Gloria launches campaign to protect minimum wage hike

SAN DIEGO - City Council President Todd Gloria is embarking on a campaign to defend the controversial minimum wage ordinance that he championed and ultimately got passed.

Gloria held a news conference Thursday morning in Serra Mesa announcing a campaign to "protect the earned sick days and minimum wage law," according to a news release from Raise Up San Diego, the coalition supporting the hike. He was joined by NBA hall of famer Bill Walton.

"Some well-paid corporate folks are going to send people out to a grocery store like this and ask you to sign a petition," Gloria said. "Do not sign it."

This comes after Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the ordinance last week. It was approved by the City Council by a 6-3 vote on July 28.

The San Diego measure would increase the hourly minimum wage to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017. Beginning in January 2019, the pay scale would be indexed to inflation.

It also mandates that employers offer five paid sick days to workers each year.

In April, Gloria originally proposed having residents vote on the minimum wage in November, but the council majority wanted to adopt the wage hike directly.

Gloria said he understands how tough it can be to live in a pricey city when a family doesn't make much.

"I'm the son of a hotel maid and a gardener," he said. "I mean, there were times when we didn't have a car and walking to the supermarket lugging gallons of milk at a time when as a little boy that was difficult to do."

Gloria told 10News he was going to take the issue to the City Council, and they're expected to override Faulconer's veto. In a release following the news conference, Gloria's office said the council will consider the issue at an Aug. 18 meeting. If it does indeed override the veto, the ordinance would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, unless opponents collect enough signatures to get it on the ballot.

Jason Roe, a spokesman for the San Diego Small Business Coalition, told 10News that his group is prepared to launch a drive to get the issue on the June 2016 ballot. Roe said the hike will hurt taxpayers. He's already started to see signs go up in storefront windows saying they had to increase prices to offset the cost of the wage increase. The group would have to gather 34,000 signatures in the span of a month to get it before voters.

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.       

The news conference took place outside the Vons grocery store at 3550 Murphy Canyon Drive.

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