Work Life

Letter to the Solon Economist

I attended the Solon City Council meeting regarding the minimum wage ordinance passed on Sept. 16.

This is a discussion worth having in the extended Solon community as we celebrate our dodransbicentennial.

A couple of things are worth mentioning.

It served no purpose for outside parties to participate in the discussion. Those from Davenport and Muscatine may as well have saved the gasoline. In the end the City of Solon must decide for itself where it stands regarding support of business at its intersection with social justice. If city residents don’t like what council is doing regarding minimum wage or anything else, then vote them out. Better yet, get involved and run for office.

None of the media coverage or statements at the meeting indicated the input of people who actually work for minimum wage in Solon was considered. The discussion was the less for that. The median household income of Solon is well above that of Iowa City and the rest of Iowa, so hourly wage is not a concern here as much as it is in larger urban areas. Nonetheless, the input of minimum wage workers would have added to the discussion.

During the recess following the minimum wage discussion someone said, “It’s just like the Scott Walker recall.” No, it’s not. I had expected the meeting to be more confrontational, but it wasn’t. Speakers and council achieved a level of decorum that stands as a model for other municipalities to emulate.

That Solon is having a discussion about minimum wage is an important step toward long-term economic vitality. We can thank the Johnson County supervisors for kicking things off. Their action served to prompt a discussion in which the city council members can be held accountable for their decision.

That’s good for everyone.