Tag Archives: Berkeley

Berkeley, Calif. City Council to Consider Raising Minimum Wage to $19 Per Hour

The Berkeley City Council is set to vote on a proposal that would raise the city’s minimum wage for workers to $19 per hour by 2020.

According to KQED News, the proposed change to the city’s minimum wage schedule, which was recommended by Berkeley’s Labor Commission, will face consideration at a special council session on November 10.

Polly Armstrong, chief executive of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, told CBS MoneyWatch that despite the fact that the businesses she represents are largely run by political progressives in one of the most liberal corners of California, a blue state, “What I hear is business owners who say, ‘This may put me out of business, but I don’t want to say publicly that I don’t want to pay my workers everything they deserve.’

[RELATED: Pizza Shop Announces Impending Closure Due to Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Hike]

Because we care about our workers, it feels good to say everyone should get a living wage,” said Armstrong. However, she noted that many small business owners do not earn as much as $19 per hour themselves. “It’s just that bottom line,” she said.

CBS Moneywatch’s Aimee Picchi wrote that some business owners who “said boosting wages to $19 an hour would threaten the viability of their stores… spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of appearing to place business interests ahead of workers.

Berkeley’s current minimum wage is $10 per hour and is set to rise to $11 per hour on October 1 under a recently-passed minimum wage hike that will see it rise to $12.53 per hour by October of 2016. The Labor Commission’s new proposal would hike the wage even further to $13 per hour by October 2016 on a schedule that would end in a $19-per-hour minimum wage by 2020. The Labor Commission’s panel that recommended the proposal did not include any area business owners.

Supporters of the measure claim that workers need the sharp increase to keep up with rising Berkeley rent prices, which have reportedly spiked 75 percent in 6 years to an average of over $2,800 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Armstrong said that such a sharp minimum wage hike could drive small businesses out of the city in favor of corporate chain stores. “It’s one thing if you want a town full of Applebee’s and P.F. Changs, but that’s not what Berkeley wants,” she said.

Berkeley’s city manager pointed out the fact that 60% of companies in the city are small businesses.

Business owner Dorothée Mitrani told the Berkeley City Council at a hearing last week that she is already being forced to close one of her existing business due to increasing labor costs. “I can’t survive. It’s not about not paying people. It’s about allowing us to run our small businesses so we can pay these people,” she said.

Labor Commission Chairperson Wendy Bloom told ABC 7 News, “We’re looking at trying to raise people out of poverty. You know, as a registered nurse, I know that you can’t have a healthy community unless you have a living wage, you can pay the bills, you can pay your rent, and we know housing isn’t affordable in the Bay Area.

18-Year-Old Shot And Killed by Police Near Ferguson, Protest Erupts At Scene

Berkeley, MO– A teenager was shot and killed late Tuesday night by police at a gas station after police claimed the teen pointed a gun at an officer.

The young man, identified as 18-year-old Antonio Martin, allegedly pointed a firearm an an officer who is yet to be identified. Surveillance footage has been released by the St. Louis County Police.

The St. Louis Police released a statement regarding the video and the shooting:

“This video shows the suspect pointing a gun at the officer. More information on the incident: At approximately 11:15 PM on December 23, 2014, a police officer with the City of Berkeley was conducting a routine business check at the Mobile Gas Station located at 6800 N. Hanley when he observed two male subjects on the side of the building. The Berkeley Police Officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects when one of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene. The Berkeley Police Department requested the St. Louis County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit to handle the investigation. St. Louis County Police Detectives have recovered the deceased subject’s handgun at the scene. At this time, I cannot confirm the identity of the deceased subject. The investigation is on-going and further details will follow as they become available.”

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that the suspect “produced a pistol with his arm straight out, pointing it straight at the officer kind of from across the hood” and the officer fired “what we think is three shots.” Martin was pronounced dead at the scene, and his body was removed at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday morning. Police said that a loaded 9mm gun was found on the suspect. The officer who shot Martin was not wearing his issued body camera, and the dash camera of the police vehicle was not turned on.

Belmar said that this is the officer’s second use-of-force incident.

A protest ensued shortly after the incident at the scene of the shooting. St. Louis Today reported that hundreds of protesters congregated at the scene, and video footage has captured an explosion during the protest.

Police are currently looking for a second individual who was with Martin at the time of the shooting.

Netflix’s House of Cards trolls Senator Rand Paul on Twitter

House of Cards, the Netflix sensation, has a bit of a reputation for trolling real life politicians. It’s probably one of the absolute greatest marketing moves of all time, and it pays off in huge dividends. Their latest target was Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Paul paid a visit to the University of California–Berkeley last week where he was received with a roaring standing ovation. Berkeley is known as perhaps the greatest politically liberal stronghold in American academia. Paul is certainly the only Republican Senator who could pull of such a stunt at Berkeley, and happens to be in the lead for the Republican presidential 2016 nominee.

Paul took his anti-National Security Agency (NSA) message to Berkeley and tweeted a one-liner from his speech. House of Cards responded in typical fashion.  Paul later re-tweeted the shoutout.

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