Hundreds Lend Voice to LA Minimum Wage Hearings

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(Photo Credit: Grant Slater/KPCC)

Hundreds of residents participated in a community hearing process led by Councilman Curren Price in March and April, to discuss the City’s proposal to raise the minimum wage for all workers, a change that could positively impact the lives of more than 600,000 Angelenos . As Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Price led the series of committee hearings, hosted in Watts, Van Nuys and West Los Angeles, giving local residents a chance to voice their support and raise questions, as well as debate the results of three studies conducted in March gauging the economic impact of the wage plan.

The studies and hearings came as a result of a motion introduced last fall by Councilman Curren Price along with his colleagues, Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Mike Bonin and Gil Cedillo, which called for raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $13.25 by 2017 and $15.25 by 2019. Mayor Eric Garcetti also laid out his proposal to raise wages in Los Angeles last summer to $13.25 by 2017.

 “As a policy maker, representing one of the poorest regions in this City, I know the real life impact that stagnant wages have had on our underserved communities,” said Councilmember Curren Price.  “I am very proud of the inclusive community discussion process we had, which brought out more than 600 residents over the course of two weeks, and provides my colleagues and I with invaluable feedback as we work to craft the best policy possible for the City.” 

The City’s plan to raise the minimum wage would improve the lives of more than 600,000 Angelenos and create a positive economic impact for Los Angeles, the economic report by the University of California Berkeley found. That study, The Proposed Minimum Wage Law for Los Angeles: Economic Impacts and Policy Options, determined that “the benefits of the proposed minimum wage law will largely outweigh the costs in Los Angeles City, and when the larger region is considered, the net impact of the law will be positive.” 

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Price Celebrates Contributions of Black Business Leaders

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CouncilmanCurren D. Price Jr. celebrated the incredible contributions of some of LA’s most prominent African-American business leaders this week, during the final days of Black History month. Price recognized local business leaders who have dedicated decades  to expanding career and economic development opportunities for African-American business owners including Jacque Bee and Crystal Mitchell, co-directors of Recycling Black Dollars, Earl “Skip” Cooper, founder of the Black Business Association, Gene Hale, President of G&C Equipment Corporation and founding member of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Congress, and Madame MC Townsend, President of the Regional Black Chamber of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley.

“These individuals are all consummate professionals whose vital contributions to economic development in the Greater Los Angeles African American community have been invaluable,” Councilman Price said.

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Keeping the "New Ninth" Front and Center

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Councilmember Curren Price took Mayor Eric Garcetti on a tour of the “New Ninth” on February 5th as a part of the Mayor’s community day. Spending the day visiting various locations, the tour offered a unique perspective of the Ninth District.

“The goal was simple – I wanted to highlight all the good that takes place in the district while also pointing out the areas where there needs to be more investment and more support from City Hall to ensure the long term success of the neighborhoods.” Said Councilmember Curren Price.

The first stop of the day was a brief tour of  Mercado La Paloma, located in historic South Central. Mercado La Paloma is home to a collection of unique shops and restaurants featuring authentic cuisines from around the world made by locals around the area.  Developed by Esperanza Community Housing 10 years ago, the market is recognized as a successful social enterprise that offers opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the community.

During this stop, Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Price met with representatives from the CD9 Coalition of non-profit organizations and the Historic Central Avenue Business Improvement District. Over coffee and pastries, they discussed their collaborative efforts to promote growth and spur economic development within the community.

Their next stop was the historic YMCA building, home of the Coalition for Responsible Community Development. Here they met with the local youth that participate in all of CRCD’s diverse programs which include South LA YouthBuild, Summer Youth Employment Program, and the CURE alternative sentencing program.  CRCD is an incredible partner committed to youth empowerment and their programs help young people in the community earn high school and college credit and, with intensive case management, and other support services, prepare for middle class careers.

A critical stop in the tour was visiting a homeless encampment that was being cleared by city’s Sanitation workers. The Councilmember’s number one priority is making sure that the district has a “Clean and Green” community.

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Ensuring a Robust Minimum Wage Discussion

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In an effort to ensure that the City engages in a transparent, broad and thorough discussion of proposals to raise the minimum wage, Councilman Curren Price today called for more diverse perspectives to be reviewed and discussed during the Council’s committee deliberation process. 

Last October, Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Gil Cedillo, Nury Martinez and Price, introduced a motion to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $13.25 by 2017 and $15.25 by 2019. Later that month, the Economic Development Committee approved the procurement of an independent study to study the impacts of raising wages city-wide. After a thorough review process by the City’s Legislative Analyst, UC Berkeley was selected as the highest qualified bidder to perform this analysis.

 As Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Price has invited the business and labor community, as represented by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, to procure and submit their own studies, at their own expense, on the current proposals to raise the minimum wage, which will be reviewed and discussed individually. Additionally, Price has also asked that the City’s Chief Legislative Analyst and Chief Administrative Officer take appropriate steps to have all studies submitted peer reviewed.

“There is no issue more important to me than ensuring that all Angelenos and their families are able to survive, and thrive in this city, and a huge measure of that is driven by their ability to afford this city,” said Councilman Curren Price. 

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Realizing the Promise of South LA

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Representing a cross section of non-profit organizations, educational institutions, business leaders, faith-based groups, labor representatives and advocates, more than 100 community partners joined to submit a South Los Angeles application Friday for a federal “Promise Zone” designation.

 The milestone comes nearly a year after Los Angeles earned its first “Promise Zone” designation, which did not include any portion of South Los Angeles – currently housing some of the poorest and most underemployed neighborhoods in the city, state and nation.

 “Many people said we wouldn’t be able to bring our community together for this effort, we heard all the excuses - you won’t get folks to support this, you aren’t going to win a designation, it’s just not worth it,” said Councilman Curren Price.

 Councilman Price helped bring key community organizations and local leaders to the table to collaborate on one unified South LA application. The Councilman secured the support of a host of South LA elected officials, including Congress members Karen Bass and Lucille Roybal Allard, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, State Senator Holly Mitchell, and Assembly members Reginald Jones Sawyer and Sebastian Ridley Thomas, and also a resolution cementing the LA City Council’s support of this second Promise Zone application.

 “Not only did we come together, we have produced an amazing, competitive application that I am confident will get noticed and furthermore, we have laid the foundation for a host of partnerships that will change the way we work together towards positive changes in this community.”

 

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Councilman Price Presents First Dia de los Muertos Festival

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If you're still looking for what to do this weekend to celebrate all Hallow's Eve and commemorate Dia de los Muertos, look no further. Councilman Curren Price is excited to announce his First Dia de Los Muertos Festival featuring an incredible line-up of live music, arts and crafts and great food. Councilman Price is excited to partner with non-profit organization Nuevo South, and the Accelerated Schools to bring the community this free and family friendly event that you won't want to miss! 

 

 

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City-wide Minimum Wage Moves One Step Further

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Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Economic Development Committee approved Tuesday the procurement of an independent study on the impacts of raising wages across the city. The study will incorporate a series of specific questions that include researching the potential impacts increased wages would have on the local economy, job retention and creation and the pros and cons of including exemptions for small businesses and local non-profits.

 The study comes as a result of a motion introduced by Councilmembers Curren Price, Mike Bonin, Gil Cedillo and Nury Martinez which called on the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $13.25 by July 1, 2017, and called for further steps to raise the minimum wage to $15.25 by 2019. The motion also proposes attaching the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), so the wage can keep pace with future inflation.

 “We know that when hard working men and women see more money in their paychecks, their cash isn’t going to Wall Street – it’s spent on Main Street – and being able to afford Main Street is a huge part of capturing the American Dream,” said Councilman Curren Price. 

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Price: Let's Score a Touchdown with Upgraded Convention Center

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Councilman Curren Price was pleased to see his colleagues on the Los Angeles Economic Development Committee unanimously approve a six-month extension Friday for AEG to pursue plans to bring a football team to the City. The committee unanimously approved the proposal recommended by staff, and supported by Price, which also establishes a collaborative design competition which will produce six design plans to modernize the City’s Convention Center – with or without a football stadium. AEG will be providing $750,000 to cover the costs for the design competition, saving the City $600,000 previously allocated for the process.

 “I remain incredibly excited and hopeful about Los Angeles getting an NFL team, no doubt this would be a tremendous economic development tool for downtown and the entire city. However, it is equally important that we have a modernized, world-class Convention Center - one that all residents of Los Angeles can be proud of,” said Councilman Curren Price.

 

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LA Councilmembers Propose Action to Encourage and Expand Urban Farming

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Councilmembers Curren Price and Felipe Fuentes introduced a motion Wednesday calling on the City of Los Angeles to allow private landowners who convert their vacant property into urban farms to receive a property tax adjustment. The Councilmembers are requesting City departments to implement the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act (AB 551, Ting), which was approved by the state Legislature last year. Under AB 551, private property owners who lease their land to a commercial or non-commercial agriculture enterprise for at least five years can receive a temporary property tax adjustment. Their land would be reassessed at the average statewide irrigated agriculture lands rate.According to the Fuentes-Price motion, the property tax adjustment is intended to incentivize landowners who are not utilizing their property to make it available for urban agriculture.

 "Representing a food desert community, I understand first-hand the need to expand food options for our residents. I have also seen the impact that urban farming and gardens can have on our neighborhoods, helping to bring communities closer," said Councilmember Price. "This action will help us transform underused and blighted plots of land that often attract crime into thriving green spaces, encouraging green enterprises and helping us improve the look and feel of our neighborhoods. What better way to meet our goal of building a truly Clean and Green city."

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Los Angeles Approves Highest Minimum Wage in the Country

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council voted to approve a Living Wage Ordinance for Hotel Workers Wednesday that will phase-in a wage of $15.37 at large hotels in Los Angeles over the next two years. City Councilmembers Curren D. Price Jr., Nury Martinez and Mike Bonin co-introduced a motion earlier this year launching an effort to set a living wage at hotels in Los Angeles. Despite the economic recession, the hotel industry in Los Angeles has maintained record high occupancy rates and revenues per room available, while reports have shown that more than 40 percent of workers in this industry earn wages that put them below the federal poverty line.  

“Today, Los Angeles affirms its position as a progressive leader for the nation, approving a policy that will directly impact the quality of life of so many hardworking men and women across our city and, especially those in communities like the one I represent,” said Councilmember Curren Price, representing a large swath of South Los Angeles.. “While we heard concerns from some, it is important to not govern from a place of fear, understanding that the extra dollars we put into the local economy today will be spent on Main Street – not Wall Street.”

 

"Workers in the largest low-wage industry in the City are going to get a needed and deserved raise, and that is a great thing for all of Los Angeles," said Councilmember Mike Bonin. "Today's council action will help thousands of hard-working Angelenos support their families. This was just the beginning, however, and I am eager and excited to continue working to address poverty in LA by now moving our focus to a citywide minimum wage."

 

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