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Friday, August 7, 2015

Chamber of Commerce Hears About the Minimum Wage Increase (and More) from County Mayor Antonovich

The Altadena Chamber of Commerce hosted Los Angeles County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich for a Thursday morning Power Breakfast.

After a “warpath outreach” the Altadena Chamber memberships have grown over 300% from less than 30 members one year ago to now more than 100.

Antonovich briefed the more than 50 attendees on important legislation that could impact business in Altadena including the recent approval of a minimum wage hike.

“We were not successful in defeating the minimum wage increase,” said Antonovich, who had cast one of the two votes against the measure that will incrementally raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 for the 1.5 million people living in unincorporated parts of the County like Altadena.

“It doesn’t help the unincorporated parts when they are located next to the city. It should be done at the state level,” Antonovich said.

Ed Wascahtka, who attended the meeting, said that the Pasadenan’s for a Liveable Wage group hopes to “fix” the discrepancy between the adjacent Pasadena and Altadena minimum wages within the upcoming months.

Antonovich said he is worried about the impact the new ordinance will have on business owner’s willingness to hire youth, especially foster youth, which is a group he has continually fought for over the years.

Sharing a story about his own experience of hiring an emancipated youth as an intern, Antonovich encouraged everyone to tackle the same challenge of good foster mentoring. The woman he hired went on to get masters in social work and Antonovich attended her wedding last week.

“He’s a really great person with foster kids. He was talking about how kids need help after they turn 18 just to get bus passes to get to their jobs. That’s a wonderful thing,” Tecumseh Shackelford said who mentors youth in the community.

Other topics Antonovich breezed through included the widespread issue of human trafficking in Los Angeles, the rise of crime within the County, full county jails, the September opening of the Gold Line Metro, and the connection between Ontario Airport and LA City.

“Eat your broccoli and do your exercise so you’ll be around to see it finished,” Antonovich said about the transportation to Ontario Airport.

Antonovich has served in his position since 1980 for the 5th District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which covers over two thousand square miles in area, including the San Gabriel, Pomona, San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.

However, he will soon leave the Board of Supervisors and is considering a run for Carol Lui’s seat in U.S. Senate. Antonovich has endorsed Kathryn Barger, his chief deputy of staff to take his seat in the fifth district.

“Michael has already done fantastic things for us,” Altadena resident Fareed Kanani said. “I’m hoping that Katherine gets the position so that it will be seamless for her to work on the same things.”

Barger has spent 28 years working under Antonovich and says she will continue to build on what he has developed if she gets elected including the relationships with the business leaders in the room.

“In this room you’ve got people who have known Mike for most of his career,” Barger said. “These are the nuts and bolts of this County. Altadena, if you look in this room at the different organizations and businesses, this is what we need to continue to foster.”

The Chamber has held social media seminars and a Power Breakfast with Chris Holden in the last few months. Chamber President Meredith Miller said to look for more power breakfasts with a purpose held soon.

“We’re really recharging our batteries. We’re definitely on the upswing,” Miller said.

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