Maribel Sosa with San Diego City Council member Todd Gloria at a minimum wage rally.
Maribel Sosa with San Diego City Council member Todd Gloria at a minimum-wage rally.

By Maribel Sosa

I am a fast-food employee in San Diego. I am part of the Fight for 15 and a union. Along with my co-workers, we are building a San Diego where even the lowest paid worker can afford to buy groceries and pay rent.

In July, I was overjoyed when the City of San Diego approved the Earned Sick Leave-Minimum Wage Ordinance, which would have raised wages for hundreds of thousands of San Diegans who struggle working day to day. Many service sector workers earn less than $20,000 a year, which is not enough to live on in the 4th most expensive city in the country. The law passed by council means many of us wouldn’t have to choose between paying the electric and the water bill.

When I went to the grocery store in August last year, I couldn’t believe what I saw. People collecting signatures were lying to voters, telling them that if they signed a petition it would pass the minimum wage law. Nothing was further from the truth, as the law had already passed! Up until then I knew nothing about our referendum process but now I know that our referendum process allows people to lie to the public when gathering signatures. Using this process out of towners spent a huge amount of money to overturn a law rather than pay a wage that keeps up with the cost of living in San Diego. This shows that it’s OK to come here from anywhere in the country and spend money to undo a local policy because you will not be held accountable.

This is my experience with the referendum process in San Diego. It is unfair and I would ask the council and any other elected officials to move forward quickly to correct this injustice.  We need transparency and accountability.

Maribel Sosa is a San Diego resident and a longtime Burger King Employee.

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