A week ago, the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee voted to oppose the $18 minimum wage initiative sponsored by a coalition of Anaheim Resort labor unions. Tonight, the OC GOP Endorsements Committee will consider Councilman James Vanderbilt’s request for an endorsement in District 2.
Our friend Chris Nguyen summed up the OC GOP’s deliberations on opposing the so-called “Anaheim Living Wage” initiative on OCPolitical.com:
Chris Norby opposes the OC GOP taking a position against the Anaheim Minimum Wage measure. He blasts the transient occupancy tax subsidy for hotels in Anaheim. He blasts Disney for its revenue on City-owned Anaheim parking. He blasts taxpayer expenses paying high salaries at Disney, like CEO Bob Iger. He says “public subsidies” should be shared with workers.
Peggy Huang speaks in favor of OC GOP opposing the Anaheim Minimum Wage measure. She speaks in favor of the economy and the free market. She warns of the harm to businesses from minimum wage increases. Huang notes Disney already has struck a deal with labor on wages. She speaks of national efforts to impose higher minimum wage and universal basic income. She notes this was thoroughly vetted by the Endorsements Committee.
Whitaker moves and Baron Night seconds to oppose the Anaheim Minimum Wage initiative.
By a voice vote, the motion to oppose the Anaheim Minimum Wage initiative passes well over the required 2/3 supermajority. Indeed, there were only three votes against the motion.
One assumes Norby’s famous libertarianism makes him an opponentof government dictating wages. But since Norby doesn’t like the now-defunct policy attracting 4-Diamond hotels with limited-duration TOT rebates, he opposes taking a stand against a policy he opposes – because it targets the beneficiaries of the policy he opposes?
Huh? Norby turns quirkiness into incoherence. He legitimatizes the idea that government involvement in the economy at any level constitutes a blank check for government regulation and control, as well as allowing government to unilaterally, ex poste facto alter contracts into which it enters. It’s also apparent Norby hasn’t read the initiative, because its reach extends far beyond those Resort projects that have economic assistance agreements with the city.
James Vanderbilt Up For Endorsement
Vanderbilt was elected city-wide in 2014 as Tom Tait’s endorsed candidate (Jose F. Moreno was Tait’s unofficially-endorsed candidate). In the same election in which Anaheim voters approved shifting to by-district council elections. He subsequently re-located from the downtown condo where he’d lived for 20-plus years, to a fourplex in District 2 owned by his family.
Vanderbilt was the central player in an drama related to the $18 minimum wage. At the June 19 council meeting, Vanderbilt directed staff to come back with an alternative minimum wage measure. Vanderbilt’s proposal would have omitted provisions in the unions’ initiative that a) extend the $18 minimum wage requirement to Resort businesses that have assistance agreements with the city and b) turn the City Manager into a labor relations cop. His measure included a minimum wage increase, but scaled back in size and scheduling compared to the union measure – which will give Anaheim the highest minimum wage in the nation. As part of the alternative measure, Vanderbilt proposed an accompanying community benefit fund, to which Disney had apparently agreed to contribute $100 million.
The unions went ballistic:
Following the union pressure campaign, Vanderbilt withdrew his proposal. Another victory for radical UNITE-HERE Local 11.
Last week, Councilwoman Kris Murray tried to amend the minimum wage initiative ballot question to state explicitly it will boost the local minimum wage for targeted business to $15 in January 2019 and escalate it to $18 by January 2022. Currently, that critical information is omitted.
UNITE-HERE Local 11 vocally opposed giving voter more information. After hemming and hawing, Vanderbilt joined Tait, Moreno and Denise Barnes in defeating Murray’s amended language.
UNITE-HERE was also opposed to the city conducting an economic impact study of how the $18 wage initiative would affect city finances and the local economy. Vanderbilt joined Tait, Moreno and Barnes in opposing providing voters with that information, as well.
Several weeks ago, Councilwoman Lucille Kring introduced a resolution putting the Anaheim City Council on record in support of Proposition 13 and opposed to attempts to weaken its taxpayer protections. Vanderbilt abstained – the functional equivalent of a “no” vote.
Until recently, Vanderbilt had emerged as the council swing vote – allied with the Tait faction but willing to work with Murray, Lucille Kring and Steve Faessel to arrive at compromises. Take the city’s auto dealer tax rebate program – which rebates a percentage of sales tax back to dealers who either bring a new dealership to Anaheim or expand an existing dealers in order to incentives both. Last year, Tait agendized repealing the program. Vanderbilt agreed on ending it, but wanted to grandfather in McPeek Dodge, whose expansion was already far into the program pipeline and had spent tens of thousands of dollars on the process in good faith. Although Tait adamantly opposed grandfathering McPeek’s in-process application, Vanderbilt prevailed. Thanks to his willingness to break with his usual allies, a long-standing Anaheim business that was participating in a duly-established city program didn’t have to kiss goodbye many months of work and fees due to the caprices of council politics.
However, that independent streak has been absent in the wake of the unions’ mau-mauing of Vanderbilt over his alternative minimum wage measure.
UPDATE (10:00 p.m. on August 6): The OC GOP Endorsement Committee recommended endorsing Vanderbilt for re-election. Chris Nguyen live-blogged it on OCPolitical.com:
James Vanderbilt for Anaheim City Council, District 2
Councilman James Vanderbilt is the incumbent. He was a Central Committee member but had to leave when he joined the Army reserve preventing him from participating in partisan politics. He is the only Republican running.
Endorsements Committee Member Erik Weigand expresses support.
Endorsements Committee Member Mark Bucher asks about Obamacare repeal.
Vanderbilt says insurance costs would soar if it were repealed.
Bucher asks about insurance pools and health savings accounts.
Vanderbilt says he is not familiar enough with the implications to support them.
Bucher asks about shall-issue status for California.
Vanderbilt praises the Orange County Sheriff’s CCW policy. He says he would support people being able to get guns to protect themselves.
Endorsements Committee Member Leroy Mills is concerned that Vanderbilt is violating basic party tenets.
Vanderbilt speaks of being in favor of limited government and fiscal responsibility. He says the issues Mills raised are not City issues.
Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang asks a follow up about Obamacare in the context of cities and ambulances.
Vanderbilt expresses concern about ambulance costs and the uninsured.
Huang asks about hotel subsidies and gate tax exemptions.
Vanderbilt opposed both.
Erik Weigand moves and Tyler Diep seconds recommending Vanderbilt. The vote is unanimous.