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Not a lie: minimum-wage ordinance is law

Officials publicize signature-gathering liars — Mayor Faulconer absent

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, flanked (left) by attorney Will Moore and senator Marty Block representative Chris Ward, and (right) assemblywomen Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez
Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, flanked (left) by attorney Will Moore and senator Marty Block representative Chris Ward, and (right) assemblywomen Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez

Local and state legislators gathered downtown on Monday morning, September 15, to demand an investigation from county district attorney Bonnie Dumanis and/or California district attorney Kamala Harris into alleged misconduct by paid signature-gatherers seeking to qualify a ballot measure that would overturn the incremental citywide minimum-wage increase to $11.50 by 2017 passed by the city council in July.

Petitioners have been accused of approaching shoppers at strip malls with misleading information, claiming that their petitions actually seek to increase the minimum wage, or by telling voters that the increase has not yet been passed into law (it has, despite an overruled veto from mayor Kevin Faulconer).

"This almost feels like a concerted effort, with signature-gatherer after signature-gatherer ending up part of the same story," said assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. "And this isn't the first time we've seen something like this from the business community."

Indeed, a lawsuit was filed challenging alleged misconduct by petitioners seeking to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update. The document, approved by residents and the city council, was shot down after being set before voters in other parts of the city; they had been fed falsehoods — that the Navy would leave San Diego if the plan were allowed to remain in place, for example. (Navy officials were on record citing neutrality over the local planning issue.)

Superior Court judge Randa Trapp ruled in the Barrio Logan case that although the signature-gatherers were indeed guilty of lying to generate signatures, the measure could still be placed on last June's ballot, where it won handily.

Video:

Signature gatherer

Attorney Will Moore says he signed the petition after a lengthy discussion with a petitioner as to the intended outcome of the petition. He caught some of the signature gatherer's pitch on video, as have several others.

"He kept telling me these very specific lies," said Moore. "This is obviously problematic, it's illegal under California Elections Code 18600."

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, one of the six councilmembers who voted twice in support of the minimum-wage ordinance, said that "an open and democratic process" led to the adoption of the current proposal, which was scaled down from an initial minimum-wage proposal of $13.09 by council president Todd Gloria.

"We reached a moderate compromise that will reach hundreds of thousands of San Diegans," continued Cole.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber also spoke, calling false statements from signature-gatherers an "affront to democracy" and a "criminal act." A representative from state senator Marty Block's office read a statement decrying that "when elected representatives are subverted, and our initiative process is perverted, there are grave consequences to the citizens."

"We all know that in a good debate, the arguments stand on their own, and people are able to present their ideas for the public to hear," added Weber. "But when you're losing the debate, some resort to lies and distortion, and that's what we're seeing here."

Proponents of the wage hike are simultaneously conducting a campaign in which they ask petition-signers who may have lent their support in error to submit forms rescinding their signatures.

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Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, flanked (left) by attorney Will Moore and senator Marty Block representative Chris Ward, and (right) assemblywomen Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez
Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, flanked (left) by attorney Will Moore and senator Marty Block representative Chris Ward, and (right) assemblywomen Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez

Local and state legislators gathered downtown on Monday morning, September 15, to demand an investigation from county district attorney Bonnie Dumanis and/or California district attorney Kamala Harris into alleged misconduct by paid signature-gatherers seeking to qualify a ballot measure that would overturn the incremental citywide minimum-wage increase to $11.50 by 2017 passed by the city council in July.

Petitioners have been accused of approaching shoppers at strip malls with misleading information, claiming that their petitions actually seek to increase the minimum wage, or by telling voters that the increase has not yet been passed into law (it has, despite an overruled veto from mayor Kevin Faulconer).

"This almost feels like a concerted effort, with signature-gatherer after signature-gatherer ending up part of the same story," said assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. "And this isn't the first time we've seen something like this from the business community."

Indeed, a lawsuit was filed challenging alleged misconduct by petitioners seeking to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update. The document, approved by residents and the city council, was shot down after being set before voters in other parts of the city; they had been fed falsehoods — that the Navy would leave San Diego if the plan were allowed to remain in place, for example. (Navy officials were on record citing neutrality over the local planning issue.)

Superior Court judge Randa Trapp ruled in the Barrio Logan case that although the signature-gatherers were indeed guilty of lying to generate signatures, the measure could still be placed on last June's ballot, where it won handily.

Video:

Signature gatherer

Attorney Will Moore says he signed the petition after a lengthy discussion with a petitioner as to the intended outcome of the petition. He caught some of the signature gatherer's pitch on video, as have several others.

"He kept telling me these very specific lies," said Moore. "This is obviously problematic, it's illegal under California Elections Code 18600."

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, one of the six councilmembers who voted twice in support of the minimum-wage ordinance, said that "an open and democratic process" led to the adoption of the current proposal, which was scaled down from an initial minimum-wage proposal of $13.09 by council president Todd Gloria.

"We reached a moderate compromise that will reach hundreds of thousands of San Diegans," continued Cole.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber also spoke, calling false statements from signature-gatherers an "affront to democracy" and a "criminal act." A representative from state senator Marty Block's office read a statement decrying that "when elected representatives are subverted, and our initiative process is perverted, there are grave consequences to the citizens."

"We all know that in a good debate, the arguments stand on their own, and people are able to present their ideas for the public to hear," added Weber. "But when you're losing the debate, some resort to lies and distortion, and that's what we're seeing here."

Proponents of the wage hike are simultaneously conducting a campaign in which they ask petition-signers who may have lent their support in error to submit forms rescinding their signatures.

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Comments
5

While I understand we have a republic with a representative form of governance, please, someone, explain why it's a bad idea to have the electorate decide this issue.

If partisan signature gatherers, paid or not, are lying, or misrepresenting the facts of this issue, then they should be held accountable. But don't try and take the initiative process out of the people's hands. For it is the strongest check we have over those who "govern".

For those who are apathetic and choose not to vote, or inform themselves of the facts of this issue, I suspect they don't really care either way.

Seems to me if this issue is as important as both sides claim, then 50% + 1 of the people who choose to vote, should decide it.

Sept. 16, 2014

Originally, it was supposed to be voted on by the electorate. Yet the city council changed their minds (perhaps by some behind-the-scenes arm twisting), and decided this in council chambers. Todd Gloria is (I believe) still crowing that there is overwhelming support for this measure in San Diego. If so, it should pass easily. Shouldn't it?

Sept. 16, 2014

Minimum wage increases are designed to make soft minds feel like the government is doing something for them. In reality, they kill jobs, they kill small businesses, they cause inflation. But the power brokers pictured here don't see it that way. They see a cheap ploy to get soft minds to vote for them.

Sept. 16, 2014

That's always the GOP and Chamber of Commerce line. Can you back up your claims about job killing? [Don't quote FOX News for proof, please.]

Sept. 16, 2014

I read that the petition gatherers on this issue have submitted their booty of signatures for verification. If enough are valid, which is more than likely, the ball will be back in the Council's court...they'll either have to rescind the Ordinance they passed, overriding the Mayor's veto, or put it on the ballot. If they choose the latter, it's either a costly, low turn-out Special Election, or the regular Primary Election in June 2016.

Maybe someone can chime in on the cost of Special Elections?

Sept. 16, 2014

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