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March 23, 2019
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CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Cuts suggested for school district Cotati protests CASA compact Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Holocaust piano now in Cotati Rohnert Park Station Ave. update School district seeking new superintendent Don’t drive with an open container Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Cotati considers $15 min. wage

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
March 1, 2019

The Cotati City Council directed its staff Tues., Feb. 26 to reach out to local businesses as part of a wider consideration to implement a new city wide minimum wage. 

Up to this point Cotati hasn’t had a localized minimum wage. They rely instead on the state one, which stands at $12 an hour for companies with more than 26 employees and $11 an hour for companies with fewer. The state minimum wage is set to rise by $1 every year until 2023 when it hits $15, but for some that may be too slow. 

A presentation put together by the North Bay Jobs with Justice and the North Bay Labor Council proposed to ramp up the time table. They’d like to see the minimum wage within Cotati go up to the $15 an hour level by July of 2020. 

“I think it’s a critical issue,” Councilmember John Moore said. “To me that seems like the cost of doing business. If we can try to accelerate this—get that economic output and what it’s going to generate a couple years sooner? I think it could be a tremendous offset.”

The problem with the current minimum wage level is that living expenses in Sonoma County have far outpaced the moderate growth in income. 

Between 1979 and 2016 the inflation-adjusted wage for the bottom 20 percent of the workforce dropped by 11 percent; Sonoma County’s minimum wage workers are making less now than they were 30 years ago. Over the same time period, housing costs in Sonoma County have skyrocketed. There’s been a 35 percent jump in rental prices since the 2017 Tubbs Fire alone. 

Therefore, minimum wage workers are squeezed from both sides—rising expenses and falling wages. The twin problems have left many workers crippled by their monthly bills. Twenty-five percent of Sonoma County’s renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing and that leaves them reliant on state and federal programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid. 

This system creates a twisted form of incentive where government programs allow workers to labor below livable wages, effectively subsidizing companies that employ large quantities of unskilled workers.  “If somebody works 40 hours a week and still needs public assistance then it’s really the employer that’s getting that benefit,” Political Director of the North Bay Labor Council, Madd Hirshfield, said. “I always say that if your business plan can only succeed by underpaying your people then you need to take another look at your business. That’s just crazy to me.”

Yet a rise in minimum wage doesn’t come without cost—least of all to the employer. When San Jose lifted their minimum wage back in 2012 by $2 it led to an average price hike of 1.45 percent for local restaurants. This is of course on top of the added expenses incurred by enforcing the new law, which Cotati will have to swallow if it decides to go through with the hike. 

For some that’s a price they’re willing to pay and it’s easy to see why. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, every $1 dollar rise in hourly wages leads to $2,800 more in spending by the worker’s household. For people living on the edge that money can mean the difference between a roof and the street. 

Still, there’s a lot to consider. The Cotati City Council opted to take the slow and measured route. 

What we decided tonight is that we want to bring this back. We took no action,” Cotati Mayor John Dell’Osso said. “Sure, there’s an interest there, but I really want to talk to the business community so they have a clear understanding of what it means. I think just throwing it out that we’re going to speed up the process of raising the minimum wage—there’s just not enough information there.”

The next scheduled discussion for the potential rise in minimum wage will take place March 27 at the city’s Strategic Planning Meeting. Citizens who would like to voice their opinion should contact city hall.