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Let the uncertain fate of a proposal to raise Albuquerque, New Mexico's minimum wage be a lesson to you: Proofreading matters. Groups pushing to raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50, with tipped workers receiving 45 percent of that, collected 25,000 signatures, more than 12,000 of which were certified by the city clerk. But they apparently didn't proofread what they gathered signatures on.

The signatures were gathered for a proposal reading: "Starting in 2013, employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers." Did you catch that? "Employers" and "employees" are reversed at the beginning of the sentence, suggesting that restaurant owners would be the ones getting paid.

With restaurant owners typically among the biggest opponents of raising the minimum wage (or offering paid sick leave, or anything else that benefits workers), if the measure passes as written, or if the typo is corrected and the measure passes, lawsuits against it taking effect are a guarantee. City law does in fact allow for typos to be fixed, but that wouldn't necessarily prevent a lengthy legal battle.

The typo is not the only confusion regarding the measure:

The city charter says once the petitions for an initiative like the one OLE used are submitted, the city clerk has 10 days to certify the signatures. After that, city council has two weeks to act on it or the proposal goes on a ballot 90 days from when it was submitted.

No action was taken at Wednesday's city council meeting so according to the charter, voters  should get a say before November 9.

However under state law, city council needs to pass an election resolution to put the issue on the ballot, something it hasn't done yet.

Whatever it takes, this is a fight worth having. Raising the minimum wage is popular, it's the right thing to do for workers struggling to make ends meet, and it definitely doesn't hurt job creation—in fact, evidence suggests it helps job creation. Nationally, the workers who benefit from a minimum wage increase are overwhelmingly at least 20 years old, with majorities being women and full-time workers.

And if it's a fight worth having, it's worth proofreading. Twice, if necessary.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 06:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i spent years being poorly paid in albuquerque (3+ / 0-)

    an increase in minimum wage is sorely needed everywhere

    Colorado has a much higher GDP than Utah because it is culturally superior

    by memofromturner on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 06:48:00 AM PDT

  •  What a damned shame (8+ / 0-)

    This is no mere typo like a misspelling -- the reversal of words goes to the core understanding of the petition.  While, yes, everyone who signed basically understands the intended meaning, legally, it will be legitimately challenged.  Fixing the typo changes the actual meaning of what has already been signed.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 06:52:52 AM PDT

  •  Terribly written, even w/o the typo. (5+ / 0-)
  •  I'm a very good proofreader. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They should employ me. :D

  •  Argghhhh. I'm one of those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who signed the petition, too.


  •  Sounds usual to me. I'm in NM. grrr. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To be honest, here at Daily Kos, very much so at TPM, and even in NYTs the proofreading has gone by the wayside.

    I realize we all do typos when typing posts in the comment section because we are in a hurry or we just don't believe it's all-important.  I certainly post typos and made my share during the DNC live blogs. My worst was typing "then" instead of "than" which I see often, and I sometimes wonder if people actually understand the difference between the two words.  We will type "to" rather than "too" because we didn't hit that last "o" or maybe some don't know there's a difference between those two words.  They are typos that are not going to cause significant change to the meaning of a diary if they are misused, but here we are in New Mexico --someone either doesn't understand the difference between "employee" vs. "employer" or there was a very cursory editing done as to change the whole meaning of the Petition.

    Are teachers not requiring students to proof?  Are computers solely relied upon by the teachers and the students to do their thinking for them to spell/grammar check?  The 'sloppy' begins early and when I read Facebook comments I am convinced the kids can't spell (adults, too).  But hey! Now there's a new nifty program for computers they are pushing in advertisements to sell to students wherein they can just speak into a mic ... "so students will get better grades because it will spell for you and check the grammar and even punctuate for you!" I'm horrified by the thought a student can write a short story or essay assignment by talking into the computer and letting the computer help the student compose, spell, etc.  Will this become a forerunner to students not learning how to type?  

    I belabor this because I was taught to proof and spell correctly, and every time I read periodicals I'm infuriated that I'm distracted by all the errors and it embarrasses me that we have become so careless.

    Yes, I do wish authors of Front Page diaries and other diaries would spend time proofing before they are published, because again I'm distracted by the errors.  Nit-picky me.

    While I'm on a rant:  

    Our kids no longer use cursive handwriting!  Hell, they can't even print nicely.  The penmanship has gone straight to hell. I was collecting middle-school papers at the end of a class for the teacher. As I picked each paper up from the desk I was horrified by the sloppy printing... only one young woman used neat, cursive penmanship, and she was a transplant from another state, so I wondered... is this just happening in NM?  But then I found it wasn't just my state that was not exposing and teaching cursive.  Ask any young student if s/he can use cursive and that student will look at you with eyes glazed over. Cursive is an art I believe all children should be taught so that it's not lost, but too late, because like so much in school that I was taught in class instruction, cursive has been lost.  "No time," the teachers say. Really?  We spent only a little time each day in second grade, working those little notebooks to practice in quiet how to write each letter in the alphabet using cursive and print.  And who has time to practice penmanship after school when those all-important daily sport practices and games on weekends take up so much time. Or it's more important for the children to make mobiles.  Many mobiles!  A new mobile a month, that takes time and is fun and creative, but how many does the teacher need to be done and is it the teacher's lazy way of getting out of teaching other things, like actually teaching children how to handwrite anything?  Oh well... who needs to learn cursive or print now when computers can do it all.  

    I don't expect our students should come out of schools writing like deliberate monks, but gosh, we better protect those amazing handwritten books for posterity, like the Book of Kells the monks were tasked with to make picture-perfect in Dublin, because hand script has truly become a lost art, a thing of the past. I expect that soon the pencil will be put in the Smithsonian, and other museums, and people will marvel when they walk around to see that odd little leaded tool with a funny little rubber top, and wonder that it was ever used!

    ha.  I think I've been saturated by politics, hence this ridiculous rant. I'm also embarrassed by my State's inability to do something so simple and correctly and it may affect so many people negatively. bah!

    I really don't expect anyone to read this... just my musing for the day. ,)

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 11:13:14 AM PDT

    •  I've had a very busy day and late to reading this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      thread.  Righteous rant going there and I agree with you.  The situation is not new.  One of my aunts was a 'Title I' teacher and didn't think that kids should learn how to do math on paper, or in their heads.  After all, that's what calculators are for.  Same with spelling and word processing programs.  And that was 15-20 years ago.

      I don't think my three nieces have been taught how to write cursive.  Mine is rather poor, but if I put effort into it, it's not too bad.

      •  Thank you for even reading me. lol! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I meant to say, I have physical therapists who say that teaching young children how to actually hold a pencil correctly (ever notice how the kids hold their pencils?) and using their hands and wrists helps with hand-eye coordination.  But that's another rant.

        I agree about the calculators, too.  When I was growing up in the 50s (yes, that far back) we did our "sums" on paper.  And we had teachers who actually had time to walk around the room and help.  Now they send them home with problems, so many parents are too busy to help, and the kids are on their own, mostly.  Teachers don't stay after school to help.  That's what you pay tutors for, right?

        15-20 years ago our teachers were also teaching whole language reading rather than the old-fashioned way, teaching to read phonetically.  I can tell you my daughter's generation in the early 90s were all screwed up with reading and spelling because of that system of teaching whole language.  

        Oh well.  

        I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

        by KayCeSF on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 04:04:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A note on minimum wage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mike101, godwhataklutz, HappyinNM

    A few years back, I decided to do a little exercise: I looked up to refresh my memory what the minimum wage was when I graduated from high school - $1.60.
    Then I went to another website that let me figure relative purchasing power and found out the following: That to maintain the same purchasing power, the minimum wage would have to rise to about $9.00 at that time.  So, it's been a few years, and I just decided to do the same thing again.  Just based on the CPI, the minimum wage would need to be 10.30 today to equal that of 1968, when I got out of high school.  One change that, all alone, would make a significant deant in the levels of income inequality in this country.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:41:22 PM PDT

  •  8.50 (0+ / 0-)

    isn't a living wage either, but its a start unless you are the one earning it, shame on america.

  •  Proofreading is Impotent! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. G. K. Chesterton

    by redbaron on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 05:53:57 PM PDT

  •  this seems wrongheaded to me (0+ / 0-)

    It should be something like 'Employers shall ensure that any tipped employees make at least minimum wage after tips on a per-shift basis by making up any shortcomings'.

  •  tipped employees make 45%?? (0+ / 0-)

    Man, anything would be better than 2.13 Most weeks instead of a paycheck I get a tax bill.

  •  Wait a second (0+ / 0-)

    So if a business owner has $1000/day to pay employees, and he has 20 employees, wouldn't requiring him to pay them more mean he either has to reduce the workers or raise prices?

    And if he raises prices, and revenue goes down forcing him to reduce the number of workers, how does this create jobs?

    •  While I'm waiting (0+ / 0-)

      I can imagine another scenario, where the customers notice a better, happier vibe around the business. They stay longer, spend more money, or buy more stuff because it just seems like a better place. The owner is happier, the employees feel better, and customers get what they want. With this happening all across America, our economy gets pumped back up and people start businesses to take advantage of that.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 06:35:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Minimum wages is more than that. (0+ / 0-)

      Raising the minimum wage means more money is spent in the overall economy...leading to more income for those businesses more than offsetting the slightly higher cost of labor. They have to pay 20 employees a dollar higher but their market goes up with the thousands of more people with more disposable income. And people making minimum wage aren't holding onto that money..they are spending lmost immediately.

      "This site's unofficial motto used to be "more and better Democrats", but we've gradually evolved it to "better Democrats".- Kos,11/29/2011.

      by progressivevoice on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:46:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a mess (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    IMHO the best thing to do is to admit the mistake and start over.
    We're all human, and we all make mistakes (or "typos"), and we all are allowed one (and only  one) "do-over".  Stumbling forward is only going to compound the original mistake and make any positive change impossible.

    Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

    by godwhataklutz on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 06:48:10 PM PDT

  •  I was a server in NM in 2011. (0+ / 0-)

    I made $2.11/hr plus tips - that is 25% of current minimum wage.  40% of $7.50 is $3.  40% of $8.50 is $3.40.  We're talking an increase between $.89/hr and $1.29/hr, plus tips.  We relied heavily on the tips to make up the difference, and if you lived elsewhere other than the more economically lucrative areas of NM, i.e. Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and their immediate environs, chances are you are barely making minimum wage, if you're lucky.

    Honestly, everyone needs to work as a server and/or the restaurant business for at least one year.  It is an eye-opening experience.  Perhaps if more of our legislators did that, then perhaps we wouldn't be debating such minuscule numbers.

    I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and shit a better argument than that - Author unknown

    by TigerMom on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 08:41:09 PM PDT

  •  The linked article says: (0+ / 0-)
    The group argues the city's election code allows for typo corrections in order for the initiative's wording to conform with the "manifest intention" of the proposal.
    The "group" referred to is OLE.

    We had something similar regarding the coming election. The legislature decided to change the petition forms used for candidates to get on the ballot. Several people who had been in the legislature for many years failed to use the new form. Their opponents sued to have those people disqualified. The case went to the state Supreme Court. It was decided that the petitions, regardless which form was used, would be accepted.

    From the article, OLE has already gone to District Court to get some kind of an injunction. If it is expedited, and the City Council moves their butts, it's still possible to make it onto the ballot in Nov.

    I don't know what happened. OLE usually does much better than this.

    Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

    by HappyinNM on Sun Sep 09, 2012 at 04:20:26 AM PDT

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