NTD NEWS     June 28, 2017
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Last night, with close to 100 other interested spectators, I attended the Wilmette Village Board meeting. The issue that drew virtually all of the audience to the Village Hall was whether or not the Wilmette would opt out of the Cook County new minimum wage plan. I won't keep you in suspense. The village trustees, with the exception of one board member, Trustee Kurzman, did vote to opt out.
     This means that for the foreseeable future the minimum wage in Wilmette will remain the same as the seven-year-old state minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. So, a person working 40 hours a week, every week of the year, you'll make about $17,000.
     The Village Board heard presentations and personal comments from a range of speakers before taking their vote sometime around midnight. (I confess I left at 10:35.) The speakers from the floor included two county commissioners, Commissioner Suffredin who spoke in favor of the new minimum and a Republican commissioner from the far western suburbs whose rambling speech composed mostly of irrelevant data spoke against it. Actually, he was pretty much against regulations in general. There were a number of business owners speaking for and against opting out, and a long line of concerned Wilmette residents who presented differing views.
     The spokesperson for the Wilmette Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce was there to present a scenario that pretty much promised a string of failing and fleeing businesses if the increased wage plan was accepted. However, she presented little factual information to support her disastrous predictions, just her opinion. At one point she dismissed the idea of raising the minimum wage as a "warm and fuzzy" concept, or words to that effect. Nice.
     More relevant urging to opt out came from a handful of Wilmette business owners. They each expressed concerns that their businesses would suffer financial disruption, or worse, if a higher minimum wage were mandated. However, later in the evening, several business owners spoke passionately about why they thought raising the rate was the right things to do.
     Another worry expressed by some was the effect a higher minimum wage would have on hiring teenagers and on the expense of training new employees. But today, I learned more about the ordinance and saw that it makes an exception for such hires, to keep their employment financially attractive. The same goes for hires in the first 90 days on the job to give the employer a chance to evaluate them before committing to the new minimum (or more) wage.
     What I found especially interesting last night was that virtually everyone who spoke for opting out, including the C. of C. representative, was happy to admit that virtually all Wilmette's employers already pay most of their employees considerably more than the minimum. Hearing this, I realized that it's not like Wilmette businesses were all of a sudden facing an unprecedented and impossible hurdle with the new minimum. Their minimum wage recipients seem to be the exception, not the rule. And as I listened I had the further thought that it's misleading to present dealing with this minimum wage as a brand new situation. Wilmette employers have dealt with minimum wage standards for decades. It's the base they've always used to determine their higher pay levels.
     This got me curious about how long Wilmette's Chamber of Commerce and our village's employers have dealt with the present minimum wage in their business plans. It turns out that back in 2006, the Illinois legislature passed legislation to
increase the minimum wage from $6.50 to $7.50 an hour starting in July 2007, with a mandated 25- cent increases over the following three years. (I don't remember a giant 2006 exodus of Wilmette business.) The present $8.25 minimum has been a fact of life for local businesses since 2010. When that level was reached, Illinois' minimum became the third highest minimum wage in the nation. Today there are twenty states with a higher minimum and eleven of those have future mandated increases. Cook County's new standard compares with the nation's top dozen states.
     My point is, that Wilmette's businesses have dealt with minimum wage increases in the past. They have had seven years with the present wage rate woven into their business payroll. In the meantime, the consumer price index affecting their minimum wage workers has risen each year, sometimes at less than one-percent, sometimes as high as three.
     History is proof that our local businesses adjusted to a minimum raise increase seven years ago.
They dealt with it, competing with quality and unique offerings, and the well-managed  businesses have thrived.
     Throughout the evening, the board was reminded that  an advisory referendum on the 2014 ballot showed over 70% of the Wilmette residents were in favor of a living wage standard for Wilmette workers. Now, I don't believe a referendum vote should ever become the "go to" method for lawmaking in Illinois. Even so, the 2014 referendum was pretty clear. The people of Wilmette recognize that it's not right to expect our community's lowest paid workers to serve us while receiving poverty level pay.
     The moral argument for a more humane pay standard may have been too tough a sell to the Village Board last night. But it seems to me that the historical facts clearly show that our community's businesses have already proven they can handle adjusting to a higher minimum wage. They've done it in the past without disaster. These are points I wish I had been equipped to make last night. By opting out of the County's effort to slightly improve the quality of life for our village's lowest paid, Wilmette's board just kicked that commendable action down the road for a future board to address.
     So let's see... when should the minimum wage be more than $8.25 in Wilmette? How about in 2020? Maybe, 2025? Perhaps the Wilmette Village Board or the Wilmette Chamber of Commerce should get a 10-year calendar, and mark down a date they think would be the right time to establish a minimum living wage. I'm sure our local workers will be happy to wait. 

                                                                    Nels Howard
                                                                    NTDO member since 1973 

To renew your NTD membership or to become an official member of the New Trier Dems for the first time
, visit our NTDO website. You'll see information on all you membership options.

There is an education bill in the Illinois Senate, SB1, that uses an evidence-based model to make funding fair for those that have been left behind, while making sure no school district loses money. This responsible solution enjoys support from nearly 150 superintendents and school districts across the state. To learn more about this worthwhile legislation click here.


Upcoming events and news items:
Tomorrow night, June 29 in Chicago --- An End-of-Quarter Fundraiser for Chris Kennedy.

When: Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 6:00 - 8:00pm
Where:  O'Brien's Riverwalk Cafe, 45 E. Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago
What: A fundraiser for Chris Kennedy, a Democratic candidate for Governor, celebrating the beginning of summertime in Chicago and the close of the second quarter.
For questions or to RSVP by email click here or visit the event website.
Next Tuesday, July 4, in Glencoe -- March with Congressman
Brad Schneider in Glencoe's 4th of July Parade
Celebrate the 4th of July Holiday by marching with Team Brad Schneider.
When: Line up at 1:00pm in front of Central School on Greenwood Ave.  Step off at 2:00pm.
For additional information or to RSVP register online or by email.
Monday July 10 in Chicago - Rep. Robyn Gabel Rooftop Soiree

Monday, July 10, 2017 from 5:30 - 7:00pm
Where:   The Chicago home of Ellen Benjamin and Fred Bates, 3512 Southport Ave., Chicago
What:  The annual rooftop soiree supporting state Representative Robyn Gabel.
For additional information or to RSVP. email Katy Lagenfeld at katy@kjdstrategies.com or call 312-600-9496.

Wednesday, July 19 -  
The Tenth Dems Candidate Appreciate Event

Wednesday, July 19, 2017, time to be announced. 
Where:  Location in Tenth District to be announced
What: Tenth Dems hosts an event honoring those who put themselves forward to run in the April local elections.  Keynote speaker will be Jason Kander who was named one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party by President Obama.  He was a U.S. Senate candidate in 2016 after serving as Missouri's Secretary of State, a state legislator, and an Army National Guard intelligence officer.
Details to follow.

Tuesday, July 20 at Arlington Park - A "Day at the Races" for
State Sen. Julie Morrison with Special Guest John Cullerton
When: Thursday, July 20, 2017.  Suite opens at 12:30pm, racing begins at 1:25pm
Where: Arlington Park, John Henry Suite, 2200 West Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights
What:   Come out to Arlington Park and enjoy this annual event with State Senator Julie Morrison and Senate President John Cullerton.
For additional information or to RSVP, register online or by email. Or call 312-630-7700.

Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.

Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.

FYI: The NTDO Events Calendar 
for the rest of 2017

9 am-5 pm Downtown Glencoe
9 am-5 pm Downtown Winnetka
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

9am-5pm Downtown Wilmette
Lake View Room and Beach Pavilion 1 pm - 4 pm
Maggiano's Old Orchard, Skokie, 5 pm-9 pm
Nov. (Date & Place TBA)  
All North Shore Democrats Invited

The guest speaker for the October 8, 2017 NTD Annual Dinner has been confirmed.

It's Congressman Mike Quigley. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Quigley will bring his perspective on the possible Russian meddling in our 2016 Election and the seriousness of such a threat to our democratic process.  (Were any Trump operatives involved?) -- By October, who knows what our guest speaker may have to report?

Your Legislators:

Legislators Democratic Legislators
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. 
Jan Schakowsky , 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. 

Brad Schneider , 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Daniel Biss,   State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate District.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
Julie MorrisonState Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.   

Robyn Gabel, IL 18th District State Representative. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
Laura Fine , IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.

Scott Drury 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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or go directly to ActBlue by clicking here. 
Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? 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.    
About Us:
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Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township

We are located at 800 Oak Street, Suite 112, in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
Contact: newtrierdemocrats@gmail.com.

*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.