Council to take up minimum wage referendum, mandatory water restrictions

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The City Council Monday will consider whether to repeal an increase in San Diego’s minimum wage or place the issue before voters.

The council members will also hold a special evening session to decide whether to impose mandatory restrictions on water use because of the ongoing drought.

Last week, the City Clerk’s Office reported that opponents of the wage hike had collected enough petition signatures to force the council’s hand on the minimum wage issue.

The three-stage hike would have resulted in the lowest pay in the city being set at $11.50 an hour by January 2017. The ordinance, adopted on a 6-3 party-line vote in July, also required employers to offer five annual days of paid sick leave.

Opponents contended that raising the minimum wage above the state standard would make San Diego’s businesses less competitive with enterprises in neighboring cities.

If the council members choose to take the issue to the public, they would have to decide whether to wait until the June 2016 primary election or hold an earlier, but costly, special election.

When council President Todd Gloria first raised the issue back in January, he proposed placing a measure before voters in the election that’s coming up in a little over two weeks. However, the council majority voted to approve the increase themselves, and now it’s too late to get on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The restrictions on water use by residents and businesses in San Diego that will be taken up during the evening are currently voluntary. However, the continuing drought and uncertain weather forecast for the “rainy” season are prompting the move to make them mandatory.

The restrictions include watering lawns on three assigned days per week and for no more than seven minutes per station; using hoses with shut-off nozzles or timed-sprinkler systems to provide water to landscaped areas; washing vehicles only before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.; watering potted plants, vegetable gardens and fruit trees before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.; and not watering lawns or plants on rainy days.

Councilman David Alvarez, who chairs the panel’s Environment Committee, said they’re “common-sense” measures that won’t change anyone’s lifestyle.

Categories: KUSI