The Pasadena City Council voted 7-1 on Monday to amend the city’s minimum wage ordinance and continue toward $15 an hour in 2020.
District 1 Councilman Tyron Hampton was the lone vote against the amendment.
“Ultimately, we are judged by how we treat the least fortunate among us,” said Councilman Steve Madison.
There were about 60 speakers at the meeting. Most of them spoke in favor of an amendment that would increase the wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The opposition came mostly from local restaurant owners who wanted the council to adopt the state’s minimum wage increase schedule, which reaches $15 in 2022.
Even Rose Queen Louise Deser Siskel, who is known for being outspoken, took a stand on the issue. “While Pasadena is an extraordinarily prosperous city, it also has the highest income inequality ratio of any major city,” said Siskel. “Ensuring that anyone in our city can earn a living wage is truly an issue of equality.”
The meeting was mandated by an ordinance unanimously passed by the council in 2016 which adopted a minimum wage law that would gradually rise to $13.25 in 2018. Before it could go the next steps, $14.25 in July 2019 and $15 in 2020, the city law required the council to evaluate the economic impacts of the higher wage — an increase schedule adopted by the city of Los Angeles and LA County, only neither of those ordinances contained an evaluation requirement. Following the review, an amendment was required to continue the wage-increase schedule.
The issue became a hot topic over the last several weeks as supporters and opponents of the ordinance attempted to meet with members of the Pasadena City Council to sway their votes.
A poll taken by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce revealed 40 percent of the chamber members contend increases in the minimum wage have forced them to decrease their workforce.
But according to a poll funded by Pasadena Organizing for Progress! (POP!), 81 percent of Pasadena’s voters supported the increase to $15 by 2020.
“Mayor Tornek and the City Council proved Monday night with their votes that Pasadena is more than the city of Roses. It is a city of raises,” said Ed Washatka of POP!.