On the issue of minimum wage
Posted on December 20, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun
I am perplexed by the assertion made by Mr Potter that workers with higher skill levels are needed in our area — Sonoma Valley. The evidence seems to be that most jobs are in the Hospitality sector in our area. These jobs do require skill, but at the lower levels do not even command a living wage. This is generally because of a lack of full time work and/or low pay.
Training to increase the skill levels of those employees would seem to make the search for employees more difficult.
Many young people who grew up in the Sonoma Valley, finished high school and completed a four year degree at local colleges have moved away for lack of decently paid jobs. They have given up on their “home town”.
From the number of “Help Wanted” signs in the area, it seems that more employees are needed locally. These signs were sprouting up before the fires, because folks couldn’t afford to live here any longer. The fires of 2017 have exacerbated the housing shortage. This exodus is causing a decrease in the diversity of the population–one of the things that makes it a joy to live here.
Additionally lack of housing and cost is affecting our population of people of retirement age. Many of these people are talented and skilled and could use part time employment to make up the difference between their income and expenses.
Finally, the point made that housing cost is just going to increase because we live in “an incredibly desirable area” is true–but it should not be an explanation that justifies the exclusion of people of lower income levels. The facts as presented The Sun editorial of December 6 indicate that housing costs are out of reach for most residents who do not already have secure housing — because their homes were purchased years ago, or through reasonably priced housing.
– Iris Lombard, Sonoma