Council mulls what’s next for minimum wage hike

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SAN DIEGO -- The City Council Monday will consider whether to repeal an increase in San Diego's minimum wage or place the issue before voters.

The council members will also hold a special evening session to decide whether to impose mandatory restrictions on water use because of the ongoing drought.

Last week, the City Clerk's Office reported that opponents of the wage hike had collected enough petition signatures to force the council's hand on the minimum wage issue.

The three-stage hike would have resulted in the lowest pay in the city being set at $11.50 an hour by January 2017. The ordinance, adopted on a 6-3 party-line vote in July, also required employers to offer five annual days of paid sick leave.

Opponents contended that raising the minimum wage above the state standard would make San Diego's businesses less competitive with enterprises in neighboring cities.

If the council members choose to take the issue to the public, they would have to decide whether to wait until the June 2016 primary election or hold an earlier, but costly, special election.

When council President Todd Gloria first raised the issue back in January, he proposed placing a measure before voters in the election that's coming up in a little over two weeks. However, the council majority voted to approve the increase themselves, and now it's too late to get on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The restrictions on water use by residents and businesses in San Diego that will be taken up during the evening are currently voluntary. However, the continuing drought and uncertain weather forecast for the "rainy'' season are prompting the move to make them mandatory.

The restrictions include watering lawns on three assigned days per week and for no more than seven minutes per station; using hoses with shut-off nozzles or timed-sprinkler systems to provide water to landscaped areas; washing vehicles only before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.; watering potted plants, vegetable gardens and fruit trees before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.; and not watering lawns or plants on rainy days.

Councilman David Alvarez, who chairs the panel's Environment Committee, said they're "common-sense'' measures that won't change anyone's lifestyle.


  • DavidM

    Nothing like a bunch of coward politicians running into sound bite opposition and running scared. Put it on the ballot and explain the true impact of a minimum wage to the deniers who claim it will lead to an end of growth in the City.

    University of California researchers studied San Francisco’s restaurant industry in 2007 and found that the city’s minimum wage improved low-wage workers’ earnings without slowing employment growth.

    University of New Mexico researchers studied Santa Fe’s minimum wage increase and found the city sustained strong growth in sectors that employ predominantly low-wage workers, including accommodations and food services.

  • Robert

    Just like Democrats trying to ram down peoples throats what they don’t want. These council members need to be recalled.

  • Michael

    I don’t think people get it. They want to call those that vote for the increase liberals that want the cost of everything to rise. Does that same person realize that the person working a minimum wage job is WORKING? They aren’t lazy, they just may have made bad decisions to drop out of high school or not go to college. Many of the same anti-min wage hikers also say a college degree is over rated. Okay, here’s your cake, go ahead and eat it. I went to college have a great job, own a home, love my friends, and have no problem paying a quarter more if the person serving me has a reasonable life here in San Diego. I don’t want to be resented for my good decisions and I can’t penalize them to poverty because of their situation I know nothing about. There are too many academic studies that show raising the min wage hurts nobody. I guess because it’s academic it has no merit in some circles.

  • patriot

    Democrats continued assault on small business. Yes please make sure those that need the jobs the most will loose them to more qualified less needy people.

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