Keynote speaker, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich addresses the hundreds of attendees at the seventh annual State of the County Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. Signal photo by Dan Watson.
Antonovich shares ‘State of the County’ during annual luncheon
By Luke Money- Signal Staff Writer
As the debate around raising the minimum wage continues to swirl, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said this week that the consequences of doing so must be carefully considered. Speaking during the seventh annual State of the County luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Friday, Antonovich said a decision on whether to raise the minimum wage in the county’s unincorporated areas is still likely a ways off, but that the consequences could include increased costs to employers.
Employers could then look to reduce hours or staffing to offset those costs, he told the crowd of more than 300 local government officials and community representatives at Friday’s luncheon. “Raising the minimum wage forces employers to employ fewer people,” he said. Antonovich also said he is concerned that employers, faced with the prospect of having to pay more for their workers, would hire fewer younger people looking to break into the workforce, instead favoring more experienced employees.
“And that’s a serious problem because our young people need a job to learn the skills so they can move up,” he said. The city of Los Angeles has already endorsed raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has authorized a study on what the impacts of raising the minimum wage in the county’s unincorporated areas would be. Unincorporated areas in the Santa Clarita Valley include Agua Dulce, Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, Westridge and Val Verde, as well as portions of Canyon Country.
The annual State of the County luncheon is meant to summarize the county’s successes and challenges over the past year. Antonovich listed off a number of recent successes, including a pilot program that will reduce some fares on the Metrolink Antelope Valley Line, which runs though the Santa Clarita Valley, by 25 percent beginning July 1. Other low-cost ticket options will also be introduced.
“I can’t give you all a chicken in every pot, but I can give you a 25 percent reduction and a pilot study,” Antonovich joked to laughs from the crowd. Some of the challenges discussed Friday centered around the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which has been beset by scandals in recent years. Just last week, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and former Capt. William Thomas Carey were indicted on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who spoke at Friday’s luncheon, said the department is working to restore its image and be more transparent and accountable to the public.
“Our goal is to restore public trust as best we can and to become a model for the rest of the nation in that regard,” McDonnell said. “To be able to restore pride and morale within the organization that has been tarnished a little bit in the