Daily Archives: 06/16/2014

AISD Prevailing Wages

(Community Matters) I opposed a citywide living wage while on the Liveable City board 10+ years ago. But, today I am in favor of one. Our federal minimum wage adjusted for inflation is below that in the late 1960’s and even detractors claim to support pushing responsibility and authority closer to the people, to the states and municipalities.

Hard for AISD to take this step of requiring the federal prevailing wage since we’re living in such tough times with education funding. But, we’ve got to pay people at the lower ends of the pay scales more. We’re completely out of wack incentivizing executives to lower wages so dramatically while rewarding them so disproportionately. Even from a nonaltruistic perspective, our country’s economic engine depends on a strong middle class. Yes, yes, yes, I know . . . 400 million new members of the middle class around the world. But, they don’t make up for 40mm Americans slipping into lower & poverty. We elect politicians to protect our citizens and promote their well-being.

I say all this knowing that our global economy is rapidly further commoditizing manual & cognitive routine jobs of middle-skills – see Labor Market Polarization. 

Austin Rail

project connect
(Community Matters)
 I’ve spent a lot of time with rail advocates (& some with opponents) the last two weeks. I’ve learned: 1) the planning and decision making process (which was severely broken prior to this year) was extensive and closely followed required federal guidelines and included unprecedented public input, 2) the proposed rail line is a first step in a city wide system, probably the most feasible one (financially & operationally) which looks to population and congestion projections in 5 & 10 years, not today (ie., where the hockey puck will be), 3) the line doesn’t go to Mueller, 4) while in DC last week meeting with senators, congressmen and administration officials, they painted an optimistic picture of federal matching funds (cautiously optimistic). We haven’t seen the ballot proposal(s). It’s got to also include a serious investment in roads – that seriously impacts congestion. I’m looking forward to seeing the proposal. Advocates have a high hurdle effectively selling it to voters.

If they can’t with some reliability of passage, should they defer to next year?

Employment Nondiscrimination

(Community Matters) Huff Post: Obama Drafting Executive Order On LGBT Job Discrimination.

Such great news.

I loved being at the President’s signing of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I’d love to be at this signing, though I’ve not stayed engaged. Don’t imagine this time. Monumental.

Ed Reich (Robert Reich’s father)

(Community Matters) I pull back a lot on many things I read and agree with just because partisan rancor wears me out. This is just too insightful not to share. Do I think Pres Obama has not made mistakes? of course not. Do I think McCain & Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan would have been better administrations? Good God no. Would I ever listen to the neocons who sent us into Iraq originally – hell no.

I’m here in Florida visiting my father, Ed Reich, who, at the young age of 100 and a half, just came up with one of the most incisive assessments I’ve heard of what’s happened in Iraq: “George W. Bush and the crooks he hired are responsible for this. If they hadn’t lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction we wouldn’t have lost nearly 5,000 American lives and god knows how many Iraqi lives, and stirred up this hornet’s nest. Obama has spent his entire administration cleaning up Bush’s shit, like someone with a giant pooper scooper.” Dad has lived during the administrations of 17 presidents. “Bush was the worst,” he says. “Reagan the second worst.”
I’m troubled by the President’s announcement that he’s sending 275 members of the military back into Iraq.