DeMaio's Two Weeks of Truthiness

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's been a tough couple weeks for Carl DeMaio, as he keeps running up against reality. It's almost as hard to keep up with it all:
~ Last week, DeMaio rolled out a new plan to boost volunteerism in the city. A laudable goal in general, but it ran into two problems. First, one of the primary thrusts of the plan was to criticize unions for blocking volunteerism... except it turns out that they don't. Perhaps just as awkward, he launched the plan at a "closed" rec center -- where two programs were going on, and after chasing kids off the playground.
~ Just two weeks after DeMaio called the notion "laughable," the state's Public Employment Relations Board found a big enough legal problem with his vaunted CPR initiative that it's going to court and may be removed from the ballot.
In response, DeMaio lambasted PERB as the "Sacramento defenders" of unions, and he's still running with that notion... except that last year it granted zero requests for the kind of legal intervention it's embarking on now, and has taken the step only seven times dating back to 2003 while rejecting more than one hundred such requests. And on KPBS, DeMaio continued struggling:

“You have stories on KPBS that show the mayor set aside his ballot measure and a coalition ballot measure came out that the mayor and I both supported as private individuals,” DeMaio added.


Michael Zucchet, the general manager of SDMEA, called DeMaio's argument "fascinating."


"Of all the things that’s come out of his mouth,” Zucchet said. “In January 2011, Mayor Sanders, standing behind a city lectern with a city seal at the 'State of the City' address, announced, quote, the city attorney and I, Mayor Sanders, are going to put on the ballot an initiative to eliminate pensions, go to 401(k)s, etc., etc., which is what we have today."

~ Yesterday, Voice of San Diego took on two DeMaio statements about about the proposed Convention Center expansion deal and found them both to be false. Not just false, but in one case, knowingly false. Voice finds that DeMaio knew, or should have known, that he was outright wrong to claim no money from the city's general fund would be spent on the plan. As Liam Dillon explains:

In December, he voted to move the expansion forward, provided that city officials put options for a taxpayer cap in writing by January. That didn't happen.


In January, DeMaio tried a different approach. He wanted any excess dollars from the visitor tax increase to pay back the city's contribution to the expansion. That effort also was unsuccessful. But DeMaio once again voted in favor of the expansion.


And even DeMaio backs off calling the current situation a "cap" during the interview. Instead, he refers to it as a "commitment ... we're going to have a cap on that deal."

While we're on the subject, What would be the point of a cap if there's no general fund money going towards the project? What is there to cap? The two false statements aren't even particularly consistent with each other, much less facts.


And all of that comes without even delving into DeMaio's indirect argument that hoteliers are paying for the expansion. He repeats that suggestion in the Voice interview, implying that it's because of that funding that he supports their plan. But the hotelier's portion would be funded with a new tax, so they wouldn't actually be paying for anything. It's the crux of the legal justification for the entire deal, so it's telling that DeMaio is so careful to dance around the issue.


The closest DeMaio came to a bright spot with the truth was accurately pegging the reduction in library hours across the city. But even that came without noting that in late 2010 he voted to subsidize parking tickets instead of restoring library hours.


All that in just two weeks.