The LookOut sm confidential


uncensored account
C. Castle

The Sheraton-Kuehl Correspondence

Friday, June 11--OOOOPS. When Assembly member Sheila Kuehl delivered an emotional speech at a fundraising rally Saturday night, she wasn't necessarily supporting a campaign urging the city council to pass a living wage ordinance.

What Kuehl was supporting were the union workers at the Miramar Sheraton, who are embroiled in a battle to remain the only unionized hotel in the city. As for the controversial living wage ordinance launched by Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism, Kuehl is taking no position.

"I have not been involved with the development of a proposed living wage ordinance," Kuehl wrote in response to a letter from the Miramar Sheraton to the chamber of commerce. "In fact, when I agreed to attend SMART's event on Saturday… I agreed to do so to honor the workers and not with the intention of implying support for or involvement with the campaign. Indeed, when I accepted, I did not know the two events would be combined."

So does she or doesn't she support the measure.

"Although I do not endorse any particular living wage proposal at this time," Kuehl wrote, "I am concerned about workers in our community whose wages are so low they must depend upon public assistance and other outside help to survive."

Kuehl's spokesperson Laurie Newman said it is the assembly member's policy no to get involved in local politics.

"She tends to stay out of local things," Newman said. "She hasn't taken a position one way or the other. She was there to support the whole union struggle. There was some communication glitch. She didn't know. She has so many scheduling requests. She has so many cities (in her district), and she has to work with everyone."

Kuehl did endorse Richard Bloom in the April special election for a seat on the council, Newman said, but that was "very unusual."

Kuehl's letter came in response to a letter the Sheraton wrote the chamber asking business leaders to urge the assembly member to reconsider her participation in this "misguided event."

In the letter, Sheraton management said it "pays wages which often exceed those mandated in the union contract.

"Therefore, we question, and ask you to examine, why the union insists on holding up the Miramar Sheraton as its poster child in a call for improved wages and benefits. And if the Miramar is targeted now, who will be targeted next?"

Matching Wardrobes

We couldn't help but wonder how City Manager John Jalili and Judge David Finkel ended up with the exact same wardrobes in a picture that was projected during the city council budget sessions.

The picture, snapped when the two men met while strolling in Palisades Park one weekend afternoon, failed to show the extent of the coincidence. Not only were they wearing the identical checkered sports shirts that appeared in the picture, but they had on matching belts and pants as well.

So what can explain this uncanny occurrence.

"We both bought our clothes at Costco," Jalili said.

Not a bad idea for an ad when the wholesaler opens a new store on Lincoln and Washington later this month. How's this for a slogan: "Judge our prices, and you'll manage."

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