In a recent article, “Mod Squad Focuses 2006 Election Hopes on State Senate
Races,” (Capitol Weekly, Jan. 5) my leadership on environmental issues was
called into question. I’d like to respond. During my six years in the
California State Assembly, I was proud to receive higher ratings from the
California League of Conservation Voters than any other candidate in the
State Senate race (SD-28), averaging 93 percent and scoring 100 percent
during 2 of my 6 years of service.
I have also authored dozens of environmental bills to help protect our coast
and reduce pollution, and garnered an unprecedented $6 million in the state
budget to clean up storm drain pollution in our area. I’ve also
successfully fought to fund parks and other environmental projects across my
district from restoring Lomita Park, to cleaning up beaches and harbors in
Torrance, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach.
I am proud of my hard-fought victories on environmental issues and look
forward to building on that progress in the California State Senate. Thank
you for allowing me to set the record straight.
Raising today’s federal minimum wage a dollar an hour would add 6 percent to
fast food cost–but 20 percent to minimum wage purchasing power. Admittedly,
raising the minimum from $206 a week to $246 a week won’t send any rush of
new customers to the cash registers. But should we keep fast food cheap for
$500 a week earners at the expense of making life miserable for $206
In the 1800s, English factory workers out-produced their individual artisan
forbearers ten to a hundred times but ended up subsisting on oat cakes three
times a day because they could not afford to eat wheat bread (Thompson’s
“Making of the English Working Class”). The common denominator, then and
now: the evaporation of labor’s bargaining clout.
The most comprehensive approach–perhaps the only realistic hope–to end the
American race to the bottom is (Germany’s tried and proved) sector-wide
labor agreements, wherein employees working in the same occupation in the
same geographic area mus–by law –work under one and the same collectively
bargained contract–even for different employers! Sector-wide agreements
could rebuild American labor’s bargaining power overnight–and reconstitute
its political muscle –while eliminating pesky (contractless) scabs.