Opponents urge voters “tricked” into signing to ask that that signatures be revoked
By Miriam Raftery
June 28, 2010 (San Diego) – San Diego’s Registrar of Voters has rejected a ballot measure backed by Councilman Carl DeMaio that would have made it easier for the City to outsource jobs and overturned living wage standards. The measure was bankrolled by city contractors and developers who stand to gain from increasing outsourcing and lowering wage standards, along with DeMaio, who calls himself the "taxpayer's watchdog."
“The recent campaign for a contractor-funded ballot measure was so deceptive that anyone who signed the petitions is invited to speak out and demand their signature back. They can do so by going to www.ProtectLivingWages.org,” stated a press release issued today by the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), a San Diego-based think tank that researches issues important to working families.
The ballot measure failed to gain enough valid signatures to qualify, based on a random sampling of signatures by the Registrar. But DeMaio has announced his intent to fund a challengeto the Registrar's count, in hopes of qualifying the measure for the November ballot.
The measure, titled "Competition and Transparency in City Contracting" needs 96,934 valid signatures to qualify. In a 3% random check of the 133,441 signatures collected, the Registrar estimated that only 74,732 of the total would be valid – 22,100 short of the required number.
DeMaio said the Registrar relied on methodology for state initiatives and that application to a citywide initiative "makes it appear that the validity rate of submitted signatures falls below the necessary threshold," a statement on his Council website indicates. "Specifically, the ROV sample identified 30 duplicate signatures and then penalized the total count of signatures by more than 30,000 – based on the state methodology available for handling duplicates."
“Every signature on that petition was gathered through lies, because no one was told they were signing to ban living wages,” said Murtaza Baxamusa, deputy director of CPI. The Living Wage ordinance requires that contractors doing work for the City pay their workers a living wage that is adequate for workers to live on. Supporters say that the Living Wage law reduces the number of people seeking public assistance services to help care for their families in San Diego, which has one of the highest costs of living in the nation.
Councilmembers Marti Emerald, Donna Frye, Todd Gloria and Ben Hueso all oppose the measure and have warned of harmful impacts on working families and the City.
"San Diego needs good-paying jobs, and DeMaio's initiative would be a step in the wrong direction, forbidding the city from requiring its contractors to pay living wages and benefits to their workers, and undermining the city work force," said Brian Polejes, vice president for organizing, Pride at Work AFL-CIO.
Labor groups are backing their own opposing ballot measures to combat DeMaio and apply more scrutiny to contractors who seek to do business with the City. A Council Committee will hear those proposals Wednesday.