LA WATCHDOG - The City Council has placed three union inspired, self-serving initiatives on the March 5th primary ballot that are not in the best interests of Angelenos and do not deserve our support. Furthermore, the union sponsors of these measures opposed the transparency provisions in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance and lobbied the City Council to reject Jamie York’s nomination to the City Ethics Commission despite her excellent qualifications and her call for openness and transparency.
On August 5, 2022, the City Council placed the following qualified initiative on the ballot that is an attempt by UNITE HERE Local 11 to pressure the hotel industry into adopting a new labor agreement.
HOTEL LAND USE, REPLACEMENT HOUSING, AND POLICE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS; PROGRAM PLACING UNHOUSED INDIVIDUALS IN VACANT HOTEL ROOMS. INITIATIVE ORDINANCE
Shall an ordinance requiring certain hotel development projects obtain a land use permit based on affordable housing impacts and other factors, and replace demolished or converted housing with affordable housing; adding police permit requirements for hotels; establishing a program to place unhoused individuals in vacant hotel rooms (emphasis added); and providing specified exceptions and waivers; be adopted?
While this initiative has many parts, just imagine if a deranged homeless individual occupying one of the vacant hotel rooms injured or killed an out-of-town guest. Or if a video went viral of a homeless individual going bonkers in the lobby of a major hotel in DTLA or Hollywood. The adverse publicity would destroy the City’s tourist business, a key driver of our economy, and put many employees out of work.
On June 21, 2022, the round heeled City Council approved the following initiative sponsored by the SEIU. In response, the healthcare industry sponsored a referendum that forced the City to place the following initiative on the ballot on September 30, 2022.
MINIMUM WAGE FOR EMPLOYEES WORKING AT CERTAIN HEALTHCARE FACILITIES. INITIATIVE ORDINANCE.
Shall an ordinance establishing a $25 per hour minimum wage for employees working at certain privately owned healthcare facilities located in Los Angeles (including clinicians, nurses, aides, technicians, maintenance workers, janitorial and housekeeping staff, guards, food service workers, pharmacists, and administrative workers, but not including managers or supervisors), adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases; and providing waivers for employers demonstrating financial hardship; be adopted?
Leaving aside the argument for or against the $25 minimum wage, this matter should be decided at the bargaining table and not at the ballot box. By placing this measure on the ballot, it sends the wrong measure to employers that are considering investments in the City that will create new jobs.
On June 21, 2022, the union-controlled City Council voted to place the following initiative sponsored by the SEIU on the ballot.
LIMITS ON HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION. INITIATIVE ORDINANCE
Shall an ordinance limiting the annual compensation of specified healthcare executives of certain privately owned healthcare facilities located in Los Angeles (including salary, bonuses, and other listed benefits and payments) to no more than the President of the United 1 States, currently $450,000, as set forth in Section 102 of Title 3 of the United States Code; and requiring healthcare facilities to maintain records and file reports documenting compliance; be adopted?
Again, this is another attempt to pressure privately held healthcare organizations. But if passed, how minutes would it take any impacted healthcare organization to leave the City along with its jobs? And again, what message does it send to employers that are considering job creating investments in the City.
Over the next six months, we will be bombarded by advertising supporting and opposing these measures. But we cannot allow the weaponization of ballot measures by special interests that are not in our best interests.
We will also have to endure political campaigns by the Councilmembers in even numbered Council Districts, including Nithya Raman and Kevin de Leon who are facing formidable opposition.
The Mobility Plan drafted by the City Council that it failed to implement because of cost considerations and incompetence has also been placed on the ballot through an initiative.
Let the circus begin.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: [email protected].)