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Friday, July 23, 2004 ❑ Santa Monica Daily Press

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Living wage supporters to endorse candidates LIVING WAGE, from page 1

funds to the candidates it chooses to support, Rothstein said. While living wage activists have found support from a majority of current City Council members, they have traditionally faced opposition from the Chamber of Commerce along with many of the city’s businesses and residents. The 2002 measure was defeated 13,930 to 12,990 — a difference of 940 votes. Nat Trives, the chamber’s chairman of the board, said the chamber was opposed to the lack of uniformity in the 2002 ballot initiative and expressed concerns about a living wage for city employees and contractors without extensive research of other cities with such policies. “If you’re going to have a living wage it should be determined by a coalition of people in the community with the businesses and the workers in the community

present,” Trives said. “(The 2002 ballot measure) seemed ludicrous to us. It wasn’t for the whole of Santa Monica.” Councilmember Herb Katz, one of a three-member minority that has opposed the $11.50 minimum for city employees and contractors, expressed similar frustration with the policy. “It just doesn’t make sense to me,” he said. “We’ll just do this, then we’ll slip in a little more next time, a little more next time, and so on. It’s not going to be cheap, and it’s not the right approach.” With money allocated to living wage expenses for this year, Katz said it would be unlikely that the four councilmember majority of Bloom, Feinstein, Kevin McKeown and Ken Genser would lose the control required to write the living wage for city employees into law.

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able to find a modest pay raise for teachers, protect the integrity of our health benefits and create some cost containment for the district.” Though the pay raise offsets much of the savings in health care, Deasy said the deal will help contain future increases. Keiley is head of the Santa MonicaMalibu Classroom Teachers Association, a union that covers about 750 teachers, counselors, librarians and speech pathologists in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. About 70 percent belong to the HMO plan, while the other 30 percent have some form of PPO plan. Members of the union work 183 days out of the year. Their package includes medical coverage and routine dental visits, but doesn’t provide for vision or chi-

ropractic care, Keiley said. Though the district kept its budget stable at $102 million for the coming year and avoided any layoffs, it did cut 28.5 teaching positions for next year that weren’t tenured, Deasy said. Entry-level local teachers are paid $39,000 a year. Veterans with 28 or more years of experience make up to $78,000, with bonuses for higher degrees. Deasy said local teachers are the second-highest paid in Los Angeles County. Keiley countered that while that’s true for veteran teachers, teachers with 10 to 20 years of experience earn a salary below the county’s median. “The union’s long-term goal,” Keiley said, “is to find a way to have teachers reach the maximum compensation level in fewer years, also known as compressing the salary schedule.”

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Santa Monica Daily Press, June 23, 2004  

The newspaper of record for the City of Santa Monica and surrounding areas.

Santa Monica Daily Press, June 23, 2004  

The newspaper of record for the City of Santa Monica and surrounding areas.