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El Segundo mayor: Raising minimum wage 'not the right thing' for any city




Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during the naming ceremony for the ames K. Hahn City Hall East building downtown.
Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during the naming ceremony for the ames K. Hahn City Hall East building downtown.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

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Mayor Eric Garcetti has been pushing a plan to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles.  He's been lobbying for a gradual increase to an hourly wage of $13.25 by 2017.

The success of his plan may depend on what path nearby cities chooses to take on the issue amid the fierce competition for businesses and jobs. So, Garcetti has been reaching out to mayors from Lancaster to Long Beach to see if they will follow suit.

But some, like El Segundo Mayor Suzanne Fuentes, say cities should play a different role.

"It's not up to the city to tell an employer what they're going to pay an employee, that's up to the employer and the employee," said Fuentes. "An employee doesn't need to take a job that she or he feels doesn't pay enough."

Workers will go where they feel they're being treated and paid well and can choose to go elsewhere, Fuentes says.

"It's not mandatory that any employee has to stay anywhere, that's the beauty of the free market," she said.

Supporters of raising the minimum wage point to San Jose, where the unemployment rate has dropped since voters agreed to raise the wage to $10 in 2012. Critics say the situation is complicated by economic growth driven by the tech sector.