June Vote Set for San Diego Minimum Wage Increase

by on February 11, 2016 · 3 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

Todd Gloria

Councilman Gloria at a press conference denouncing SBC’s slimy tactics

By Doug Porter

Voters in the city of San Diego will get a chance to weigh in on an ordinance providing stepped increases in the minimum wage and up to five earned sick days annually in the June 2016 primary election.

A historic wrong will be righted with public approval of the measure, implementation of which was delayed by a deceptive petition campaign financed by out of town interests whose business model depends on government assistance to their employees.

The original ordinance was approved in the summer of 2014, following months of City Council president Todd Gloria attempting and essentially failing to get business community input. Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the measure. The City Council overrode the veto, 6-3, voting along party lines.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce then facilitated the creation of the Small Business Coalition, drawing on ‘business consultant’ Jason Roe as a spokesman. Roe now serves as campaign manager for Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s re-election campaign.

The Small Business Coalition managed to find all of two local businesses to chip in to the half million dollars raised to fund signature gatherers who regularly misled people into thinking they were actually doing something good for low-income workers.

Councilman Todd Gloria actually took a cell phone video of a guy claiming to be gathering signatures to stop the state of California from blocking San Diego’s minimum wage increase.

The public stance taken by the Small Business Coalition was that they wanted the people of San Diego to have a say in any decision. Their petition effort gathered enough signatures to force the question of a referendum.

At that point the city council had two choices: rescind the ordinance or put it for up a public vote. The Chamber of Commerce emerged from behind their front group to urge reversal of the council vote. It surprised exactly nobody that Chamber CEO Jerry Sanders and company had no desire to force the matter to a public vote.

Yesterday the city council voted unanimously to put the measure on the June ballot. Supporters estimate that at least 172,000 city residents will receive raises if the measure is passed while 279,000 will be given the opportunity for earned sick leave.

City News Service, which provided coverage of the council’s action for many local media outlets, quoted Mayor Faulconer’s campaign manager, repeating the same exaggerated claims made back in 2014.:

“The proposed 44 percent increase for San Diego only, puts our small businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” said Jason Roe of the Small Business Coalition.

“The result will be that small businesses — the biggest creator of jobs in the nation — will be forced to lay off workers in order to absorb the increased costs,” Roe said.

Let’s do the math. If the voters approve the council ordinance:

  • Employees within city limits will go to to $10.50 an hour shortly thereafter.
  • On January 1st, 2017 the rate will increase to $11.50 hourly.

The current minimum wage in California is $10 per hour. So raise #1 amounts to 5%. Raise #2 amounts to 15%, (And that’s assuming the statewide increase on the November ballot doesn’t pass.)

Roe's Republi-Math calculator

Roe’s Republi-Math calculator

As you can see, Roe and his sponsors at the Chamber engage in what I like to call Republi-Math(™). It’s the same mathematical system that brought us trickle-down, the 2008 recession and the myth of the 401(k) as a functional vehicle for retirement.

Roe, by the way, is the guy who once reportedly mailed a knife to an ex-cop to express his displeasure at a deal gone bad. He’s proud of his involvement in a political campaign that made fun of a double amputee Iraq war veteran. He achieved local notoriety during Carl Demaio’s failed 2012 mayoral campaign.

When we vote for executive-type leaders like a mayor, governor, president, etc., what we’re actually voting for is the kind of leadership team we expect the candidate to pout together. Faulconer’s relationship with this ‘consultant’ and the nefarious aims of the chamber of commerce need to be kept in mind, come the June election.

Over the coming months, we’ll get to see campaigns for and against this now seemingly nominal pay boost. Ultimately this will come down to voter turnout. Will the majority view supportive of a minimum wage increase held by the public be enough to overcome the typically low–and skewering conservative– showing in at the poll in June?

Stay tuned.


This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at our associated San Diego Free Press


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jrk February 11, 2016 at 11:02 am

WOW!!! You have to be kidding me!!!

How can you expect consumers to pay for this kind of increase? Why is it that all the small businesses in the city have to be subjected to this kind of pressure? What ever happened to merit increases??

How is it that no one wants to talk about the fact that we are trying to support all the Illegal Immigrants and not support the businesses that drive this city?

Every year when as a small business I am asked to pay an ever increasing bill for Federal Unemployment money the State gets and refuses to pay back to the Federal Government, no one says a word?? That payment has risen 400% to my business year after year for the last 4 years to pay money back that Gov.Brown refuses to pay back to the Feds so that he can waste that same money on people that don’t want to better them selves, because we are paying for them.

I will vote down this law for sure!!!


rick callejon February 11, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Dear jrk,

Did you forget the ‘e’ in your name?


RB February 12, 2016 at 8:48 am

California’s minimum wage has been increased by 25% ($8 to $10 ) over the last couple of years. This should have been included when discussing the $10 current minimum in the article. It is also problematic that seniors who will be paying more goods and services with a wage increase got no increase (0%) in their social security.


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