Minimum Wage Petition Drive Launched, Opponents Urge “Don't Sign It”

Get ready to have someone asking for your signature.

A petition drive to collect signatures and put San Diego’s minimum wage increase on the ballot will likely start up as soon as Wednesday.

The move comes after the City Council voted on Monday, as expected, to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of San Diego’s Earned Sick Leave-Minimum Wage Ordinance.

The vote was 6-2, with San Diego City Councilmembers Scott Sherman and Mark Kersey voting against. Councilmember Lorie Zapf was not present.

The vote means the ordinance will take effect as scheduled on January 1, 2015.

But hold on. Now, the next phase of this battle begins.

Prior to the council vote, former mayor and Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders took a preemptive swing and said business leaders would begin their efforts to gain 34,000 signatures in the next 30 days to take the matter to the voters.

In anticipation of the petition, City Council President Todd Gloria immediately started up a “Don’t Sign It” campaign, urging voters to ignore signature gatherers.

“Please do not be fooled,” said Gloria at a news conference after the council vote.

"They are being paid by special interest to get rid and overturn the earned sick leave and minimum wage ordinance that the city council just earmarked.”

Sanders accused the group of intimidation and obstructing the democratic process.

“We’re disappointed that union bosses have announce a voter harassment campaign to obstruct voters from having a say,” said Sanders. “They’re literally obstructing the democratic process. It’s undemocratic to obstruct voters from signing a petition and sad they’re so brazen about their voter intimidation.”

At the council hearing, familiar arguments from both sides were, once again, voiced.

Councilmember Sherman, who cut a vacation short to be at the meeting, showed up in a red t-shirt and said the ordinance will increase business costs.

“This won’t raise people up. It will raise prices. It will cost jobs, but it won’t raise people up,” said Sherman.

Minimum wage worker Biviana Lagunas, broke down in tears after the vote.

“I want to thank you for giving us a chance. Thank you, thank you so much. Please do not sign away the ability to put food on the table,” said Lagunas.

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