Former California assemblywoman Lori Saldaña held a press conference on Tuesday, September 9, highlighting "hundreds" of San Diego voters officially submitting forms to withdraw their signatures from a signature-gathering effort intended to place the city's recently-passed minimum-wage and sick-pay ordinance before voters, potentially overturning the law that has thus far survived a veto from mayor Kevin Faulconer via a two-thirds "supermajority" override.
Normal Heights resident Marilisa Navarro says she was misled into signing the petition initially, being told by the signature collector — paid by foes of the new law, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce — that her signature would allow for a vote to increase the pay of minimum-wage workers. She says she was not told, however, that the increase had already been adopted, and that the vote was actually one on whether to repeal the wage hike, which would see worker pay rise incrementally to $11.50 by 2017.
"He made me feel that my signing [the petition] would help increase wages for people, when really it would retract the ordinance," says Navarro, who signed before learning that the increase had already been passed into law. She was then approached again by a professional petitioner a week later.
"When the second signature-gatherer delivered the same speech, it became clear that they are misleading a lot of people."
La Jollan Anita Simons also said she was led to sign a petition in favor of a referendum under false circumstances, being told signatures were being gathered "just in case they needed to show support for the ordinance."
Simons, like Navarro, later learned via Facebook campaigns that the petition effort was one to overturn, not reinforce, existing law.
Raise Up San Diego, a union-backed group defending the new law, is pushing a campaign online to convince petition-signers to file paperwork to invalidate their signatures in order to push the petition initiative into limbo. According to requirements currently posted by the city, petitioners need to gather 33,866 signatures, or 5 percent of the electorate, to place a referendum on the ballot.