Team 10 checks the accuracy of minimum wage signature gatherers' message

One worker was fired for deceptive message

SAN DIEGO - From lying to stealing and even stabbing, the battle over the minimum wage hike has gotten downright ugly. Thursday, a signature gatherer was fired after he was caught on camera misleading someone.

There are between 40 to 50 signature gatherers in San Diego working with the San Diego Small Business Coalition. The group wants voters to decide on minimum wage.

A spokesman for the group said one man was fired for his deceptive message about minimum wage. 

“They want to double the minimum wage to 50 percent,” the man said. That claim was caught on camera and released by the group, Raise Up San Diego. The group wants to keep the minimum wage hike recently approved by the City Council.

Jason Roe, a spokesman with the San Diego Small Business Coalition, released the following statement about the termination of one of its workers:

Yesterday, we were able to confirm that one of the circulators caught on video using false information to gather signatures was involved in our effort. He will be terminated today. We will work to confirm any other incidents and terminate anyone found to be misleading the public as to the nature of the referendum.

There is no reason to mislead on this effort as no message is more persuasive than the truth: A 44% wage increase will cost San Diego jobs, slow down our economic recovery, and drive up prices for goods and services.”

Team 10 visited the Vons store in Clairemont, where signature gatherers were speaking with customers.

One man approached me and asked if I was a voter. I said yes. He then proceeded with his pitch to encourage me to sign the petition.

“The city council approved to raise minimum wage here in the city. And we just want you guys to be able to vote on it,” he said.

I asked for more information.

“It’s supposed to go up by 2017. Up to 11, I think $11.45,” he said.

The man was slightly inaccurate regarding the increase. The minimum wage would increase to $11.50.

The man also said, “It will affect small businesses and some of the things that you purchase inside the grocery stores. So we just want to make sure the voters take a look at it.”

Another signature gatherer approached me regarding the wage issue.

“We’re trying to stop them from raising minimum wage without our vote,” the woman said.

I asked about when it is supposed to go on the ballot.

“June of next year… we have to get enough signatures first,” the woman said.

If the group is successful, the increase will likely go on the 2016 ballot, not next year’s ballot.

A spokesman for the Small Business Coalition would not say how many signatures have been gathered so far. The group has until mid-September.

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