LOS ANGELES (CNS) – City officials canceled a City Council committee meeting that had been scheduled to consider an ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 per hour.
The meeting agenda was only partially posted on the city’s website –including the City Clerk’s site — but did not get posted onto a major online city public meeting calendar until after the deadline dictated by public meeting laws.
A City Council meeting that had been scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday also was canceled due to a similar posting “difficulty.”
The council last week tentatively voted 14-1 in favor of gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 for employers with 26 or more workers, with a one-year delay for smaller businesses.
A draft ordinance to officially enact the wage hike will first be considered by the Economic Development Committee. If approved by that panel, the ordinance would go to the full council for a vote.
The ordinance would increase the wage beginning July 2016, when it would rise to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. By then, the state wage will have risen to $10 per hour.
The city minimum wage would then go up to $12 an hour by July 2017, $13.25 per hour by July 2018, $14.25 per hour by July 2019 and ultimately to $15 by July 2020.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees would start raising their wages one year later and have until 2021 to reach the $15-an-hour mark.
Once the wage reaches $15 per hour for both small and large employers, the ordinance calls for the minimum wage in 2022 to continue increasing based on the cost of living.
Initially, the wage hike would move at a slower pace than Mayor Eric Garcetti’s original proposal to raise the minimum wage to $13.25 per hour by 2017, followed by cost-of-living increases to the wage, but it would ultimately go further sooner by increasing the wage to $15 by 2020.
Garcetti’s original plan would likely have increased the wage to $15 by about 2023, depending on the cost of living.
After the vote last week, Garcetti thanked members of the City Council and said he plans to sign the ordinance being prepared by the city’s attorneys.
Councilman Paul Krekorian has called the tentatively approval of the wage hike “a reason to celebrate,” as it would be “giving a raise to 700,000 people who are living at the bottom.”
Councilman Mike Bonin said the higher wage will address “a cancer in the city of Los Angeles called poverty.”
Councilman Paul Koretz said the wage hike plan is “an experiment,” adding: “If anyone tells you they know exactly how this is going to go … I don’t think they’re being honest with you.”
But Koretz said he was ultimately “willing to take that shot, because nobody can live well in Los Angeles … on $9 an hour.”
Councilman Curren Price, who pushed for the wage hike, said it is a “moral obligation” and a “leap of faith … led by our hearts and led by the fact that we have to do all we can to address poverty and income inequality in this city.”
Councilman Mitchell Englander — the panel’s only Republican and a candidate for the county Board of Supervisors — cast the dissenting vote last week on advancing the wage hike proposal.
He wrote in a statement that the higher wage would have “unintended consequences such as job loss, reduction in working hours or make it impossible for entire industries to do business in the city of Los Angeles.”
Los Angeles resident Vickey Vaughn-Wright told the council the $15 wage means a “brighter future” for her family and community.
“Many of my family members are affected by this,” Vaughn-Wright said.
“I feel that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would give hope of a better life for many of those who are struggling.”
The City Council’s support of the wage hike attracted attention on the national stage, with a senior adviser to President Barack Obama sending out a congratulatory tweet to Garcetti following the vote.
Valerie Jarrett, a longtime close adviser to Obama, wrote on her Twitter page, “Today’s vote to RaiseTheWage in LA is a huge step to help
FamiliesSucceed. Congrats @ericgarcetti!”