Counter-Productive Opposition to New Mexico’s HB31

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Yesterday, New Mexico’s House Commerce & Economic Development Committee discussed House Bill 31, the “Phased-In Minimum Wage Bill” and a lot of people traveled to the capital to express their opinions in-person to the committee (there were plenty of people for it as well as against it).

A curious citizen can view the recorded committee session here.

The restaurant industry sounds the like the most vocal demographic in opposition to HB31 and much of the criticism against the bill seems to be focused on the fact that the merging of the serving wage with the minimum wage will likely mean less tips for restaurant servers.  The loss of high earnings of tips for a successful restaurant server is an understandable fear but I think this fear misses the point of the bill.  The purpose of the bill is to create a living wage for all employees.

As of 2016, there are approximately 7.6 million individuals in the nation classed as “working poor” (working but still living below the poverty line), according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Why should anyone be living in poverty while they are working full-time or near full-time?

A tip is not a mandated exchange from a customer to a server, it is a voluntary gift supposedly based on the merit of the server’s work and attitude toward the customer.  It’s true that an employer in the restaurant industry is required by New Mexico law to make up the difference in a lack of tips to bring a server’s earnings up to the minimum wage level, but then why have two different minimum wages at all?  Why not dispense with the server’s wage entirely?  I’m confused about the double standard.

Why is it acceptable for a restaurant owner to outsource the burden of waiter/server pay to the consumers? 

 

Lava Rock Brewery – Filling Food and Hearty Drink

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

A few blocks away from my current place of residence there is a restaurant/bar called the Lava Rock Brewery, a fine establishment with filling food and hearty drinks that I would recommend to friends. Located on Unser Boulevard in west Albuquerque (north of Ladera), the brewery is in a relatively high-trafficked area of the city and within walking distance of several dense neighborhoods.

I walked to the brewery from my apartment near the Ladera golf course and ordered their “Killer Sandwich” – grilled chicken with slices of a tomato and a red onion and guacamole-smear – served with a pickle spear and French (I don’t think the food item colloquially known as French fries actually originated in France) fries. The food arrived at my spot at the bar within 15 minutes and, upon its delivery, I ordered a pint of Chocolate Milk Stout which I received immediately (after displaying my driver’s licence, of course). My review of Boxing Bear Brewing Company’s Chocolate Milk Stout is live here.

The food was well-presented on its plate and the restaurant looked clean and well-organized with a window into a back room where one could see a cook finalizing each order for the waiters. The building is spacious enough and I did not feel cramped or claustrophobic at all during my stay. The sandwich was not as large as I would have preferred but it was just as filling (most likely from the chicken and guacamole).

If you enjoy classic American fried food and craft beer, the Lava Rock Brewery is definitely worth checking out.