Photos and video: Tom Abbott
August 14, 2014 (San Diego) This morning Council President Todd Gloria and leaders started a campaign to protect the Wage Hike. This morning Council President Todd Gloria asked the people of San Diego not to sign the petitions that will soon circulate at supermarkets like the Vons the Press Conference was held this morning. They referendum needs 34,000 signatures to qualify for the June 2016 ballot.
According to Gloria, if this made it to the referendum stage, the raises mandated by the ordinance would freeze until the vote happens in June 2016. He is also expecting to call for the vote to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto next week, as he is calling the City Council back to session from the Summer Recess.
Among those present was business leader Mel Katz, who was the Regional Chamber of Commerce President, who told the audience that this would put $250 million dollars back into the economy, since “low wage earners who get an increase in their pay spend it close to home.”
He added, That there are many economic studies that show this.
Another member of this coalition, according to Raise Up San Diego, is Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm.
Gloria also introduced Jessie Thomas, a full time tipped employee and full time student. When all the tips and taxes are taken into account she makes $11.00\hour, which is not enough. She said that this increase would allow her to put food on the table. It would also make things easier for her. When we talked to her, she did add that the daily struggles make it hard to concentrate on school, since she needs to chose: Gas for the car to go to work, or food on the table.
Marcus Michaels is a security guard, and he works two jobs. He is currently looking for a third. He cannot make it on the minimum wage pay, and a raise might allow him to just work one job.
Bill Walton an NBA Hall of Famer said the he was proud to stand with Gloria, Katz and labor to “take this fight all the way to fruition.” He added, that “we always hear from the other side that this will be the end of the world.” It is never the case.
He emphasized how important this will be for workers. “This is a matter of decency, courtesy and respect, and we have to acknowledge the contributions and the efforts and the fact that all of us are part of the same team.”
Jason Cabel Roe, a partner at Revolvis, (and the spokesman for the San Diego Small Business Coalition) a Republican Political Messaging Company, was the only person present who opposes this increase. Companies had to absorb a 25% mandated by the state with the July increase. He said that a 44% would lead to the loss of jobs.
This 44% increase would come over the course of three years.
When asked about San Francisco and San Jose, where similar predictions of gloom were made, he said that San Francisco is a City County, so those doing business in San Francisco would not compete with anybody else in the County. In San Diego that is different. We have 17 cities and the unincorporated area where labor cost will be lower.
As to San Jose, which economy is booming, he said this is because that is a high technology economy. He emphasized the tourism aspect of San Diego’s economy, and while that is an important sector, we also have a high tech sector in the Golden Triangle, as well as universities. The Restaurant owners in San Jose made similar arguments.
He also said that it would be expensive to fight this, but not as expensive as the loss of jobs. Roe also referred to efforts to stop the signature gathering as efforts of “union thugs.” He also accused the Council of trying to disenfranchise voters.
Originally Gloria wanted to put this on the November ballot, but part of the compromise, at the request of other members of the City Council was to make it an ordinance. The Council is expected to override the veto.