DeMaio continues giveaway to hotelier donors

Friday, April 6, 2012

Carl DeMaio has spent months pushing for special rules to apply to rich downtown hoteliers, and the hypocrisy continues tying him in knots. On the one hand he talks a good game about transparency, accountability and the right for the public to vote on policy. On the other, he's pushed for a possibly illegal special district of hoteliers, pushed to let them tax the public with no public input, and led the charge to privatize control of the Convention Center. And now it's getting worse.

In a recent series, Voice of San Diego has highlighted yet another problem in the whole process, especially given DeMaio's lip service about transparency and public accountability. It turns out, when hoteliers hold their special vote, nobody will know how the votes are divided up. Since the council set things up so that the votes are divided up based on how much business the hotels have been doing, the public isn’t allowed to know who gets how many votes. Because nobody's allowed to know how they're divided up, it's unlikely that it's possible for anyone to independently monitor or review the results.

Add it all up and, if they wanted, hoteliers could simply invent the election results and the public might never know. Even though (or maybe specifically because) voters were asked twice if they want this tax and twice said no, DeMaio has spent months doing flips and twists to hand over as much money and power as possible to rich downtown hoteliers.

Not only has DeMaio decided that rich corporations should get to impose taxes on the public, but he actually pushed successfully to pay them to impose taxes on the public. Now, if hoteliers approve the tax, it turns out that the public will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes directly to giant corporations with no say in the matter and maybe without even knowing if the hotelier vote was conducted honestly.

Meanwhile, DeMaio continues the pretense that he is in favor of public input and accountability, about transparency, and about voters having a say over how their money is spent. Just hoping nobody notices that what he actually does is the polar opposite. Of course, hoteliers have been generous with their campaign contributions to DeMaio, who has said he "owes" his donors. But maybe Carl DeMaio and his ego just want the public to be able to see him taking their money and giving it to corporations?

Either way, another reminder of what Carl DeMaio thinks your taxes are for.