Lies, lies, signature-gatherers lie

Minimum-wage-hike proponents claim they were duped by petition reps

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.

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I told the signature gatherer outside Vons that I didn't vote for Jerry Sanders and the Chamber of Commerce to run San Diego. (He didn't know that Sanders and the COC also shot down the Barrio Logan Community Plan.) Government by referendum just because your side lost is bad for the health of a democracy.

These signature gatherers are often people who are out of work. They get paid by the signature, so they say whatever to get people to sign. It doesn't matter to them if it's true or not.

Oddly enough, today the afternoon drive-time "personality" on KOGO (AM 600), this moronic "Sully", was reporting that "thugs" were trying to intimidate signature-gatherers and potential petition signers somewhere in San Diego. Sorry, but I do tend to listen to local AM radio while out and about in my car, if for no other reason the traffic reports. The guy has made enough idiotic comments in the past few months to last an ordinary mortal a lifetime. But my concern is that both sides are resorting to lies and to intimidation, which is no way to run a referendum election. I think both sides have plenty of abuses to report, and I have no notion of which one is the abused one and which one is, on average, the abuser of the process.

It's brilliant, when you think about it. You take the people who are stupid enough to be duped into thinking minimum wage increases do anything but kill jobs and cause inflation, and you dupe them into signing a petition that will do away with the increase. Genius.

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