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San Diego Minimum Wage Increase To Go On June 2016 Ballot

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to put the increase on the June 2016 ballot.

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San Diego voters will now get to weigh in on whether to increase the city's minimum wage. The City Council voted unanimously Monday to put the increase on the June 2016 ballot.

The City Council originally passed the minimum wage increase without going to a public vote. But opponents gathered enough signatures to force the council to decide whether to repeal the increase or put it on the ballot.

The council voted Monday to put it on the ballot in June 2016, the next scheduled election in San Diego.

That means minimum wage workers won't get a raise to $9.75 an hour or five earned sick days this January, as they would have under the original measure. If voters approve the increase in 2016, workers will then see their wages rise to $11.50 an hour.

The minimum wage is scheduled to rise next January from $9 to $10 an hour under state law.

Jerry Sanders, the former mayor and current CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the council meeting against putting the increase to a vote. He said the council should instead rescind the increase entirely because it would be bad for business owners.

"Many small business owners would have joined me here today, but decided not to," he said. "Some have come forward in the past but have suffered through their businesses being picketed and their livelihoods being threatened because they stood up and expressed concern. It's time for the City Council to fight for the city's job creators, or at minimum, listen to them."

Council President Todd Gloria said he supported putting the increase to a vote, even though it meant workers wouldn't get raises right away.

"They will not have additional help to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table for themselves and for their children," Gloria said.

Then he railed against Sanders and the business owners who led the referendum against the increase, because their argument when gathering signatures was that the public should get a right to vote.

"It is surprising that the very same people who led the (referendum) effort and advocated for placing this on the ballot are now asking this council to rescind and to not let the voters decide," Gloria said. "That is very disappointing."

When Gloria first raised the issue back in January, he offered an option to place a minimum wage increase 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 minimum wage increase will be on the same ballot as the next presidential primary.


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Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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