Sunday, August 19, 2018
Politics

Minimum wage advocates want eventual increase to $15

ST. PETERSBURG — Jeff Roby stood on the third step of City Hall, the lush fronds of a palm tree swaying above his head. He and fellow members of a fledgling movement are pushing for a $15 minimum wage, and they figured this would a good place to start.

"We're not calling on the St. Petersburg City Council, as it said in the Declaration of Independence, to risk their lives, or even their fortunes," said Roby, 66, of Gulfport. "We're not asking them, not right now, to spend any money, meaning our tax money. But we are wondering about their sacred honor."

Four other members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the 15 Now group showed up to the noon news conference. They carried red signs, and toted fact sheets and T-shirts. Two reporters scribbled notes, with not a television camera in sight.

This, members say, is what the beginning of a long fight looks like.

Roby and his fellow activists want the City Council to pass a resolution urging the Legislature to repeal a state law forbidding cities and counties from setting a minimum wage higher than what is mandated by the state. And if that were to happen, the group wants the council to require a citywide $15 minimum wage.

The minimum wage in Florida is $7.93.

The 15 Now organization started in Seattle, where the Seattle City Council in June approved a $15 wage to be phased in over six years. It happened with the help of a newly elected Socialist council member and a supportive mayor.

But city councils in Florida can't do that, and a Republican-controlled Legislature is unlikely to change the law anytime soon, said Tampa Bay chapter organizer Christian Brooks, a 25-year-old St. Petersburg resident and shift supervisor at CVS.

The Tampa Bay chapter is the second in Florida; the first is based in Orlando.

The group plans to meet with St. Petersburg council members to make their case and, if necessary, to start a petition in support of the resolution and higher wage here.

Brooks said the goal is to get enough signatures for a statewide $15 wage referendum.

"If there's a lesson we can learn from Seattle, it's that if we build enough of a movement to bring pressure to bear on the Legislature, they will react to that pressure," Brooks said. "It's not like the Seattle City Council passed the $15 an hour minimum wage out of the kindness of their hearts. It's because there was a mass movement."

Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

Comments
Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

Romano: A fresh start for Florida to protect abused children

The worst job in Florida is available, once again.Mike Carroll has announced his pending resignation as secretary of the Department of Children and Families, giving someone else the privilege to be an underfunded, second-guessed punching bag. For no ...
Published: 08/18/18
Pinellas commission candidate faced stalking, abuse claims

Pinellas commission candidate faced stalking, abuse claims

ST. PETERSBURG — A political newcomer seeking a Pinellas County Commission seat has faced accusations of physical abuse and stalking from her former fiance, who twice sought court-ordered protection from her.Both allegations came after Democrat Amy K...
Published: 08/17/18

Two Seminole council members face challengers

SEMINOLE — Six candidates have filed to run for two open seats on the City Council.Incumbents Chris Burke, first elected in 2012, and Trish Springer, elected in 2015, face challenges from former council member Dan Hester, who served from 2005 to 2010...
Published: 08/16/18
In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

In Republican race for Pinellas County Commission seat, Rep. Kathleen Peters outpacing field

As the Aug. 28 primary election approaches, three Republicans are battling to represent a Pinellas County Commission district that hasn’t witnessed a competitive contest for more than 15 years.State Reps. Larry Ahern of Seminole and Kathleen Peters o...
Published: 08/16/18
Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Romano: Con artist or Florida politician? You decide

Decorum matters, and so the attorney’s language was appropriately measured.In seeking to have a constitutional amendment thrown off the ballot, a motion filed in Leon County used words such as "misleading’’ and "ambiguity’’ and "wordsmithing.’’That’s...
Published: 08/16/18
Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

BROOKSVILLE — With primary Election Day at the doorstep, two Republican candidates vying for seats on the Hernando County Commission found themselves in uncomfortable spots over potential filings with the Florida Commission on Ethics.And a third Repu...
Published: 08/15/18
Q&A: A Watergate trickster talks dirty politics, then and now

Q&A: A Watergate trickster talks dirty politics, then and now

CLEARWATERNearly half a century ago, Martin Kelly made the mistake of his life.He was a senior at the University of Miami when he decided to take part in what would become one of the most infamous political scandals in U.S. history: Watergate. He was...
Published: 08/15/18

Pasco Political Notebook for Aug. 17

Republican Club hosts candidate forum at meetingThe West Pasco Republican Club will host an "Election Extravaganza" candidate forum at its meeting Aug. 21 at Heritage Springs Country Club, 11345 Robert Trent Jones Parkway, Trinity. A social time will...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18
Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting Pasco County begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 25, with 11 locations across the county for voters.Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20-24, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug...
Published: 08/13/18
Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

LARGO — There will be no suspense in the city when elections arrive Nov. 6. In fact, there will be no election at all, because all four city commissioners whose seats were up were re-elected by default when no one came forward by the end of the candi...
Published: 08/13/18