Albuquerque's minimum wage fight to be ruled by judge
Posted at: 09/10/2012 12:22 PM
| Updated at: 09/10/2012 6:42 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
It is the employer/employee controversy. A line in a recent voter petition for a minimum wage increase said employers, not employees, would get paid by employers at tipped restaurants. The intention was employee, but those intentions are being tested in court.
Over 25,000 people signed the petition with the controversial typo, but the attorney for the petitioners said the error was blown out of proportion.
"The error is obvious and meaningless. And the ordinance is fine. And when people are confronted with the summary of this ordinance, they're going to understand," said attorney Sara Berger.
The minimum wage question will be voted on, eventually. But a district judge is deciding whether the question will go on the general election ballot on November 6, or on a special election ballot.
Berger said the reason the city does not want the question on the general election ballot is that more people would vote and could likely pass the minimum wage.
"So if there were not political motivations going on and this minimum wage decision was disfavored by the majority of the city council, they could have just adopted it," Berger said.
But Councilor Trudy Jones said there are other issues why she does not think the question should be on the November 6 ballot.
"I believe there are far more issues than that. I believe that the major issue is it's flawed, you know, the whole petition was flawed," Jones said.
Jones said if the question remains as is, the city would be in a legal mess following the election. "Would certainly hate to see this go to voters, and then have it challenged after a vote. Would hate to spend the money and make that happen, when we could do it correctly the first time."
District Judge Nan Nash is deciding the argument between the city and the petition. First, she will decide if the city council made the lawful decision to not put the question on the November ballot last week. Then Judge Nash will determine if the question should be placed on the November 6 ballot or if it will go on a ballot for a separate election following the November 6 election. A special election could cost Albuquerque several hundred-thousand dollars.
"Is it a shame that we have to pay more money to do it? Yes. But it's part of the process," Jones said.
Judge Nash said she would decide on the petition and when it could be voted on Tuesday morning. Councilor Jones said she expects that when the judge decides, the defeated will appeal to State Supreme Court.