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Advocates stump for paid sick leave

Metro BeatALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Several health care professionals and other supporters of the proposed Healthy Workforce Ordinance held a news conference at First Choice South Broadway Medical Center on Thursday to advocate for the paid sick leave measure voters will decide on Oct. 3.

“As a physician I endorse the healthy workforce initiative …,” said Tasha Barnes, a physician at a local community health clinic and one of several speakers.

Barnes talked about a waitress who sprained her ankle on a Saturday while at the park with her kids and then went to work the next morning because she didn’t have paid sick time. While carrying a tray, the woman ended up twisting her ankle again, but this time she suffered a torn ligament, Barnes said, emphasizing why it’s important for workers to have paid sick time.

If approved by voters, the ordinance would require employers to provide paid sick time to full-time, part-time and temporary workers at any business with a physical presence in Albuquerque.

Opponents argue that the ordinance would hurt businesses, because of higher costs and what they call onerous record-keeping requirements.

A change of heart

District 3 city council candidate Christopher Sedillo said he has changed his mind about the proposed sick leave ordinance, which he had initially opposed.

“As it is written, I would not support it,” he initially wrote in his Journal questionnaire when asked his position. “I do believe it would be a negative impact on business and with Albuquerque’s high unemployment rate it will only make it worse.” He reiterated his opposition to the ordinance during a meeting with the Journal’s editorial board.

But, on Friday, he said in an email that he changed his mind after a meeting with OLÉ, one of the measure’s top supporters, and after discussions with a number of small businesses.

“I reconsidered my position only after my interview with OLÉ,” Sedillo told the Journal.

Garcia Holmes picks up endorsements

Mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes announced last week that she has been endorsed by former Albuquerque Police Department chief Joseph Polisar, retired APD captain Jim Lehner and Sabina Webster, mother of Daniel Scott Webster, an APD officer killed in the line of duty in 2015.

“Albuquerque desperately needs the kind of leadership, vision and knowledge that Michelle can provide,” Polisar said in the release.

Garcia Holmes said Polisar and Lehner will be part of her chiefs selection team and Public Safety Planning Commission to deal with violent and property crime issues in the city.

“I have the resume, experience and commitment to making Albuquerque a safe city so our small businesses can thrive, and our citizens don’t have to walk around in fear of being victimized,” Garcia Holmes said.

Martin Salazar: msalazar@abqjournal.com

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