Amid noisy protest, the L.A. City Council — listening via earbuds — conducts its business, votes on an odd, seemingly noncontroversial ordinance changing the city’s minimum wage. No one knows how the vote went down. How many of the protesters actually spoke up and how loud their voices were. How many of them left because of the ordinance being passed.
But what we do know is they stood in their designated protest area outside City Hall, dressed as Occupy LA activists, or protesters of any other group, dressed in casual clothes, holding signs that read, “The city can’t tax the poor.” And then they yelled. To the extent you could hear them over the noise, it was the noise of thousands of people shouting, chanting and banging the pavement.
And then the council members started their weekly session. They were taking part in what many in the community have dubbed “Coffee Hour,” a tradition at City Hall which they have used as a way to air various grievances and ideas, including a few about the city’s minimum wage ordinance. And yes, they voted in favor of the new $15 minimum wage that the legislation would help to implement.
What they didn’t do, not one of them, is vote on the legislation that is being considered by Mayor Eric Garcetti. That is because the legislation that was voted on was about to be voted down. And then the protesters walked out of City Hall.
“If you are for $15 wages for all, come to City Hall,” said one of the protestors. “But if you are against $15 wages for all, let’s go.”
The protest was peaceful for the most part, though not for the people who were inside City Hall, including Garcetti and City Clerk’s office staff. The protesters kept mostly to the center of the council chamber, chanting, holding signs and dancing. Garcetti, in a press conference at City Hall, described that part of the protest as not a “sit-in,” and said he “supports all protesters.” Though he did not attend the protest.
And while protesters didn’t come out on the street to march with them, the city’s new minimum wage ordinance, which the