Raising the Minimum Wage for Working Men and Women in California and the Rest of America

Entrepreneur's Push for $12 Minimum Wage Stalls

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LOS ANGELES — An attempt to persuade California voters this year to approve a $12-an-hour minimum wage, which would be the highest among states, stalled Monday after its chief supporter announced he was struggling to qualify the proposal for the ballot.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Republican maverick Ron Unz said in a statement he had been unable to line up major donors to contribute to the cost of gathering more than 500,000 petition signatures, a required step to place the idea before voters.

“It seems unlikely that my measure will be on the November ballot, which is obviously a major disappointment to me,” he said.

The 52-year-old Unz is an unlikely champion for an idea often associated with Democrats — he’s a former publisher of The American Conservative magazine who has run long-shot campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate. He has a history of against-the-grain political activism that includes pushing a 1998 ballot proposal that dismantled California’s bilingual education system, an idea he later championed in Colorado and other states.

Unz argued the higher wage would boost the economy and lift low-paid workers from dependency on food stamps and other taxpayer assistance.

He had described the proposed wage jump as “a gigantic economic stimulus package.”

• Category: Campaign, Notable • Tags: Michael R. Blood