If Mayor Kenney gets his way,
may have the most
expensive soda tax in the world. Philadelphia
Forget former Mayor Nutter’s conservative 2 cents to an ounce soda tax proposal that went nowhere a few years ago. Mayor Kenney wants to raise the tax to an unprecedented 3 cents per ounce in order to fund that ambiguous money sucking vortex known as “the schools,” namely his pre-K plan for low income students.
To date, the only other city in the nation with an active soda tax is
The impetus behind the mayor’s financial assault on financially-strapped Philadelphians is the city’s new health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, a 6’2” skinny-as-a-rail marathon running addict with, according to The New York Times, “grasshopper like legs.”
Dr. Farley, who likes to exercise 7 days a week and who says he has never smoked a cigarette in his life, also proudly states that he is a lover of veggies.
’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg
hired Farley as New York ’s Health Commissioner
some years ago and at that time Farley
began mapping out a health reform program for sloppy, obese New Yorkers. While most health reform programs are
voluntary, Farley’s program came down on the city populace like Judge Judy’s
gavel. New York
For starters, the good doctor strongly advised that New Yorkers stop smoking in parks and beaches, take the stairs instead of elevators, cut out all salt, lose weight and swear off all soft drinks. This is good advice to be sure, but problems surfaced when he sought legislation to help curtail or reshape the public’s love affair with soft drinks. He got Bloomberg to impose a 1 cent tax on soft drinks and then he wanted to ban sodas larger than 16 ounces.
went ahead with the
new legislation but, thankfully, a New York City appellate court
overturned the law. The soda tax was sent packing. New York State
Commissioner, the no-nonsense Farley also mandated that photographs of cancer
ridden brains and lungs be posted next to cash registers where cigarettes were
sold. New York City
Farley was recruited by Mayor Kenney in February, so now it’s
’s turn to experience
the Farley shenanigans show. Philadelphia
Farley and his health reform lieutenants call this forced reshaping of human behavior “curve shifting.” How’s that for radical doublethink
talk! Berkley ’s tax on sugary
drinks, if approved by City Council, would be the most expensive soda tax in
the nation, raising the cost of some larger bottles by three dollars. Sweetened
iced tea will also be affected as well as those popular mixed fruit drinks,
which after Kenney’s tax would cost almost 4 dollars a bottle. Philadelphia
The new prices will affect
’s poor as they constitute
the bulk of sugary drink consumers. Of
course, Kenney’s reasoning for the tax is his firm belief in pre-K, a program
that has been called a scam by many critics and that was even the subject of a
John Tossell on ABC News. It is obvious that Kenney’s mayoral idol is Philadelphia ’s Bill de Blasio, who
implemented New York ’s Pre-K plan shortly
after his election in 2013. There’s one difference though. Mayor de Blasio
funded NYC’s Pre-K with a so called “millionaire’s tax,” so poor people were
left out of the mix. New York City
While Mayor Nutter’s proposed soda tax was easily defeated, the fight won’t be so easy this time. City Hall is on a major brainwashing campaign to convince the public that Pre-K is essential and worth all those extra tax dollars. The Mayor’s Office of Communications is on a roll and sent out a recent missive announcing 20 or so endorsements of the sugary drink tax. I was not impressed by the names on that list, so it may be that the Office of Communications is scrambling for small potatoes.
In other political developments, there’s news from the office of Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez.
Sanchez, apparently, is on a mission to provide municipal ID cards for illegal immigrants. These ID cards would provide access to city services; they would allow illegal immigrants to file police and fire reports and to open bank accounts. They would also provide gym discounts and museum memberships.
Cross the border illegally and you are rewarded a gym membership! I guess I will have to break a law to finally get my Planet Fitness membership.
Naturally, the Councilwoman’s bill has the support of the mayor, who sponsored a similar bill in 2013. The bill’s enthusiastic supporters maintain that the bill would help immigrants who are not yet legal participate more fully in society. In the end, it’s all about feeling good.
The Councilwoman’s bill makes me think of my sister C who now resides in southern
C tells me that southern
is overflowing with
illegal immigrants and that the situation there is getting dire. The situation
is worse than bad, she says, because illegal immigrants are getting all the
entry level jobs because the people doing the hiring want cheap labor. California
The cheap labor epidemic is not so bad in
, although an article published
by philly.com caught recently caught my eye. The headline read: 30
Vetri Employees Lose Job after Immigration and Background Checks. Marc
Vetri sold his Vetri Family business to Urban Outfitters, Inc. in November of
2015, never suspecting that the new owners would discover something that he
took for granted: that 30 of his employees had entered the country illegally
and were working for his company. Apparently
he was not too worried that Urban Outfitters would discover this clink in the
Vetri armor. Vetri’s nonchalance proves that hiring illegals over or under the table is as s
commonplace as processing job applications. Today it is taken for granted,
especially in the restaurant and fast food industry, that many employees are
not citizens. Vetri, while expressing shock at the purge, issued this
statement: "We wish all these workers could continue to work for
us. They're so loyal, and they're hard
workers. Some of them have been over to my house, and I bring my kids to their
houses for play dates. It's very sad." Philadelphia
“It just sucks,” Marc Vetri told Philadelphia Magazine. He then went on to say, "But this is what
grandfather left America when
he was 17 years old, stowed away on a ship. He got here illegally. But the war
was happening, so they said, 'You can fight for us! You're an American now.
We'll waive that whole citizenship thing. Now go to war!” Italy
Let me tell you what Mr. Ventri was really thinking: “But this is what restaurant life is all about! These play date friends of our family left their home country. Maybe they snuck past the border patrols and got here illegally, but so what! They wanted work, any kind of work, and we wanted cheap labor, so we said to them. ‘You can fight for the life of this restaurant. You’re an American kitchen worker now. We’ll waive that whole citizenship thing. Now go to work!”
The Vetri food establishment is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to restaurants that profit from the labor of illegal immigrants.
I witnessed this myself several years ago when I used to frequent a South Philly restaurant that employed many Mexican and South American kitchen workers. While the wait staff jobs went to “educated neighborhood young people,” the grungy kitchen area was reserved for the cheap labor pool. Mexicans generally are hard working, dedicated employees; food industry managers know this but they take advantage of it. At this South Philly restaurant the ‘Mexican cheap labor pit’ was an underground, overheated kitchen only slightly larger than a walk-in closet. Customers rarely saw them although near closing time a drenched-in-sweat cook would sometimes make a random appearance. Still, every kitchen worker here was Mexican. Why no Italians, Irish, Polish or black Americans? Don’t have proper ID, or proof of US citizenship when filling out that job application? That’s okay amigo; have we got a slave labor kitchen for you! Now get to work!
According to an article in The Philadelphia Business Journal, 8 million Americans are out of work today while there are 8.1 million unauthorized immigrants working in the country. “A growing number of unemployed American citizens don’t want to be gardeners, dishwashers or hotel housekeepers,” the article’s author, Arthur Schwartz, writes. “They would rather keep drawing unemployment while looking for a job that pays better, offers a health plan or is closer to home. Scores of the unemployed are simply rejecting the age-old adage that a “dead-end job is better than no job.”
And cheap, slave labor is the best thing of all,