Both sides of San Diego's minimum wage issue prepare for ballot battle

SAN DIEGO - 10News has learned both sides of the minimum wage issue in San Diego are gearing up for a referendum fight.

Amid a proposed hike in San Diego's minimum wage, there are escalating signs of an approaching battle.

"They are going to be very passionate on both sides, which means it's going to be a very tough and costly fight," said political analyst John Dadian.

The proposal would include five paid sick days and jump above the state's wage hike, eventually increasing the city's minimum wage to $11.50 in 2017.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the measure, but the San Diego City Council is expected to override it. If that happens, Jason Roe, spokesman for the San Diego Small Business Coalition, says he has already begun to fundraise and has "substantial commitments from small businesses."

Roe says the group is ready to launch a ballot drive to repeal the hike. Some 34,000 signatures must be gathered in a month to get it on the ballot in June 2016.

He is confident they will have several hundred thousand dollars in the war chest to defeat what he calls a job killer.

"It will be expensive, but not as expensive when it comes to job losses and the cost to small businesses to survive," said Roe.

Robert Nothoff, research and policy analyst for Raise Up San Diego, the coalition supporting a hike, told 10News, "We're willing to do anything and everything within our power to protect our measure."

Supporters of the hike have planned a Thursday morning news conference.

Sources tell 10News they will launch a "don't sign it" campaign aimed at defeating the ballot drive in the name of working families.

"If we want to be America's finest city and we have people working full time and still can't make ends meet, what kind of standard are we really setting?" said Nothoff.

A minimum wage slugfest is expected because opinions are divided.

In a recent scientific 10News / U-T San Diego poll, a slight majority approve of a wage hike but when asked if they would approve a hike that appeared on a ballot, voters were evenly split.        

Opponents of a hike are confident, pointing to measures such as the Barrio Logan Community Plan, as successful ballot drives led by business leaders.

Raise Up San Diego says they will unveil their own business allies in a push to stop the drive before it reaches the ballot box.

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