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Living Elsewhere Wage


Thursday, May 2, 2013
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I currently sit on the Living Wage Advisory Committee. The committee formed a subcommittee to investigate living wage enforcement problems, I was tasked with determining the number of non-city-resident contractors bidding and winning living wage contracts with the City.

In examining the July 1, 2010 custodial services bids, we found that there were a total of 11 bids, ranging from $100,212 to $602,688. If these, only three were from inside the city of Santa Barbara. (One was from Goleta, three were from Los Angeles, three from Ventura, one from San Luis Obispo.) The winning bid was by a contractor in San Luis Obispo who was fired after one year due to poor performance.

As of this July 1, the Living Wage can be as much a $16.39, and contracts paid to contractors outside of Santa Barbara may be up to millions of dollars. (The full description for the wage tiers can be found in section 9.128 of the municipal code.)

These large city contracts combined with the high living wage attract bidding from contractors outside the City of Santa Barbara. This can lead to city money, ideally used to pay local employees and local contractors within the city, being outsourced to contractors and employees outside of Santa Barbara. The living wage ordinance was put into place to try and help balance the very high cost of living in Santa Barbara with a “living wage.” If contracts are being awarded to companies outside the City of Santa Barbara, it defeats the purpose of paying a living wage to local workers.

Furthermore, it is unrealistic for the City of Santa Barbara to audit every contractor and there is no actual way to determine if these workers are  being paid the standard living wage or just getting paid minimum wage, while out-of-city contractors keep the money as profit.

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At present I'm a Federal Government contractor working for a Federal Government Agency, at least until the Fed dismisses the 80K employees and their support personnel roughly 800K employees by the end of this 2013. I had the pleasure of finding out that the average Government contractor makes just under .105% of the total contract amount; the Company takes the rest and pays its management and (if) shareholders. This is why the belief that the contractor makes more than the actual government employee when in reality the lack of job security is one major problem facing contractor employees but not the companies that hire the workers who actually have to do the work the owner/operators bargain for. The Rich get Richer and the Poor get Poorer.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2013 at 7:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hugo Chavez also tried to help out when he said that milk prices (and about 2000 other household items) were "too expensive" and he capped their prices. Result? Milk (and 2000 other items) are now almost impossible to find in stores and the black market has priced them so high that the poor people he was supposedly trying to help can't get milk!!

Your well intentioned "living wage" plan is a failure and will always be a failure because you are creating an artificial marketplace distortion that actually ends up with fewer SB residents being hired because the living wage is too expensive to pay... so it attracts these non-SB companies and SB residents *don't get hired at all and make $0.00*!!

Do you not see this right in front of you? Good grief! Take your good intentions and leave SB. Please. There are many people looking for work and they can't get it with your silliness.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 2:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Too many SB people expect quality for nothing. Artists in all mediums are the most exploited class of "labor" both nationally and especially locally.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 3, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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