DN Editorial: How to vote on the ballot questions

Posted: November 01, 2010

BALLOT QUESTION NO. 1: Should City Council be given the power to require city contractors to comply with wage and benefit standards?

This is the most controversial ballot question because it would give City Council more power to enforce wage and benefit standards for companies that have professional-service contracts with the city.

Contractors would be required to pay a "living wage" - meaning 150 percent of the minimum wage or $10.88 per hour. If someone worked for 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, their income would rise from $15,000 to $22,500. We have reservations about giving Council power over an area normally controlled by the mayor, but the benefit of increasing income for low-wage workers outweighs that concern.

We say vote Yes.

QUESTION NO. 2: Modernizing the procurement process.

This ballot question will allow companies to bid electronically on city contracts, as well as modernize the procurement process in other ways. Should be an easy Yes.

QUESTION NO. 3: Preventing discrimination in city contracts on the basis of ancestry, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age or disability.

This one is another no-brainer. Current city regulations provide some loopholes that allow discrimination in the awarding of city contracts, especially for gender identity and sexual orientation.

We don't think that discrimination is widespread, but approving this ballot measure is a important statement about our values as a city.

Vote Yes.

QUESTION NO. 4: Should the city borrow $106 million for capital projects?

This question will authorize routine borrowing for critical infrastructure repairs. We say Yes.