Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thanks, Citizens! [accounts of possible election fraud]

This morning's emails included a copy of this very eloquent letter from a citizen of Las Cruces, one of several who reported (to me, to councilors, to the newspapers, and/or to the authorities) unsettling encounters with representatives of the effort to recall three city councilors.  (I'm still interested in hearing from folks who had similar experiences!)

Here's her letter, in full:
Subject: Misleading Methods Used to Collect Signatures for the Recall Petition
English statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”

Dear NM District Attorney, Doña Ana County Clerk & Las Cruces City Clerk,

    (Forgive me for not knowing your full names.)
    In this busy holiday season, we don't always find the TIME to do all we want.  And in the life of a quiet, thoughtful fence-sitter (like myself), we don't always find the GUTS to move and speak out.  I have never been involved in politics, but I always research and vote for whom I feel is the best candidate.  I have never before written a letter to someone in power (like yourselves) or to a newspaper, but I sometimes like reading editorials and Sound-Off style comments.  However, that changes for me now with this letter to you.

    On the morning of Saturday, Dec. 20th, my doorbell rang.  A good-looking young gentleman asked me if I had time to discuss some injustices now taking place in Las Cruces.  I did.  So, between the locked screen door, we spoke for about 5 or 6 minutes.  I learned about several places that the local government wants to shut down.  Of most interest was a "Dream Center" which he explained serves indigent people in numerous ways that he shared with me. Gosh, I thought, why would we close such a worthwhile place to save money?  He also said they want to close a school of boxing near the Aquatic Center to expand the parking lot. We agreed that kids are better off defending themselves with their fists than with knives or guns.  I shared that when using the Aquatic Center, I've never experienced a parking problem, and thought it would be unfair and unnecessary to force the boxers to move elsewhere.

    The kind gentleman then asked me if I was willing to sign a petition to keep these worthwhile centers open.  I answered "yes, of course!"   I took his pen & the stack of petitions on a clipboard.  Looking down I noticed the signatures & info of about eight neighbors on Emerald Street. "Good", I thought. Then I read the paragraph at the top of the petition.  Huh?

     I asked, "Is this the right petition?"  He questioned why.  I read the small print aloud to him. It was asking for a recall of my District 5 Representative, Gill Sorg.  It said nothing whatsoever about what we had just discussed!  He stammered and stumbled, all of a sudden making no sense. I abruptly but kindly sent him away.

    The bait and switch tactic that he was trying to employ was shameful, misleading, and a misrepresentation of how our democracy should work.  I felt deceived and defrauded ... and wondered how many people would be persuaded to sign that "kind" and "caring" gentleman's petition, without reading the small print above.

    I shared this disturbing experience with a friend from church, who asked me to tell it to her friend Peter Goodman, which I did. Peter, in turn, asked me to share it with you, which I'm doing now, albeit late.

    If it's true that the Las Cruces government doesn't have the money to keep open the various worthwhile centers it supposedly wants to close or needlessly move, then where will you find the money to mount a bogus recall election of our already duly elected representatives?!?

    If you have extra time and money, I ask that you contact those who have signed the stacks of Recall Petitions to see if they too were misled by unscrupulous individuals who pretend to care about the local people, but really harbor ulterior, unspoken motives.

    As I see it, the injustices that the gentleman asked to discuss with me pale in light of the huge injustice and fraud that he himself committed. 

    Doing nothing about this bogus, deceitful and deceptive method of collecting petition signatures for a recall election could have unfair, unneeded and costly repercussions.  We must be vigilant and (I'm learning) DO something to combat injustice.

    Susan K. Lindeman

Ms. Lindeman's letter echoes some themes that permeate this situation.  Obviously the Recallers' frequent reliance on misleading and perhaps illegal tactics is chief among those; but so is the way those tactics will not only fail with many citizens here but will quite reasonably push them to speak up and/or act to oppose this unwarranted attack on their duly-elected City Councilors.

Ms. Lindeman describes herself as a "fence-sitter"  who has never before written a letter to a newspaper editor but carefully reads up on the pros and cons of electoral candidates before voting.  She knew little of the Recall effort before she was approached to sign a petition.  The attempted fraud she witnessed, indeed experienced, quickly educated her.  (Her description of the incident is exceptionally vivid and direct.)

She exemplifies what I have hoped might happen: that despite the Recall effort's threat to extinguish the flame of civil political discourse locally, the same effort, by its inappropriateness and by the proliferating false statements it must rely on because of its lack of substance, might also unify decent and thoughtful citizens in their opposition to it.  I may be overly optimistic in my hopes, but I'm grateful for Ms. Lindeman and others like her.*

What I hope we're seeing is that New Mexicans, whatever their political and social views may be, will stand up and speak out when they come face-to-face with fraud and injustice.

Not everyone does so.  Her letter reminds me of how and why it can sometimes be difficult for private citizens to do so.

Thus I congratulate her.

Thanks, Ms. Lindeman!

And Mr. Servais; and others who've taken the time and had the courage to speak out.

*One among them, whose letter [reprinted below] appeared in the Sun-News last week, is Kenneth Servais, who describes himself as a long-time educator here.  His letter (as does Ms. Lindeman's in its reference to neighbors' signatures) is a sober reminder that for each Servais or Lindeman, many others (caught without the right glasses handy, busy caring for children, otherwise distracted, overly trusting in a nice young petition-solicitor, and/or not a regular reader of English) signed petitions to recall councilors they re-elected only last year and had no particular complaints about!  But I'd urge the wealthy backers of the recall effort to contemplate how those people will feel once they realize what they signed.  I suspect they'll feel motivated at least to go out in bad weather to vote, should there ever actually be an election.  Because they will find out you duped them.

Writer reports deceptive practices on recall petition
On Tuesday evening, Dec. 17, 2014, about dinner time — a young man came to our door gathering signatures on a petition. He stated he was gathering signatures to stop the "demolition" by the city of the PAL Boxing Club building to make more parking for the city's aquatic center. Thinking of the importance of programs for the youth of the city, I thought it was a worthy endeavor. I was willing to sign the petition.
As I looked to see the petition statement, I saw no attached pages. Then I read the top of the petition page, and it stated that the petition was for the "recall" of councilor Olga Pedroza for District 3. When I saw that I stated I could not sign that petition.
I thought after the young man left that it was quite deceiving that the statement was made one way and the petition was for something other than what was stated. To say the least, I was very upset that an effort was made to deceive me into signing. Being an educator in the Mesilla Valley for the past 42 years, I know that more than 50 percent of the general population — though educated — does not care to read. And though one can state that one is responsible for reading what one puts a signature to, the whole experience of misrepresentation is quite upsetting.
I think the public needs to know what is happening regarding this recall process. The page was nearly full with signatures. I wonder how many signed after being presented a deceptive story. Great care needs to be given to this process. I have asked the City Clerk to investigate petitions from that date and my neighborhood for authenticity of intent of the signers.
Kenneth Servais, Las Cruces

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Late December

This time of year all the sales and advertising make you wish someone would show up with a better message for humanity than commercialism – and say it well enough that people would listen.

Someone who'd remind us that we're all in this together. Gold may glitter, but it ain't the path to happiness. (Odds are against it, anyway – like getting a camel through the eye of a needle.) Loving our neighbors isn't just nice, it's part of how a complex and over-crowded society might manage to survive.

A leader who wouldn't kowtow to the Koch Brothers and their local ilk, but would say stuff like “Inasmuch as you've done it to the least of these my brethren, you've done it unto me.”
Someone who would speak the truth to power, ignoring the risks.

A leader who'd be able to explain why hating a whole tribe of people isn't the way. Acknowledge the horrible things done by some members of a tribe or religion but stand up for the rights of members who weren't doing such horrible things at all.

Someone who'd practice tolerance and teach it to his followers. Who'd not turn up his nose at people of lower birth or people who behaved badly, but would recognize that they need our compassion most.

Someone inspired enough to get through to his followers that punctual church-going and cloaking oneself in the trappings of a religion can't compensate for a cold or contemptuous heart. (You can't pray loudly and proudly enough to fool God – or yourself.).

A leader who could utter phrases such as “Judge not, that ye be not judged” powerfully enough to motivate folks to act on such principles.

A leader so inspired he could teach his followers to welcome strangers (despite their odd raiments and strange tongues) without the instinctive certainty that all strangers are dangerous.

A leader who would inspire those followers not merely to drop the appropriate amount of money into the collection plate but to give generously wherever and whenever they found people in need. And to give not grudgingly or pridefully but humbly, with genuine joy and compassion.

A leader who'd encourage others to sell what they owned and give the proceeds to the poor – and illustrate the lesson by spurning material things and worldly status himself.

(Such a leader would appreciate recent studies showing that if you give experimental subjects $20 each, telling half to spend it on themselves in any way they wish and half to spend it on others, the ones who spend it on others are measurably happier by the end of the day.)

Such a person would hardly fare well today. (If s/he became a city councilor, that kind of egalitarian talk would probably get him recalled. Commie!)

Or perhaps he'd convert many of us, only to return centuries later and see that while purporting to follow him people had lost the spirit of his words. They sit in churches built in his name and judge everything from their neighbors clothes to the slothfulness of the poor outside. They use his words as the foundation for just the kinds of intolerance he railed against.

Or when his supposed representative here started turning the church from arrogance and opulent ceremony back to his teachings of compassion (washing the feet of young criminals!?), peace (e.g. the U.S. and Cuba), and tolerance (regarding gays, for example), that representative would be mocked by his own followers.

Recalling how he drove the money-changers from the temples, he'd wonder how his birthday became a huge money-making event – and try to avoid getting crushed by the stampedes for bargain TV's.
[The column above appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News this morning, Sunday, 28 December.  It will also appear on the KRWG-TV web-page.  Electronic comments are invited here or on either or both of those two websites.]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Community Radio - for All of Us

We have a great opportunity that both political parties, the P.V.A., the Tea Party, Aggie Solidarity, churches, and soccer moms should all relish. It's called community radio, and might not exist if not for Pete Tridish (known widely as Petri Dish), who passed through Cruces recently.

I like him, 'cause he thinks outside the box.

The FCC used to insist on a wider space on the dial between huge stations, so their signals wouldn't interfere with each other.

Petri pointed out that there was plenty of space for much smaller stations – say, 100 watts – in between the 50,000-watt behemoths. The little guys could use their localized signal to do interesting local things, without harming the big guys' signals

He convinced the FCC, and in 1998 the FCC enacted a rule to open things up. (This was after he'd spent a few years moving equipment from place to place and ducking FCC raids while running a “pirate” station.)

The National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) was horrified by the rule-making. The little guys might compete for local advertising dollars. NAB lobbyists chatted up senators and congresspeople. Thus in 2000 Congress enacted a law undoing the new FCC rule.

NAB claimed the small signals would interfere with the bigs. Congress insisted on a five-year engineering study. After two years the folks charged with doing the study had gotten a look at the facts, and announced that the NAB claim was so fatuous there was nothing to study. A 100-watt station could cause problems only in the immediate vicinity of its transmitter.

It took another few years to undo the 2000 law, but eventually the FCC started issuing licenses for small stations. (New Orleans, allowed no small stations under the 2000 law, could now have five.)
Throughout history, radio authorities have favored big broadcasters, with their deep pockets. Says Petri, “Drawing the largest audience made for the largest profits, so the assumption was, build the biggest station you can. And there's nothing wrong with that.”

The behemoths can do some things very well: national elections, wars, huge catastrophes, etc.
But they can't tell you much about your city council or the quality of local education. There's no incentive. “Stories about the Iraq War or the President pay a lot better than stories about the local city council.”

Petri is quick to articulate the irony: exactly the stuff we citizens can have the greatest impact on, such as local governments and improving local education, are exactly what we're most ignorant about, since national media ignore local issues; but we're flooded with information on issues we can do little about.

And what of accuracy? Big stations belong to big corporations. If GE, a huge defense contractor, owns a network, how confident are you that the network's news is accurate regarding a possible new war --- which, if it starts, will make GE a fortune?

Community Radio has time for local discussion, local performances, and slices of local life.
So what's this mean for us?

Within the year, Las Cruces could have a new radio station most of the City and some folks North and East of it should receive. It's licensed, and soon will have call letters. Supporters have started fund-raising. A small group has been meeting periodically to help with the early tasks.

The station hopes to be a resource for everyone, regardless of political views.

Look for notice of a meeting in January to invite input and ideas from any and all. Or consider donating a little money toward space and equipment and the all-important coffee-maker.

If you want to get on the group's mailing list, email at your convenience.
[The column above appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News this morning, 21 December.]
[I should probably have stressed that there's still a fair amount of work to get a new station on the air. In particular, we need to locate and lease studio space -- and the space has to work for radio.  Fund-raising for a year's operations is a definite task, although the amount needed is reasonable. 
And helping teach on-air talent something about the practicalities and non-substantive elements of running a radio show is important.
At the same time, a lot has already been done.]

[I got invited to the early meetings because I've worked some with radio and TV.  Nan Rubin ran 'em, being the most knowledgeable about starting and running a community radio station.  At the meetings were mostly people with significant radio experience.  People sounded interested in a successful community radio station representing a many facets of the community as feasible.  They weren't ideologues.  The license was procured technically by SWEC, because it was a convenient pre-existing non-profit group.]

[I think I'll stay involved in this thing.  I'm hoping that folks with something to say or discuss will use it, whether their subjects are political or not and, if political, whatever their political views may be.]

[I don't see the new station as competing with other available stations here because so much of it will be material those stations aren't interested in or don't have time for or suppose won't be profitable.  If we're lucky and work hard, the station will provide a unique service, covering Las Cruces and the County in a broader and deeper -- yet more spontaneous and lively -- way.  It'll offer a lot less prepared material from elsewhere and a lot more of what our friends and neighbors and local government are doing and thinking.  Along with music and features.  Definitely no Rush Limbaugh.]

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Please Actively Oppose the Recall Travesty

The present Recall effort is a naked power grab aimed at destroying local democracy. A couple of wealthy families and their companies are trying to use money to intimidate present and future councilors who might wish to be guided by their constituents' needs or their own consciences, not fear of Big Money.

Forget their somewhat comical outside operative, Jeffrey Isbell, who can only hurl misleading mud but doesn't seem ready to debate issues. (Maybe he's still too new here to have a clue.)

Forget how absurd some of that mud looks when it dries. White-haired “thugs” from PVA out stealing councilors' taillights late at night? Screaming “conflict-of-interest” with no evidence, but ignoring an apparent conflict where there's a real issue. Casting minimum-wage workers as a “special interest” while being paid by a very small cabal of petulant rich folks?

Most recently, when Mayor Ken Miyagashima, appalled by the Recall and its dishonesty, spoke out against it, Isbell screamed Ken should recuse himself. From what, and why? Having opinions doesn't require recusal, except maybe for judges. Mayors are supposed to have opinions. They articulate them to constituents, get elected, and try to enact laws based on them. Is Isbell suggesting a congressperson who says publicly that federal spending should be cut sharply must shut up about that issue if a relevant bill gets introduced? That'd be strange. In our world, anyway.

The Mayor had the courage to speak out. Isbell wrote, “As a recall effort, we denounce the intimidation tactics of Mayor Miyagishima and ask for a public apology.” Hnnh? People who spend a bundle of money to recall good councilors aren't intimidating anyone, but the Mayor is?

Again, this is a blatant attack on local democracy. It threatens to destroy civility and rational discourse in local politics. I just had lunch with a friend who opposed CAFé on the minimum wage ordinance but is disgusted by the Recall effort. “It's terrible, and destructive. I'd hoped after the sharp talk during the minimum-wage discussions, we could get back together. This could make that impossible!” (Actually, in a curious way, my friend might get his wish: the Recall effort, abetted by Isbell's childish theatrics, is so far beyond the pale that maybe decent people, whatever their opinion on minimum-wage, will find common ground opposing the Recall.

This Recall attempt is also insulting to voters. They elected and re-elected these councilors (Sorg and Pedoza just last year) knowing the candidates favored the new Monument designation and a minimum-wage hike; but the Recallers figure a barrage of misleading advertising and outright lies will outweigh what constituents have personally observed. I hope not.

So what should we do?

If Recall foot-soldiers ($11 an hour) come to your door, don't sign just because they're young and friendly and you don't want to disappoint them. The Recallers may get enough signatures, but there's no need to help them make the city (you!) pay for a special election.

Commit in your mind to vote against recall.

Talk now to your friends and neighbors, and especially to those who live in Districts 3, 4, or 5, or whose friends do. Ask them to commit to NO signature and to a “NO” vote if there's a special election, and to talk to their friends.

Also, please email (and ask friends to email) to express your commitment to fighting this thing, share information, or ask questions. Your communication will be passed on to your councilor – and, if a group forms to oppose the Recall, the group.

The Recallers have the money and outside hirelings. The Councilors have the vast majority of Las Crucens. For good reasons.
[The column above appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News his morning, Sunday, 14 December.]

[The Sun-News correctly pointed out that so far, the Recallers wild claims about "conflict of interest" and misuse of public resources haven't proved out.  They made a lot of noise, demanded and got a lot of documents, and omitted the misuse charge in their latest press release.  This is a power grab, pure and simple.  As the Sun-News also pointed out, if it were about ethics or good government, there are far more compelling targets here, such as David Gutierrez.]

[ A letter in Saturday's paper illustrated how badly these folks can fool citizens who haven't been paying attention. 
The trigger for all this recall business was that the three target councilors favored raising the minimum wage, while businesses generally didn't.  The issue came to the council as an ordinance requested by a set of petitions.  Under the City Charter, the City Council had two choices: to  pass it as it stood or submit it to voters.  Since most councilors figured it would pass if the voters got it, the Council voted to pass it -- but with several councilors clearly planning to eviscerate the thing as soon as possible.  The three target councilors, though they favored the minimum wage, voted to let it go to a vote of the people.  (Can't get more democratic than that!)  Presumably they hoped that a civty-wide majority vote might carry more weight with their fellow councilors than the City Charter did.
That seems pretty simple.  But the Recall spokesfolks have tried to portray it as some strange, nefarious act.  And Saturday's letter shows how easily the less attentive citizens can be gulled:
a lady named Carolyn Brandt wrote that she saw something "if not illegal, most definitely unethical to the extreme" in this, although she never got around to specifying an illegality or broken law.  She  said that "when they did not vote for the ordinance . . . they showed their hand."  She seemed to feel that the councilors were betraying CAFé and the many people who favored the minimum wage; but far from feeling betrayed, CAFé and the other proponents thanked and praised the three target councilors for their vote to send the thing to the people.They understood, as perhaps poor Ms. Brandt did not, that the majority planned to enact the ordinance in order to gut it.  The three councilors tried their best to keep their promise, to constituents and other city residents, to make the minimum wage law according to the terms of the initiative.  Their valiant efforts helped minimize the changes the Council made.  CAFé and minimum-wage workers following the issue know that.  Most constitutents also know by now that the three councilors are now paying for their courage and consistency.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Three Questions about the Minimum-Wage Hike

Monday, the Las Cruces City Council voted to delay minimum-wage hikes set by the petition-initiated ordinance. People keep asking me:

Was the City Council's action legal?

No, in my view; but it might survive a challenge.

The Council must follow the City Charter. The Charter requires the Council to put the petition-initiated ordinance to a citywide vote or pass it unchanged. Council technically did that, but with some councilors giggling about gutting it immediately – which they then did. Unfortunately, since its draftspersons likely assumed Council would follow the law, the Charter lacks a further paragraph specifying what happens in this situation.

Obviously the provision meant for Council to enact the ordinance and not tinker with it unless and until changed circumstances made that expedient.

City would argue that the Charter's omission of additional language was intentional. City lawyers would explain to a judge (ideally with a straight face) that the Charter authorized the time-consuming initiative procedure but intended it to mean no more than some note dropped in a suggestion box.

Would that argument fly? Probably not. Judges faced with absurdities or inequities frequently “imply” provisions to uphold legislative intent or the intention of parties to a contract.

Secondarily, one councilor's wife gets paid to lobby for a restaurant group that violently opposes the minimum-wage; under the Government Conduct Act, that's the same as if he voted against something he himself got paid to fight tooth and nail. (If he voted primarily for his personal financial reasons, that'd be a felony; but I prefer to assume he didn't.) He should have recused himself, probably because of the “direct financial interest” and certainly to avoid the strong appearance of impropriety.
The Council's best argument would be that there's no “direct financial interest” because (presumably) the wife's contract doesn't specify that her compensation and job longevity could be affected by success or failure – or by a wrong vote by her husband. Gotta say that if I were party to a trial and the judge's husband worked for my adversary, I'd be uncomfortable.

But lawsuits are costly and time-consuming.

Why did Nathan Small change his mind?

Only Nathan knows – if even he knows for sure. Judging from her appearance before the Council, Marcy Dickerson must hold some sort of world speed record for talking. Maybe Nathan was mesmerized.

Yes, the business community had announced a despicable effort to recall him and two others. Nathan denies that was a motivating factor. I'd like to believe him. I did believe him, listening to him one-on-one last Sunday.

He said it was important to make this compromise with some businesspeople now. He sounded sincere; but when I pointed out various reasons it would be better to “compromise” during the scheduled review in 2015, he smiled and nodded. I never heard a compelling reason to ignore a majority of citizens, and perhaps the law. He talked about certainty (which we don't have with the possibility of a lawsuit and the probability of a new initiative effort) and civil discourse (which business interests have pretty much sabotaged with the recall effort). I never did quite understand, though I like and respect Nathan. Maybe I hadn't had enough coffee.

What happens now?

Paid hacks will push the recall, trampling over our sense of community. They'll say and do whatever it takes. They'll even try to hide the obvious truth, that the recall was triggered primarily by the minimum wage hike, behind vague, misleading, or flatly false accusations of malfeasance. Business-owners backing the recall will take our money and spend it shamefully. Witness the slick billboards going up.

The real movers and shakers cringe in the shadows.

[The column above appeared in the Las Cruces Sun-News this morning, Sunday, 7 December.]

[Random observations from Monday's council meeting:
1. There were some extremely moving words spoken by people getting minimum wage, but also some strong statements by business owners and managers.  Editing a highlight reel of the evening would create a fairly interesting window into the community.  One answer to the business-owners "Sky Is Falling!" message came from a gentleman who'd been a hospital executive most of his career.  About a dozen times there'd been pay raises.  Discussing those, hospital managers and even nuns expressed concerns about the impact on the quality of care and on the hospital's ability to survive.  On none of those occasions, he said, was the effect of the pay raises more than minimal."
2. One interesting moment was the very start of the discussion, when Mayor Ken Miyagashima described the moment that he first "got it" about raising the minimum wage.  
There's a school program, or extra-curricular course, called "Personal Financial Literacy" in which kids learn some adult realities involving dollars and sense.  (pun intended)  Miyagashima complimented Stan Rounds and the school system on it, though perhaps mostly because it taught kids they should get life insurance.
One evening Miyagashima worked with his kid on a problem, looking at the possible household budget of a woman with two or three kids making minimum wage.  The wage . . . added up to about $1,000 per hour.  The best they could do on an apartment for their hypothetical family was $650 per month.  (Ouch!)  They figured a car, car insurance, and utilities would eat up another $_____, leaving about $ per month for food.  Obviously inadequate.  What to do?  Better get another job, Ken's kid suggested -- so they were looking at an 80-hour work week, barely seeing the kids, etc.  
"That's when I got it," Ken said.]

[Sorry if the paragraph about Nathan Small doesn't quite cut it.  It's difficult.  I like and respect Nathan.  Even at the council meeting Monday, although he pushed his "compromise" he resisted invitations by Ceil Levatino, Miguel Silva, and Greg Smith to water down the ordinance any further, by stretching out the deadlines further, delaying the initial phase six months, and decreasing the amounts tipped workers would get.  I also appreciate his efforts to discuss the matter with his constituents Sunday (even if he didn't take the advice he got from the vast majority of them) and to explain why he'd changed his view (even if I wasn't quite swift enough to follow the explanation).  He treats people with courtesy and what seems to be genuine respect.)]

[I wrote the above column the morning after the council meeting.  How did the rest of the week affect my answers to the three questions?
1.The Council's action was probably illegal.  I'm a little more convinced of that then ever; but I don't foresee it being tested.
2. I'm further convinced that Councilor Small's motives in changing his mind were honest, if misguided.  Wednesday I found myself wondering: if we could go back to December 2013, when 
CAFé announced this campaign, and someone had told leaders of CAFé "Hey, without all the work and uncertainty, we could agree now to a deal in which the wage goes to $8.40 in January 2015, then $9.20 in January 2017, then $10.10 in January 2019, would they have taken it?  I wasn't involved and don't know; but if someone had forged this compromise earlier, it wouldn't have been unreasonable, in my uneducated view.  I wish business leaders had been willing to participate in meaningful discussions at that time.
3. But then, I wish they they weren't on a rampage, like kids destroying their playpen, with this recall thing.   Not surprisingly, it's getting pretty silly -- particularly with calling 80-some year-old writer of letters to the editor "thugs."  Really, Jeff?  The Recallers, paid hacks and craven bosses, are beginning to perform as expected.   I have confidence that citizens will reject the effort, but we need to take it seriously, because there'll be ample money behind it.]