Thursday, April 20, 2006
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, DOWNTOWN ALBUQUERQUE--A comromise was reached before the council meeting started. Martin Heinrich, broker of the minimum wage compromise, talked to me right before the meeting about how the deal came down. In the final analysis, it was necessary to include health care as a part of the total minimum wage package. He said this wouldn't affect too many people, that nobody wanted to push anybody off health care, and that workers would actually get more for their money with that part of the bill than without it.
Conroy Chino, from the Governor's office, is now speaking in support of the proposed legislation. I just saw him at the Nob Hill Flying Star a couple of days ago talking to a table full of people. I sure wish I had a picture of that bacause I believe I see some of them here tonight.
Terri Cole is speaking her two minutes worth. CEO of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, she didn't even get to her main point...but questions from Councilor Winter gave her a chance to explain herself. One of the points the Chamber of Commerce is putting forward is that they would rather see a federal or state law rather than a city minimum wage law.
NewMexiKen, who is sitting behind me, whispered, "Is she saying the Chamber of Commerce supports a raise in the national minimum wage?"
Well, that seems to be what she said, but maybe she is hoping nobody checks with the national office. Maybe I'll email them ASAP.
Update! It is impossible to email any of the national officers without being a member of the Chamber...at least from their website.
Just heard from "Mr. Schiff" owner of a massage parlor...a legit massage parlor that is: "One of the hallmarks of a good compromise is that no one is completely happy."
There are more speakers in the queue than I have listening power.
Hold the phone! A speaker named Emil Shaw just spoke. What attracted my attention was that he announced himself as the President of the New Mexico Educational Retirees Association. Now I am a retired teacher, so I listened carefully. Briefly, the NMERA supports the minimum wage hike. Shaw stated that cost increases that affect retirees have more to do with war spending and increasing health care costs than fallout from any minimum wage bill.
I called him outside and he said another interesting thing: this Thursday at the AFT Hall there will be a speaker on the education of the immigrant population. What really stokes me is that retired teachers still care!
I told him he made me proud. He shook my hand.
Here comes State Senator Kent Cravens. "It's like playing 'chicken' with ACORN." That's what he said. He was talking about forcing an election. That is what he wants. He represents CRAVE...I mean PAVE. Don't ask what it stands for. I can't remember.
And now we have the two we knew would be here: Bob "I'm the reason Heather is in Congress" Anderson and Geraldine Amato. Geraldine mentions the world SEDUCTION...a perfect word for 3rd party candidate Bob Anderson. He sounds so good...but what a sucking sound in mainstream politics.
And who can say enough about Geraldine Amato. She has made a career of speaking at City Council meetings. What did she say? Can't remember. I must have been eyeing her outfit.
NewMexiKen: The price of gas has gone up 60 cents in 3 weeks...and we're arguing a dollar an hour. Councillor Cadigan has just introduced his amendment to give a reduced minimum wage to workers who get health and/or childcare benefits. The employees get one dollar less per hour if those benefits are part of the wage benefit. Sounds like an acceptable deal to me. Certainly both childcare and healthcare cost more than that. I'm signing off. Good night and good luck.