By Benjamin Carney | May 9, 2013 |
This Saturday, May 11, the letter carriers union will continue its 20-year tradition of service to the community and dedication to the alleviation of hunger. While delivering mail, letter carriers will collect bags of food for local food banks.
For the past two decades the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has organized the Stamp out Hunger initiative, collecting and distributing over one billion pounds of food.
In San Diego, NALC Branch 70 collected over 500,000 pounds of donated food in 2012. You can help NALC Branch 70 collect even more this year! To participate in the Stamp out Hunger 2013 drive, leave bags of non-perishable food items by your mailbox on Saturday, and they will be delivered to a food bank.
This initiative has given much needed assistance to working families that go without because of the constantly decreasing value of their wages. Over 50 million Americans are affected by hunger, including 17 million children. Here in San Diego County, the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) has reported that 3 in 10 non-retired households in the county earn less than a “self-sufficiency” level; including more than 180,000 households with at least one person working full-time or part-time. Self-sufficiency levels are determined to be an hourly pay rate of $13.13 for a single person with no dependents in order to cover their basic needs.
The number of people living in poverty in the County is increasing. CPI studies have found one major reason is that inflation-adjusted earnings have decreased in 10 of the region’s 15 largest industries, with the lowest wages in the tourism and hotel industry.
Recognizing the immense need created by insufficient wages, CPI is proud to support this valuable effort to alleviate suffering in San Diego.
Benjamin Carney is a CPI intern. He is also a recent graduate from Point Loma Nazarene University.
By | April 30, 2013 |
Help us give a very special welcome to our 2013 class of Students for Economic Justice (SEJ). We are excited to announce that for the first time, we have expanded this valuable opportunity to eight incredible students from schools throughout San Diego. Through hands-on campaign experience, these students will develop the organizing skills necessary to become leaders in the social justice community. But with an expanded program, comes the need for additional funding to support the education and growth of these young adults. Please join us as we hold our first fundraiser for the Students for Economic Justice program of 2013.
May 10, 2013, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information.
- Individuals – $25-$50
- Organizational host – $250, $500, $1000
- Students – $20
By Trinh Le | April 10, 2013 |
The Mayor released his proposed budget for 2013-14 on Monday (4/15), and the spending decisions made over the next two months will directly impact our neighborhoods and our families’ quality of life. We invite you to get involved! We’re planning a series of free events aimed at helping you understand the budget process and learn how to effectively advocate for the services and infrastructure needed to give every neighborhood a fair shake.
Join us online and in person:
4/16 @ 7pm Budget 101 Webinar: General Overview (Online)
4/17 @ 7pm Budget 102 Webinar: Capital Improvement Projects (Online)
5/4 @ 9am Budget Teach-In and Advocacy Training (at Jacobs Center)
5/6 – 5/10 Week of Budget Hearings (San Diego City Hall)
5/22 @ 6pm Evening Budget Hearing (San Diego City Hall)
By Corinne Wilson | April 2, 2013 |
A lot of accounting and technical terms are used when we talk about the city budget. This can be confusing for the lay person. CPI’s Research and Policy Lead, Corinne Wilson helps viewers understand what it means when the City reports a $3.6 Million Surplus. Drawings by Normita Rodriguez.
By Trinh Le | March 29, 2013 |
The new city budget is coming! Decisions on City of San Diego spending for 2013-14 have begun. The new budget will take effect on July 1. A number of residents and community leaders have expressed concern over the complexity of the process.
Do you know how to tell if service levels or projects are being funded in your neighborhood? How can you determine if the investment in city service levels will improve?
This workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn how to access the budget online and how to interpret the data as it relates to projects in your community. Corinne will lead us in a review of the budget format, how to read key tables and how to review which projects received funding.
Will you join me and the Community Budget Alliance at this important workshop? To confirm your attendance please email me at TLE@OnlineCPI.org or call me at (619) 584-5744 x24. You may download flyers here.
By Clare Crawford | March 19, 2013 |
It is my great pleasure to introduce Peter Brownell, PhD, who joins CPI’s staff this month as our new research director.
Dr. Brownell comes to CPI from the RAND Corporation, an international nonprofit think tank that is well known for its rigorous empirical research on a wide range of issues relevant to public policy.
After an exhaustive national search, we found the ideal leader of our research team here at home. Dr. Brownell lives in San Diego with his wife and two daughters, and has been commuting to RAND’s Santa Monica headquarters.
While there, he led research projects investigating Mexican immigrants’ wages and the role of US policy on immigrants in the labor market. He is very familiar with the impact of low wages on working families and on the overall regional economy. He also has researched occupational health and youth health risks such as smoking and childhood obesity.
Dr. Brownell’s expertise and research skills will be a tremendous addition to CPI’s research and policy staff as we build on our track record of producing high-quality research that illuminates problems and advances policy solutions.
Our work will continue to focus on relieving poverty and inequity and enhancing access to good jobs, livable wages, affordable healthcare and quality public services in the San Diego region.
Please join me in welcoming Peter to CPI. I hope you’ll have a chance to meet him soon at one of our events or actions.
By Quynh Nguyen | March 8, 2013 |
Great news! The new owners of the Hilton Mission Valley have announced they will retain all the workers. This decision means more than 100 San Diego families won’t be thrown into unemployment.
Thank you for your show of solidarity. Over 700 individuals sent Tarsadia executives emails urging them to retain all Hilton Mission Valley workers. More than a 100 people showed their support in person last Friday at the sit-in at the hotel. Great work!
The Center on Policy Initiatives is proud to advocate for San Diego families. Please stay connected (you can also find us on Facebook and Twitter) so that we may continue to work together to build a San Diego that works for all.
By Christie Hill | March 1, 2013 |
Thank you for supporting livable wages for the thousands of San Diego residents who work in the tourism industry.
The outcry against a 39-year, $1 billion subsidy for hotels paying poverty wages has been overwhelming! More than 90 of you have answered our call to write letters to the editor. UT San Diego published 24 of those letters here and here, San Diego Free Press thanked the letter-writers publicly and we have posted many of the letters on our website.
A special thanks to everyone who came to the City Council on Monday. We demonstrated strong public opposition to the Tourism Marketing District’s insistence on controlling $30 million a year in public funds while refusing Mayor Filner’s call for living wages.
At the end of the meeting, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith admitted that legally the TMD is “a gray area.” Several lawsuits have been filed against the city for enacting the 2% TMD tax without a public vote, in violation of 2010’s statewide Prop 26.
By Christie Hill | February 23, 2013 |
When we asked for letters supporting decent pay and healthcare for hotel workers, we expected maybe 10 or 20 people would take the time to sit down and write a letter.
Wow. We underestimated you!
More than 60 passionate, thoughtful letters poured in overnight* – and they’re still coming! People are fed up with the powerful downtown hoteliers, who are demanding the city turn over $30 million a year for their marketing, while refusing Mayor Bob Filner’s request that they pay livable wages.
The Tourism Marketing District has been invited to make their case to the City Council at 2 pm Monday, and they have a slick presentation ready.
Hotel workers and CPI will be there with the facts. The hotels are profiting from San Diego’s location and from their employees’ hard work, and they don’t help the local economy by paying wages too low for people to live self-sufficiently.
Please contact Normita Rodriguez, NRodriguez@onlineCPI.org, if you can join us at 2 pm at City Hall, or you have questions. (And watch Normita on Channel 17 discussing how hotels’ low wages contribute to poverty in the region.)
Help us spread the word and bring more people out to support livable wages. Please forward this e-mail and share with your friends!
Thank you for standing with us. Together we are making San Diego better.
By CPI Supporters | February 22, 2013 |
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.
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.