Anaheim voters are being asked to make a decision on Measure L, a union-sponsored initiative targeting certain unionization-resistant Anaheim Resort businesses with a minimum wage hike starting at $15 an hour in January 2019 and escalating to $18 in January 2022. It is opposed by the Republican Party of Orange County, among other organizations.
“Republicans know a union power grab when they see one,” OC GOP Fred Whitaker has said. “That’s what Measure L is.”
At the District 6 candidates forum held on October 9 by the Anaheim Hill Community Council forum, the three candidates – Republicans Trevor O’Neil and Patty Gaby and Democrat Grant Henninger – were asked for their stance on Measure L. After all, Measure L will have a significant impact on Anaheim’s economy, likely embroil the city in litigation and turn the City Manager into a labor relations cop. The initiative has been publicly discussed and dissected for months.
O’Neil and Henninger were decisive in their rejection of Measure L. Henninger termed it “wrongheaded” and “unenforceable.” O’Neil blasted it for being a “job killer” that would saddle Anaheim with the highest minimum wage in the nation. He said Measure L was really about “unions trying to bargain at the ballot box rather than doing so in good faith with their employer.”
Gaby, who was recruited to run by Mayor Tom Tait, initially dodged the question, saying “I say leave it up to the voters.” She then misstated the scope of the measure.
Later, in response to a speed-round question asking for a stance on Measure L, Gaby responded “Undecided.”
Huh? Undecided how? On what aspect? Does she think the wage hike should be higher? Or encompass more businesses? Measure L involves questions of principle and practicality. Does Gaby think it’s a good idea for the city manager to be charged with policing labor disputes? Does she think it is fair that businesses that are simply lessees or tenants of the GardenWalk or Wincome hotel projects are forced to pay the highest minimum wage in the country – even though they receive no tax incentive or subsidy? Does she think it is right or fair that GardenWalk mall tenants – many of whom are struggling – would be socked with a massive minimum wage hike?
It simply isn’t credible that Gaby is “undecided” on Measure L. If so, she’s the only candidate for Anaheim City Council who hasn’t been able to make up her mind. Her answers strongly suggest a dodge. This would be in keeping with the rest of Team Tait, which has maintained a conspicuous silence on the $18 minimum wage issue throughout. This silence is doubly as the mayor and his followers style themselves as champions of the free market. Opposition to Measure L would be entirely consistent with their opposition to the TOT rebate policy – and yet they say nothing. It’s almost as if their antipathy to Disney and supporters of the TOT rebate policy is so deep and virulent they cannot bring themselves to be on the same side of this issue. They can collaborate with leftists and government employee unions – but not fellow Republicans with whom they disagree on this issue.
When it comes to an issue with such significant consequences for Anaheim, voters have a right to expect council candidates to have a position. Imagine the howls of derision and outrage from Team Tait if one of the candidates they oppose answered “undecided” when asked about the TOT rebate policy?
Gaby’s declaration of indecision is a cop-out, and one that is hard to believe.