Thursday, September 15, 2005

ABQ callers kick the Chamber's ass!

Maggie says:
So I've ranted about KUNM's format/scheduling before and yes, I still have the same issues when I tune in hoping for some news and get... other stuff instead. But this morning's call-in show was great. If every week's call-in show was as good as this morning's (a show on Mountain View a couple weeks ago also scored high marks in my book), then I'd be a much happier KUNM listener.

This morning's topic was the upcoming ballot question to raise the ABQ minimum wage to $7.50/hour. The guests included someone from Santa Fe's successful effort at raising their minimum wage (they raised theirs to $10.50, for some perspective) and a woman from the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. (Sorry, I didn't catch anyone's name - I think the woman was named Kathy?)

So I prepared myself for the usual back and forth between the Chamber saying businesses will all leave Albuquerque en masse for Rio Rancho or Los Lunas if the minimum wage passes and the man from Santa Fe talking about how none of that's happened there. The best moment in their exchange came when the Chamber woman tried to say that a tobacco company had to leave Santa Fe for a location along I-25 after the measure passed, and the man countered that actually, the tobacco company moved at the request of their employees, none of whom could afford to live in Santa Fe and wanted to shorten their commutes from Albuquerque. Classic!

So their back and forth, I expected. But I didn't expect the local callers to be so kick-ass and just plain awesome. Caller after caller pounded Chamber Kathy's logic into the ground and called her out for what she is - a proponent of low wages, unfair working conditions, and a race to the bottom. Today's callers gave her no slack and never lost their ground when she retorted with her so-called expertise. And they supported with full force the more controversial elements of this bill, including the provision for organizing. As one caller put it: "Shouldn't letting people go into businesses and tell workers of their legal rights be something we should all support no matter what? Why don't you want workers to know their legal rights, Kathy? Don't you know this is America?"

So I'm thinking that things are looking very good for the minimum wage increase. Polling has already supported that, but the call-in show just made my morning today. Thanks, Albuquerque. You rock!

And then after the show, when I was really looking forward to a customary 5-minute NPR headline recap, KUNM instead launched right into "Performance Today." Sigh.