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Roundtable On Minimum Wage, Bill Fulton and Bud Selig Plaza

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Minimum Wage, Maximum Heat

There is a battle of sorts being waged over signatures of voters for a proposed referendum on San Diego's new minimum-wage rates.

Supporters of the city’s new ordinance say signature-gatherers for the referendum to overturn it are lying to voters. They say many of the petitioners at local supermarkets exaggerate the increase and the timeline, fabricate consequences, and even say their petitions favor raising the minimum wage.

Referendum backers, on the other hand, say their petitioners are being verbally and physically harassed and intimidated and have had their petitions stolen.

Paid signature gatherers for the campaign, run by Revolvis, a San Diego consulting firm which handles Republican office-seekers, have 30 days to collect 34,000 valid signatures.

This proposed referendum arrives just months after the successful referendum to overturn city council approval of a years-in-the-making community plan for Barrio Logan. Signature-gatherers for that referendum were also accused of lying to get signatures.

Some business interests, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, favored both. If the signature campaign is successful, the minimum wage increase (to $9.75 in January 2015; $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017) would be on hold until after the June 2016 election.

City Council president Todd Gloria, who was himself lied to by a minimum-wage petitioner, has called the process of putting decisions of elected representatives to a public vote “a perversion of democracy.”

Bill Fulton Leaves San Diego Behind

This is Bill Fulton’s last week as city planning director. Fulton, not exactly a household name in San Diego, is an acknowledged leader in innovative smart growth planning. His book, “Guide to California planning,” is a bible for urban-planning students.

Fulton was hired in July 2013, by Mayor Bob Filner, just before the sexual harassment storm broke. Filner resigned that August.

Fulton had some challenges in his short tenure. He stood staunchly behind the City Planning Department’s development plan for Barrio Logan, approved by the City Council in September but then overturned by voters the following June. His department’s plans to increase density around Morena Boulevard on the new light-rail line were scuttled by a community revolt.

Faulconer removed funding from Fulton's Civic Innovation Lab and fired its employees. And the mayor named David Graham, chief-of-staff for councilman Mark Kersey and former land-use consultant for Jerry Sanders, as Fulton’s boss.

Although he described the city as "land-poor," Fulton saw opportunity for development downtown as "infill" or along transportation corridors. He said he believed that “compact villages" were the key to the future, not big houses spread out in the suburbs.

Fulton is going to Rice University in Houston.

Bud Selig Plaza?

The San Diego Padres have re-named Palm Court Plaza after outgoing Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Selig is the man who expanded the playoffs, presided over the steroid era and, for good measure, the strike year where he ended the season early with Tony Gwynn batting .394 on his way to .400.

He also allowed Jeff Moorad to buy the Padres from John Moores on layaway with non-existent money.

The Twitterverse, as chronicled by the U-T's Matt Hall, went nuts.

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Roundtable is a lively discussion of the week's top stories. Local journalists join host Mark Sauer to provide insight into how these stories affect residents of the San Diego region.

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