Voters to decide on San Diego minimum wage increase - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Voters to decide on San Diego minimum wage increase

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SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - The City Council Monday voted unanimously Monday to let voters decide on a minimum wage increase in San Diego.

The issue will be placed on the ballot in the June 2016 primary election, and not a special election that would have been costly to taxpayers.

Last week, the City Clerk's Office reported that opponents of the wage hike had collected enough petition signatures to force the council's hand on the minimum wage issue.

The three-stage hike would have resulted in the lowest pay in the city being set at $11.50 an hour by January 2017. The ordinance, adopted on a 6-3 party-line vote in July, also required employers to offer five annual days of paid sick leave.

Opponents contended that raising the minimum wage above the state standard would make San Diego's businesses less competitive with enterprises in neighboring cities.

Supporters of the wage hike, like World War II veteran Joe Riley, say it's about time.

"You know what this nation was built on? Two words: cheap labor. I think it's time we get over that," Riley said.

When council President Todd Gloria first raised the issue back in January, he proposed placing a measure before voters in the election that's coming up in a little over two weeks. However, the council majority voted to approve the increase themselves, and now it's too late to get on the Nov. 4 ballot. 

Now that voters will have their say in 2016, that means workers making minimum wage will have to wait on a raise.
Marcus Nicols gets paid the minimum wage working as a security guard, and he'll need to get a third job to make ends meet.

"It's just not enough to live in San Diego. The average apartment is $1,500, $1,600, and you've got to live in poverty," Nicols said. "I'm proud of San Diego. I think they're trying to do the right thing, and I applaud the people that are trying to help the working class and our nation."

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