City Council President Todd Gloria: Minimum wage hike 'a reasonable compromise'

SAN DIEGO - The main backer of an effort to increase San Diego's minimum wage said Tuesday he hoped opponents of the pending hike would not fight the measure.

City Council President Todd Gloria said a minimum wage increase to $11.50 an hour is "a reasonable compromise" that would affect about 172,000 workers. The ordinance passed by the council Monday night would also require employers to provide five paid sick days per year.

"I can't help what special interests may choose to do to fight this particular measure," Gloria said.

"A couple of things come to mind -- I think there may be better ways that they can spend their time and their money than opposing a pay increase and providing sick leave to their employees," he said. "I also don't know that it's the best way to attract business to your hotel or your restaurant to spend money, telling everyone you want your employees to work while they are sick."

Business interests recently defeated a City Council effort to increase fees for commercial construction projects and  and an update to Barrio Logan's zoning plan was rejected by voters.

Jerry Sanders, the former mayor who is now CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, was mulling his next move.

"We will be making a decision as to what option we will move forward with very soon," he said.

While supporters of the minimum wage increase said it would lift thousands of San Diegans out of poverty without harming the local economy, opponents contend that raising the local minimum wage higher than the state's would put San Diego at a competitive disadvantage.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer opposes the increase, because he doesn't want small businesses to cut jobs or hire fewer people.

The ordinance for raising the minimum wage requires a second reading, likely in two weeks, before it is officially adopted, Gloria said.

Faulconer will then have 10 days to to sign it into law or veto it. The first reading ordinance passed on a 6-3 vote --  a margin wide enough to override a veto.

Any referendum effort would require the signatures of about 34,000 voters to qualify for a ballot.

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