Roundtable: Wind & Fire; Minimum Wage; Sterling Racism
How Hot (And Windy) Is It?
Soaring temperatures and strong winds contributed to fires around the county this week, as well as downed trees and flying branches. A stubborn fire started up in Lakeside. Parts of Santee and National City were also scorched. And Spring Valley and Rancho Peñasquitos. Several records for April 30 were broken: The City of San Diego registered 94 degrees, Vista: 95, and Chula Vista: 91.
Temperatures between January and March this year were the highest on record. It is difficult to point to a single weather event and blame it on climate change. But when residents are worried about fire — when historically, the cool and damp of May gray should be kicking in — it is worrisome.
Is San Diego prepared for more fires and less water as summer heats up and dries us out?
Racism In America? Really?
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the National Basketball Association for racist comments he made in a private conversation with his girlfriend.
The remarks surprised and disgusted many, but Sterling has a history of discrimination, even though he donated generously to the Los Angeles NAACP, which was slated to honor him (again) next month.
Recent Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action and voting rights seem to point to the justices' belief in a post-racial U.S. Then, along comes Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who believes blacks were better off under slavery, and now Sterling, telling his girlfriend not to be seen in photos with blacks or minorities.
Questions remain: Can the NBA force Sterling to sell the team? Does the NBA, and sports in general, have a problem with racism? Are we post-racial?
Your Minimum Wage, or Mine?
Last week, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria announced details of his proposed ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage above the state-mandated rate of $8 an hour ($9 starting in July).
Gloria's proposal: Increase the city’s minimum wage to $13.09 over the next three years. He based his proposal on a Center for Policy Initiatives report on what it takes to make ends meet in San Diego. His figure represents the amount one person needs to live in San Diego on a stripped-down budget.
This week, District 4 City Council candidate Blanca Lopez-Brown submitted a competing minimum wage ballot measure that would increase pay to $12 dollars an hour by 2018. Gloria says Lopez-Brown’s plan exempts about 93 percent of San Diego businesses, including many fast food restaurants, where workers around the country have been protesting for a living wage.
Former mayor and Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders says either plan would hurt San Diego business. Brown-Lopez needs to gather about 68,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. What happens if both measures make it to the ballot? And who’s financing the effort? How are other places like Seattle and San Francisco faring in their efforts to keep pay in line with the high cost of city living?