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.
Live interviews of 500 registered voters by Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research were conducted July 31– August 4. The results reflect the actual demographic and political composition of local voters and were stratified by city council districts to mirror the electorate. The margin of error was estimated at 4.4 +/-.
The poll was released to the media by Raise Up San Diego, a coalition of local groups supportive of the Council ordinance.
The Slave Wage Jobs Coalition
Of course these numbers have been released in advance of what will undoubtedly be an all-out effort by the Chamber of Commerce along with hotel and hospitality entities to reshape the public’s understanding using fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer has said he’ll veto the ordinance. My bet is that he’s waiting until after today’s City Council meeting, which is supposed to be the last session prior to an August break. This action by the Mayor will force the Council to call a special session to override the veto.
One day after that override occurs, the Slave Wage Jobs Coalition (or whatever there calling it) will have 30 days to gather signatures for a referendum overturning the law. Should they reach the 34,000+ signature threshold, the ordinance will be suspended until after the results of the June, 2016 election are known.
This effort by the Chamber, et al, will represent the third attempt at over-ruling the City Council over the past year. It’s the ultimate irony that a tool of democracy created to protect the public from corporate malfeasance and abuses of power is now being used in such a manner by big moneyed interests.
A Referendum of National Significance
This referendum to overturn San Diego’s minimum wage and earned sick days ordinance, therefore, represents a much larger struggle.
Should the forces aligned by the Chamber of Commerce triumph, the purpose of representative government at the local level is called into question. After all, why bother having a city council if unpopular actions can be vetoed at the whim of local plutocrats?
On a national level we’ve seen the increasing power of entities like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) which presents cookie cutter legislation created by lobbyists to further narrow corporate interests. Since 2011 ALEC and National Restaurant Associated backed legislation has led eleven states to pass laws thwarting local control through paid sick day preemption laws.
They’re the people behind “Stand Your Ground” legislation, voter ID restrictions, and laws prohibiting videotaping in factory farm operations. Most recently ALEC is engaging in a national effort to increase costs for Americans–they call them Freeloaders– who have invested in solar panels for their homes and businesses.
Here in San Diego, since the voters have saddled moneyed interests with a City Council unlikely to consider such actions, they’re out to neuter the institution. I can guarantee that this model of corporate governance, made possible by campaign finance laws (or lack thereof), will be watched nationwide for its potential as tool for corporate power.
Pickets Go Up at Food4Less Stores
The United Foodservice and Commercial Workers union is sponsoring informational picket lines at Food4Less stores in the San Diego area.
UFCW Local 135 will be picketing everyday from 8am to 8pm at eight Food4Less Locations.(Presently there are no pickets slated for the Santee, University or the Shawline stores) Although workers at Food4Less have authorized the union to call a strike, they are continuing to work, hoping the picket lines will influence negotiations for a new contract.
On July 22nd the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council announced any UFCW job action would have the full backing of organized labor in the region.
From my coverage of that day’s events:
Despite having successfully negotiated agreements with Ralphs, Stater Bros, Vons and Albertsons stores earlier this year, the UFCW has run into a brick wall with management at Food 4 Less.
Owned by the same corporate conglomerate as Ralph’s stores, Food 4 Less stores gross an average of $750,000 weekly, 50% more than the stores who’ve already signed union contracts.
The company reported profits of $500 million for the first quarter of 2014.
The UFCW has been presented with company demands aimed at reducing employee hours and healthcare benefits.
Should a strike occur, 1000 employees at 8 locations in San Diego County will be affected. One thing that distinguishes UFCW workers at Food 4 Less stores is that those employees are 80% Latino. They also just happen to be paid less than employees at stores who have already signed contracts. For many of the rank and file workers attending yesterday’s rally, this made the company’s intransigence even more of a personal affront.
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Adios Bill Fulton, City Planning Rock Star
City Beat is all over city planner Bill Fulton announcement last Friday about leaving San Diego for greener pastures. Columnist John Lamb’s analysis of his departure is well-crafted and the paper’s editorial on Fulton is spot on.
Faced with residents up in arms over revised city plans in Grantville, Morena and Ocean Beach, the corporate financed rejection of the Barrio Logan Community Plan and a Mayor unwilling or unable to provide political leadership on planning issues, Fulton’s headed for Houston where he’ll be director of an urban planning institute at Rice University.
Whether or not one agrees with Fulton’s handiwork in renewing city planing processes largely abandoned over the past decade, at least he had a vision. What we’re left with now is a boat with one oar.
Here’s the setup from the City Beat editorial:
Fulton’s hire was the best thing former Mayor Bob Filner did during his short tenure. Fulton brought a national reputation as a leader in innovative smart-growth planning to a city that desperately needed a bold new approach to the conversation surrounding how and where the city will grow and accommodate an inevitable and gradual swell in population.
Fulton accepted the position with a basic assumption in mind: that Filner would be his boss for at least four years and likely eight. That fell apart when Filner resigned after eight months and Kevin Faulconer was elected, leading to pessimistic speculation that either Fulton would be fired in favor of someone of Faulconer’s choosing or the political environment would simply be too inhospitable for Fulton to stay.
One could argue that firing Fulton would be a bad PR move for Faulconer, who’d co-opted Filner’s “Neighborhoods first” message— canning him would contradict the rhetoric. Fulton lasted for nearly five months under Faulconer, but in that time, as has been documented in the wake of his resignation, the Filner-created and Fulton-favored Civic Innovation Lab was dismantled; Faulconer helped lead the charge to overturn the Fulton-endorsed Barrio Logan Community Plan update; Faulconer hired David Graham as Fulton’s boss and took the economic-development function away from Fulton and gave it to Graham.
And the smash from Lamb’s Spin Cycle column:
It is telling, however, that the editorial writers over at the U-T San Diego—who lament any shift of talent from California to Texas—have remained silent on Fulton’s pending departure. Perhaps they’re simply waiting for confirmation that San Diego has officially castrated its Planning Department again. Stay tuned.
On This Day: 1919 – Actors Equity was recognized by producers after stagehands honored picket lines, shutting down almost every professional stage production in the country. Before unionizing, it was common practice for actors to pay for their own costumes, rehearse long hours without pay, and be fired without notice 1999 – San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn made the 3,000th hit in his major league career. 2003 – Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would run for governor of California on the Tonight Show.
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