Group urges mayor to back minimum wage hike

SAN DIEGO - Dozens of members of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice shared stories and said prayers before marching up to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office on Tuesday to push for an increase in minimum wages to pass.

It's not likely, since he's come out against the increase from $9.00 an hour to $11.50 an hour in 2017.

The matter is in his hands, but he doesn't have much muscle. A veto would send it back to the City Council members who passed it in the first place in a 6-3 vote.

Still, 93-year-old Joe Reilly was determined to fight for Faulconer's support.

"I'm a retired union man," Reilly said. "Very active in my union ... the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers."

The group was hoping to ask the mayor to ask him to sign off on it, not veto it, but someone else came out and said Faulconer couldn't meet right away but would gladly set up an appointment.

"These people giving their all to help fellow men in our community of San Diego," Reilly said. "No greater honor can you have than try to help your fellow citizens."

In a recent 10News/U-T San Diego poll, it was nearly a dead heat among San Diegans with 51 percent of people supporting the increase and 46 percent opposing it.

The more popular opinion was this: 60 percent said it was wrong for the City Council to pass it and bypass voters.

While Reilly is fighting for what he calls a win for low-paid workers, the World War II vet remembers the freedoms he fought for and thinks a vote is good second choice.

"Absolutely, Absolutely; This is America. Everybody should have a vote," he added.

Former Mayor Jerry Sanders said business leaders may try to get it on the ballot and in voters' hands. He said that would be a tough and pricey process but could happen.

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