Wait! Don’t Sign That Petition! It’s a GOP Dirty Trick!

by on April 15, 2010 · 10 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Election, Labor, Organizing, San Diego

petitionGOP-sponsored Ballot Petition to Rescind Living Wage Ordinance

A few days ago I received an email tipping me off to the fact that Michelle Shocked would be playing a free concert here in San Diego. Her socially conscious songwriting and troubadoresque singing style appealed to me and, hey, the price was certainly right.

I wandered into the Civic Center Plaza shortly before noon just in time to catch the end of the sound check. I was left wondering why Michelle Shocked even needed a sound check, as she clearly possessed a set of pipes so strong that a public address system seemed unnecessary.

Living wage banner 02 dpHer performance, along with local folkies, the Zenkeys Cooperative, was sandwiched in-between a host of local elected officials, clergy and labor leader types who came out to mark the occasion.

Living wage M shocked dp

Michelle Shocked

The “hook” for the event was that this was to be a rally in support of the five year anniversary of the “Living Wage Ordinance”. This piece of legislation, passed by the City Council, set wage and benefit standards for companies that do business with the City of San Diego. Business groups opposed the law, saying that it would drive many small businesses under or eliminate jobs. Organized labor supported the law, even though it didn’t really impact union members, as a means of fighting poverty.

So five years have passed and, according to a recent city report, over one thousand local families have benefited from the law. Many no longer are requiring government assistance through programs like food stamps and MediCal.

Living wage stage 01 dpEmployers have gained increased productivity along with decreased employee turnover. And the quality of services provided to the City has also reportedly improved. The dire consequences predicted by the Chamber of Commerce and others who opposed the ordinance have failed to materialize.

I enjoyed the music, posed for a few pictures taken by people who thought my OB Rag tee-shirt was cool, and headed off to enjoy the rest of my day.

clip boardAs I walked out of the Civic Center Plaza, I was hit with the question we’re all learning to dread in an election year. A young man with a clip board asked,

Excuse me, sir [damn, I hate being old!], are you a registered voter?

Why, yes, I am,”

I replied, feeling pretty sure that whatever petition I was being asked to sign would be one that I’d already seen before.

Much to my surprise, I hadn’t seen this petition before. It was called the “Competition and Transparency in City Contracting Initiative”. The young man assured me that I was being asked to sign a petition that would place an initiative on the November ballot that would require the City government to place all contracts over $25,000 on-line so voters would be better informed about where their moneys were being spent.

It sounded too good to be true. Why would an initiative be required to do this? So, I took a deep breath and stopped to read the actual language of the petition that was in front of me.

And then I saw it. Hidden right there in the middle of this sucka was a paragraph that he hadn’t bothered to tell me about: the real purpose of this little act was to repeal the living wage ordinance.

I refused to sign the petition and said something about it being just plain wrong that he was trying the deceive people.

His response: “Are you a City worker?”

My reply: “No, I’m just trying to be a decent human being”.

With that he stomped off, no doubt looking for his next easy mark.

I’ve since found out more about this so-called “Competition and Transparency in City Contracting Initiative”. The teabaggers are all over it. Councilman and Republican Carl DeMaio —who’s famous for his barrage of misleading and uninformed sound bites about nearly everything having to do with the actual running of this city— is one of the main backers of this initiative. In short, it’s another right-wing campaign that hopes to fool the public.

And the initiative is “Paid for by San Diegans for Fair and Open City Contracting, 7185 Navajo Road, Suite P, San Diego 92119.” Google this and it shows as “Re-Elect Kevin Faulconer’s” Campaign 2010 address.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t sign this one.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Peyton Farquhar April 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

This is typical for people with petitions – 99.99 9/10% of them have absolutely no idea who sponsored the legislation, and can’t tell you anything beyond the barest minimum of info. They’re being paid for the # of signatures they collect and that is what they are focused on to the exclusion of all else.

The SoS has a very helpful resource to help out voters when accosted by signature harvesters.


PSD April 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Hooray Faulconer!


annagrace April 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Don’t Sign the Petition! Don’t be a part of the race to the bottom! I was there too Doug. The world did not end when the living wage ordinance went into effect as Donna Frye noted in her speech. The economy in San Diego did not collapse because of this initiative. Our neighbors and fellow citizens have clearly benefited from this ordinance. When they benefit the local economy benefits. It’s as simple as that.

The “Competition and Transparency in City Contracting Initiative” is brought to us by the Orwellian Department of Doublespeak via Carl De Maio. More to come on this one…..


lane tobias April 16, 2010 at 9:42 am

I’ve worked on living wage campaigns before, but only in rural areas. in large urban areas like San Diego, the impact of such an ordinance is dramatic – as Doug noted in the post. DO NOT feed into any of the BS that opposition uses to try and deter living wage movements. It helps to create a more equal economic system, on a micro scale, and makes city contract decisions easier for the higher ups. Thanks doug for pointing this out.


doug porter April 16, 2010 at 11:32 am

I was at Trader Joes this morning and they had a table outside urging voters to “Clean Up City Government”


Frank Gormlie April 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Was it the very same petition as in your post?


doug porter April 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm



OB Cindi April 18, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Thanks Doug for writing this as I JUST realized my friend Teresa unwittingly signed this initiative during Farmer’s Market in OB this past Wednesday. The guy asked her to sign a petition (I didn’t hear that topic), then asked her to just quickly sign the second initiative to “Clean Up City Government.” I begged her not to sign anything until she had time to go online and research it. But with the tough sell this guy was giving, telling Teresa he needed more signatures to get paid, she buckled. Don’t sign ANYTHING until you have had time to go home and research it. Believe me, these folks are everywhere, and if you decide you DO want to sign an initiative/petition, you will see it again! DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST!!! Your signature should come with the same deep introspect as you would give to handing a stranger your phone number, date of birth or social security number. We all need to READ the small print before signing ANYTHING.


OB Joe April 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Doug- thank you for the warning. Please be aware of this hoax. Maybe you should also call Faulconer’s office for info.


CPA June 18, 2010 at 10:46 am

“Paid for by San Diegans for Fair and Open City Contracting, 7185 Navajo Road, Suite P, San Diego 92119”

Just FYI that’s the address of the professional accountant. Most Republicans and some Democrats use that as their official campaign address the way they might get t-shirts made by the same company, it’s just non-partisan accounting services.


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