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Council overrides veto of minimum wage hike

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SAN DIEGO – The City Council Monday overrode Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in San Diego and give workers five paid sick days, almost certainly setting up a showdown with opponents in the business community.

With six votes needed to override the veto, the council voted 6-2 in favor, with Councilmen Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman dissenting. Councilwoman Lorie Zapf — who opposed the ordinance when it was passed on July 14 — did not attend the special meeting.


Minimum Wage Supporters

he minimum wage is set to go up to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017. Beginning in January 2019, the pay scale will be indexed to inflation.

“This City Council is standing up and demonstrating that we value honest work and fair pay,” said council President Todd Gloria, who authored the ordinance. “With 38 percent of the people in this city who work … not earn(ing) enough to make ends meet, something must be done.”

Gloria said 172,000 San Diegans will receive higher pay, and a quarter- million will get paid sick days that they didn’t have before.

Sherman, who interrupted a fishing trip to Mexico to attend the meeting, said the higher minimum wage won’t help much in the fight against poverty.

“It will raise prices and it will cost jobs, but it won’t raise people up — $1.50 more won’t raise people out of poverty,” Sherman said. He said people aren’t meant to stay at a minimum wage job all their lives, but prove their worth and earn more money.

Faulconer said the City Council has made it more difficult to create jobs in San Diego.

“Forcing higher wages on top of the statewide increase that just went into effect creates unique costs that make it more expensive for San Diego small businesses to hire hardworking San Diegans,” Faulconer said. “It appears the citizenry will have to take action to overturn yet another council ordinance that will hurt our economy.”

That action is likely to come in the form of a prospective referendum that would try to place the issue on the ballot, or force the council to rescind the hike.

According to Jason Roe of the San Diego Small Business Coalition, a drive to collect the necessary 34,000 petition signatures could begin as soon as Wednesday.

“California’s 25 percent increase in the minimum wage was implemented just last month,” Roe said. “While small businesses struggling to survive are dealing with that, the City Council now wants to go even further by increasing that to 44 percent with automatic annual increases. Our small businesses just cannot afford that steep of an increase.”

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who made the motion to override the veto, described the opposition’s numbers as “wildly inflated.” She said the first increase would be 75 cents an hour, and with the state minimum wage going to $10 in 2016, the subsequent city increase would be 50 cents above that.

Business interests have succeeded in two recent referendum efforts.

One measure that qualified for the ballot and was passed overwhelmingly by voters sought to update zoning guidelines in Barrio Logan, but a buffer zone created to untangle residential and industrial land uses was opposed by the area’s shipyards.

The other also qualified, but the council opted to repeal an increase of a levy on commercial construction that funds affordable housing projects. Business leaders and the San Diego Housing Commission have since reached a compromise, which is under review by city staff.

If the minimum wage referendum qualifies, the City Council could repeal its approval or schedule a public vote, either in the next scheduled citywide election in June 2016 — it’s too late to qualify for this November’s ballot — or in a special election. The ordinance would not be in effect until after the vote.

Gloria and other supporters of the wage hike, meanwhile, are gearing up for their own campaign to urge San Diegans not to sign the petitions.

Supporters of the sick leave requirement said it will keep employees from showing up for their jobs while ill, infecting the public and their co- workers.

Kersey participated via phone from Lancaster, Ohio, while Councilwoman Myrtle Cole — who cast a vote in favor of the override — took part via phone from Duluth, Ga. Both are visiting family.

The next scheduled City Council meeting is Sept. 15.

are visiting family.

The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Sept. 15.


  • Fred

    It should now go the voters since they are the ones who are going to pay for it, one way or another. !!!!!

  • Fred (the real Fred lol)

    Time for recall election for all those idiot council members who think their bigger than the people they represent (except for Emerald. Add up all the people she serves and she’s still bigger than them). What good is the mayor you elected if he can’t veto a bad law? Time for the people to recall the idiot demonrats (and zapf who chickened out on voting) and put in people who aren’t anti business. This was a vote simply for the Mexicans who work at all the no skilled jobs who take their earnings down south of the border and live much better there than here. So Gloria, you mororn, all the extra money these people will be earning will he heading right down to Mexico where $11.50 an hour is more than those people make a day. This will only hurt the San Diego econmony. Businesses will move out of the city. Morons. Just more Demoncraps who have never run a business trying to tell business owners how they should run their businesses.

  • Zare

    It's unfortunate that so many on this City Council can't seem to grasp the most basic concepts of how economics actually works. When the minimum wage is raised, that increase is passed on to the consumer… Business don't just "eat" the difference, EXPENSES GO UP FOR EVERYONE. These folks they're obviously pandering to will be no better off making a higher minimum wage when the costs of goods and services they seek increase in direct correlation. Minimum wage = minimum effort. If you want more, EARN IT. THAT is what creates a "win win" scenario for everyone.

  • Fred (the real Fred lol)

    Zare…..great point. At least we understand the economics of this horrible decision by a bunch of libertards.

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