Thursday, July 27, 2006

Repealing the laws of supply and demand?

Jeff Berkowitz: Was [49th Ward] Alderman Moore representing his ward or labor unions today?

Jerry Roper, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce: I think Ald. Moore was bought by the labor unions. There is no doubt in my mind.
Well, that is perhaps a bit harsh, but it does seem as if Ald. Joe Moore is the Alderman from Labor or labor unions in Chicago. And, that is not just from today’s Living Wage vote in Chicago’s City Council, but also from the way he speaks whenever his voice hits the airways, which is not infrequently. And, it does seem as if Mayor Daley was outmuscled and outhustled by labor on this vote.

The vote was a 35-14 margin of victory for those who would like to repeal the laws of supply and demand and install a living wage. CLTV’s Carlos Hernandez Gomez called it a veto-proof majority. Well, yes, Carlos, if you assume that the Mayor can’t peel off two or more votes from the majority. WTTW’s Rich Samuels made this point last night on Chicago Tonight and it seemed to be his view that the Mayor would see if he could find the votes to permit him to sustain an upcoming veto.

Ald. Natarus, who is becoming the object of ridicule whenever he stands up to speak these days [This happened at the Democratic Cook County Central Committee meeting last week to vote for a ballot replacement for County Board President John Stroger], talked up what a great debate the City Council had on Wednesday. Well, I suppose that is perhaps relative to the Council’s recent history of “nothing debates and discussions.” Nobody will ever mistake the City Council for a great, deliberative body.

Rich Samuels, on Chicago Tonight, last evening, selected Ald. Ed Smith [28th] and Ald. Arenda Troutman [20th] to illustrate his argument that there was “more eloquence than you could possibly imagine,” at the meeting this afternoon. I would have argued for Ald. Ike Carothers [Substance, passion and style] and Ald. Freddrenna Lyle [Style and Preparation]—More on this later today.

Ald. Smith had his sidekick at the meeting, Ald. Burnett, hold up a large chart illustrating how much a starting employee at Wal-mart earns relative to its CEO, and that was his argument for a living wage. I am not sure I would call that an eloquent argument. It was more shrewdness and pandering for putting forth an inflammatory but largely irrelevant argument.

Ald. Troutman spoke about her constituents’ preferences for her to vote against the living wage-- as she dumped dozens of actual letters on her desk, saying as she did so that her constituents say they want jobs and noted that she had no grocery or big box in her ward and she is tired of having to go to someone else’s ward to do her shopping.
More commentary on this topic on this blog later day.