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Ballot Measure Would Raise San Diego Minimum Wage To $13

City Council President Todd Gloria proposed a ballot initiative Wednesday that, if approved by voters, would increase San Diego's minimum wage to $13.09 per hour over the next three years.

Gloria first proposed the idea in January, at the time calling for a "meaningful'' hike without specifying how much until a news conference Wednesday at City Hall.

The proposal, which needs City Council approval to be put on a ballot, would also give employees five paid sick days per year.

Gloria said he spent the past three months talking to stakeholders on all sides of the issue and looking at studies on the subject. He said details of the proposal could change, pending City Council discussions.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now the CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, both issued statements opposing the ballot measure.

Gloria said nearly everyone acknowledges the current minimum wage, set by the state at $8 per hour, is too low.

"The San Diego proposal would have a major, positive economic impact for workers and their families and on the San Diego economy,'' Gloria said.

"To those who fear losing their businesses, please remember that these additional wages will be spent by workers on necessities like food and services — it will go right back into San Diego's economy.''

The state plans to increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour in July and to $10 an hour in two years.

If voters pass the initiative in November, the minimum wage in San Diego will go to $11.09 in July 2015, to $12.09 in July 2016 and to $13.09 in July 2017, Gloria said.

San Diegans can weigh in on the proposal at the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee meeting Wednesday, April 30. The item is expected to be heard starting at 10:30 a.m.

The Center on Policy Initiatives, a San Diego nonprofit that advocates for poor and moderate-income families, recently estimated that a single person living on a stripped-down budget needs to make a $13.09 hourly wage to live in San Diego.

Around 300,000 households in the region have incomes too low to meet basic expenses, according to the study.

Peter Brownell, research director for CPI, said about 200,000 employees would get a "significant raise'' if the minimum wage is increased, resulting in $2,800 in additional annual income. About 260,000 workers in San Diego have no paid sick leave, he said.

Faulconer and Sanders said that Gloria's proposal would put San Diego at a competitive disadvantage and hurt businesses.

"I believe the better way to support San Diego small businesses and protect jobs is to follow the minimum wage increases set at the state and federal levels, which ensures our city remains on a level playing field with surrounding cities that compete with San Diego for jobs,'' Faulconer said in a statement.

"I am concerned about any proposal that puts our city at a competitive disadvantage against other cities, which can hurt job growth and San Diego working families," he said.

In his statement, Sanders said, "Given the state of California's recently adopted 25 percent increase in the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour by 2016, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce supports federal efforts to equalize the national minimum wage in order to promote an equitable and competitive business environment, as well as help our nation's workforce and create jobs.

"The proposal to create a separate minimum wage in the City of San Diego and significantly increase the rate well in excess of what has been adopted by the state of California not only puts San Diego at a competitive and economic disadvantage, it would also hurt the very workforce the proponents are purporting to help."

Faulconer and Councilman Mark Kersey previously called for an independent study on the potential impact of a minimum wage increase.

Lightner and Councilwomen Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald have expressed support for Gloria's proposal. A spokesman for Councilman David Alvarez said his boss supports the concept.

The San Diego Organizing Project plans a rally Wednesday night in Barrio Logan aimed at persuading Alvarez to back the effort to set higher local minimum wage.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 23, 2014 at 2:38 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh boy, what a great idea. I hope all the people currently employed enjoy getting laid off or watching their co-workers get laid off and then they have to take over that persons job too. Minimum wage is an idiotic idea that interferes with the free market supply and demand. The government should not tell people what labor is worth. No one is holding people at gunpoint and forcing them to take a job. They agree to work for a certain wage when they get hired. If it is not enough, they do not have to work there.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 23, 2014 at 3:12 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

This is an insult to those already making that wage. They started at entry level and worked their way up. Why does Todd Gloria think that low skill, low education, possible poor past performance are worth $13/hour? If small business owners don't leave it mass, I will be surprised. Government has no place dictating to the people who put themselves and their family's future on the line.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 23, 2014 at 4:31 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

muckapoo1 exactly. Even now, many college graduates start out at $13/hour or less. Higher wages are earned. People do not automatically deserve them just for not being disabled.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 23, 2014 at 9:12 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

This will create fewer jobs for high school and college students this summer. Long term, business will automate to eliminate people. Restaurant prices will skyrocket. Wait staff will make more than the owners. One thing for sure, I will no longer tip in restaurants. $13/hour and 20-25% of soon to be higher food prices no longer makes any sense. They are now compensated fairly for the skill set without tipping. They no longer make $3.00/hour and a snack.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | April 24, 2014 at 8:41 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, if you own a business and you have to pay someone $13 an hour, would you want a kid with zero work experience or an adult?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 24, 2014 at 9:55 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

It's very basic.

Business cannot be left to call all shots for their employees, this is how we get situations like the clothing factory in Bangladesh that uses child labor, pays people next to nothing, and crams people into sub-par buildings that, tragically in more than one case, resulted in fires that caused the deaths of many people.

But I guess Jean and Muckapoo feel that the "free market" dictates businesses being able to do whatever they want as long as they turn a profit, and as long as there are poor, marginalized people who "choose" to do back-breaking work for scraps, then it's OK.

The only reason we in this country don't have conditions like they have in 3rd world countries such as Bangladesh is because we have things like minimum wage, employment laws, OSHA, the EPA, and other protections in place that the right wing is eagerly trying to systematically destroy.

Look at the darlings of the tea pary - people like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul - they don't just disagree with raising the minimum wage, they think we shouldn't have one at all. I bet they do believe in the "free market" Bangladeshi garment factory system where rich land holders and company executives exploit poor workers.

And all the "sky is falling" hysteria over raising the minimum wage has simply not turned out to be true in cities that have done it.

This is more of a political argument than it is an economic one, because the economic are pretty clear - raising the minimum wage puts more spending into the economy and paying people a liviable wage and giving them healthcare stabilizes the workforce, creates lower turnoever (a major cost to businesses) and in the end produces a more reliable output.

Gloria's proposal is OK, but the minimum wage in San Diego should be around $15 or $16 per hour when taken in consideration with out cost of living here.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 24, 2014 at 2:55 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

This certainly is more political than anything. It shows who really won the recent mayor's race. It was the Demoncrats. Faulconer won, had to give up his seat, gave the demons total rule. Now, who were the biggest supporters of Alverez?? Big labor. So they do idiotic things like raising the min. wage beyond belief. Payback. But to whom. SD's unemployment rate is now 6.9% Check back in 2 years. It will be over 8%.

As for a living wage, min.wage was NEVER meant to be that. It was to start totally in-experienced workers a chance to enter the job market.

It seems to me that duck never owned a business. Comparing SD's business' to Bangladesh, possibly shows that the duck has not worked either. Let's all sing the government song and drink the kool-aid.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 24, 2014 at 3:47 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

What does duck propose to do for the seniors? What raise did they get this year? 2% maybe. SD is raising the pay of people with little to no talent 40%. Cost of living will certainly climb. We will create a new poor standard of living for most of the seniors.

Does anyone else see the imbalance raising the minimum wage this much causes in other areas? Hmmmmm?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 25, 2014 at 12:24 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago


I work.

The classic argument of right wingers against anyone favoring a "liberal" economic policy saying they probably don't work, are on welfare, etc. is so old and overplayed, I have encountered time and time again.

It's old, it's intellectually dishonest, and it's usually used by people who themselves have little else in terms of tangible logic with which to defend their positions.

I work and pay taxes as do MANY Americans who favor a higher minimum wage because we realize it's better for the economy as a whole.

Please, tell me which city that has raised their minimum wage has all the fallout you claim? Small businesses being driven out, standard of living decreased - where has this happened and furnish proof it is statistically linked to minimum wages.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 25, 2014 at 11:35 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Are you avoiding the question about the negatives of this law to the seniors on fixed incomes?? That will surely happen.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 26, 2014 at 10:12 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

C'mon duck. What about those poor seniors? The federal government does not adjust social security based on local economics. It is done on the national level. Our seniors in this area will be back to eating dog food. But to heck with them, right? Take care of the the young who have done nothing to further their careers. Even at $13/hour, they sit at the bottom. Economics will raise the cost of living. They will be in the same place 2 years from now or unemployed. Then what. Give them more? It never ends duck. Unless they get more education or learn a real skill set, they remain in their respective place, the bottom. At $13/hour, no company can afford to take on training those who have little to no skills?

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 26, 2014 at 4:17 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Duck, Richmond, Ca. has an unemployment rate over 11%. Their minimum wage is $12.60 an hour.

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Avatar for user 'garbonzo'

garbonzo | June 4, 2014 at 4:19 p.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

muckapoo1: Have you ever tried to live on minimum wage? If the minimum wage were a livable wage, nobody would be having this debate. And it is obvious from your skewed logic that you look down on poor people with some kind of twisted contempt. I'd hate to be one of your employees.

Most people in the U.S. (and around the world) are poor and cannot afford a good education that will lead to a good job. In fact, there are not enough good jobs to go around. Even in some hypothetical ideal society where everyone could get an education, most would not have a job. I have a PhD and had to compete with 500 other people with doctorate degrees to become a college professor.

Your politics are boring and antiquated and do not account for human dignity. You would rather have the miniscule chance to get rich while everyone else stays poor. You and your ilk disgust me. I'd like to instate a maximum wage--just for you.


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