DeMaio skips out on his day job... again

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Carl DeMaio briefly grabbed headlines this week over his demand for a hearing into the city's water billing system. He ended up with egg on his face though when it turns out that there's already been a hearing -- last month, in a subcommittee where DeMaio's a member -- and DeMaio skipped out on it.

There isn't much for DeMaio to do about the gaffe. In his original memo calling for a hearing, DeMaio said:
As elected leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that taxpayers and ratepayers receive the level of customer service that they deserve, and we are currently not measuring up
Well, some are. But skipping the hearing -- and not even knowing that it ever happened -- suggests that DeMaio isn't exactly living up to the responsibility he outlines for council members. That didn't stop Team DeMaio from trying to spin away from it. A statement from his office said:
Obviously problems in customer service are a major issue within the water department. Clearly this is an important issue...
"Obviously" as of when exactly? one is compelled to wonder. It was obvious enough to Councilmember Alvarez more than a month ago that he held the hearing that DeMaio neither attended nor (apparently) even noticed. And in the same vein, "Clearly" since when? It presumably wasn't clear to DeMaio or his staff last month when the hearing was being held, otherwise maybe he would have stuck around for it.
 
But let's give DeMaio the benefit of some context. The hearing was on November 9th, which was the first day after DeMaio's Pension ballot measure had qualified for the ballot. DeMaio had media and other outreach to do that day, trumpeting his side campaign. Maybe that's what cut into his capacity to attend or even know about hearings going on at the City Council... where the "Taxpayer Watchdog" is paid by taxpayers to work.
 
Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time this issue has come up. DeMaio is well-known for leaving council early, tweeting about campaign events during council session, and not reading hundred-million-dollar policy changes before voting for them. In this case, he didn't just decide the issue wasn't important enough for his time, it didn't even register to him (or, apparently, his staff) that it had ever taken place.
 
If Carl DeMaio wants to change San Diego, he might want to start by showing up, or even being aware, of what's going on in San Diego to begin with. After all, no matter how little he cares about it, it's still his job.