What can happen when voters use electoral politics to raise the minimum wage? For one thing, some mainstream media can go on the attack by editorializing in coverage that poses as “news.”
Take, for example, ABC Channel 10’s recent television coverage of business’ fight to strangle Sacramento’s $15-an-hour minimum-wage measure in the petition process. Region Restaurants, a trade group of caterers and eateries, is rallying public opinion against the capital city’s minimum-wage measure that could, with 21,503 registered voter signatures, qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The current California minimum wage is $10 an hour.
In a February 10 broadcast of the station’s “Real Money” news segment, co-anchor Dale Schornack announced the $15 measure would begin in 2017. His statement was off by three years – close enough for a game of horseshoes,
On December 21, 2015, Organize Sacramento and Raise the Wage Sacramento filed documents with the city clerk to gather 21,503 valid voter signatures necessary to place a minimum-wage measure on this year’s November ballot. The measure would boost the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020, peg it to the Consumer Price Index and let workers earn paid sick leave.
Two months earlier the city council, on a 6-3 vote, had approved a minimum-wage ordinance bump to $12.50 by 2020. For Organize Sacramento and Raise the Wage Sacramento, though, that was too low and slow, spurring the current ballot drive for a $15 minimum wage. The Democratic Party of Sacramento County, Restaurant Opportunities Center United , Capital Region Organizing Project and Center for Workers’ Rights also back the measure.
High rent and low wages are squeezing poor and low-income families across California, including those living in its capital. But the Sacramento City Council’s actions on both economic issues are weak, some progressive critics say.
“The city caters to the continued gentrification of downtown,” Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, said in an email to Capital & Main. “That is underpinned by market-rate housing surrounding the new arena.”
In 2014 the Sacramento City Council threw its political weight (without a public referendum) behind Golden 1 Center, the new $507 million downtown arena that is the future home of the Sacramento Kings basketball team. This September the council approved a plan for the city to issue $272.9 million in bonds,