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

California Conservative's $12-An-Hour Minimum Wage Plan Dies

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SAN FRANCISCO –Ron Unz, the conservative Silicon Valley businessman who authored a ballot measure that effectively eliminated bilingual education in California, has abandoned his push to ask voters to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, saying he couldn’t raise the money to get the measure on the ballot.

Unz, a Republican who ran for governor in 1994, garnered attention with his announcement last fall that he would spearhead an effort to raise the Golden State’s minimum wage. He argued that the wage increase would be beneficial to all residents because it would make working people less reliant on welfare and other government aid.

But Unz said he isn’t wealthy enough to fund the campaign himself, and he was unable persuade labor unions or wealthy conservative donors to kick in the money.

“A lot of media coverage made me sound an awful lot wealthier than I am,” said the technology executive. “The bottom line is I certainly have money but I can’t afford to pay for the campaign myself.”

Unz said he met with some of the state’s largest labor groups and that union officials expressed interest but ultimately wouldn’t commit.

“One or two of them seriously considered partnering with me, but they already had financial commitments, campaigns they were working on,” he said. “Also, I am a conservative Republican they never knew before this popped up; it’s hard to get involved with somebody they hadn’t even heard of before.”

• Category: California, Campaign, Notable • Tags: Marisa Lagos