L.A.’s minimum wage to rise to $15 by 2020 (L.A. Times)
A relevant story given that Metro’s latest customer survey showed that the average household income for bus riders was about $15,500 — and $22,000 for rail riders. Of course, Metro serves many parts of Los Angeles County whereas the minimum wage hike will take effect only in the city of Los Angeles (about 40 percent of the county population-wise).
Some labor leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the gradual timeline elected leaders set for raising base wages. But on Tuesday the harshest criticism of the law came from business groups, which warned lawmakers that the mandate would force employers to lay off workers or leave the city altogether.
I’m curious to see what, if any, effect the wage hike has on Metro’s proposed ballot measure for the Nov. 2016 ballot. As we posted recently, one possible scenario has Metro asking voters to approve an additional half-cent sales tax increase.
Business groups were largely supportive of Measure R and the many transportation projects funded, including an expansion of the transit system. A wage hike and a sales tax increase are two very different things, but both involve spending money.
Of course, there’s another way of looking at it, expressed by L.A. Councilmember and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin when asked if the wage increase would have unintended consequences:
“Those concerns about potential unintended consequences are also balanced against the very real and known consequences we have and we see in Los Angeles every day of people getting a poverty wage for working full time,” he said.
The New Yorker’s John Cassidy also provides a very interesting commentary, saying L.A.’s minimum wage increase is a “fascinating experiment” — and one in which he praises.
As an exercise in participatory politics, the success of the living-wage movement is encouraging, and the new laws, when they come into effect, will have a significant impact on the lives of low-paid workers and their families. Someone who works a forty-hour week and earns $7.25 an hour receives an annual wage of fifteen thousand and eighty dollars, before deductions for Social Security and Medicare. That’s more than nine thousand dollars below the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, and is marginally below the threshold for a family of two. At fifteen dollars an hour, the annual wage rises to thirty one thousand two hundred dollars, which is well above the poverty thresholds.
As Cassidy points out, many other large cities have or are in the midst of raising the wage. He also cites numerous research that shows job losses due to wage increases are basically negligible. In fact, he cites research saying that a minimum wage increase could result in a job increase because workers have more money to spend.
It’s also worth mentioning that Metro does offer fare discounts to a variety of groups, including those who earn low incomes. Please see this page on metro.net for more information and how to apply.
The legal settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing. The man was hit by a train at a pedestrian crosswalk at the Southwest Museum Station in 2009 and lost his foot in the accident. New warning signals were placed at the crosswalk after the accident to better warn people that trains were coming from both directions, according to Metro.
Leap is one of the so-called luxury buses trolling San Francisco for riders willing to fork over significantly more money than it costs to ride a city bus. But Leap has had to stop operations because of various state concerns and incomplete paperwork. Leap officials say they’ll be back on the road in no time. We shall see.
An un-skeptical clickbait/rehash of the Walkscore list, which said Cambridge, Mass., as number one. The top 10 has a lot of college towns — the largest city is Minneapolis, which last I heard sometimes gets some snow and chilly temperatures and has simply lovely biking weather 24/7/365. Santa Monica comes in sixth.
That’s nice. SaMo has gone to great lengths to build bike lanes but No. 6 seems a tad generous when compared to the rest of the U.S. SaMo also has a bit of a car traffic issue and even the beach bike lane is often congested with bikes, walkers, rollerbladers, skaters and Segways. Long Beach, on the other hand, has a beach bike lane and an adjacent walking path — a wiser approach, IMO.
Los Angeles is very, very busy (Zocalo Public Square)
The latest in Zocalo’s ongoing series of profiles of Metro riders.
Quasily-related to transit:
•Things to watch on transit: For those riders or cubicle dwellers/prisoners with a good internet connection: Great band, great song and great montage of clips to close out David Letterman’s late night run.
•I found a taker for my offer of a free book. Video below of Heather taking the solemn oath to gift Bill Bryson’s “One Summer: America 1927” to another transit rider when she’s done reading it:
Next freebie book: “Great White Fathers: The Story of the Obsessive Quest to Create Mt. Rushmore” by John Taliaferro. First person to email me gets the book (and it’s a hardcover!).
•Things to listen to on transit: “The Songs That Makes Us Cry,” NPR’s All Songs Considered podcast. Many of the suggestions come from listeners and let’s just say I wouldn’t have guessed the first song played in a million years. One song mentioned in the comments worthy of consideration:
Categories: Transportation Headlines