According to a recent report on our NBC station, Reality Check Minimum Wage One Year Later things are going very well:
* According the San Jose Downtown Association, registered businesses were up 3 percent from 2012 to 2013, but a healthy 19 percent in the retail sector, which includes restaurants
* The City of San Jose reported 75,000 businesses registered at the start of 2013 prior to the hike, and 84,000 to begin 2014, following the hike (although city officials question any connection between minimum wage policy and new business registration)
* On a broader level, the latest unemployment figures in the San Jose Metropolitan Area show the unemployment rate dropped more than 1 percent since the hike went into effect, per the California Economic Development Department
* In the sector most influenced by wage fluctuation - restaurants and hospitality - the California EDD shows more than 4,000 jobs were created year-over-year
* The most recent figures for average weekly hours for all employees in the metro area, kept by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are virtually identical now to what they were back in March
The very best part of this report is that the conservative think tank Employment Policies Institute was quoted in the article as stating that the minimum wage hike has had a negative effect on San Jose.
The reporter did his due diligence and found that the minimum wage hike had not had a negative effect on San Jose (granted, there are some disclaimers regarding the overall comparison, noted in the article.)
The bottom line is that our city, San Jose, is electing a new Mayor this year. Four of the candidates are sitting members of the city council, one is a county supervisor and former city council member. Of those running, Councilmember Sam Liccardo and Supervisor Dave Cortese are the presumed frontrunners.
Sam Liccardo, Democrat, made every excuse in the book to not support raising the minimum wage. Liccardo claims that he was against raising the minimum wage in the city, rather he would have liked to see the entire region or state raise the minimum wage. The fact is that our state has now raised the minimum wage (eventually rising to $10) but no where does Liccardo mention support of that state legislation.
And Liccardo discusses his discussions with the "stakeholders," owners of business, while never mentioning any discussions with employees who are struggling to get by in our city and region (our poverty rate is now almost 20 percent, in "Silicon Valley," land of extreme wealth we have created a system by which only a few are rewarded and the rest end up in poverty.)
Dave Cortese, Democrat, supported raising the minimum wage. Mr. Liccardo also recently voted to modify our Living Wage Ordinance and was instrumental in getting Pension Reform (Measure B) passed.
Parts of Measure B have been ruled unconstitutional, cost our city millions of dollars, devastated our public safety departments and has contributed to an overall rise in crime throughout San Jose.
Our city is benefiting from raising the minimum wage, and our voters need to know which candidates supported raising the minimum wage, and which opposed raising the minimum wage.
What has happened to San jose after raising the minimum wage has been a positive to our economic bottom line. What will happen to San Jose if we elect a Mayor who does not support raising the minimum wage in our city? Will that mayor push for new measures that will eliminate the gains we have just made?
And yes, I support Dave Cortese for San Jose Mayor, he is an outstanding candidate well equipped to resolve the many issues San Jose faces.