Capital & Main’s Latest News Section.
Long Beach hospitality workers are one step closer to better wages. After years of trying to improve conditions in the hotel industry, members of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community filed paperwork to place a citywide measure on the November ballot that would require hotels to pay hospitality workers a living wage.
The living wage measure would affect hotels with more than 100 rooms, requiring them to pay workers $13 an hour. Research from past living wage victories in areas such as Los Angeles’ Century Boulevard has estimated that workers reinvest over two-thirds of their increased income back into the local community. Higher hotel wages in Long Beach would not only lift families out of poverty, but would spark a much-needed reinvestment in the city’s local businesses and neighborhoods.
A recent story and video in the Long Beach Press Telegram captures the kickoff to this historic campaign.
If you’re a woman, an artist, a cancer survivor or patient; someone with a connection to the Holocaust or the 1960s women’s movement — in fact, if you’re anyone who wonders how we human beings can endure indescribable suffering and come out the other end with something to say about it – you must see Alina Szapocznikow, Sculpture Undone at the Hammer museum before it closes April 30th. I fit a number of those categories and was deeply moved to find such connections with the work.
At the beginning of the exhibit you meet the artist (who died in 1973 at the age of 47) in a rough video. She’s young and lively and seems so innocent. When the thick-headed interviewer asks about her experiences as a young girl in a Nazi concentration camp, Szapocznikow responds with “it would be immodest to discuss my own suffering.” When the same off-screen voice asks her to describe what it’s like to be a woman in 1960s Poland,
As an author, my place on bookshelves is precarious. You can have your book banned in this country for any number of reasons. Schools especially might find a book profane or inappropriate. Or, as in the case of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, your work might be thrown into the pyre for being “satanic.”
None of this surprises me. This does: Barbara Ehrenreich’s well-received 2001 book Nickel and Dimed was removed from a personal finance class in Bedford, N.H., for being “anti-capitalist.”
Nickel and Dimed chronicles Ehrenreich’s quest to explore our economy from the perspective of an “unskilled” worker. Propelled into her social experiment by the debate over welfare, she moved across the country, taking the cheapest lodgings and whatever work she could find, from clerk to hotel maid. The result sheds light on the experience of what it means to survive on poverty-level wages in the U.S.
One of our favorite pastimes at Frying Pan News is exploding those irritating little factoids the Right likes to use to make its case for some policy or another. Myths like the Welfare Queen, or overpaid public employees, or the perennial American classic about bootstraps. (Since it seems that so many of these fraught conversations take place at family gatherings, we often call them “brother-in-law conversations.”)
Just in time for tax season, a new myth has been making the rounds: that states with no income tax fare better, economically, than other states. This notion is most associated with Arthur Laffer, the voodoo economist, but it has been amplified by, among others, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and the Wall Street Journal. Unsurprisingly, state politicians have taken up the call: In the name of spurring growth,
By Richard Kirsch
(In the following excerpt from his new book, Fighting for Our Health, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch notes that many small business owners support health care reform even if the organizations that claim to speak for them don’t. Used by permission.)
Small business is iconic in America. For years, big business has cleverly used small businesses to be messengers for campaigns financed by corporate America. And anti-government, free-market orthodoxy has dictated the policies of the leading small business associations, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). A powerful example of NFIB clout was the key role that the association played in defeating the Clinton health care plan. If we needed any reminder of that, President Obama asked the heads of just two lobbying groups, the NFIB and the health insurance industry, to speak at the White House health summit held shortly after his inauguration.