Oakland has moved a step closer to having dueling minimum wage measures on the November ballot, but it remains unclear if a business-backed proposal has enough support on the City Council to join a labor plan that seems headed for the November ballot.

The City Council's Rules Committee scheduled debate Thursday on the proposal that would compete with a union-backed minimum wage hike that has already received enough signatures from voters to qualify for the ballot.

The labor-backed plan would increase the hourly minimum wage next year from $9 to $12.25 for all workers. Business and nonprofit leaders have countered with a proposal that would phase in minimum wage increases over three years and exempt certain employers.

The City Council would have to vote in favor of putting the business plan on the ballot at its July 29 meeting. It has the support of council members Pat Kernighan, Larry Reid and Lynette Gibson McElhaney, but it is unclear whether there is additional support on the eight-member council.

If both proposals wind up on the ballot, the one that gets the most votes would become law.

Oakland set to join regional radio system

Two years after Oakland's police radios famously failed during a visit by President Barack Obama, it looks as if the city is poised to scrap its oft-criticized public safety radio system.


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The council's four-member Finance Committee on Tuesday recommended that the city join the East Bay Regional Communication System Authority, which includes nearly every city in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The recommendation, which has the support of police Chief Sean Whent, depends on the regional consortium granting Oakland three seats on its board of directors and completing a project to make its system compatible with BART's.

Top city staffers had said that it would be cheaper for Oakland to keep its own system, but they backed off that claim Tuesday. However, council members and police officers made clear that they didn't trust the city to maintain the radio system that has been notorious in the past for dead zones and communication failures.

Union City puts sales tax measure on ballot

Residents this fall will be asked to renew a four-year-old sales tax that pays for city services.

The half-cent sales tax, which Union City voters passed in 2010, will expire April 1 next year unless voters pass the extension, City Manager Larry Cheeves said.

The tax generates nearly $4.5 million each year and helps pay for police, firefighters, street maintenance and other essential services.

The five-member City Council last Tuesday put the measure on the November ballot.

It would need the support of 50 percent plus one of those voting to pass. At least 62 percent of Union City voters likely would approve the extension, according to a telephone survey three months ago. Voter support rose to 70 percent when those surveyed were informed that the money would be spent on public safety and other essential city services, consultants said.

Union City's current total sales tax is 9.5 percent, city leaders said.