DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
“Three groups spend other people’s money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision.”
— Dick Armey
Oscar Gutierrez asked his fellow Santa Barbara City Council members to “be brave” because it takes a lot of gall to overcome one’s natural aversion to spending other people’s money this way — that is, for the non-emergency ordinance to require “hero pay” for grocery/drug store workers of chains with more than 300 employees nationwide.
“What distinguishes grocery and drug store workers over hundreds of other jobs where people risked exposure during the peak months of the COVID-19 outbreak?”
The City Council designated only retail employees of the big grocery and drug retailers’ workers as heroes. By doing this, the council is mandating these employers pay these workers an additional $5 per hour for 60 days. In the council’s selective mindfulness of union donations, council members contrived to designate only the employees of deep-pocketed employers — with unionized membership — as heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why were the employees of many locally owned retailers, who are not union workers, not considered heroes?
What happened to employer/union negotiations?
This council is addicted to spending other people’s money. This whole subject is another example of overreach by this council, who are forever making feel-good gestures, hoping there will not be repercussions. Fundamentally, the question is: By what authority has this council the legal power to selectively impose salary changes on companies with which it does not do business?
Now we are punished with higher costs for food and drugs thanks to their awarding “hero pay” to their union supporters.
Where is the hero pay for the AMR ambulance service, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, the Santa Barbara Police Department, nurses, bus drivers, train conductors, trash collectors? The list goes on and on and is a Pandora’s Box. Especially in this time of give-ways.
Fourteen months later, why the push for the hero pay? Does our City Council always walk to the beat of another’s drum?
Since “we are told” this is happening in other towns, is this why they are following someone else’s pied piper? Where are the ideas specific for our town? Why is our City Council so lackluster?
How many seats are up for election in November? Three City Council seats and the mayor. Doesn’t anyone want to see change in our local government leaders?
Didn’t the grocery stores do anything and everything they could to create a safe environment? They implemented distancing, cleaning, plexiglass shields, limiting customers and seniors’ hours, etc.
The grocery stores were already made targets of the City Council by way of the (walk-away) Shopping Cart Ordinance — something that is not the store’s fault, but again a fall out from the transient population and the people without cars who must get their groceries home.
Of course, who is promoting this?
It’s the same City Council who also asked for the Public Labor Agreement. Remember, city infrastructure contracts for over $5 million must use union labor. No locals need apply if not a union member.
Our City Council appears to be anti-corporation. We ask: What is the difference?
And our City Council used valuable time and discourse to banter about the location of the “State of the City” and where it would be held. Really? It’s tragically laughable that the council spent time on this.
The normal sponsors of this venue were forced out by the mayor as she wants no contributions from any oil or gas companies. We must bring up that the City Council gave themselves their annual raise during COVID-19. Did they return their car allowance? Because they didn’t need any of that. They all worked via webinar.
If they are so anti-gas and anti-oil, surely, they should refuse the transportation stipend and reimburse the city.
Mayor Cathy Murillo said that delivering the State of the City address in a different venue is the right outcome of the situation. Dismissing the city’s normal sponsors as they are tied to gas and oil? She said, “It’s an opportunity for us to connect with the public personally.” She also suggested “a Saturday morning or afternoon at the Carrillo Recreation Center or Cabrillo Pavilion, with Spanish translation and family friendly with children’s activities.”
We suspect it is an opportunity for a campaign stop for the incumbent’s November election bid.
Imagine the cost to rent the Cabrillo Pavilion for a campaign event not subsidized by the taxpayers of Santa Barbara.
Meanwhile, the government’s unemployment checks are training the population to stay home, do nothing and expect to be paid. Most businesses have problems hiring people who want to work.
Case in point: Prior to COVID-19, a well-established Montecito restaurant would get a minimum of 20 inquiries in response to help-wanted advertisements. That number took a dive after COVID and the largesse of the government (responsible for “sloths in training”). There would be three responses, resulting in one interview and someone not showing up after being offered a job. It appears $18 an hour is not worth getting off the sofa and off the government dole.
Collectively, we are in trouble if this is the breeding ground for our workforce.
City Council members have said they are discussing a Living Wage Ordinance for the City. What will that look like if $18 an hour for a restaurant worker is not impetus enough to get off the sofa and go back to work?
A reminder of the response to COVID and the need for personal protective equipment. Direct Relief International sent masks to China at China’s request. Gov. Gavin Newsom then bought masks from China for $5 each.
Locally it was not our elected officials — Santa Barbara County Supervisors Gregg Hart and Das Williams, state Sen. Monique Limon, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal or even the City Council — who supplied the masks to the citizens or workers of Santa Barbara. It was church groups and elderly, sewing the masks and distributing them to CHP, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the county and city workers, all for free.
Where was the city’s leadership during COVID-19 except for a few orchestrated PSAs starring the mayor directed by the Police Department’s PIO, Anthony Wagner, on loan to City Hall?
Again, there is an election in November. There is still time to file papers for public office.
Have you heard the latest ruse? The ads starring typical celebrities like, J Low Low and Baby GaGa, and Bob De Niro promoting the “WELL Health-Safety Seal Public Awareness” campaign?
This is designed to encourage patronizing “COVID-safe” businesses that have paid for the designation. Cost is $2,730 to $12,600 depending on the revenue and size of the business.
To qualify for the designation is the same as any normal county safety and health inspection. However, a check must be written to the promoter, who has made $800 million so far with his innovative idea of a logo.
By the way, the inspection is self-regulating. It beats GoFundMe.
“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
— Winston Churchill