Idealism -- Integrity -- Independence
May 23, 2018
This week I'm going to narrow the focus of my comments to an issue involving just one New Trier community, Wilmette. Although in a broader sense I know this local controversy is relevant to not only every town in our region but every community in America.
I'm talking about Wilmette's debate over its village board's decision to opt out of the Cook County government's minimum wage mandate for employees of businesses in our county. (That opt-out also included not adopting a sick days policy for hourly workers.)
In case you are aren't already familiar with the details of this debate, here they are: Presently, Illinois' minimum wage of $8.25 an hour. Cook County's "home rule status" has allowed its board to increase that minimum wage for workers in our county (a more expensive place to live than Macomb or Decatur). The first increase, to $10 an hour, took effect July 1, 2017. This summer the minimum will rise to $11. It will go up to $12 in July 2019 and hit $13 an hour in 2020.
Subsequent annual increases will be at the rate of inflation, not to exceed 2.5 percent. Lower wage provisions have also been made for new employee during a trial period, for student part-time workers and for workers earning tips. The new sick time policy mandates that hourly employees are eligible for five days of paid sick leave (non-cumulative) per calendar year.
When the county board established these new standards, all Cook County suburbs were given the option to opt out of participation.The Wilmette Board did. To some extent, the Board's decision was surprising since it seemed to go against the will of Wilmette voters who had already expressed their support for some level of "reform."
In the November 4, 2014 election, voters were given the opportunity to vote "Yes" or "No" on the following advisory, non-binding referendum question: Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015? Over 66% of New Trier voters said "Yes" and nearly 71% of Wilmette voters were for it.
The same support was shown for "Earned Sick Time" in the November 8, 2016 General Election: Nearly 70% of New Trier voters and nearly 74% of Wilmette voters voted "Yes."
In the months since the Board's original opt-out decision, Wilmette Board President Bielinski has called for further study of the situation. A "working group" of well regarded volunteers - some I know and respect - was commissioned to take a deeper look, gathering data for the board's use. The group also suggested that the board do a survey of residents and businesses. Unfortunately, the board's survey simply used an email link to a website. This website survey had no log-in, no controls for identifying the respondents and was very susceptible to "stuffing the ballot box." Perhaps such a fear is groundless, but it was a sloppy way to handle such an important task. Not surprisingly, that survey showed a majority quite happy with the way things are.
So here's my take on all of this. In 2017, I attended the first Wilmette Village Board Meeting that invited public comments. What I saw was a Chamber of Commerce representative and a number of local business owners speaking passionately for opting out. While another group of business owners and residents were equally passionate about accepting the County plan - many because they felt it was simply the right thing to do. (Why should an affluent community like ours insist the workers who serve us do their jobs for near poverty wages?)
What I also observed at that meeting was that a number of the "opt-out" merchants as well as the Chamber of Commerce rep seemed to accept that the present minimum is too low. They readily admitted that virtually all Wilmette employers already pay most employees more than minimum wage.
But although those "opt-out" speakers, as well as some members of the Village Board, accepted the idea that good workers deserve a fair wage, they appeared to treat a new minimum wage mandate as if it were an unprecedented proposition - a radical concept. This is when I concluded that this debate is not just about the business economics. It's about personal philosophies. A right wing view of the world that seems to view any government effort to influence the living standards of the poorest among us as a threatening activity. Sadly, a number of people who reflect this view don't even know they've been sucked into it.
Wilmette employers have dealt with minimum wage standards for decades. Our village's present $8.25 minimum was the third stage of an incremental Illinois wage raise that began in 2007, rising from $6.50 to $7.50 an hour that year. After that, annual 25-cent increases rose to our present $8.25 rate in 2010. That's right. Today's minimum wage has not risen for eight years! Are the prices of things you buy the same as they were eight years ago?
Opponents of any minimum wage change paint the picture that proceeding with the county's plan would be a disaster for Wilmette businesses. But it's been almost a year since the new wage standard was accepted by our North Shore neighbors, Evanston, Kenilworth, Winnetka and Glencoe. I haven't noticed their business districts collapsing.
Next month, on Tuesday, June 26, Wilmette's board will once again meet to hear statements from Wilmette business owners, Chamber of Commerce reps and Wilmette residents, for and against continuing the Village's opt out decision. It's not too late for Wilmette to join its North Shore neighbors and do the right thing.
The issue of wage stagnation and disappearing worker benefits is a national scandal. If you do live in Wilmette, this is an issue where your involvement can have an impact right now. If Wilmette's minimum wage doesn't gain parity with our North Shore neighbors now, then when? 2020? Maybe, 2025? What's your philosophy on this?
NTDO member since 1973
Here's what you can do right now:
Contact each Wilmette Village Board member
and tell them your views on raising the minimum wage for the lowest paid workers in Wilmette. Then
mark you calendar to attend the June 26 Wilmette Village Board meeting
. For contact information and more details on this issue just
Drinks With Dems at Wilmette Wine Cellar
Thursday, May 31, 2018 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Wilmette Wine Cellar, 1100 Central Avenue, Wilmette
Let's get together and talk politics! New Trier Democrats invite you to join us for drinks, mingling and conversation with fellow progressives. Here's a great opportunity to network with like-minded people in our area and form connections with other Dems and activists.
Drinks will be available for purchase. This event is not a fundraiser - It's just an opportunity to have fun and meet other area Dems.
We will be collecting items to donate to the New Trier Township Food Pantry which is in need of the following: canned fruit and granola bars; canned meat (tuna, salmon, chicken); cooking oils and condiments; laundry detergent; and paper goods (Kleenex, towels, toilet paper). Anything you can donate is greatly appreciated!
Other events of interest:
Tomorrow, May 24 in Chicago - Protest the Trump-Pence Domestic Gag Rule
When: Thursday, May 24, 2018 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Where: US Dept. Health & Human Services, 233 N Upper Michigan Ave, Chicago
What: The Trump-Pence Administration is preparing to push a "gag rule" - their most dangerous attack on women's basic rights, ever. We need you to get LOUD.
It's time to speak out and protect Planned Parenthood patients, and the millions of others who will be directly impacted by this dangerous rule. The gag rule includes two unprecedented attacks on patients and doctors: (1) Forbids doctors and nurses across the country from referring patients for abortion. Even if someone asks for information, even if their health is at risk, even if a safe and legal abortion is their best option; (2) Removes the guarantee that you will receive full and accurate information about your health care. If someone discovers they're pregnant after being diagnosed with cancer, for example, their health care provider could refuse to tell them that abortion is even an option.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan will be speaking about the impact this will have in Illinois
. For more information, visit this
Facebook event page
Planned Parenthood website
Tuesday, May 29 in Niles - Kick-off Fundraiser Supporting Joel Chupack for Judge
When: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where: aBetterPour (Wine Vault), 6400 W. Touhy, Niles
What: A General Election kick-off fundraiser for Joel Chupack, Democratic candidate for Circuit Court Judge, 12th Judicial Subcircuit, Cook County. To RSVP, email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 224-558-3888.
Wednesday, May 30 in Chicago - New Founders #fortheWIN2018 Conference
When: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 9:00am. The event continues Thursday, May 31 until 6:00pm
Where: Savage Smyth, 920 North Franklin Street, Chicago
A conference of leaders and activists to discuss
seat strategy to win back the House, motivating voters to hit the polls, equipping candidates to win, creating greater accessibility in politics, and much more
. For more information,
visit the conference website
Wednesday, May 30 in Highland Park -
JB for Governor Phone Bank
When: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Where: Highland Park Democratic Headquarters (Tenth Dems and Moraine Dems), 474 Central Ave., Highland Park, 2nd floor above Mizuki Grill. Plenty of free parking in the lot a half-block to the east of the office.
What: A phone bank to help recruit volunteers to get out the vote for JB Pritzker for Governor in this important midterm election. For questions or to RSVP, email Hannah Amundsen at email@example.com.
Saturday, June 9 in Vernon Hills -
"2018 & Beyond" An Evening With Brad Schneider
When: Saturday, June 9, 2018 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Where: Vernon Hills Golf Course, 291 Evergreen Dr., Vernon Hills
What: Vernon Township Democrats will host an evening with Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10).
Brad will speak about the upcoming 2018 election season, and beyond. He will address issues that affect residents of the district, and have a chance to speak with community leaders, constituents, and local candidates directly in this lovely, intimate setting. The event will be catered by Pear Tree catering. Cash Bar. You can
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, June 16 in Highland Park - State Senator Julie Morrison Campaign Kickoff
When: Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Where: Campaign Office, 1910 First Street, Highland Park
What: State Senator Julie Morrison's campaign kick-off event. This is an opportunity to hear Senator Morrison speak, meet the campaign team, and sign up to volunteer. For questions or comments, email email@example.com or call 847-461-8792.
Monday, June 18 in Deerfield -
Rooftop Reception for Julie Morrison
When: Monday, June 18, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where:The Warehouse, Rooftop Patio, 833 Deerfield Rd., Deerfield
What: A reception in support of State Senator Julie Morrison. RSVP to Kelly at Kelly@ilsenatedems.org or call 312-630-7700.
Tuesday, June 19 in Evanston - Summer Reception for Rep. Robyn Gabel
When: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Where: Halim Time & Glass Museum, 1560 Oak Ave., Evanston
What: An annual fundraiser supporting State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-18).
For additional information or to RSVP,
email Katy Lagenfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-600-9496.
Wednesday, June 20 in Chicago - Reception in Support of Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
When: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 from 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Where: Law Offices of DLA Piper, 444 W. Lake St., 9th Floor, Chicago
What: Join the Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz campaign for an event supporting her candidacy for State Representative for the 17th District!
To purchase tickets in advance, make checks payable to Friends for Jennifer and mail to P.O. Box 3042, Glenview, IL 60025 or make a contribution online by
. Payment will also be accepted at the door. Ticket prices: $100 individual; $50 young professional; Co-Host $500; Host $1000; Co-Chair $2500; Host $5000. For questions or to RSVP, contact
Wednesday, June 20 in Chicago -
Debra Shore Summer Solstice Celebration
When: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Where: Erie Café, 536 W. Erie St., Chicago
What: Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner, launches her 2018 General Election Campaign with her Annual Summer Solstice Celebration.
For additional information or to RSVP,
Monday, June 25 in Evanston -
Reception Honoring Rep. Laura Fine with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
When: Monday, June 25, 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Where: La Principal, 700 Main Street, Evanston
What: A reception honoring Rep. Laura Fine for State Senate. The event features Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. To RSVP, email email@example.com or call 312-630-7700.
Friday & Saturday, June 29-30 -
Visit New Trier Democrats at the Glencoe Sidewalk Sale
When: Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30, 2018
Where: Downtown Glencoe
What: Visit New Trier Democrats at their booth during the Glencoe Sidewalk Sale. We would love to see you - whether to chat politics, sign up to become a member, check out local volunteering opportunities or fill out a political survey. If you are interested in volunteering to work our booth for this or any other Sidewalk Sale, please contact Joan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, June 30 in Riverwoods - Women for Bob Morgan Luncheon
When: Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 11:30am to 1:30pm
Where: Ravinia Green Country Club, 1200 Saunders Rd., Riverwoods
What: A luncheon in support of Bob Morgan
, Democratic nominee for state representative, 58th District.
Special Guest: Jennifer Granholm
, former Michigan Governor and current CNN political contributor. For additional information or to RSVP,
or email email@example.com.
Save The Date!
New Trier Democrats' Events
Friday & Saturday, June 29-30, 2018
Visit New Trier Democrats at the Glencoe Sidewalk Sale
Friday & Saturday, July 13-14, 2018
Visit New Trier Democrats at the Winnetka Sidewalk Sale
Monday, July 16, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Annual Meet & Greet at Avli in Winnetka
Friday & Saturday, July 20-21, 2018
Visit New Trier Democrats at Wilmette Summerfest & Sidewalk Sale
Saturday, September 8, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Annual Meeting and Picnic at Mallinckrodt Center
Sunday, October 14, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Annual Dinner at Maggiano's in Skokie
Thursday, December 13, 2018
New Trier Democrats' Holiday Party at Wilmette Wine Cellar
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
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Find the link for "contribute with ActBlue"
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|Still not a member of the New Trier Democrats? Your participation in grassroots political action will make a difference. -- Come join us.
When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain free admission to select forums and events throughout the year.
Come be a part of New Trier's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street, Suite 112, in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.