San Diego Business Journal

San Diego City Council Overrides Veto of Minimum Wage Hike

By Lou Hirsh Originally published August 18, 2014 at 4:06 p.m., updated August 18, 2014 at 4:42 p.m.

San Diego City Council has voted 6-2 to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a measure to raise the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017.

At a special morning meeting Aug. 18, council members Sherri Lightner, Ed Harris, Todd Gloria, Myrtle Cole, David Alvarez and Marti Emerald voted in favor of overriding the veto.

The override was opposed by council members Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman. Council member Lorie Zapf, who previously joined Kersey and Sherman in opposing the minimum wage hike when it was originally approved by council, was absent.

The vote to override followed comments from 14 members of the public, most of them speaking in favor of the override. Council needed at least six votes to override the veto, and all six voting to do so were also those who supported the original wage-hike ordinance.

City Council voted July 28, by a vote of 6-3, to raise the minimum wage to $9.75 in January 2015; $10.50 in January 2016; and $11.50 in January 2017. The city’s current minimum wage is the state’s minimum, which recently went from $8 to $9 per hour.

Additional wage increases tied to the local Consumer Price Index are scheduled to begin in January 2019. The ordinance also requires employers to award full-time workers five days of sick leave annually starting in January 2015, with part-time workers earning prorated sick leave based on the number of hours they work.

Faulconer announced his veto of the measure Aug. 8. Opponents of the minimum wage hike have said they would consider their options if the mayor’s veto was not upheld, including a petition drive to place the issue before voters.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce said the state increase should be allowed to take effect rather than taking the council's approach.

"In light of the City Council’s vote to override Mayor Faulconer’s veto of the minimum wage ordinance, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, together with the business community, is prepared to qualify a referendum that will allow this important measure to be decided by the people," said chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders in a statement.

"We are all sympathetic to people who are struggling to make ends meet, particularly in a national economy that is still recovering from a recession. But this is the wrong decision," Sanders said.