Daley Should Support the Living Wage

On Sept. 13, Mayor Daley will have an opportunity to choose which side he is on. On the one hand are hard working Chicagoans who earn poverty wages for the wealthiest companies in America. On the other are the large companies that use our neighborhood’s high unemployment rate to force people to work for less than they need to survive.

Those who oppose the big box living wage ordinance would like us to believe that we aren’t worth $10 an hour. Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot are paying a living wage of $9.50 an hour right now in Santa Fe. In San Francisco, Home Depot has agreed to pay $10.75 an hour, plus $1.60 for benefits.

What’s the difference between those cities and Chicago? Those cities have elected leaders who stood up for people and passed living wage laws. In Chicago, 35 aldermen voted in favor of a living wage. Now we wait to see if the mayor will follow through on his threat to kill the living wage ordinance.

We know the stores can pay a living wage because they’re doing it right now in other cities. We know the stores can pay a living wage because one of them, Costco, is paying $10 an hour right now on the North Side. But here in Austin, they want to pay $7 an hour, and they want us to feel lucky we got it.

We are asking the mayor to think about mothers who need more money to support their children, pay for gas to get to work, pay for rent, and to buy basic essentials. It is not just about jobs – it is about dignity. People need to be able to take care of their families in these tight economic times.

We hope Mayor Daley uses his power to help the people of Chicago by signing the big box living wage ordinance into law. Either way, on Sept. 13, we’ll all know which side he’s on.

Pastor Steve Greer Jr.
Pastor C.J. Wright
Pastor Robin Hood

Bill will help bridge “digital divide”

I am adding my voice to those who support the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006 (HR 5252). My lifes work has been dedicated to the development and empowerment of people. This act will help make technology obtainable. I am proud of Congressman Bobby Rush (1st) and his sponsorship of this bill.

The “digital divide” is a serious problem for my community. The media is full of images of high-speed Internet access as a part of daily life. That is just not the case in many neighborhoods in Chicago. The expense of high-speed Internet is a barrier to most. Some communities even lack the basic infrastructure for this service. It is a shame that a generation of children will be left behind.

HR 5252, or the Rush-Barton bill, provides the opportunity for competition while protecting such important community assists as local channels for education and government. One percent of gross revenue will be set aside for community-based programming. And most importantly, it contains strong anti-redlining protections.

We urge Congress to pass this important piece of legislation. Their vote will be a vote for video competition. This competition will encourage the development of next generation of technology, which in turn will develop the next generation of leaders, educators and informed citizens. Also, more choices will reduce costs and provide the opportunity for people to enter the digital age.

As a voice of justice for the people of Chicago, my commitment is to assist those who needed it the most. When I first learned of this bill, I had concerns about possible redlining. Cong. Rush has worked hard to place language in this bill to prevent this. The bill has real enforcement measures and fines that mean business. The Federal Communications Commission will have the power to fine red-liners $500,000 per day for each individual redlining violation – a real fine to stop a real problem.

Rev. Paul Jakes Jr.
Old Saint Paul Missionary Baptist