Saturday’s Letters to the Editor
Minimum wage increase
EDITOR: Recently I was quoted saying the accelerated minimum wage ordinance was never intended to hurt small businesses (“SR looks to speed up wage increase,” Sept. 21). I stand by that statement.
We spent the last year poring over research performed by dozens of respected economic researchers who found local retail and restaurants fare the strongest. Why?
First, the playing field is leveled and there’s less competition for workers. Data demonstrates increases in productivity and morale, and decreases in costly turnover.
Additionally, leaving families to live in poverty is just bad for business given the higher likelihood of low-wage workers to spend increased wages on local shops and restaurants. Low-income families like to eat out, too.
That being said, an organization working solely with small-business owners states the purchasing power of Latinos is rapidly growing in Sonoma County. Since most low-wage workers are people of color, our ordinance just fast-tracked the projections of Latino spending in the local economy. PolicyLink predicts Latinos will become nearly half of Santa Rosa-Petaluma metro residents within 20 years.
This ordinance means 30,000, mostly Latino, Santa Rosans are about to see an average of $2,900 extra in their pockets each year. This is an opportunity for our community to thrive economically together, if we’re willing.
Executive director, North Bay Jobs with Justice
Tax second homes
EDITOR: The great divide between the haves and have-nots is glaring when we consider how many second homes are unoccupied most of the time. Unoccupied homes in Healdsburg and other towns have impacted schools and businesses, not to mention taking a large chunk of the housing stock out of use.
As Healdsburg Vice Mayor Leah Gold has suggested, we need to up the ante on this behavior. Folks who feel they need to have two or more residences ought to pay to play. A tax on second homes (not rented) seem appropriate. Not a “cabin tax” on rural properties, but rather on homes within the city limits.
What will that do? Probably not much as far as reducing the number of empty second homes, but it will raise awareness within this community that it is not cool in this day and age to have multiple houses, and it will raise tax money.
EDITOR: After reading the Oct. 4 article (“Bad Facebook content must be erased globally, EU says”) about the EU court ordering everybody in the entire world to obey its edicts, I can understand why the Brits might want to leave.
JOHN M. WOOLEY
Fighting climate change
EDITOR: I am an angry and worried sixth grader. Climate change is a very big problem. It is affecting everyone’s future, and not in a good way. Everyone needs to work together to help stop climate change now.
One reason we need to stop climate change is so our homes do not end up underwater. If climate change does not stop, the ocean will continue to rise because all the ice is melting. Also, we need to stop logging because when we cut down trees, it sends carbon into the air. Corporations are logging for financial reasons and are one of the reasons our forests are being destroyed. This needs to stop now. We can repurpose wood from buildings that have been deserted or use alternative resources. Wildfires are another big problem. They kill forests and then the animals have no place to live.