Friday, December 14, 2012
Nullifying The Vote: Minimum Wage Foes Make Last Ditch Effort To Alter The Will Of ABQ Voters, Plus: Ingle Is Still In, And: Pearce Leads Western Caucus
The last thing Mayor Berry needs is 40,000 low-income city residents pointing their fingers at him and asking him why they're not getting the pay raise 66% of the city's voters approved for them. But he would get that and a lot more punishing consequences if he is led off the cliff by a number of groups that want to nullify the November election results in which minimum wage workers were given a pay boost of a buck an hour beginning next month.
The New Mexico Restaurant Association is asking the nine member City Council to "phase-in" the pay hike--fifty cents next month and the other 50 cents a year later. Then there's City Councilor Trudy Jones saying that the automatic cost of living adjustment in the minimum wage proposal should be repealed by the council because she's not sure voters "understand" what they're doing.
Come on, Trudy. How would you like it if it was decided by the city council that voters in your district didn't "understand" when they elected you. That would make Greg Payne the councilor there.
The nine member council now has six Republicans and three Dems. They do have the power to repeal or amend an ordinance--even one passed so overwhelmingly by city voters as the result of a petition drive. Heck, you can even engage in a conspiracy theory. The Councilors change the law, send it up to Republican Mayor Berry, but he vetoes it knowing that the impact on his 2013 re-election would be decidedly negative. But then the GOP council overrides the veto with their six votes.
Strangely, the media did not even ask Berry where he stood on all this when they reported on it this week. Maybe the elevator to the 11th Floor broke down and the ink-stained wretches could not get up there.
THEIR OWN BACKYARD
Seriously, though, the restaurant association has plenty of problems to clean up in its own backyard before it starts attempting to nullify democracy in the state's largest city.
First, there is the recession in the local restaurant scene. What is the association doing to combat that? Fighting a minimum wage hike that will give their customers more money to spend eating out?
We worked for $1.65 an hour washing dishes and scrubbing floors back in the day. That was the minimum wage. It's been raised often over the years and there is no proof that is hampering job creation. None.
ABQ's restaurants are riddled with issues and the minimum wage is the least of them. The city's restaurant scene has declined markedly in recent years, with more mediocre additions, overpricing, and lousy service due to a lack of training. The difference in value and quality you get in most restaurants here compared to what you get in say Phoenix is simply startling (You know what we're talking about).
The "rational" action for the restaurant association is some self-examination about why so many of their prospective customers are opting for what's in their freezers, rather than a trip to the local eatery that may or may not be on its game that day. They might also want to remember that the customer is always right--even when they go into the voting booth.
INGLE STILL IN
As expected, State Senator Stuart Ingle was again selected Minority Leader by his party's caucus. The 17 GOP state Senators met at the capitol Thursday and released this news:
...Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) was elected by acclamation...to retain his...position as Senate Minority Leader. It is a...position he has held since 2000. All three current leaders in the Republican Caucus were elected by acclamation to retain their current leadership positions. Senator Ingle has served as a Senator since 1985. Senator Bill Payne (R-Albuquerque) will continue to serve as Minority Caucus Whip, a position he has held for four years and Senator Steve Neville (R-Farmington) will retain his leadership position of Senate Minority Caucus Chair, a position he has held for two years.
It's been a bit turbulent for Ingle since GOP Governor Martinez took over. Some of her more ardent backers don't think Stu has been as thick with her as they would like. Talk of challenging him for leader fizzled when it became clear his colleagues were firmly behind him. Ingle is in the "reasonable Republican" camp, meaning he talks with all sides. That may be sacrilege among the new far right, but it's how you make a political body function.
From the DC PR wire:
Members of the Congressional Western Caucus joined together Wednesday to unanimously name Congressman Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) Co-Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus for the 113th Congress...“I thank my colleagues for the honor of leading this caucus for another term,” Pearce said. “I look forward to working...to ensure that we continue to fight for the fundamental principles that are so important to our western way of life. For too long, the issues important to the West have been ignored. As Chairman, I will continue to work diligently to unite Members who will focus the policy debate on common-sense policies that protect western values and get Americans back to work.”
And while you're at it Steve, can you help out Senator Udall with the heavy lifting when it comes to fighting those federal budget cuts that could hurt your constituents in southern New Mexico.
This is the home of New Mexico politics.
Thanks for stopping by this week. Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.
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