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OC Religious Leaders Shame Irvine GOP Council Majority on Living Wage Repeal

Jeff Lalloway and Christina Shea with Irvine Mayor Steven Choi-2014

Jeff Lalloway and Christina Shea with Irvine Mayor Steven Choi-2014

One Irvine City Council meeting removed from voting to add “In God We Trust,” about 20 religious leaders from across Orange County have chimed in with a letter asking the City Council to reinstate the city’s longstanding Living Wage ordinance that was repealed earlier this summer.

Two of the council members — Christina Shea and Lynn Schott – profess to be very Christian, and their vote to overturn this successful policy is anything but.  Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway cites economist Milton Friedman, who in Lalloway’s word, “…has articulated better than I ever could, mandated wage ordinances actually hurt the poor rather than help them. My focus is helping to foster economic growth to help everyone improve their standard of living.”

Lalloway hasn’t offered a single plan, proposal or idea on any way to do this very thing.

From the Register’s story:

The Rev. Paul Tellström, senior pastor at Irvine United Congregational Church, describes the City Council’s new stance on wages as anti-poor in a letter to the city this week. Twenty-four faith leaders, representing various religions and from throughout Orange County, also signed the letter.

“Each of our religious traditions speaks to the need to look after the poor, the outcast and the marginalized,” Tellström wrote.

“A decision to reduce the wages of some of the lowest-paid workers during a time of strong economic growth is antithetical to what our unique faiths teach us about fairness and justice.”


Irvine’s move to repeal its living wage ordinance runs counter to national and local trends.

In recent months, cities around the country, including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have passed similar wage laws. Last week, the University of California system said it would boost its minimum wage to $15 by 2017, a move expected to affect hundreds of workers at UC Irvine.

Opponents of such regulations say businesses react by hiring fewer workers, thereby harming the people wage laws are designed to help.

Councilwoman Christina Shea, who voted against the ordinance in 2007 and led the repeal effort this year, said her position hasn’t changed.

“This is not a spiritual issue. This is not a religious issue. It has nothing to do with that,” Shea said.

“It has to do with what’s best for business. There’s no way I will review my position on the living wage.”

Shea added that she believes the decision will help struggling Irvine residents by reducing the cost of city contracts.

The reality is the repeal doesn’t lower Irvine taxpayers taxes by a single cent.  But with all the IE money behind the Irvine Republican council majority from Emile Haddad’s development company, Irvine Republicans don’t need to raise money for re-election when IEs that publish outright lies will continue to help them get re-elected.

Clergy who signed on to the letter include:

• Rev. Paul Tellström, Irvine United Congregational Church

• Rev. A. Paige Eaves, University United Methodist Church, Irvine

• Rev. Mark Whitlock Jr., Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, Irvine

• Sheikh Atef Mahgoub, Islamic Center of Irvine

• Rev. Ken Wyant, United Church of Christ minister (retired), Irvine

• Rabbi Arnold Rachlis, University Synagogue, Irvine

• Sherri Sisson, Orange County Friends Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Irvine

• Rev. Bil Aulenbach, Episcopal priest (retired), Irvine

• Rev. George Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America minister (retired), Irvine

• Rev. D. Mark Davis, St. Mark Presbyterian Church pastor, Newport Beach

• Rev. Chineta Goodjoin, New Hope Presbyterian Church, Orange

• Pastor Gale Oliver Jr., Greater Light Missionary Baptist Church, Santa Ana

• Rev. Fernando Tamara, Primera Asamblea del Condado de Orange, Santa Ana

• Rev. Sarah Halverson, Fairview Community Church, Costa Mesa

• Imam Sayed Moustafa Al-Qazwini, Islamic Educational Center of OC, Costa Mesa

• Mobed Maneck Bhujwala, Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, Huntington Beach

• Rev. Kent Doss, Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Mission Viejo

• Rev. Michael Holland, Church of the Foothills, Santa Ana

• Rev. William Moses Summerville, Kingdom Come Community Church, Buena Park

• Rev. Peggy Price, Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living minister emeritus

• Rev. R. Winston Presnall, First Presbyterian Church of Orange

• Rev. Sian Wiltshire, Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, Costa Mesa

• Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein, Congregation B’nai Tzedek rabbi emeritus, Fountain Valley

• Rev. Karen Stoyanoff, Unitarian Universalist Church, Anaheim

• Orange County Interdenominational Alliance

• Council of Muslim Women

• Islamic Shura Council of Southern California

  5 comments for “OC Religious Leaders Shame Irvine GOP Council Majority on Living Wage Repeal

  1. junior
    July 29, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Here is an alternate religious leader – Rev. Robert A. Sirico of the Acton Institute -‘Living wage’ is anti-Christian –

    All Christians should realize the importance of work. And all Christians should seek to work toward justice in wages. No one wants to see the poor stuck in their poverty or those at the bottom of the wage pool being forced to remain where they are. The central issue is how to lift the poor out of their poverty.

    Proponents of the “living wage” believe they have found the means. If through the use of legislation, the government at one level or another can force employers to pay workers $10 or $12 or even $15 per hour, then the poor would no longer be in poverty.

    Unfortunately, the economy and the use of the power of the government are not so simple. For those who want to understand the effects of implementing a “living wage,” it is important to have a grasp of this truth:

    When the government puts in place a certain public policy, there always is some response that comes from the marketplace. In public policy circles, this is called the “elastic effect.”

    For instance, raising the entrance fee to a public park by 5 percent would lead us to conclude on the basis of logic that the park would take in 5 percent more income than it did last year. But this is not necessarily the case because raising the cost may cause 10 percent fewer people to visit the park, resulting in lowered revenue.

    The problem with the “living wage” as an “answer” is that it leads to negative consequences that are equal to or sometimes worse than the problem the policy sought to remedy.

    Studies over the past 40 years indicate that even a legally determined minimum wage leads to fewer available jobs. If forced to pay higher wages, employers tend to hire fewer employees. Labor economists, for examples, point out that a 10 percent forced increase in wages will increase unemployment by 1 to 3 percent.

    Furthermore, companies that have a “living wage” imposed on them may induce companies to move their operations to another location, resulting in a further lose of jobs.

    And finally, the extra costs produced by “living wage” legislation will not be born by the companies affected. They will, of course, pass along the costs to those who buy their products, which will include the employees who have just had their wages raised, thus making those same wages that much less “livable.”

  2. Ltpar
    July 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I am amused at these liberal do good religious leaders coming out of the woodwork like termites on a 2×4. With the sorry state of moral values in this country, the murder of innocent babies and pornography on demand, I wonder if their efforts might be better served in trying to get lost souls back on track. I couldn’t help but notice that most of the clergy with a couple of exceptions were associated with off shoot branches of various religions. I also see this action as an intrusion of religion into government and if roles were reversed, you liberals would be screaming bloody murder. But as we know, the liberal motto has always been, “don’t do as we do, do as we say.”

    While not speaking for the City Council, i strongly support their action in rescinding the Living Wage Ordinance and removing government from intruding into the private sector. The Feds and State do more than enough of that with adding local government to the list. Smaller and less intrusive government is always the best government.

    • July 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Ewww… PORNOGRAPHY ON DEMAND! How dare these phony bible-thumpers fight for parents’ ability to feed their children when there’s PORNOGRAPHY ON DEMAND!!

    • Dan Chmielewski
      July 30, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Pat — of the 10 states in the US that are the biggest consumers of porn, 8 of them are red states that voted for McCain and Romney. Oh, Utah is #1.

  3. junior
    July 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I’ll “see” your 20 religious leaders and “raise” you 200 religious leaders opposed to artificially raising wages like this.

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