! Thanks Mitch! and thanks as always for the back and forth. I really look forward to that post on Reconstruction, it’s a period that represented such a great opportunity lost. As tragic a period the Civil War was, to think about what could have been with Reconstruction is haunting.

      If you enjoy such diversions, I highly recommend David Blight’s free Yale internet course on the Civil War and Reconstruction. He has a special place on the mantel of shame for Andrew Johnson.

      http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-119

  8. BTW, for the record, Hypocrisy (red) = Tames = Sidelines = Dismayed.

    One of the ethics I am working with hear (edit… here), one that I’ve announced and many disagree with, is anonymity is fine, but please use one name so readers like myself can figure out, among other things, how hypocritical we all are over time. Please pick a name and stick with it or if your name change is critical to your point, please let people know in the body of your post who you are (ie – Tames or whatever)

  9. Two IP addresses many different names including Dismayed, Hypocricy, Hypocrisy,
    Tames, Sidelines and apprently two jobs – one as a pizza maker and one as a cafe worker. Something doesn’t add up here. I’m worried about your credibility Hypocrisy!

    Submitted on 2014/10/07 at 17:18
    Since Pacific Choice recently announce they would likely move the operation to Oregon and lay off 200 people if Measure R passed, it seems like they made a wise investment here. One more shot for people to keep their jobs. Who in the heck came up with this thing? Besides someone who works for a business with 26 employees, inside the city limits with no union contract. What’s fair about Winco, which is employee owned, getting punished for being in the city while Safeway gets a competitive edge because they are across Harrison. Yes, they both start entry level workers below $12 per hour. I can’t believe you would endorse such an unfair selective Measure. I work at a small cafe. Do I not deserve a “living wage”? I have to go work at McDonalds, because they have over 25 employees? Really? I’ve officially lost faith in the Democratic Party after they cam up with this one. I won’t be a Republican, but I sure won’t be a Democrat anymore. And Natalie and Kim lost my vote. I just heard they were endorsing this thing.

    Submitted on 2014/10/08 at 09:04
    Jon, You seem to have completely dodged the question. What is “fair” about the employee owned Winco being put at a competitive disadvantage to corporate owned Safeway, just because Safeway is across Harris. What is fair about people working in small restaurants being excluded? And what’s up with the union exception? Seems like you have an agenda, and you are hiding behind the word “Fair”, when you’ve put together a Measure that is “unfair” to me. As for the office workers at Pacific Choice, I don’t think taking money form them is fair either. You have a warped view of “fair”

    Submitted on 2014/10/08 at 20:04 | In reply to Liberal Jon.
    As I just posted in response to you on the TE Jon, Yes. I make a living wage. I make $10.15 per hour. But that’s not the point. My employer has 23 employees. I won’t make any more unless I go work for Walmart. And I’m suppose to hope this will pass for more businesses next year when there are even fewer people who care??? The TE and Liberal Jon are off the rails on this one. I’ll be voting “No”. Why would you guys write a Measure that punishes certain employees in favor of others?? I have to pay more things, so Big Box employees can get a raise. No thanks. I guess as long as you get yours, all is good, yeah?

    Submitted on 2014/10/08 at 22:55
    Kim and Natalie lost my vote over this issue. I heard they were behind it. What’s fair about this? Walmart employees get a raise while the rest of us get stiffed paying higher prices?

    Submitted on 2014/10/09 at 09:13
    That’s a lie Jon. Natalie told some of our employees directly she was behind this measure. As for the inequality graph, no, I have no interest in voting in a raise for people who work at Walmart. I don’t want to work there to make $12 If Natalie cared about working people she wouldn’t be behind the unfairness. If this passes, it will be damn near impossible to pass it countywide because that many more people will be above the 12. You guys are stiffing us. That’s what I think of your chart.

    Submitted on 2014/10/25 at 15:11
    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.

    Submitted on 2014/11/07 at 16:49
    Question was asked on Tom Sebourne’s blog with no answer. Since Shane Brinton was so vocal and he contributed money to the “Yes on R” campaign , why did he not bring up the wage in Arcata while on the council? Why is it only good for Eureka? Why is the current council not doing it? They could raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour two council meetings from now if they wanted to. Why isn’t the most progressive city in the county leading on this?

    Submitted on 2014/11/08 at 13:15
    Since it hasn’t been answered on other posts, I’m posting again here.Since Shane Brinton was so vocal and he contributed money to the “Yes on R” campaign , why did he not bring up the wage in Arcata while on the council? Why is it only good for Eureka? Why is the current council not doing it? They could raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour two council meetings from now if they wanted to. Why isn’t the most progressive city in the county leading on this?

    Submitted on 2014/11/08 at 14:01 | In reply to Liberal Jon.
    That doesn’t answer the question. Why have the leaders of Arcata not brought this to their own town? Shane Brinton is not a business owner. He was on the council. Why wasn’t this done 5 years ago in Arcata? Salzman made a passioned plea for implementation in Eureka. Why not his own town? He doesn’t have any employees? Do you realize there were more letters to the editor in the TS supporting R from Arcata than from Eureka?

    Submitted on 2014/11/08 at 14:32 | In reply to Liberal Jon.
    No. That was quite disingenuous. So was this about keeping franchises out of town or raising wages? So you use a national statistic for the age of Eureka’s workforce, but you use you own anecdotal judgement about the age of Arcata’s workforce. Linda Atkins absolutely pushed for this and was rebuffed. She even dissented in the vote to allow voters to decide to take a stand. I’m sure the workers in Arcata appreciate you think they don’t need the money. Just like you didn’t feel the pizza boy at Angelo’s needed the money. In your little mission against your former employer, Sundquist, and Eureka Natural Foods you seem to be willing to justify things quite well, however inconsistent. You might examine your true motives and decide why you’ve so colored recent history. You are losing credibility.

    Submitted on 2014/11/08 at 14:39 | In reply to Hypocrisy.
    We agree that occupy brought this. The question remains that with all the money and support coming from Arcata did they decide it was better for Eureka and not good for themselves? As near as I can tell, there is zero movement in Arcata to bring a higher minimum wage, which indeed makes Shane and Salzman hypocrites. There are several others to add to the list. It sounds like you don’t have a good answer for the hypocrisy, which is OK. Otherwise it wouldn’t be hypocrisy.

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