For Immediate Release

July 1, 2010


Susan Duerksen, (619) 584-5744 x64,

Deceptive initiative fails to fool voters

DeMaio abandons wasteful, fraudulent gamble to ban Living Wage

The Center on Policy Initiatives and supporters of San Diego’s Living Wage law are elated that a deceptive attempt by Councilmember Carl DeMaio to fool voters into putting a contractor-giveaway measure on the ballot has failed.

Despite wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid signature-collectors and hiding the destructive measure behind rosy promises, DeMaio failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Today he abandoned his threatened legal challenge to the Registrar of Voters.

“This is great news for working families in San Diego who already are struggling economically,” said Murtaza Baxamusa, CPI research and policy director. “DeMaio was trying to take away living wages.  That would have benefited city contractors and developers, but it would destroy many hard-working people and damage our local economy.”

DeMaio’s initiative would have repealed and permanently banned San Diego’s Living Wage Ordinance, and also would have lifted local hiring rules and quality standards on city contractors, who bankrolled the measure.  At the same time, it would have forced outsourcing of many essential city services like the water supply to those private contractors.

None of those impacts were disclosed to people signing the petitions, who were misled with statements that the measure would have various pleasant effects like transparency and cost-saving.  CPI had worked to alert voters that the initiative was a sham and would ban the law requiring contractors to pay a living wage.

“The petition circulating was based on lies,” said Susan Duerksen, CPI communications director. “No one was told they were signing for a ballot measure to ban the Living Wage law.”

Background, key documents and media coverage are available at The Center on Policy Initiatives is a nonprofit research and advocacy center focused on issues affecting working people.