The decision on whether to establish a citywide minimum wage is the most important economic decision facing Long Beach since its founding more than 125 years ago.


Councilmembers – many of who will be gone in a few years, if not sooner – should not decide the fate of more than 11,000 businesses – most of which are small businesses – without fully understanding the consequences of their action. It’s a decision that is irreversible. Also, what are the impacts on residents, many of whom are poor?


The best course of action is to delay a decision until:

1. There is a clear understanding of the impact minimum wage ordinances are having in other cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. How are residents affected?

2. Councilmembers talk face-to-face to dozens of business owners in their district to understand the impacts of establishing a Long Beach minimum wage.

3. Councilmembers – and the community – are provided the “real” results of the survey of 600 local businesses conducted by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).


On that latter item, as we have reported previously, the survey released November 13,  is flawed and not representative of the business community make-up. A report submitted a few days later that was weighted to ensure fair representation of local businesses is available, but the LAEDC will not release it.


The question is why not release it? What is being hidden from the public?


On a related matter, the Business Journal has spoken with a couple of dozen restaurant owners and we cannot find one who was interviewed as part of the LAEDC survey. Restaurants may be the most impacted of all the business sectors, so one would think that their concerns would be represented in the survey. Do elected officials know how many restaurant owners were interviewed?


The mayor, councilmembers and city staff – who all freely use the word “transparency” – should insist on LAEDC issuing the weighted report. If they don’t, then this whole process has been nothing more than a ruse. . . . A cover so they can claim, “Look, we did a survey, held six meetings, yada, yada, yada.”


If the Long Beach Economic Development Commission, which has been charged with making a recommendation to the city council, does the right thing and requests a delay based on what we outlined above and other factors, and the city council ignores that recommendation, then why should we have city commissions?


Lastly, since three out of four Long Beach workers do not live in the city, who is really benefitting from setting a minimum wage here? Most of the money from the wage increase will be spent in other cities, yet the cost increases affect our residents, many of whom are lower income. More information is needed on these impacts.