Letters to the Editor: No Public Funding for Poverty Wages

By | February 22, 2013 |

Letters to the Editor ImageWe asked our email contacts if public funding should go to hotels that pay poverty wages. Overnight, more than 59 people answered our call. Here are some of the highlights:

Dear Editor:

From Suzanne Rogers in San Diego, 92102:

Hotels in San Diego make money and do so in part because they pay very low wages to the service workers who are all but invisible, yet essential to the success of their business. The City of San Diego should not be involved in collecting or dispersing money for the hotels without a vote by the people on the proper use of this tax.

From Chris West in San Diego, 92112:

San Diegans need jobs, good-paying jobs that can support them and their needs without resorting to draining limited public assistance and health care funding. We as taxpayers should not reimburse hoteliers who don’t adequately compensate their workers. At Doubletree San Diego, housekeepers make only $8 an hour and have to pay $400 a month for family healthcare. This is pathological greed at its worst. It is morally and ethically bankrupt and unacceptable.

From Carol Huntsman in San Diego, 92111:

A living wage for workers is a WIN/WIN – the cure for boosting the economy. When people can afford to spend and purchase what they need, businesses win too.

From Darcy Bergh in San Diego, 92102:

People who work hard at their jobs here in San Diego deserve to be paid enough to live here. And by live, I don’t mean living like those in the book “Nickeled and Dimed in America.” We need jobs in this town that pay enough to live a dignified life. If these luxury hotels can’t do this perhaps they should relocate to Dallas or Washington DC.

From Marjorie and Neil Larson in San Diego, 92103:

Poverty is a real problem in San Diego with one in five children going hungry and living in poverty. Our hotels should pay decent wages to their workers and any taxes should help lift this poverty. TOT taxes would help this situation if the money went to the city and not just hotel owners.

From David Abramson in San Diego, 92101:

Hotels are a huge business in San Diego and bring much revenue to our city. Unfortunately workers are being exploited and severely underpaid while these hotels make billions. The strength of our communities and our city depend on supporting the people that are on the ground making it happen day in and day out.

From Steven Ward in San Diego, 92114:

Contrary to what many people believe, our economy is in the tank not because of a lack of supply, but because of a lack of demand. Raising wages of the working class will improve people’s buying power, thus increasing demand, which will lead businesses to hire more workers. Although I am a professional and I’m not personally affected by this issue, I support raising the wages of the working class. Everyone will benefit.

From Kathryn Burton in San Diego, 92130:

If San Diego hotels expect to receive public funds, it’s only fair that hotel owners act responsibly and provide good-paying local jobs plus health care for employees.

From Tanner Smith in San Diego, 92121:

Hotel workers work hard. That’s a fact. And no one in this country or in this city of great wealth should be living in poverty. I know from personal experience and observation that the hotels do not treat their workers with respect or pay them a living wage. Please stand with our workers and end the injustice. A fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s wage and the respect that goes with it.

San Diego hotels want $30 million a year for marketing, while half their employees aren't paid enough to live self-sufficiently. Speak up! Click to support Mayor Filner's call for hotels to provide a decent living for hard work.

San Diego hotels want $30 million a year for marketing, while half their employees aren’t paid enough to live self-sufficiently.

From Carolyn Lilly in San Diego, 92120:

All workers deserve a “living wage”, not just a so-called minimum wage. To expect the government to make up the difference via tax-supported welfare is WRONG.

From Bob Alba in San Diego, 92116:

The City of San Diego must not provide funding to the local hotels to market themselves if the very hotels asking for funding cannot provide a living wage with affordable healthcare to all its workers.

From Kris Larsen in San Diego, 92116:

Wow! Tourism in San Diego creates $8,000,000,000, and hard-working employees get $24,000? That’s very basic math…and very unfair, to hotel workers AND taxpayers.

From Barbara Filner in San Diego, 92115:

No one should work full time and still have to live below poverty. Our country is better than that.

From Richard Dimatteo in San Diego, 92101:

Paying a decent living wage for hotel workers in San Diego wouldn’t even put a scratch in our tourist trade and the additional money it would circulate into our economy would be a real benefit to the whole city, not just the workers. Hotel workers don’t even come close to earning enough money to live with independence here. The lack of health benefits is a drag on county and state budgets and raises health care costs for all of us. Fair is fair, an $8 billion per annum industry can afford it.

From Joel Basore in San Diego, 92124:

It is time that the hoteliers stopped asking for corporate welfare to advertise and promote their industry, while forcing many of their employees to seek public assistance to meet their basic needs. We need to stop supporting businesses that refuse to pay living wages to full-time regular employees. The hotel industry can, and should, take care of those who toil to keep their operations profitable.

From Wayne Gearhart in San Diego, 92103:

Residents of San Diego should be able to afford enjoying this beautiful city as much as the tourists do. Yet the hotels pay the lowest wages of all the major industries in San Diego. Employees have no expendable income to spend in the city. Hotel profits are proliferate, even without the extra tax. They need to pay their employees a living wage.

From Richard Kacmar in San Diego, 92105:

Corporations have seen their profits increase phenomenally over the last few decades, but wages have stagnated. The minimum wage needs to be raised to at least $11 an hour, but until that happens we need to demand that profitable corporations pay their employees a living wage. With the hotels now trying to grab even more out of the tourist economy with their dubious 2% fee proposal, this is the time to hold local offenders to account for their miserly wage conditions.

From Sarah Saez in San Diego, 92101:

I’m writing in support of Mayor Filner’s call to end poverty wages at downtown hotels. A living wage is not only essential for workers and their families but also to our local economy. I support Mayor Filner in his refusal to sign a four-decade long contract for millions of dollars unless these hotels ensure that their employees are making enough money to live with the dignity of being able to feed their families and be free from government assistance.

From Desi Sullivan in San Diego, 92115:

As a former Downtown San Diego restaurant employee, I support this wholeheartedly! I worked as a line cook in fine dining restaurants because I loved the industry. After trying to survive on a minimum wage income for a few years, I chose to go back to school, finally completing a Masters degree. While I was able to leave the field, I saw so many of my co-workers, who had invested in the same company for 10-15+ years, forced to work two shifts back to back just to put food on their tables. They were seldom offered raises or promotions. The hotel and tourist industry in many ways is the backbone to our San Diego economy. San Diego must give back to those who provide ‘the finest city’ its economic stability. Those who work in these fine establishments are too busy making ends meet to join the rest of us whose wages are justified claiming that we get paid in San Diego sunshine. Let’s for once, serve those who serve us.

From Angelica Godinez in San Diego, 92104:

Mayor Filner is negotiating with the tough special interests groups of Downtown Hotel Owners that have become too comfortable. It’s time these hoteliers do right by this City and pay a livable wage.

From Douglas Kenyon in San Diego, 92111:

No public funds to private corporations. (period) This is crony capitalism and it is bad for the middle class and small to medium business.

From Erick Diaz in San Diego, 92139:

While I understand that tourism is a large industry here in San Diego (worth $8 billion!), it is unacceptable that hotel companies benefit in part by offering such low wages to their employees. In order for the San Diego community to benefit as a whole, hotel companies must end their practice of low wages, which only foster poverty. Bring an end to poverty wages in downtown hotels in order to improve the lives of many San Diegans.