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Judge Bars Aides' Raise From Ballot

July 20, 2002|EVELYN LARRUBIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that an initiative to raise the salaries of home health aides is unconstitutional and should not appear on the November ballot.

The ruling handed a huge victory to county supervisors, who opposed the measure.

Judge Dzintra Janavs said state law gives the supervisors, not the voters, authority to set the workers' salaries.

The aides receive $6.75 an hour to care for the elderly and infirm at home.

"I think it's clearly invalid, on every basis," Janavs told proponents of the initiative at the hearing. "I'm sympathetic to your cause because I am myself at that age where I'm thinking about these things, but...."

Tyrone Freeman, head of the Service International Employees Union Local 434B, said it will not appeal the decision but will lobby the Legislature for a raise.

The case was the county's second attempt to kill the initiative. The first was in December, when the supervisors voted 4 to 1 in a closed-door meeting to order their lawyer not to take the necessary steps to put the measure on the ballot.

Janavs ruled that vote illegal for a number of reasons. The county then reversed its decision and proponents were allowed to gather signatures for a ballot initiative.

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