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Local Business Leaders Strongly Oppose Minimum Wage Hike

first_imgOcean City’s Boardwalk merchants may be severely hurt by the minimum wage hike, opponents say.  By Tim KellyNew Jersey’s push to increase the state’s minimum wage, signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy, could certainly help some workers.  However, the collateral damage from the move could also have a devastating effect on the overall economy of the state and actually hurt many workers, and local economies, opponents maintain.Higher prices, less service, reduced or eliminated employment opportunities and shuttered businesses are a few of the pitfalls predicted by business advocacy groups, chambers of commerce and local business owners. Included on the opposition side are many in Ocean City. Legislation to raise the hourly minimum wage approximately 70 percent to $15 per hour previously passed the state Assembly and Senate and the governor made it official by adding his signature at a crowded and raucous meeting hall in Elizabeth. Union officials and supporters of the raise cheered wildly, while opponents jeered and hissed. The governor, who fulfilled one of his top campaign promises with the bill’s passage, grinned, waved and blew kisses in the direction of the crowd.Boosters of the law believe business will increase in the state because people will have more income, many will be lifted from poverty, and increased spending will revitalize the state’s economy.“This is a huge step forward for… workers to be able to more capably provide for themselves and their families,” NJ.com quoted Murphy as saying.Gov. Phil Murphy, right, shaking the hand of a worker, believes the higher minimum wage will make it more affordable to live in New Jersey. (Courtesy of Gov. Phil Murphy Facebook page)The law calls for a five-year phase-in for most businesses. However, exclusions fought for by seasonal resort towns including Ocean City, Atlantic City and environs, and municipalities represented by the Cape May County Chamber resulted in some exclusion from the version first proposed by Murphy and Democrats in both the Assembly and Senate, a flat $15 minimum wage for everyone. It was to be phased in with scheduled increases over the next five years.Under the deal worked out with opponents of the law, the timetable to phase in the increase is extended for businesses employing seasonal workers, and workers at businesses that employ fewer than six employees.Under the terms of the deal, most employees will increase from the current $8.85 minimum to $10 on July 1 – less than four months from today. It will then rise to $11 on Jan. 1, 2020; $12 an hour the following Jan. 1, $13 per hour Jan. 1, 2022, $14 in 2023 and $15 in 2024.An exemption for seasonal workers, which Senate President Steve Sweeney and local legislators fought for, allowed the total raise to be installed by 2026. The same timeframe applies to businesses with less than six employees. Farm workers remained one group which is not assured to reach the top $15 figure in the pay raise. The law calls for an increase to $12.50 an hour in 2024, and it will be left up to the executive branch of the government to decide whether or not to continue the increases up to $15 per hour by 2027. Executive Director Michele Gillian led the effort to organize members of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce to oppose the minimum wage hike, resulting in a compromise version of the legislation. Prior to Murphy’s signing the bill into law, local business advocates were vocal in their opposition.“This is a game-changer,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This really amounts to another tax in a state already overtaxed and over-regulated. In order to survive, some businesses will have to pass the cost along or cut services to make up for it.”The small compromise in the final law is of little solace for the small business already struggling to survive in some cases, business representatives said. Some mocked the state’s definition of a “small business” as one with six employees or less. “The minimum wage is for entry-level, non-skilled employees. It isn’t intended to be a living wage,” said Jon Talese, a proprietor of Jon and Patty’s Coffee Bar and Bistro, and a spokesperson for the Downtown Merchants Association in Ocean City. “We (at Jon and Patty’s) compensate our employees for the skills they bring to the job,” he said. “We’ve never paid our employees (just the) minimum wage, and we’ve been around for 10 years.” “I would understand it more if (Murphy and the Legislature) explained what they based the $15 figure on,” Talese continued. “They haven’t explained if it is to keep pace with the cost of living or any other factor. They just came up with a number. They’re putting the burden on small businesses that can least afford it.”Jon and Patty Talese, proprietors of Jon and Patty’s Coffee Bar and Bistro, are two leading voices for the Ocean City business community and outspoken critics of the movement to raise the minimum wage.Talese’s association represents the more than 100 small shops, restaurants and cafes located mostly along Asbury Avenue and a few side streets between 6th and 14th streets. The downtown shopping district is a major drawing card for visitors, and a prominent focus of Ocean City’s marketing and promotional efforts.Another merchants group, which represents Boardwalk stores and shops, also strongly opposes the wage hike. Boardwalk Merchants Association representatives could not be reached in time for inclusion in this article.But Gillian believed all of the merchants groups agreed with the Chamber’s position earlier Monday.“Our downtown and Boardwalk shopping is something that makes Ocean City unique,” Gillian said. “If you put more financial pressures on some of them, some won’t be able to survive. You will end up with nothing but chain stores and businesses. You’ll take away that uniqueness, limit the options for shoppers and take away part of our identity.”The Chamber communicated with all of its 550-plus members and urged them to voice their opposition to the bill as reportedly proposed. Members were given sample letters and the addresses of legislators representing them.According to an internet posting, the Chamber in 2016 contacted then-Gov. Chris Christie and then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, then-Congressman Frank LoBiondo, then-state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who is now a congressman, then-Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, who is now a senator, and Assemblyman Bruce Land, encouraging the lawmakers to not support the wage increase.“We believed then, as still believe now it will severely hurt small businesses,” the Chamber memo stated.It went on to say that Chamber representatives met more recently with Van Drew and Sweeney to discuss and consider the minimum wage issue and its potentially disastrous effects to the small business community in Ocean City, other shore towns and all over the state. “Now more than ever we need to continue expressing our opposition. We will continue to voice our concerns …” the statement said.  It went on to urge members to write elected officials “to let them know this is bad for business and our tourism economy. Together, we can we can make our voices heard.”Business leaders believe the wage hike could also threaten the livelihood of small shops in downtown Ocean City, shown here decorated for the holidays.Ocean City was not alone in its opposition. The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association also opposed the law and urged members to lobby against it. Atlantic County Republican state Sen. Chris Brown had already publicly opposed the bill and voted against it. He predicted its passage “will end up hurting the very families it is supposed to help,” according to a statement his office released last week.New Jersey joined New York, California and Massachusetts as the fourth state to enact a $15 per hour minimum wage hike. These states are among the most expensive to live in, proponents say.On the other hand, critics claim the law is also an acknowledgement the economies of these states are not doing well enough to support naturally-occurring wage increases. In published reports, Sweeney said he would reserve the right to propose changes to the law “if there are unintended consequences.”  Published reports said a provision to freeze or slow the timetables in the event of a severe economic downturn or natural disaster, and to widen the scope of groups exempted from the law was rejected. Teenage workers, for example, were originally to be excluded from the law. However, workers 18 and over are on the road to $15 per hour under the general timeframe.“They are legislating (against) people’s lives,” Jon Talese said on Monday. “The young person hoping for a job on the Boardwalk to work and help pay for his or her college education, the people looking to help their families to make it, will, in some cases lose the opportunity to do that.”Gilligan concurred. “Ocean City’s economy is dependent on seasonal workers,” she said. “Young people working on the Boardwalk or around town won’t just have the opportunity to earn money (at the new minimum wage).”“In addition to the money, they will lose out on valuable life lessons: being part of a team, working, talking and relating with people, the value of money and much more,” Gillian added. “This law, no matter how well-intentioned, is going to take much of that away.”last_img read more

Herath’s 400th Test wicket seals dramatic Sri Lanka win

first_imgSRI LANKA 1st innings 419 (D. Chandimal 155 n.o., D. Karunaratne 93, N. Dickwella 83)PAKISTAN 1st innings 422 (A. Ali 85, H. Sohail 76, S. Masood 59, S. Aslam 51; R. Herath 5-93)SRI LANKA 2nd innings (overnight 69-4)Dimuth Karunaratne c Masood b Shah 10Kaushal Silva lbw b Sohail 25Lahiru Thirimanne c S. Ahmed b Shafiq 7Kusal Mendis lbw b Abbas 18Dinesh Chandimal c Shafiq b Shah 7Suranga Lakmal c B. Azam b Abbas 13Niroshan Dickwella not out 40Dilruwan Perera lbw b Shah 6Rangana Herath c Masood b Shah 0Lakshan Sandakan c Amir b Shah 8Nuwan Pradeep b H. Ali 0Extras: (lb-3, nb-1) 4Total: (all out, 66.5 overs) 138Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-33, 3-51, 4-65, 5-73, 6-86, 7-101, 8-101, 9-135.Bowling: Mohammad Amir 12-4-27-0, Mohammad Abbas 12-3-22-2 (nb-1), Yasir Shah 27-5-51-5, Hasan Ali 7.1-0-21-1, Asad Shafiq 3.4-0-7–1, Haris Sohail 5-2-7-1.PAKISTAN 2nd innings (Target: 136 runs)Shan Masood c K. Silva b D. Perera 7Sami Aslam c Karunaratne b Herath 2Azhar Ali c Dickwella b Lakmal 0Asad Shafiq c Karunaratne b Herath 20Babar Azam c Dickwella b D. Perera 3Haris Sohail lbw b D. Perera 34Sarfraz Ahmed stp. Dickwella b Herath 19Hasan Ali b Herath 8Mohammad Amir b Herath 9Yasir Shah not out 6Mohammad Abbas lbw b Herath 0Extras: (b-1, lb-4, nb-1) 6Total: (all out, 47.4 overs) 114Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-7. 3-16, 4-32, 5-36, 6-78, 7-98, 8-100, 9-111.Bowling: Suranga Lakmal 5-1-12-1, Rangana Herath 21.4-4-43-6, Dilruwan Perera 18-4-46- 3 (nb-1), Nuwan Pradeep 2-1-4-0, Lakshan Sandakan 1-0-4-0… RANGANA Herath claimed his 400th Test wicket as Sri Lanka secured a dramatic 21-run win over Pakistan in Abu Dhabi to answer their critics in style.The veteran bowler stole the headlines on an action-packed final day of the first Test, bringing up his landmark scalp with the match-clinching lbw dismissal of Mohammad Abbas.It was the 16th wicket to fall yesterday as Pakistan were all out for 114, after Sri Lanka – whitewashed in all formats on their tour of India – posted 138.Herath ended with figures of 6-43 to give his side the lead in the two-match series, becoming only the second Sri Lankan to take 400 wickets in the longest format – half the total compiled by legendary compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan.The 39-year-old’s man-of-the-match display came on a pitch that deteriorated badly on the fifth day, when runs were hard to come by and no batsman was able to stamp his authority.It all meant that a contest which had failed to provide much in the way of entertainment for four days concluded in memorable fashion.Sri Lanka were left to defend 136 after lunch, with Niroshan Dickwella’s 40 not out representing their only meaningful resistance with the bat.Yasir Shah helped himself to a five-for to set up what looked to be a very achievable chase for Pakistan.But the warning signs were there from very early in their second innings, with Herath dismissing Sami Aslam for two, as the left-arm spinner began to weave his magic.Pakistan were rarely able to build momentum and on 36-5 they were well on their way to blowing it.A brief rally saw Sarfraz Ahmed (19) and Haris Sohail (34) put on 42, but Herath refused to stay quiet for long and he ultimately broke up the partnership when Sarfraz came down the pitch and missed a dipping delivery, allowing Dickwella to stump him.That broke Pakistan’s spirit and the tail was cleaned up in short order, although only after Kusal Mendis had prematurely celebrated the win when his catch came off a Dilruwan Perera no-ball.Herath’s place in the history books was the final action of the match, sparking wild celebrations from a Sri Lanka side who exorcised some of the demons of their India misery.The second meeting starts on Friday in Dubai. (Omnisport)last_img read more

TRACK : One-track mind: Lewis escapes tough upbringing, graduates from SU to achieve lifelong goal

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img The timetable attached to Shamel Lewis was five months – or less.People from his hometown of Riverhead, Long Island, questioned if he’d last even that long at Syracuse. With every heart-wrenching experience Lewis went through growing up and his troubles as a teenager, lasting even a semester at SU would be a miracle.‘It was a timeline. It was like a time capsule. They all had times on me when I would fail,’ Lewis said. ‘… And I knew people had expectations and said, ‘You would never succeed, you’re incompetent, you’re not adequate, you will just fail.”Those people were wrong. Lewis has been at Syracuse for five years and will graduate with a degree in sociology Sunday.It’s a day many in his situation never see. Lewis lived in multiple homes and endured a childhood surrounded by violence and drugs. Stability is rarely a word Lewis uses to describe his life. Survival is one he’d find more appropriate.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSurvival got him to this point: running for the Syracuse track and field team. With sports and a strong pillar of support backing him along the way, Lewis has defied the odds, which were overwhelmingly stacked against him.His journey is one his hometown thought would never unfold. Lewis had every reason to fail, but ultimately, he triumphed.‘You could talk to my former teachers and they would be like, ‘How the hell did you get to Syracuse University? When did you change?” Lewis said. ‘That’s all I heard. When did this happen? How? It was just like a mystery man. It’s so crazy.’***Jill Tapper was in her first year teaching in a contained classroom for kids with emotionally disturbed classifications in 1999. A 10-year-old Lewis was among her first students.Tapper remembers the school psychologist warning her that the students in her classroom would go nowhere in life.‘You know five years down the road all these kids would be in jail,’ Tapper recalls being told. ‘That’s where this is going.’‘No, no. That’ll never happen,’ Tapper responded. ‘They’ll see the light.’But Lewis did little to back up his teacher’s claim. By third grade, he had a probation officer.When Lewis played football in seventh grade, the coach kicked him off the team for behavioral problems.No one wanted to deal with him.‘Thinking back now I have no idea why I did that,’ Lewis said. ‘…Why was that me? What made me do all of that?’One answer to Lewis’ inability to control himself was the place he went home to every day. Some days, it would be different from the last.His father was absent his entire life. His mother, Patricia, battled demons that derailed her life. When he was 8, he witnessed her getting high off crack cocaine. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, she wasn’t capable of caring for Lewis and his two older siblings.By age 5, he was living with foster parent Betty Trent. It was a new home, but still unstable.He once witnessed a shooting within the Trent household because of a family conflict. The victim lived, but Lewis never forgot the blood spattered on the floor.‘It’s a rusty smell,’ Lewis said. ‘Even to today, I can still remember it.’And the violence was even imposed on Lewis at times. When he misbehaved, he was beaten with a belt or a switch.‘From age 5 up,’ Lewis said, ‘it was a long struggle there.’The struggle carried over to school, where Tapper endured tough times with Lewis. Still, he was one of the only ones in his class to go on to do better things.‘I’d have to probably say the only one who came out of there unscathed is him,’ Tapper said.***Lewis survived with the help of his ‘peeps’ – his support system of people who kept an eye out for him.Tapper was one of those people. So were his football and track coaches, Sal Loverde and Steve Gevinski. And the families of Michelle Nadue and Cindy Reiter, who took him in during high school.By high school, Lewis was fed up with his living situation with the Trents, so he packed up the little he had and moved in with a friend’s family, the Reiters. Throughout the next four years, Lewis lived in about three or four different homes.‘It was like jumping all around,’ Lewis said.Lewis would go over to the Reiters’ for dinner a couple of days a week. Then a few more, and before Cindy Reiter knew it, Lewis was like one of her three other sons.Coinciding with his steadier lifestyle, Lewis excelled in athletics.Loverde, who coached and taught him in high school, urged him to play football. Loverde knew he’d succeed and hoped it would keep him out of trouble.‘I used to use this term with him: ‘Shamel, remember you can be a different branch. You don’t have to be on the same tree,” Loverde said. ”You can start planting your own tree and grow a branch.”Lewis started competing in track his junior year and dominated immediately. He was the Suffolk County champion in the 100- and 200-meter events in both the winter and spring seasons his junior and senior years.Lewis finally stayed off the streets.‘I could be home selling drugs right now, staying wherever they accept me,’ Lewis said. ‘Just getting by, and is that the life I wanted?’ Lewis said. ‘That’s a life I feared.’It was a life his older brother, Alexander Diaz, embraced.Diaz has spent the last six years at Upstate Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Franklin County, N.Y. He was convicted of second-degree burglary, a Class C felony.Lewis had a different mindset. Before he reached high school, he knew he wanted to go college. Loverde said Lewis could have succumbed to negative influences around him, but he chose to fight through the adversity.‘That’s one of the things that makes him so special,’ Loverde said.***After one semester at Syracuse, Lewis almost blew it. For the first time, Lewis was forced to do work on his own without the special accommodations he received in high school.‘It was a culture shock,’ Lewis said. ‘All the kids around me are brilliant. They’re all smart, 3.0, 4.0 in high school, dean’s list. That wasn’t really me.’It showed in Lewis’ low GPA, which got him kicked out of SU after his first semester. His only shot at returning was an appeal letter detailing his life story.That emotionally charged letter got him readmitted to SU and gave him another chance. He hasn’t disappointed since.There have been frustrations along the way in his track career, where he has struggled to find his form. He once considered quitting and trying out for the SU lacrosse team.Lewis stayed the course, though, and while he never quite reached his full potential, his contributions go beyond the starting blocks and finish line.‘He’s certainly someone who’s helped us build our program and our group,’ SU assistant coach Dave Hegland said. ‘Any sprinters or hurdlers younger than Shamel, he’s had a hand recruiting them.’***Lewis doesn’t hesitate to answer when asked a simple question: With every obstacle he has encountered, if he could, would he change anything?‘I wouldn’t take even a second back,’ Lewis said. ‘Even the worst moments because I believe by taking one thing back, I wouldn’t be the person I’d be right now.’The person Lewis will be Sunday is a graduate of Syracuse University. He’ll be a five-year track athlete with plenty to be proud of.For an athlete who came from despair, the opportunities for the future are endless. But Lewis still knows doubters will probably remain.He has come to take it in stride. The timestamp for his failure and the tags attached to him have long expired.His story is still unfolding, but he knows he has already defied the odds.‘Who would have thought Shamel Lewis going to Syracuse University would be graduating?’ Lewis said. ‘No one.‘And it’s just a story for the people back home because no one would have thought.’[email protected]last_img read more

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