$15 is a real living wage

Letter to the Editor


Editor, Index-Tribune:

People who tout $10 to $11 an hour as a living wage do not have labor’s interest at heart. Fifteen dollars an hour is a living wage in today’s world, as it is in Sonoma and as it’s recognized in Australia. Ten to eleven bucks an hour is a minimum wage, as that amount and better is the standard in other industrialized countries.

Considering the basics of the costs of living, no ethical employer should pay less than $15 an hour, full or part time, and don’t give us that jazz about tipped workers. Why should someone else subsidize a business’ owner? Considering the chasm between what corporate CEOs make and what they pay in wages, it’s a sin to pay anyone less than a real living wage. The Sonoma Chamber of Commerce, the Valley vintners and growers, the hotel industry, the fast-food franchises and all our local employers should get behind paying a living wage. Now.

Even Scrooge learned this.

Will Shonbrun

Boyes Hot Springs

  • Robert Piazza

    Will, can you define what makes up the living wage of $15 you demand? Does it include any costs of benefits?

    Who determined $15 is a living wage in Sonoma? Should it apply to kids under 18 who are working part time in the summer or weekends?

    I question the validity of a $15 living wage being applicable in every town and every industrialized country which you imply to be the case.
    When will you progressive liberals learn that every time you initiate a social engineering program it turns into a money hole. Examples are the food stamp program, Medicare and Social Security..
    Your last word “Now” is dictatorial, inflammatory and demeans what you are trying to achieve.
    Let’s face it Will, your ideas are Marxist and you live in a capitalist country.

    Marxism hasn’t worked anywhere, yet it continues to be touted as the answer to equality!
    That’s BS and you are intelligent enough to know it.

    • Chris Scott

      Mr Piazza:
      “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
      Mark Twain

      • Robert Piazza


        Let me educate you on what the law says about defamation.

        Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed. Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media such as printed words or images, called libel.

        Labeling me a fool, in writing for all to read, is libelous!
        Now I have to determine if your libelous statement has damaged me!
        Perhaps you can consult with Bob Edwards on this subject since he has practiced law.
        What other words of wisdom would you care to share?

        • Chris Scott

          Mr Piazza:
          This seems a bit impetuous and substantively problematic. At this time it also presents an opportunity for your reflection and possibly reconsideration. Alternatively I could add the requisite clarification.

          • Robert Piazza


            You are not paying attention to my cautions.

            “Impetuous” is defined as :impulsive, rash, hasty, overhasty, reckless, heedless, careless, foolhardy, bullheaded, headstrong, incautious, imprudent, injudicious, ill-considered, to mention a few.

            If the board of directors of my company or the shareholders were to believe I had any of those traits, because of your assertion, they might terminate my employment or sell their shares causing a false depreciation in the asset value of the company. That could be very damaging to me as well a many other investors and the employees of the company. That would constitute “damages”, if it can be quantified.
            This assumes the assertions cannot be proven and are untrue.

            “Problematic” would be only the beginning of a very unfortunate experience for you! Is that sufficient “clarity” for you?

            Consider what you have written before hitting the send button.

          • Chris Scott

            Between your resume and your words this doesn’t past the Giggle Test.

          • Chris Scott

            Mr Piazza;

            “…substantively problematic” or, there is a problem with the substance. There is no substance here. Your interpreting of Mark Twain’s quote as you have runs counter to everything that is Samuel L Clemens and or his writings under the pen name Mark Twain. To accept your interpretation of his quote would be to turn the world as we know it upside down.

            The fact of your expressed concern for yourself and your perception of potential harm vis-à-vis your visibility, as you self described yourself, to a very broad audience should that audience be exposed to or become aware of the Mark Twain satire and trenchant wit quote directed at a comment of yours, and yet your choice to deal with this situation on unquestionably the most visible and public medium of our age, the internet, where anything digital remains in perpetuity, compounded by the character and tone of your subsequent comments; your claims do not pass the laugh test.

            It might be of interest to you that the phrase, laugh test, is not that commonly known. But it is well known within legal circles where it has become the more gentle form of expressing that the case would be laughed out of court.

            Summarising and amplifying the comments thus far, the earliest usage I can find is a 1985 Supreme Court usage…
            The Supreme Court said, “This doesn’t pass the laugh test; not withstanding what the Ninth Circuit says, we are not going to require that a recipient receive notice of every subpoena that has been issued in the investigation.” It’s a bit esoteric but illuminating as to those who use such phrases.

            In the future please use the salutation, Mr Scott.

  • Phineas Worthington

    There is an epidemic of youth unemployment in Europe being called the lost generation and there is still chronic unemployment in the lowest economic rung of unskilled workers here, yet no one makes any connection to the policies in economic law like minimum wage laws that prevent entry level workers from gainful employment and acquiring job skills.

    Unions are the biggest advocates of minimum wage laws. That is because wage increases are tied to minimum wage in collective bargaining. And unions get the added benefit of preventing competition from other low paid, unskilled entry level non-union workers. Its a win/win for unions, though at the unfortunate expense of the unemployed poor and unskilled.