Sunday, November 3, 2013

The lives of others

The voters in Sea-Tac, Washington have an opportunity to deal an economic death blow to a hard working the name of compassion;
Voters will decide Tuesday whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for some airport and hospitality workers with Proposition 1. Organizers then plan to bring the campaign to Seattle, where both mayoral candidates have already expressed support.
Supporters say it would help low-income people and families achieve a better life.
Except for those low-income people who strove to achieve a better life for decades;
James Shin....owns the Quality Inn SeaTac. In 2011, he used his life savings to buy the 104-room hotel, and he would be required to pay his workers $15 an hour if Proposition 1 passes. It would, in fact, be a crippling financial blow to Shin.
He’s not the chief executive of a hotel chain. He owns one hotel. And he used to be poor.
Shin, a U.S. citizen, immigrated here from South Korea in 1975. He had a bachelor’s degree from a Korean university, but he spoke little English. His first job in the U.S.? Dishwasher. He made $2.25 an hour. In his next job he was a janitor. “When I moved to the U.S. I worked hard. Some people didn’t want to work weekends. I worked on weekends for overtime,” he said.
His next job was at Tektronix near Portland manufacturing electronics. He got promoted and two years later, he was earning $30,000 a year.
By gradually working his way up, Shin saved $15,000 to buy a convenience store with his wife. He ran it by himself seven days a week, from open to close. He slept three to four hours a night. Shin did that for 20 years.
In 2000, he sold the store and bought a business in Anchorage. He moved to Alaska while his wife and two sons remained in Redmond. Two years ago he wanted to be closer to his family. So he sold his business and bought the Quality Inn SeaTac. “This was a dream come true. An American dream,” Shin said.
He and his wife ran the hotel. He pleaded with his younger son, 29, to help. His son left a job at T-Mobile’s corporate office to become the hotel’s general manager.
In May, he said a buyer was interested in purchasing his hotel, and went as far as paying for an inspection and appraisal. The buyer withdrew the offer after finding out about Proposition 1. 
Compassion. Cheap at the price...if someone else has to pay for it.

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