WeHo Council Supports Milder Minimum Wage Increase

A sharply split West Hollywood City Council last night agreed to support an increase in the minimum wage that fell short of what was advocated by Mayor Lindsey Horvath, Councilmember John Heilman and local activists.

The proposal backed by Horvath and Heilman would have increased the minimum wage, now at the state-established level of $10 an hour, to $15 an hour by 2020. The first increase, to $12 an hour, was proposed to take effect July 1, 2017, with other increases in following years until the $15-an-hour target is reached.

Mayor Lindsey Horvath
Mayor Lindsey Horvath

But Councilmember John D’Amico offered a counter-proposal that got the majority vote. It would raise the minimum wage to $12 on July 1, 2017, for businesses with 26 or more employees. For businesses with 25 or fewer employees and for non-profit organizations, the increase will go into effect in 2018. After 2020, future increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Dozens of people spoke in favor of or opposition to the proposal. Those speaking in favor of it cited West Hollywood’s reputation as a progressive city and noted that the City of Los Angeles already has agreed to a $15 minimum wage by 2020, with the first increase this July. Many of them were members of the West Hollywood Action Committee, a group newly formed to lobby for the minimum wage increase, whose members waved signs at the meeting to demonstrate their support.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti attended the Council meeting to speak in favor of the wage increase. Other supporters include Sandra Fluke, the lawyer and women’s rights activist, and Joe Guardarrama, a lawyer and former City Council candidate. Guardarrama said that if the city didn’t enact a minimum wage increase he and his husband would dine out elsewhere.

Opponents, who included the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and small business owners, urged the Council to move slowly, observing the impact of the minimum wage increase on Los Angeles before making a decision about West Hollywood. They also said the increase would likely have a negative impact on the city’s small businesses. Seventy percent of the city’s businesses have 25 or fewer employees.

West Hollywood City Council, West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, John D'Amico, fur ban
John D’Amico

“Supporters of ‘raise the wage,’ with no iota of information about our businesses, send rhetoric about raising the wage,” said Genevieve Morrill, the Chamber’s CEO, in a speech to the Council. “They state that we want to ‘deny the workers of West Hollywood a wage that allows them to adequately provide for their families,’ and yet give no consideration that these West Hollywood businesses are also just trying to feed their families, trying to keep their doors open and their employees employed.”

Councilmember John Heilman, a supporter of the increase, disputed arguments that the city is moving too fast by deciding now to increase the minimum wage. “We started this conversation in September of 2014,” he said. “That was the first time that this item was brought forward … There was an update in July of 2015, and there was another update in December of 2015. And we have had a number of meetings with the business community. This is not something that we are rushing forward.”

Councilmember Amico said an increase would likely have a negative impact on low-income residents of West Hollywood because it would force local restaurants and retailers to raise their prices.

“I’m concerned that a 20% increase in wages will mean a 20% increase in costs for 25% of our residents,” he said, referring to those residents who live on fixed incomes.

Councilmember Lauren Meister said she was concerned about the impact a minimum wage increase would have on small businesses owned by the Russian-speaking community on the city’s Eastside. “Those are the businesses that are going to be killed,” she said.

There are two items proposed for the state November general election ballot that would increase the minimum wage statewide and might make the West Hollywood Council’s decision mute.  Another complicated issue discussed by the Council is the impact a minimum wage increase would have on restaurant employees, a major part of West Hollywood’s work force. Restaurant owners said waiters, who receive an hourly wage and tips, might make $40 to $50 an hour. But under state law they the restaurant owners are not allowed to make the waiters share those tips with those working in the kitchen, who are less-well paid.


  1. Cy, I’m not going to waste my time looking for links to convince someone who is unconvincible, no matter how strong the evidence. I wasn’t making an accusation; I was making an observation. I’m not familiar with any “right-wing websites” that make any claims that you have described, but I do some pretty good critical thinking all on my own. Unfortunately, politics has its hand in everything from religion to science. There really isn’t much that is pure, or free from the influence of politics. When you accept THAT you will have made a giant leap to making good judgements to what is really going on, and you won’t need to work so hard at making a case that simply is never going to work.

  2. Notice how you provided NO link to back up your accusation that “the Nobel Prize committee is a socialist organization” sure you find numerous right-wing tabloid websites making this claim along with claims of the LGBT agenda conspiracy taking over America, Holocaust denial, anthropogenic climate change denial, evolution denial, and just about everything else they publish that leads any rational person to seriously doubt their credibility.

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is hardly socialist, it’s NOT The People’s Swedish Academy of Sciences!

    The vast majority of bias when it comes to the Nobel Prize has to do with it’s right-wing bias against Women and Non-whites!

    How the Nobel Prize has favoured white western men for more than 100 years!
    As the Nobel laureates for peace, literature, economics, medicine, physics and chemistry are named for 2014, The Telegraph investigates the history of the awards’ gender and geographical bias

  3. The Nobel Prize committee is a socialist organization, so naturally they would choose socialists for their prizes. Sweden was number two in 1970 and fell to number 14. That’s not a view. It’s a fact!

  4. This view presented in a right-wing “investors” would of course slant it to a very negative perspective, such “investors” stand to lose influence as opposed money and, this is what REALLY upsets them. Now the economist presented in the article not only stands opposed to every single recent Nobel Prize winning Economist (some of which whose articles I have cited with hyperlinks in prior postings) but, has little if any support from his fellow Scandinavians who re-elect Socialists by a land slide.
    How Could Socialism Be Boring? It’s a System Run By and For People!

    1. Nixon tried “wage and price controls.” It was a disaster and led to out of control inflation. The results are never good when someone tries to manipulate an economy…and that’s what will happen with raising the minimum wage. It will help a few while hurting many. Carter inherited a mess created by Nixon and Ford, although Carter would probably have done the same thing had they not done it first. Of course, Carter had no solutions and just screwed it all up even more.

      1. Ah the famous CATO argument about “Nixon’s wage and price controls.” It’s like having a patient bleeding to death and saying that giving someone food won’t do any good and, as proof see the patient isn’t getting any better no matter how much you feed them. The bleeding wound during the Nixon Presidency was the imperialist war in Vietnam! Typical right-wing tactic of blaming good Liberal policies for the consequences of failed right-wing ones!

        States with a minimum wage higher than the Federal minimum have experienced faster rates of job growth than other states.

        The report Los Angeles Rising: A City That Works for Everyone by the UCLA Labor Center and Institute for Research on Labor and Employment which looked at the consequences, both intended and unintended, of lifting the minimum wage to. They found that a phased-in increase to $15.25 by 2019 will put $5.9 billion more into the pockets of 723,000 working people, which will generate $6.4 billion in increased sales. That means that every dollar increase in the minimum wage generates $1.12 in economic stimulus! Businesses will hire more in response to the greater demand, creating 46,400 new jobs.

        The problem is that too many people have fallen for a well funded misinformation campaign on the minimum wage and worker rights. How a powerful rightwing lobby is plotting to stop minimum wage hikes
        American Legislative Exchange Council combines litigation and legislation in two-pronged attack on ‘new battleground’ of workers’ rights, documents reveal

  5. Cy, where has the economic system you are promoting ever, EVER worked? It simply doesn’t work anywhere, although it looks good on paper. Just minutes ago I was reading an article on MSN’s homepage about the disastrous results of the hike to a $10 minimum wage in Massachusetts where there are massive job losses directly attributed to that increase. I admire you for caring about these things, and you clearly do your homework, but I’m afraid your mentors have deceived you. You’re clearly a smart guy, but I suggest you apply your research time to the information that is out there with the other point of view.


    1. More like where is it NOW WORKING, in every single Scandinavian country with a standard of living far exceeding the United States! So you came up with a link to the money market section which is sure to neglect the FACT that it’s the spending power of common people NOT businesses that stimulates the economy. True they do cite businesses that shut down because they were upset with the minimum wage increase but, they did so do to ideological objections NOT economic. Kind of like businesses refusing to serve the LGBT community. Take a look at the economy of Massachusetts and you will clearly see that the businesses leaving there were not only not critical but, are quickly replaced by someone else. Like I always say to businesses crying that they will leave if they don’t get their way, “have a nice trip, there are many more to replace you!” The Massachusetts Legislature’s labor committee voted to approve a bill setting a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast food and big box retail workers. Prior to increasing the minimum wage in Massachusetts the projections were that an increase in the minimum wage there would generate jobs. Raising the minimum wage is an excellent tool for economic growth and a href=”http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.ma.htm”>we see that in Massachusetts! Now the “business” sources you that post articles in the “business” section as opposed to the “economic” section telling you that Massachusetts is losing jobs is much like the tobacco companies saying quitting smoking costs jobs, then showing “their” loses as proof.

      MIT loses out all the time because the BEST are at Caltech!

  6. Well the issue is now moot and, #FightFor15 can now claim victory How a $15 Minimum Wage Went From ‘Extreme’ to Enacted! Across the country, activists and low-wage workers are showing that the changes we need will come if people organize and force them. Now before panicking you might want to see This Is What $15 an Hour Looks Like. In July, Emeryville, California, passed the highest city-wide minimum wage in the country. Here’s how workers’ lives changed,and didn’t.

    For Bush’s entire 8 years, job growth was just 1.1 million and that mainly in low wage service jobs. Yet under Obama, the private sector has had 48 straight months of job growth, with businesses adding 8.7 million jobs. Now that was in 2014 and job growth has continued! It’s people making a fair income and their demand that create jobs, and increasing their wages creates even more jobs.

    From the Wehoville posters favorite Nobel Prize winning Economist Paul Krugman Krugman Demolishes Classic Argument Against Raising Minimum Wage would apply here! Another good article with Dr. Krugman Paul Krugman: Raise the minimum wage! How about another Nobel Prize winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz? Joseph Stiglitz Defends Raising the Minimum Wage.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., even called for tripling the national minimum wage, citing reports that had the national minimum wage kept pace with the United States’ economic productivity, the country would have a $22 minimum wage for all workers! The real economic stimulus needed is an increase in the minimum wage; increases in the minimum wage have spurred economic growth due to people’s increased buying power. Even Henry Ford (a BIG surprise to all that I was seriously considering quoting Marx) said that you need to pay your employees enough to afford your products. Debunking a classic argument against raising pay for low-wage workers that “it will kill jobs,”the service jobs can’t be outsourced overseas or performed by machines and; the rich exploiters know it or they would have already done it. That is why they are really worried about paying a fair wage.

    The free market capitalism is a myth from fairy land, as Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s famous quote points out “The reason that the invisible hand often seems invisible is that it is often not there.” The mythical free market never existed and, can never exist because someone always ends up controlling things. If the Government and the People are kept out, than the wealthiest and most powerful rule things completely and, that’s what they really want at our expense! 😉

  7. Yeah, Cy, I’ve heard it all before and I don’t buy it. I’m very familiar with everything you wrote here. As I said, the radical left rewards the Paul Krugmans of the world who advance the Left’s cause. If you recall Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize just a few weeks into his presidency and he hadn’t done a thing yet. One of the greatest hindrances to the success of a business is the intrusion of the government. The free and open market disciplines itself. If a business is doing something that is not in the best interest of the public, their business will feel the effects of it, and mostly through competition of other businesses, the problem will be resolved. But even that natural dynamic can’t happen when the government is involved screwing it all up.

  8. One of the Economist I have sited in the past , Paul Krugman is an American economist, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Another has been Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, ForMemRS (Foreign Member of the Royal Society), FBA is an American economist and a Professor at Columbia University. He is a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the John Bates Clark Medal. Most people criticizing these individuals not only lack their credentials but, also lack even a basic understanding of their achievements. The text book I used in the basic Economics class was Essentials of Economics by Paul Krugman, Robin Wells, and Kathryn Graddy; Later on we went on to Economics and Macroeconomics the 2nd edition. Before this I was tortured in High School by an Economics teacher who thought Milton Freedmen and Ayn Rand were Humanity’s Gods! Later on in life Milton Freedmen mellowed out and felt that right wing nuts overgeneralized his theories to promote their interests. See my link on ,Externalities explained by Milton Freedmen shortly before his passing.

    Now for dispatching for the popular held fallacy that seems to be the keystone argument of economic conservatives (debunked by several Nobel Prize winning Economists) that “only business can help the economy, especially if they are allowed to get their way all the time.” Well it was the “business knows best policies” that got us it this mess to start with! It is people making a fair income and their demand that create jobs. BUSINESSES DO NOT CREATE JOBS as I pointed out before it’s a pretty simple equation: you employ the right number of people to meet the demand of your business. Increasing the minimum wage along with social spending, research and development and, education; creates the demand that stimulates the economy far better anything known! See part 2 Supply and Demand of Macroeconomics to better understand the relationship between the Demand Curve and how it relates to consumer and producer surplus. Then see Chapter 8 on unemployment and inflation. Basically neo-cons are missing the big Picture of Macroeconomics. Jobs are created when demand for goods or services are greater than the existing ability to provide them, not when we have more businesses with the right to operate above the law. As a matter of fact the public sector can provide this need just as well and many times far better!

    Businesses have far more incentives to eliminate as many jobs as possible than to create them. Businesses in our economy exist to create profits, not jobs. The Corporation is legally bound by its charter to operate in the interests of making profits without any regard to any social impact. This means the incentive is for a business to create as few jobs as possible at the lowest possible cost. They also constantly strive to reduce the number of people they employ by mechanization (robotics and computers today) , outsourcing or finding other ways to reduce the payroll. This is called “cutting costs” which leads to higher profits. The same incentive also pushes the business to pay as little as possible when they do hire. (It also pushes businesses to cut worker safety protections, cut benefits like healthcare, cut product quality, cut customer service, “externalize” costs by polluting, etc.) Now after Businesses cause trouble in reducing jobs to increase profit margins they are quick to blame Government regulations that protect workers or the environment or even nonwhites for the problem.

  9. Wow, Ever Vigilant, you really are ….. vigilant! As it turns out, Henry must have read what I said about that and he was nice enough to write me and say exactly what you just said. I hope he has found it in Spam because I was brilliant and I’m not sure I could duplicate that.

    1. Thank you Blue Eyed Boy, I do make every effort to keep up with facts and let my antennae do the rest. However, the current opinionated static is exponential so it can be challenging.

  10. Ever Vigilant, I’m not advocating for a conservative position, as far as I know, although I suppose my position would be considered conservative. I don’t know what the conservative talking heads would say, because I don’t go out of my way to follow them. But I know B.S. when I see it and Paul Krugman is full of it, as has been proven to be the case time after time. I do read and listen to a lot of news and commentary, but I don’t have any particular gurus. I doubt that Cy follows any but the radical leftists, and what he thinks he knows about any other point of view, he learns as it is interpreted by these leftists.

    Last night I wrote a response to your previous comment, but when I clicked on “Post Comment” my post disappeared. I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe I will rewrite it.

  11. Cy, I saw your comment on Steve Martin’s well-written piece and, frankly, as I have found before, many of your sources are just not credible. Paul Krugman and others are from the radical left and they get a lot a lot of air-time and press because they come up with faulty statistics and research that just does not pass the test of time. But because most people do not follow a topic to its predicted end (predicted by Krugman and company), they are given credit for accuracy that they don’t deserve and that doesn’t pan out. These guys are going to take whatever position is most beneficial to the radical left, create the proof to support it, and then they are handsomely rewarded for it. I fully expect you’re going to come after me for this, but you needn’t bother. As I said, your sources are not credible, and I’m not going to waste my time countering you because I know you are immovable no matter what evidence I present.

    1. BEB: It seems naïve to think that conservative viewpoints would not do the same in advancing opposing their position. Please tell us credible sourses whose positions you advocate.

  12. I think this whole discussion is condescending and patronizing, EverVigilant. It assumes that minimum wage earners are incapable of ever doing any better for themselves, and we, practicing our “noblesse oblige”, require that those of us who have worked our asses off to achieve something need to feel guilty about it, and through the democratic process, spend even more of everybody else’s money, with no thought to the unintended consequences, not only to business owners and the general public, but also to the minimum wage earners themselves who will have even less incentive to make a plan to do more to get out of their current circumstance. Sometimes it’s good to feel uncomfortable where you are, because then you will do whatever is necessary to move on and ultimately realize your potential. It can actually be a disservice to make minimum wage workers more comfortable where they are.

  13. Blue Eyed Boy: You are correct. Minimum wage is an entry level position so to speak. The incentive is to asses oneself and one’s goals and make a plan before getting saddled with multiple children, issues and general complacency. Making a decision on to remain at the bottom rung is a conscious decision it’s like an economic balance sheet.

    Our country was built by many great entrepreneurs that barely had two cents when they set out. Many were immigrants. There were no economic lifelines at the time so they put their ingenuity or their hands and backs to work. Certainly the conditions of illegal immigrant status has factored into this dynamic but as long as the government acts as an enabler there will be the enabled and those working the system. Being an economic con artist takes a certain amount of energy that would probably be directed to the most productive goal.

  14. Thank you for that, 90069. It seems that many of the posters here assume these minimum wage earners are incapable of doing anything more than to be forever at the bottom rung, and that we must be compassionate to these poor creatures. With only a little effort a person earning a minimum wage can become skilled at something that will carry him as high as he has the ambition to climb. There are several vocational schools in the LA area in which anyone can learn a skill and then start their own business, or to be eagerly hired by a business owner who is looking for someone with just that skill. To provide a high minimum wage that will provide for a family is to enable a worker to stay there, and to never need to attempt to do more for himself and to ultimately realize his potential. The struggle of a minimum wage can be the incentive to do more for himself. I said it before; minimum wage jobs are intended to be transitional jobs, and not jobs in which an employee would be expected to stay very long.

  15. Funny how some of the people advocating for the increase beyond and above what the state or county are doing are not employing anybody. In appears that the ones doing the talking above are in fact not even working but collecting government checks, disability or subsidized housing and talk big but in fact are not contributing to the economy very much beside their opinions on what others should have to pay.

  16. Ya know what, I am reminded of how my dad and my dad’s dad afforded ‘the family business’, a laundry/dry cleaners/alteration shop in Detroit during the lean years prior to World War 2. My dad ‘really did get up at 3:00 am, every morning to walk two level (not up hill both ways as in the fable about my parents) miles – in the winter – it was in the snow, to light the boilers so that they had enough steam pressure at 4:30 when they started working. The two of them, along with my grandmother who would start at 11:00 when she arrived with their lunches, and they would all work the evening shift. I am not deifying them – this is how all small enterprises worked in the early days. They worked harder until they could afford to add someone to their proverbial family, They treated their employees with respect and a living wage, like family, and they got more than they would bargain for in return. Everyone worked their tails off because that is what it took to make a go of things. And, if the business prospered, everyone shared in the success. Granted, my ancestors saw more of the profit than did their employee as they were the ones taking a risk and they paid for machine servicing, etc.

    Now, when I hear anyone complain about not being able to afford higher wages for the ‘underlings’ in their employ, many of whom are more expert at what they do than the owners. I go back to the certain reality, that if you can’t afford something and you aren’t willing to take the risk of deficit(credit) spending, do the work yourself. Bust you butt, get help from friends, innovate, and stop whining. I am sorry – try to live on even what $15.00 an hour without tips leaves you after taxes, and you’ll see that no one is getting spoiled at that wage level. Most Business owners, big and small exhibit what has become an awful trend these days by their feeling ‘entitled’ to be rich, and that ‘all of the little people’ who make their businesses happen need to just buck up if they want their jobs. Talk about a recipe for rebellion and disaster – just foster an environment of resentment and feeling oppressed in your employees. Remember Captain Ahab?

    Look,I know that I come off as a bit sanctumonius, I don’t want to imply that I am some sort of saint,Nope – not even remotely close. I just call em as I see em, which is why I could never win any elections for anything. West Hollywood needs to do better with the minimum wage issue than we currently do. Our selfishness is not what our founders would have wanted, nor is it what a majority of the citizenry wants. I was a spoiled brat, first as a child, then as I made money in my career life. Thank God that my parents were there to keep me humble by always volunteering themselves and making me do the same. Now I volunteer because I have always done it and it is the right thing to do – so is paying people a very modest living Wage.

  17. Dear Wes,
    God bless – cause we are both on the same side for the people.. but your not writing payroll checks or paying commercial rents in this area.. And Im not against the minimum wage, already paying my employees above that. We don’t need the city council to tell our local businesses how to operate. The minimum wage should include tips. Don’t ya think? And more that that some people are equating the hourly minimum wage as the full time living wage.. but that is NOT true. If an employee works more than 30 hours they are on salary. The minimum wage is a starting wage for anybody from kids who work after school or a senior citizen who wants a few hours to be involved with something to do. The wage .. also has components, medicare, unemployment insurance, and a host of other taxes that are not only deducted from the payroll check. but matched by the employer. For instance FICA, – you know all the FICA deducted from the employees check is MATCHED by the employer. So, what looks like $10 an hour, really cost an employer maybe almost double that. And, Im not against the minimum wage rising. Im for our local representatives that fight for affordable housing and renters rights treating our local businesses as part of the neighborhood too. Would any council member vote to let the landlord add rising water fees to the rent? Id say nope. There is no rent control on commercial space. West Hollywoods economy is not the same blueprint as LA County and if we want to lead the way lets lead the way with solutions for our local economy, that create businesses and jobs and help our elderly and disabled community shop local. Because if our local wages are higher than our neighboring communities then all these seniors and fixed income folks are going to be paying more or traveling further to get those services. Its pretty clear, – we are part of LA County, – and the minimum wage is on the statewide ballot. Seems to me that everybody else was thinking about this and getting on the ballot long before West Hollywood tried to lead the way. And remember, please remember, it was clear as day at the council meeting that some restaurants split the tips with the back of the house, some let the waiters keep it all.. I do not think the city policy should force local businesses to pool tips so that fairness is run by the business. Let the waiters pocket their tips because the result of raising the minimum wage on tip related businesses will cause the business owner to take over control and the employee won’t win, and the residents won’t win. Its called inflation and inflation kills people on fixed incomes. While you can afford the extra buck for a $5 slice of pizza you do not understand how prices will rise and will price out the persons who you and I probably share common ground on.. the seniors and those with disabilities ability to afford their food and medicine.

  18. Larry, I love your passion for local politics. However saying a $15 minimum wage isn’t a issue of income inequality is flat out wrong. When council allows development projects only after having the affordable housing placed at another location, that is income inequality. When the discussion turns to the pay of workers, that is income inequality. Some of us are so wrapped up in NIBY that we miss the forest from the trees.

    When the wages of not just the low end but also the mid-level workers go up, they have more money to spend. Yes we disagree on the hows and whys, but ultimately the majority of supporters want more cash in our local economy. Cash which is spent in stores like the one you own.

    And I say this without having a horse in the race, meaning my only involvement in this issue is the way it effect my community. So if you want to paint supporters of a $15 minimum wage as people who have no vested intreats, then aren’t they the best people to ask?

    If your answer is no, then why are judges asked to be impartial?

  19. Really, reads like a fictitious essay and is so transparent that it caters to the call of the 1% or even the 10%.

    Protect the top but not the workers. ‘Livable wage’ for the masses. Raise people up (not the top 10%) get real.

    Take the challenge: Live on $12 an hour for 3 months. Let us know your findings. No cheating. This is your only source of income. Maybe, just maybe you’ll have an epiphany!

  20. Dear Friends,
    There were over 40 speakers last night. Not one single speaker was a resident that told a story of how a raise in the minimum wage will help them. Not a single employee, and the city employes thousands came to speak up for the proposal. Yet there were many business owners attending who talked about how their employees, (including mine) are already being paid minimum wage. The BIG question was about tipped employees, because many bartenders and waiters are making over $50,000 per year, but the employer would be forced to raise the base wage that DOESNT include tipped wages.

    Our local city council was elected to support the local residents, – our concerns. And in that regard some wanted to do the ‘democratic platform thing’ and others were concerned about our local service and hospitality economy that does not fit the same blueprint of LA, or Pasadena. Our local food service and nightlife and hotel businesses would be adversely affected.

    Raising the minimum wage is on the November ballot statewide. The LA City Council also has a say in raising the minimum wage for the region. We really do not need our local city council to come to the rescue of a very proud business community that already is paying our employees above these guideline. Some bars, some restaurants, or hotels have different ‘tipping’ formulas, some might split their tips, sometimes the front of the house takes care of the back of the house, most of the businesses have to declare these tips and pay payroll taxes and other expenses on top of the wages. This is a complicated issue for our local economy.

    Our local population is about 30% senior citizens on a fixed income. Raising prices forces them out of the area to shop. Our local population has about a 20-25% disability population, most on fixed incomes, many with limits on earnings to qualify. 85% of the people who live in West Hollywood do not work in West Hollywood. Increase in prices to 100% of the residents will have a far greater impact then raising wages for persons who work in West Hollywood but live outside of West Hollywood, almost 90% of all employees in our city.

    We should be proud that such a vigorous debate did not have a single person come to speak up that raising the minimum wage will help them. But we did hear from senior citizens on fixed incomes or those with disabilities talk about how this will affect their life. And we did hear from business owners who would be forced to shed jobs, or hours. West Hollywood does not need it’s ‘own’ minimum wage policy, we are part of the bigger interdependent city and state and our residents should not have to bear the burden of higher prices more than those in our neighboring communities.

    The people who voiced great concerns and debated this issue wanted to turn this into a war on income inequality. That really was not necessary. We should be proud of our local business community for standing up for the residents, and the workers and standing tall that most, if not all, already pay our local workers more than the minimum wage, and almost 30-40% more than the federal minimum wage.

  21. @ Mark Walters, I mentioned that restaurants’ costs would increase by more but didn’t get into those numbers because I was refuting a specific claim D’Amico made about a 20% increase in costs for the people in our city who have the lowest incomes, which I thought was absurd and needed to be rebutted. Thus, I focused on the cost of essentials mostly since people with very low incomes presumably can’t afford to go out to dine out much.

    Personally, I don’t disagree with a total compensation model for workers who earn a significant volume of tips. It seems like state law is a hurdle, but trying to see if there’s a way around it would be great.

    In the meantime, since our city is dragging its feet till 2018 for the vast majority of employers here, perhaps you and other businesses could sign on to something as a pact — maybe with stickers in windows — if you pay the same wages as LA (including total compensation, though)? As a customer, I would really like to know whether where I’m spending my money is paying a fair wage.

  22. Karen O’Keefe; you fail to mention the relevant facts from the staff report: restaurants would have a nearly 8% impact on their profits (8X the LA average profit impact); restaurants are the largest employers in West Hollywood. As a restaurant owner, we already pay all employees over $12, with most averaging $15.

    The servers and bartenders already make $25-45 per hour; why do they need another $5?! The cooks and dishwashers deserve the additional money! Why can’t unions and raise the wage supporters address this? Most restaurants would agree to $15 if the servers tips were included in the calculation. Work with us to agree to $15 for all staff NOW, but don’t make us pay servers making $50,000+ another $7,500 per year….that is what would have happened.

    Labor is a restaurants largest expense; usually 30-40% of sales. Raising this expense up to 50% is not possible; it was already increased 25% in the past two years.

  23. well, goodness gracious, if this’ll keep joe guardarrama and his husband from dining outside the city, i’m for it. lol 🙂

  24. It’s disappointing our city didn’t take bolder action, and that the county we were once governed by will have fairer wages than our city.

    D’Amico’s claim doesn’t add up: “I’m concerned that a 20% increase in wages will mean a 20% increase in costs for 25% of our residents.”

    Does he think 100% of prices are payroll? Did he read the staff report?

    In L.A., as the staff report noted, a study estimated that the gradual wage increase would result in a 0.9% increase in operating costs — which is of course far less than 20%. The increase will be more than 0.9% at restaurants, but far less than 20%. And, of course, those will very low incomes can’t afford to go out to eat very often, if at all (and, given the ethos of our city, I suspect many struggling seniors would not want to deprive workers of a fair wage so they can pay a little less when they eat at restaurants, etc).

    Also, thanks to rent control and Prop 13, housing prices are pretty stable for long-term residents and I believe major grocery stores like Ralph’s already pay well, so I suspect any price increase for essential goods/services will likely be minimal or nothing at all.

    I was disturbed that some council members seemed so certain that workers who would be affected by a $15 wage don’t live here, and that they seemed wholly unconcerned with the welfare of non-constituent workers. I thought our city was more compassionate than that, and would have hoped that our elected officials would care about those who washed their dishes and rang up their purchases regardless of where they call home. Despite the obstruction of some council members, we do have some affordable housing units here, and, living on the Eastside, I am virtually certain that they are flat out wrong when they claim their don’t have constituents who would get a raise under the proposal.

  25. I was told Lindsey Horvath is a Republican. If she is she has clearly abandoned the market-based principles that are the core of conservative policy. Or maybe she was never Republican enough to even know that. Government intrusion in private business is usually the biggest obstacle to success that business owners have. Minimum wage jobs are intended to be “transitional” jobs, for young people, or as a supplement to another source of income, but never as the means to provide for an independent adult, and certainly not to support a family. A business owner should be allowed to pay an employee whatever the job is worth. The market disciplines itself. If the market is left on its own, employees will naturally be paid what they are worth and there will be plenty of jobs to choose from.

  26. yes, because D’Amico is the champion of the weho business community! LOL give me a break. when does he finally leave office?

  27. This was a tough and emotional issue; I thought the City Council ultimately handled it well, doing its’ best to address all of the complicated issues and implications that faced the City. While there was not complete consensus on the Council, each member had thoughtful comments and concerns that raised the level of the debate beyond mere sloganeering.

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