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Competition Initiative Threatens San Diego’s Living Wage

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Aired 6/11/10

The primary election is hardly over and the campaign is already gearing up for a measure that will be on San Diego city’s ballot in November. Councilman Carl DeMaio is leading the campaign for the November initiative, the “Competition and Transparency in City Contracting” initiative.

The primary election is hardly over and the campaign is already gearing up for a measure that will be on San Diego city’s ballot in November.

Councilwoman Donna Frye and Marti Emerald speak out against the "Competition and Transparency in Contracting" in San Diego on June 10, 2010.
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Above: Councilwoman Donna Frye and Marti Emerald speak out against the "Competition and Transparency in Contracting" in San Diego on June 10, 2010.

Councilman Carl DeMaio is leading the campaign for the November initiative, the “Competition and Transparency in City Contracting” initiative. He said it would promote managed competition and save money by outsourcing city jobs.

But San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye says even the name is deceptive.

"I’ve read a lot of ballot initiatives in my time," she said, "and this one is about as transparent as a brick wall."

Frye says nowhere does the initiative mention that, if passed, it would eliminate the city’s Living Wage Ordinance.

"To go after the lowest paid workers - to balance the city budget on the backs of the working families, is not only wrong but shameful," Frye said.

She spoke at a press conference with the Center on Policy Initiatives, a think tank on issues affecting working families, and members of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.

The Living Wage Ordinance requires all San Diego city contractors to pay their workers at least $11 an hour, plus health insurance. That translates to $27,000 a year.

DeMaio said the city should operate with the state’s minimum wage of $8 an hour.

"That’s what every small business has to operate under. Why shouldn’t city government itself operate that way? " he asked.

DeMaio said he has collected enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot, and he plans to present them to the city clerk on Monday.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who opposes the measure, is calling on voters who want to remove their signatures from the petitions to submit a written request to the city clerk today.

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