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Commentary by Enaya Hanbali
| Friday, Mar 18, 2016

EnayaHanbaliOn March 9, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a 5th District Supervisor’s Candidate Forum. They had seven candidates who are running in this coming June 7 primary election: Kathryn Barger, Elan Carr, Mitch Englander, Bob Huff, Ara Najarian, Darrell Park and Billy Malone. This district represents the Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Gabriel valleys.

The host asked these candidates a few questions, and each candidate was timed to speak for a few minutes. He asked each candidate on their stances on increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Barger told the audience that minimum-wage jobs are not careers, and that the private sector would pay more, but it can’t afford it.

Huff wants to bring in more good-paying jobs and said we have lost entertainment jobs and need to bring them back. He mentioned he has a good track record to bring good jobs back. He also said people make enough on minimum wage and that there are fewer opportunities for businesses to be able to pursue a start-up.

Malone worked three jobs to support himself and his wife while she went to school. He said increasing the minimum wage would increase an imbalance and that it is the responsibility for the federal government to make that decision.

Englander voted against increasing minimum wage because it creates a burden on businesses.

Carr wants to support a minimum-wage increase but believes it can hurt businesses. Also, businesses would increase their prices to pay their employees.

Najarian is against increasing the minimum wage and wants to provide more jobs by keeping wages low.

Park said small increases in the minimum wage makes sense, because when Ford increased the minimum wage for his workers, they were able to buy cars. Many people haven’t gone out to dinner for years because of low wages.

It is ridiculous to state that minimum wage jobs are not careers, because the time and effort might require a lower skill set, but is enough time where one is away from home to where they should be able to make enough to provide for their families regardless of what full-time job it is. People generally work because they need to support themselves and provide for their families, not for a hobby. They help run businesses smoothly, and without them, businesses are in trouble and deserve to work a livable wage that is enough to take care of oneself.

It also doesn’t make any sense that the private sector cannot afford to pay employees minimum wage, especially since there has been a growing gap between the rich and poor for decades.  The minimum wage is way too low if there has been a huge increase in poverty in the past decades; also, it does not make sense not to increase wages to where it is livable for members who work hard in our communities. If anything, it would create a better balance between the rich and the poor.

The only burden increasing the minimum wage (would have) is that the business owner would be less profitable; however, it is likely that businesses would increase their prices if the minimum wage goes up since there is a lack of regulations on how much a business can charge for goods and services.

The 5th District supervisor candidate forum was very helpful as far as raising awareness in the community about the candidates who are running and their stances on minimum wage. Members of the community would have to decide what candidate would best suit them based on their needs. There has been a growing gap between the rich and the poor for the past decade or two, and we need to have some kind of reform where our society can come to terms with how to go about closing the gap.

 

Enaya Hanbali is a native Southern Californian of Arab American descent. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Long Beach.

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3 Comments

  1. Jim Shorts says:

    Low wages are in direct correlation with illegal immigration. Stop low wage illegal alien labor and our wages will rise.

  2. John says:

    Apparently Ms Hanbali, with all the listed accolades on her resume, never took economics 101. A small pizza shop owner or plumbing company cannot withstand the sucker punch to their wallet of a $15/hr minimum wage for entry level skills. They would have no other choice but to downsize their workforce, considering employee wages are the top expense for a small business. Businesses cannot print money! It is obvious that Ms Hambali has never employed anybody. Just because you own a business doesn’t make you a millionaire. Most small business owners make very modest incomes. they are not gonna be able to support such a jump in minimum wage and they will cut back on their staff. It’s called simple math Ms Hanbali

    • Enaya says:

      Excuse, I have taken economics 101. Second, you are right that the cost of an employee is the most expensive expense that an employer faces and that businesses cannot print money. You are right that small business are going to have to downsize their workforce, because they can’t pay their employees enough. If they can’t afford to hire another employee, their business are too slow to have them on staff or the owner/manager is not doing their part managing the business. As harsh as that may be. I am very well aware that most small business are not millionaires and make modest incomes. But what about big businesses that have really low wages like our fast food joints and retail department stores where there are several workers on minimum wage or pretty close to it who work very hard and don’t even get paid for what they are worth when those same companies can afford it?

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