PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

July 22, 2009

Council 5 Race

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 3:51 pm

I have started to do my homework regarding the special election for the City Council District 5 race. The monied candidates seem to be Kobayashi, Matsunaga and Kinney. Of the three of them, my inclination would be to go with Matsunaga. As a self-described “loony liberal” however, I like to look beyond the front-runners and am not afraid to vote for someone who may not win. It is in that vein that I want to introduce you to Michael Cain. http://www.michaelcain.net/

Mike and I have several mutual friends in the paddling community, one of which was encouraging me to vote for him the other day. Before committing my support I wanted to know more about where he stands on the issues. His website, while somewhat verbose, was somewhat a breath of fresh air to me. His answers to the HonAd questions and his issue statements are candid and sincere. Most importantly, they are progressive. Copied below is one of my favorites:

What solid-waste solutions should be pursued to alleviate the need for a landfill on Oahu?

We need to start treating excessive waste as a socially unacceptable vice. Recycling is important, and increasing the capacity of H-Power is important, but both approaches will only have minimal impact as long as our per-capita production of solid waste continues to skyrocket. Let’s expand recycling to go island-wide, immediately … but let’s also lead the nation in instituting a strong county-wide waste reduction program.

Check out his website for yourselves and feel free to tell me who your preferred candidate is and why. My decision has not been finalized.
~Rachel

July 6, 2009

Hawaii’s Minimum Wage

Filed under: HI Politics — Joe @ 5:33 pm

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com)  July 6, 2009– The federal minimum wage is set to increase later this month as the job market shows signs of further decay.

The federal minimum wage will go to $7.25 an hour on July 24 from its current level of $6.55, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The impact will be felt in 29 states, and many of them plan to match the federal minimum when it goes through.

Seven states already have laws mandating $7.25 minimum pay, while 14 states and Washington, D.C., exceed the new minimum. Employers are required to pay whichever is the highest: Federal or state.

Last July, the wage floor was raised from $5.85 per hour. The increases were mandated by a bill passed by Congress in 2007, when the minimum was $5.15 an hour, where it had stayed for years.

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Please note that it says above that 14 states EXCEED the new minimum.

Hawaii is NOT listed as one of the 14!

BELOW IS A CHART LISTING THE FIVE STATES WITH THE HIGHEST MINIMUM WAGES.

WASHINGTON ……. $8.55

OREGON: ………….. $8.40

VERMONT: …………$8.06

CALIFORNIA: …….. $8.00

CONNECTICUT: …… $8.00 

Hawaii just isn’t there, despite the fact that Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the nation by many estimates.

How do Hawaii’s wimpy legislators get away with not fixing that ?

No doubt many minimum wage earners are not politically savvy.

No doubt many thousands of them do not even bother to vote at all.

Failing to address this situation smells of kow-towing to local business leaders who scare people into thinking that raising the minimum wage will cause a major loss of jobs.  But that has been shown to be not true. 

Every time the minimum wage has been raised, the community has NOT been hurt since it impacts all businesses,  and the increse is shared by everyone.

Why is it that Hawaii’s legislature, controlled by the Democratic party for over half a century, has not corrected this unfairness ?  Isn’t the Democratic Party supposed to be the party that looks out for the little guy ?  The average working man ?

Is the reason because the legislators  get contributions from local businesses but get practically no contributions from minimum wage earners ?

Is it because business owners tend to be much more reliable voters on election day, while minimum wage earners often are no-shows at the polls ?

Lastly, what are we as Progressive Democrats doing to help get people  who live on the bottom rung of the economic ladder  to understand the unfairness and to get them to the polls on election day ?

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