A judge Thursday dealt a double blow to backers of a November ballot measure to establish a higher minimum wage in San Jose, striking a line from their ballot statement that critics called misleading and rejecting their challenges to opponents' statement.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Mark H. Pierce ruled that the phrase "Measure D does not mandate any additional spending by the city" must be stricken from the campaign's rebuttal to the opponents' argument that voters will receive in sample ballots.
Pierce also denied the Measure D campaign's challenge to opponents' ballot argument, stating that they "have failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the subject arguments are false and misleading."
"We lost, they won," said Christopher Platten, an attorney for the Measure D campaign. "Judges are human and humans make mistakes. The fight goes on."
Stacey Hendler Ross, a spokeswoman for the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, a major Measure D sponsor, said the ruling "doesn't change one fact, which is that people who work hard deserve to be compensated fairly and voters deserve to have the facts before they go to the ballot box."
Vic Ajlouny, a consultant for Measure D opponents, said that "we are very happy with the decision."
"Labor and their attorneys failed to keep their false statement," Ajlouny said.
City Clerk Dennis Hawkins said he would hold off making any changes until Friday to allow for the possibility of an appeal, though Hendler Ross said that is unlikely. Statements must be finalized Friday.
The proposed measure would make San Jose one of a handful of major cities in the country to have their own minimum wage law. San Francisco, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M., and Washington, D.C., also have citywide minimum wages.
Measure D would raise the hourly wage from the current statewide $8 minimum to $10 with a provision for annual inflation-indexed increases. Advocates argue that the state minimum wage level is inadequate in pricey Silicon Valley, making low-wage earners reliant on government assistance.
Opponents say the measure will require costly new bureaucracy to monitor compliance, and that employers will be forced to cut jobs to absorb higher wage requirements.
Contact John Woolfolk at 408-975-9346. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/johnwoolfolk1.