Backing by Alvarez gives minimum wage plan a Council majority - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Backing by Alvarez gives minimum wage plan a Council majority

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - David Alvarez backs a proposal to put a minimum wage hike in San Diego on the November ballot, giving the idea a majority on the City Council, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

The plans to develop an initiative to put before voters were announced Wednesday by four of his colleagues. Alvarez was not invited to attend the news conference, spokeswoman Lisa Schmidt said.

"He has consistently been a strong supporter of increasing (the) minimum wage and is looking forward to hearing and working on a proposal to achieve this," Schmidt said in an emailed statement to City News Service.

City Council President Todd Gloria and Councilwomen Myrtle Cole, Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner are seeking a "meaningful" but unspecified increase in the minimum wage, with future hikes tied to a cost of living index. The initiative would also provide employees working in San Diego with five sick days.

The provisions would allow a phase-in period with slower increases for small businesses and nonprofits.

Gloria has spoken frequently in recent months of moving ahead of planned hikes by the state. California's current minimum wage is $8 per hour. It is slated to go to $9 an hour in July and $10 an hour in 2016.

The council members will get to work on the proposal in committee in a couple of weeks.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who took office 10 days ago, didn't specifically express opposition to a minimum wage hike, but said his job was to grow the local economy and protect jobs.

"I would hope that our City Council adheres to those same priorities as they move forward," Faulconer said in a statement to City News Service.

Jerry Sanders, the ex-Mayor who is now CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the proposal would put San Diego at a "further competitive disadvantage."

"The City Council's proposal should be reviewed by an independent third party to understand the economic impact an additional increase will have on our local economy and businesses," Sanders said.

However, Cole said people who work hard should not have to "scrape by" or choose between eating or caring for an ill loved one.

Last week, the Center on Policy Initiatives released a study that said a typical family of four needs to make nearly $85,000 annually to live in San Diego without government assistance -- which equates to each adult making more than $20 per hour.

The CPI also said 300,000 households in the region have incomes too low to meet basic expenses.

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