Labor

Thumbnail image for Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

Groups Call ALS Bucket Challenge a Baby Killer

by Doug Porter 08.21.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Talk about your buzzkill.

Everybody, it seems, has been doing the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) challenge lately. Actor Charlie Sheen, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle and even Mayor Kevin Faulconer have had buckets of iced liquid dumped on them as part a nationwide fundraising campaign.

While public figures locally have gone out of their way to be conscious about the drought faced by Californians, there’s always a crank somewhere looking to be a spoiler.

In the case of the ALS challenge it’s a certain Catholic Archdiocese and the we’re-not-a-hate-group types at the American Family Association (AFA). You might remember the AFA from their ‘don’t buy Harvey Milk stamps campaign’.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

Don’t Sign It! Chamber of Commerce Led Group Seeks to Block Minimum Wage Increase

by Doug Porter 08.19.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

As expected yesterday, the City Council voted to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance. The vote was 6-2, with all Democrats supporting and Republicans Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilwoman Lori Zapf did not attend the meeting.

Not long after the council vote Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders dialed up the media, announcing they’d be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

Raise Up San Diego, the alliance of community, faith and labor groups supporting the ordinance passed by the City Council has announced it will mount an educational campaign urging people to decline to sign the referendum petitions.

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Thumbnail image for Basketball’s Bill Walton and Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Cast as Labor Bullies by Faulconer’s Anti-Minimum Wage Strategist

Basketball’s Bill Walton and Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs Cast as Labor Bullies by Faulconer’s Anti-Minimum Wage Strategist

by Doug Porter 08.15.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.

On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.

Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”

On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.

We got a little taste of how ‘reasonable’ these folks are yesterday with GOP consultant Jason Roe, who crashed an early morning press conference held by Raise Up San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego City Council Supermajority Prepares to Save the Day

San Diego City Council Supermajority Prepares to Save the Day

by Junco Canché 08.15.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Kevin Faulconer’s War on the Poor

Kevin Faulconer’s War on the Poor

by Jim Miller 08.11.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

As Doug Porter did an excellent job reporting last week, the stage is set for a battle royal over San Diego’s minimum wage increase. Despite the fact that 63% of San Diegans support raising the wage, Mayor Faulconer vetoed the ordinance, definitively proving that he is more loyal to local plutocrats than to the people of the city, particularly those who work hard for very little.

Yes, with a stroke of the pen, Kevin Faulconer denied a raise to 172,000 people and took away earned sick days for even more local workers, a move that disproportionately affects women and people of color. Just as one could begin to feel good about the fact that our city did the right thing and stood up for those of our friends and neighbors who are most in need of a hand up, Mayor Faulconer struck them down.

When it was time to love his neighbors, he slammed the door in their faces. Rather than living with a more than reasonable compromise that will help rather than harm the local economy, he chose to declare war on the poor instead.

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Thumbnail image for Mayor Faulconer’s First 100 Days: Veto Minimum-Wage Ordinance and Stalling on City’s Environmental Policies

Mayor Faulconer’s First 100 Days: Veto Minimum-Wage Ordinance and Stalling on City’s Environmental Policies

by Frank Gormlie 08.10.2014 Business

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been in office now just a little over one hundred days. And if this start to his administration is an indicator, the remainder of his term as mayor may be cause for some very rough going for San Diego environmentalists and minimum-wage supporters.

Faulconer’s actions – or, rather, inactions, around environmental policies have made eco-advocates furious.

To the more immediate news, Friday, the 8th day of August, Faulconer formally vetoed the minimum-wage and sick-day ordinance passed by the City Council on July 28th.  The measure would if enacted increase the hourly minimum wage to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017, plus it provided access to five earned sick days.

The Council, with a 6 to 3 current ratio of Dems to Repubs, is expected to over-ride the Mayor’s veto, and the measure will become law. But then, in turn, this is expected to set the stage for an extremely divisive referendum effort by businesses and the Chamber of Commerce seeking to overturn the ordinance – which will be placed on hold until the referendum issue is settled.

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What Could Have Been

by Source 08.09.2014 Culture

By Lucas O’Connor

FaulconerOn Friday, Kevin Faulconer made his position official and vetoed the City Council’s increase of the city’s minimum wage. We know Faulconer has long been fundamentally opposed to wage protections that strive to keep people out of poverty, likewise the big-money orgs who paid the way for his campaign. So while the move is hardly a surprise, it’s nevertheless bizarre.

The good folks who worked on Faulconer’s mayoral campaign have been remarkably open about their core strategy of manufacturing an image of Faulconer as a moderate in order to win. Since taking office, that approach has generally continued. This stripped-down compromise on minimum wage could have been the last step in that process, and everyone could have gone to happy hour 20 months early. But here we are. Why?

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Thumbnail image for The Real Battle Begins: Faulconer Vetoes Minimum Wage Hike

The Real Battle Begins: Faulconer Vetoes Minimum Wage Hike

by Doug Porter 08.08.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer has vetoed an ordinance increasing minimum wages and allowing for earned sick days for San Diegans.

The City Council now has 30 days to override the veto. Twenty four hours after that vote happens it’s probable that the Chamber of Commerce–given that they’ve been raising money for it– will begin collecting signatures to overturn the ordinance.

The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody–or whatever catchy name they come up with–will have 30 days to collect 34,000 or so signatures. Should they succeed, the ordinance will be suspended until after the June, 2016 vote.

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Thumbnail image for The Class War Goes Retail

The Class War Goes Retail

by Source 08.08.2014 Business

By Emily Schwartz Greco and William A Collins / OtherWords

For the first time since 1997, the U.S. economy just added at least 200,000 jobs per monthfor six months running. GDP grew at a 4 percent annual clip between April and June. The percentage of Americans who describe the economy as “good” has climbed to the highest level of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

Who wouldn’t rejoice over these happy milestones on the bumpy road to a real recovery?

Wall Street. On July 31, within hours of the release of a bunch of sunny indicators, stocks sank more than they had on any day since early February. The decline wiped out all gains the S&P 500 stock index had racked up over the month.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Voters Support Minimum Wage, Earned Sick Days Ordinance by Nearly Two-to-One Margin in New Poll

San Diego Voters Support Minimum Wage, Earned Sick Days Ordinance by Nearly Two-to-One Margin in New Poll

by Doug Porter 08.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A poll released this morning shows broad public support for the San Diego City Council’s ordinance allowing for five days of earned sick pay and increasing the minimum wage to $11.50 over three years.

According to the poll:

  • 63% of San Diego Voters Support the Council-Approved Earned Sick Days & Minimum Wage Ordinance;
  • 59% reported that they would vote against repealing the ordinance;
  • A 41% plurality say they would be less likely to support Mayor Kevin Faulconer if he proceeds with a veto of the ordinance;
  • The ordinance has especially strong support among independent voters with 69% in favor as opposed to 26% against.
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Thumbnail image for Profiles in Republican Cowardice, Starting with Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Profiles in Republican Cowardice, Starting with Mayor Kevin Faulconer

by Doug Porter 08.05.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Sometime over the next few days San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will veto a proposed ordinance raising the local minimum wage in three steps and allowing for earned sick days.

I get it that Hizzoner adheres to Republican principles about giving advantages to the wealthy. If he wants to believe in unicorns and trickle-down economics that is his right as a citizen.

But the way San Diego got to the point where this veto is necessary is where his political cowardice is revealed. And I predict the battle that’s likely to follow his rejection will wreak destruction in ways he can’t even imagine at this time.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Poor For a Week’ – Neel Kashkari’s Trickle Down Game Show

‘Poor For a Week’ – Neel Kashkari’s Trickle Down Game Show

by Doug Porter 08.01.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The forerunner of today’s reality TV programming was a program called ‘Queen for a Day.’ Starting out as a radio program, it made the jump to black and white TV in 1948, staying on air until 1964.

Women selected from the studio audience were ushered to the stage and urged to tell tales of woe, which were rated by the audience using an “applause meter.” The winner was crowned, showered with sponsor-provided prizes and expected to cry profusely. ‘Queen’ was a ratings monster in its day.

California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, whose running-on-empty campaign is desperate for attention, is hoping his latest campaign stunt –’Poor for a Week’– will resonate with voters.

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Thumbnail image for Neighborhood House Association Golf Gala in Rancho Bernardo Tees Off Head Start Teachers

Neighborhood House Association Golf Gala in Rancho Bernardo Tees Off Head Start Teachers

by At Large 07.29.2014 Activism

Teachers claim intimidation, terminations and demotions during Neighborhood House Association contract negotiations for fair wages and benefits.

By Rebecca Garcia / SEIU

On Friday, July 25, Head Start teachers represented by SEIU Local 221 and community supporters joined together to protest the unfair treatment by Neighborhood Housing Association (NHA) CEO Rudolph A. Johnson.

NHA hosted the 2014 NHA Golf Gathering to celebrate 100 years of service. It was a star studded affair, including guest appearances by Steadman Graham, actor Chris Tucker and former Charger Pete Shaw. Celebrities and NHA donors played golf at the Rancho Bernardo Inn to celebrate the services that NHA has provided for several generations of San Diegans.

While wealthy donors paid upwards of $7,500 to attend the event, many NHA Head Start teachers are embroiled in a serious battle to advocate for fair wages and benefits for their families.

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Thumbnail image for As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

As the Downtown Drama on Minimum Wage Plays Out, Fast Food Workers Talk Civil Disobedience

by Doug Porter 07.28.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Mayor Faulconer and his Chamber of Commerce puppeteers may not be willing to acknowledge it, but the train has left the station when it comes to minimum wages. They may think they can stop it, but they are wrong. The momentum to do something, anything about rampant economic inequality in the US is reaching critical mass.

Hizzoner met privately with advocates for increasing the minimum wage and earned sick leave on Friday, telling them while he appreciated their concerns, he was planning on vetoing an ordinance proposed by City Council President Todd Gloria. Any veto will likely be overridden by the Democratic super-majority on the Council.

Opponents of the measure are also threatening an initiative drive, which would have the effect of postponing implementation until a vote takes place in June, 2016. They are pointing to self-sponsored surveys saying as many as 14% of businesses would leave the city should the increases occur.

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Thumbnail image for Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

by At Large 07.28.2014 Columns

By Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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Thumbnail image for Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

Howling at the Moon: GOP on Track for Obama Impeachment

by Doug Porter 07.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Yes indeedy. A majority (57%) of self described Republicans in a CNN poll released this morning say President Barack Obama should be impeached.

On Thursday the House Rules Committee approved legislation authorizing a lawsuit against the President, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in delaying coverage mandates and granting waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The full house is expected to vote on authorizing the lawsuit next week.

Also on the radar for Congress is a show-down over re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank (a corporate welfare program supported by the Chamber of Commerce) with the potential to trigger another government shutdown come October 1st.

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Thumbnail image for A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

by Doug Porter 07.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tuesday, July 22 was a remarkable day for San Diego. Starting with an early morning prayer vigil at San Diego City Hall in support of a higher minimum wage and ending with hundreds of Escondido residents calling for a humanitarian response to the border refugee crisis, people stood up for causes they believed in.

At noontime a broad spectrum of supporters of organized labor rallied in Mission Valley, vowing to support workers for Food-4-Less should they go on strike. And in the afternoon environmental activists testified before the city council, urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to move ahead with a review process needed to consider an ordinance curtailing the use of plastic shopping bags.

People chose to make a stand on issues that were important to them. They faced off against institutional and political hostility, along with a corporate media all-too-willing to give a platform to those willing to spew ridicule (the UT’s Greenhut) and venomous language (Escondido’s nativists). They stood up and said “we’re not going to take it any more” (UFCW’s Kasparian). They testified that now is the time to protect the environment (representatives of Coastkeeper, Surfrider and the Sierra Club).

It was a great day to be an American. It was a great day to be an activist.

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Thumbnail image for NYTimes Profiles the “Part-Time Hell” Offered to American Workers

NYTimes Profiles the “Part-Time Hell” Offered to American Workers

by Source 07.23.2014 Business

By Dartagnan / Daily Kos

The latest tripe from the Republican Party attempts to distract from its purposeful obstruction of all initiatives or legislation designed to create new jobs, by accusing the Obama Administration of fostering a “part-time” economy.

In reality the prevalence of “part-time only” jobs arising from the residue of the Bush Recession reflects the gradual realization by corporate America that it no longer needs to hew to the pretense of actually caring about workers and can, with impunity, impose hiring policies designed solely to fatten its bottom line.

An expanded field of semi-skilled workers constantly warned against unionizing, a population of nervous and insecure skilled workers deathly afraid of losing their health care and livelihoods, and the propagation of anti-union legislation funded by right-wing think tanks and their Republican tools in state legislatures have all led to an atmosphere of passive acquiescence to predatory hiring practices.

This has little or nothing to do with the Administration and much to do with a relatively new ethic of corporate greed and indifference run amok. It implicates businesses and corporations at every level, but it is particularly visible in retail and service industries.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego PD Stench Reaches Los Angeles

San Diego PD Stench Reaches Los Angeles

by Doug Porter 07.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The status quo types around San Diego seem to think there’s nothing wrong with our police department’s enforcement methods, particularly when it comes to not-really-human types like strippers.

You haven’t seen our District Attorney or our City Attorney holding a press conference, promising to investigate the SDPD’s recent “enforcement raids.” Mayor Faulconer can’t be bothered by questions about violations of people’s constitutional rights.

 And the UT? Nothing to see here, folks… Just cops doing their jobs…

At least the Los Angeles Times editorial board knows an outrage when they see one.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

by Doug Porter 07.21.2014 Cartoons

By Doug Porter

The one of the largest collections of make-believe comes to San Diego this week, kicking off Wednesday night with Preview Night followed by four days of events running Thursday, July 24 through Sunday, July 27. More than 130,000  are expected for Comic Con 2014.

What should be a dream-come-true event for fans of the genres involved has turned out to be a nightmare in recent years as an institutional malaise about dealing with harassment issues has surfaced. Last year photographs of attendee derrieres were posted online after Comic-Con as some sort of sick tribute to the misogynist mentality that’s flourished in recent events in San Diego and other cities.

A group calling itself Geeks for CONsent is fighting back this year, circulating a petition aiming at getting Comic-Con International in San Diego (SDCC) to update its harassment policy. They’re asking for a “full harassment policy,” as well as anti-harassment signs and trained volunteers to deal with complaints.  

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Thumbnail image for After the Minimum Wage Win: The Battle Continues

After the Minimum Wage Win: The Battle Continues

by Jim Miller 07.21.2014 Business

By Jim Miller

San Diego’s progressive community got a well deserved shout-out last week in the national media with The Nation praising the good work of our city’s “expanding progressive base.”

More specifically, the article noted that the local movement to raise the minimum wage was comprised of many of the same folks who formed the community-labor alliance behind the David Alvarez mayoral campaign:

That coalition, Raise Up San Diego, includes the Center for Policy Initiatives as well as labor unions, immigrant rights groups and service providers. The campaign is endorsed by the San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego’s NAACP chapter and several other organizations and small businesses. Many of the groups had collaborated on issue work, elections and voter-turnout programs in the past . . . San Diego’s expanding immigrant community is just one indicator of the city’s transformation. Alongside its newfound diversity, the city has begun to shift politically, from reliably Republican to a more complicated patchwork of blue, red and purple.

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Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.20.2014 Activism

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

Starting today San Diego Free Press will publish a new column every Sunday morning called Looking Back at the Week. This new column will feature links to articles from the previous week from SDFP and OB Rag’s regular and at-large contributors including Doug Porter, Frank Gormlie, Jim Miller, Ernie McCray, John Lawrence, Anna Daniels, Junco Canché, Brent E. Beltrán, and others. In case you missed their articles during the week this will be your chance to catch up on what they’ve been writing about.

This week’s edition features articles on the minimum wage increase, the Federal Reserve, immigration, DeMaio flush with Koch and Tea money, SDFP and OB Rag receiving awards, the OB community plan, two Junco toons, Jews speaking out against Gaza offensive, The Orphan of Zhao, Neighborhood House, and more.

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Thumbnail image for Economic Lynching

Economic Lynching

by Source 07.18.2014 Culture

By Paul Buchheit / Common Dreams

On October 26, 1934 Claude Neal, a black man accused of murdering a young white woman in Jackson County, Florida, was dragged from his jail cell to be lynched. The event was rushed into the afternoon newspapers. When an unruly crowd of several thousand people gathered for the spectacle, the six men in the lynching party got nervous and decided to drive Neal to a secluded spot in the woods. There they tortured him in ways that seem impossible for a human being to imagine.

America can rightfully feel better about itself now, having gone beyond such detestable acts of savagery against fellow human beings. But the assault on people deemed inferior continues in another way. Instead of a single shocking act of physical brutality, it is a less visible means of drawn-out terror that destroys dignity and livelihood and slowly breaks down the body. So insidious is this modern form of economic subjugation that many whites barely seem to notice people of color being dragged to the bottom of one of the most unequal societies in the history of the world.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

San Diego’s Overlords Seek Overturn of City Council Vote Raising Minimum Wage

by Doug Porter 07.16.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Business interests opposed to raising the minimum wage in San Diego haven’t given up, despite a 6-3 city council vote on Monday approving an ordinance boosting wages for an estimated 172,000 workers.

Yesterday they launched a major public relations campaign seeking to portray the council vote as undemocratic and unfair to their interests. In closed door meetings led by Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders, so-called business leaders are considering the logistics of mounting a signature gathering campaign to place an initiative on the ballot seeking to overturn the minimum wage increase.

Although meeting the August 8th deadline for inclusion on the November 2014 ballot is unlikely, a successful campaign completed by year’s end would have the effect of suspending the city council ordinance until such time as a vote could be taken. The next scheduled election is in June 2016.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

by Doug Porter 07.15.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Supporters of a hike in local minimum wages left nothing to chance yesterday as a city council decision on a proposal by Todd Gloria neared. Over 400 hundred people showed up at city hall for a 6pm hearing, filling the council chambers and two overflow rooms. Many wore pink signs indicating their support.

Email and social media reminders abounded during the day, including a mid-day Raise Up San Diego-led “Twitterstorm.” More than 100 people testified before the council. Highlights included former basketball star Bill Walton standing up in favor of the measure and United Foodservice and Commercial Workers’ Mickey Kasparian giving an impassioned speech.

In the end, the City Council did the right thing, voting 6-3 to enact by ordinance a minimum wage hike, with raises in three stages effective January, 2015. This means the measure will not be placed before the voters in November.

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