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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Schwarzenegger's Veto of Minimum Wage Hike

September 22, 2004

Re "Saving California Centrism," Opinion, Sept. 19: According to writer Kevin Starr, the vicious partisan tone of the current presidential election campaign poses a threat to California's centrist tradition, as upheld by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After reading about the governor's veto of a measure to raise the minimum wage in this state (Sept. 19), I do not believe this assertion to be entirely true.

Schwarzenegger's veto is clearly a partisan gesture of contempt for the working poor. This action shows the instinctive connection the governor has with corporate interests.

Yes, our centrist tradition has been threatened by partisan politics in recent years, but Schwarzenegger's actions in office have not done much to reverse this trend.

David Allspaw

Northridge

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Schwarzenegger's veto of the minimum wage bill was a cowardly cave-in to the business interests that financed his recall campaign.

He is not a governor for the people, as he promised, but a George Bush Republican whose values are to pander to the right-wing rich, leaving the middle class, and those not yet there, to fend for themselves, unable to make a decent wage.

The bill would have increased the minimum wage by 50 cents on July 1, 2005, and another 50 cents a year later. About 1.4 million Californians now earn the lowest hourly wage on the West Coast, 60% of them trying to support their families on $6.75 an hour. Arnold, you are the consummate "girlie man."

Vic Gainer

Palm Springs

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How does The Times continually miss the major crux of this argument? Minimum wage jobs traditionally are transitory jobs and jobs for high school and college kids to earn some money.

These are not jobs people take to support a family and get benefits, nor should they be. Someone who is flipping burgers at Wendy's or Burger King should not be trying to support a family and expect to receive health insurance and benefits unless we all want to start paying $10 or more for that burger.

Andrew Harbert

Northridge

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I wonder if all the macho men and starry-eyed fans of our governor are still so enamored of him now that he's vetoed the bill that would have raised the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in 2005. How many people can actually pay rent for decent housing, put food on the table for their family, pay for utilities, gas, health insurance and medicine on $6.75 an hour, which is our current minimum wage?

The governor said, "Now is not the time to create barriers to our economic recovery." I say, now is not the time to give him our support for one more day.

He surely doesn't have to worry about paying his bills, feeding his family, providing them with decent housing and medical care. Now is not the time to support the Republican agenda that worries more about the profit line of the boss than the income of the poor working man and woman trying to stay afloat and survive in our society.

Roz Levine

Los Angeles

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Schwarzenegger did the right thing in rejecting the minimum wage hike in that this is not the correct arena to be fighting this battle. As a small-business owner for 23 years, I believe there are certain issues that should be dealt with at the national level. The minimum wage and healthcare issues can be dealt with only in an equitable manner that affects all businesses and all states equally so that there is no place for companies to escape and the playing field remains level throughout the United States. I have gone from having 80 employees to three and assembling in Mexico to keep my prices low enough so my customers can compete in the marketplace. I seriously would never build a large company in this state now with all the soaring costs related to hiring an employee.

We manufacturers make a living off of nickels and dimes, yet the benevolent legislators take quarters for workers' compensation and mandate health insurance.

And they wonder why companies outsource jobs!

Bill Brion

Santa Ana

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