Late in the evening, the San Diego City Council decided to raise the minimum wage within city limits and opted not to ask voters to do it instead.
With a 6-3 vote, the Council implemented a new series of increases. The minimum wage will go up to $9.75 in January 2015, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 the next year. In 2019, the minimum wage will begin rising with inflation. The new law also guarantees workers five sick days (officially one hour paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked).
The decision not to go to the ballot might surprise some.
We’ve examined how the wage will have to be enforced (even if your company is not headquartered in San Diego, for instance, if your workers work in the city, they’ll need to get the city’s minimum wage for those hours).
And the Council did not consider any changes that would count servers’ tips toward the minimum wage requirement, despite many restaurant owners’ concerns. No industries were exempted.
With support of six City Council members, the mayor’s veto power is not a factor.
Rocky Road for Homeless Center
San Diego’s Connections Housing center was supposed to be a big step toward moving homeless people from the streets to permanent homes. But, as we report in a new story, the center’s first year hasn’t been a simple success story.
There are snags in its budgeting, a one-stop-shop for the homeless is still coming together, and different rules at the property have created some unusual disparities. Homelessness in the immediate neighborhood is down by 70 percent, and the people who have ended up in its 73 permanent apartments have tended to stay there.
Education Happy Talk Obscures Reality
Listen closely and you’ll detect a pattern in the way school district officials tout the accomplishments of San Diego Unified: “The facts aren’t objectively false, but the message trumpets the good news while minimizing the struggles.”
Those are the words of VOSD reporter Mario Koran, who’s been keeping tabs on the district’s happy talk. In a new story, he examines four rose-colored claims that become more complicated and less awesome-sounding under close examination.
The claims have to do with the “ticking time bomb” in school finances, dropout and graduation rates, budget cuts and the district’s nationwide ranking.
Encinitas Seawall Spawns Legal Battle
No one expects seawalls to last forever. They keep the ocean from destroying land or property, and they’re prone to decay and flood damage. But property owners in Encinitas want their seawall to at least stick around for a very long time. The problem: the state Coastal Commission has other ideas.
As the LA Times reports, the legal battle over the seawall — specifically over whether it must be re-approved in 20 years — has gone to an appeal court and could set precedent across the state.
Why worry about seawalls in the first place? “Many environmental activists say they decrease the size of the public beach by disrupting the natural erosion of bluffs onto the beach and the tidal action that brings sand ashore.” Property owners, however, say seawalls protect their property.
One Ballot, Six States?
A few months ago, we told you about a wealthy investor’s plan to kill off much of the liberal and Democratic influence in the Golden State by dividing California into six states. We would live in South California, which would lean to the right politically and be separate from all those lefties in Los Angeles, who’d be part of West California. (No, these new state names aren’t that creative.)
Under the plan, which would somehow have to be approved by the various powers that be, the United States would have 55 states instead of 50.
Locally, the U-T editorial board has said that “secessionist proponents are onto something.” Now there’s word that the petition supporter(s) say they have enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot this fall and will file them today.
Quick News Hits: Immigrant Kids Aren’t Treated the Same
• Look! Something’s coming down from up above! No, nothing has fallen from that annoying tall building that blocks your view of other annoying tall buildings. It was rain that we saw yesterday, and calm-and-cool San Diegans, as is their wont, either freaked the heck out or told people to just stop freaking the heck out already.
• The U-T discovers that the feds don’t treat all undocumented immigrant children the same way. While the nationwide focus has been on unaccompanied kids from Central America, children from Mexico have been a bigger problem for the Border Patrol until recently.
These kids don’t stuck around: “little has been said of the Mexican minors because, for the most part, they do not remain here — and are not straining U.S. shelters and immigration courts.”
• More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition urging the City Council to “consider the harmful effects of fireworks on companion animals and on the wellbeing of the residents within a 20- mile radius” and halt SeaWorld’s loud nightly summer fireworks show.
• We’re not going to have a $15 minimum wage, but Los Angeles might. (LA Times)
• “The Search for the Origin of the Wiggle Technique” says the headline on a web article that mentions San Diego. So I clicked.
Turns out it’s a news site for chiropractors. The author writes about how a chiropractic technique — wiggling the sacroiliac with the fingers of both hands while stabilizing the pelvis — was apparently first shared at a long-ago convention in our fair city.
Come to San Diego for the sun and surf, stay for the wiggle technique. Are you listening, Chamber of Commerce? New motto?
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.