Mailbag: Living, minimum wages are different matters

I was heartened to read Paul Leon's commentary about the Illumination Foundation's work with the homeless; it is a good cause ["Commentary: Article mischaracterized foundation-city relationship," Jan. 17].

However, I think there is one portion of the commentary that could be misleading to your readers.

Mr. Leon's statement that "in Orange County, in which a minimum wage worker must work 128 hours per week to afford a permanent one-bedroom apartment," may make his point, but begs a question.

Is Mr. Leon equating minimum wage with living wage? It is not clear to me from his writing, and if so, I would want to understand his observation a little better.

As I understand it, the minimum wage was never intended to be a living wage; living wages were and are garnered after experience or expertise is accumulated. California's current minimum hourly wage is $8, increasing to $9 as of July 1, then $10 in January 2016.

I hope Mr. Leon isn't suggesting that the minimum wage should become a living wage. That shifts burden to our local businesses to pay higher wages for jobs that deliver little direct returns.

Think of sweeping a floor. A high school student living at home but wanting some extra cash will do that job for the minimum wage regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. It would be unfair to expect that employer to pay another person a living wage to perform that same low-skilled task.

The group's work is such a good cause I hope not to diminish it by bringing this to the readers' attention. However, since minimum wage is in the headlines recently (along with income inequality vs. mobility), I felt it important to make this distinction. In the bigger picture, I think we can all agree the homeless need to be self-sufficient, and his efforts to do so are to be lauded.

Jane Terry

Newport Beach


Santa Ana or Santana winds?

Re. Mike Whithead's column, "From the Boathouse: A caution for south of the border," (Jan. 17): You are correct in your piece Jan. 18 in the Daily Pilot. The wind is a Santana. The fact that it generally blows through Santa Ana Canyon is irrelevant. I believe you are also correct that the news media, who mostly don't know what it's talking about, have confused the issue. One needs only ask the Coast Guard and Naval weather services to confirm. Santana!

Jim Somers

Newport Beach


Support for Wendy Leece

I was delighted to see that Wendy Leece is considering a challenge to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) for the 48th Congressional District. It is time for new representation. Mr. Rohrabacher is out of touch with his current district. Now that we have a Democrat in the White House, he continues to vote against extending the debt limit, which is such hypocrisy because this guy has been spending money in Congress for the last 25 years. How about more than $1 trillion for Iraq?

Please run, Ms. Leece.

Walter L. Sebring III

Corona del Mar

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