On Fiscal Issues, Where Art Thou Mayoral Candidate Bonnie Dumanis?
Maybe mayoral candidates should approach the 2012 election as if they were running for Homecoming King or Queen of San Diego. This seems to be Bonnie Dumanis’ tactic so far. She is willing to put herself out there… in the sense that she is willing to have folks voice their opinion about her at the ballot box. Of course, nominees for Homecoming court go through that too. As I recall from my own high school experience, and watching every coming of age movie including Mean Girls, the Homecoming court is determined by popularity alone. The nominees do not have to engage in questions of sales taxes, labor unions, deficit reduction, crumbling infrastructure, response times and business environment, to name several issues. First, Homecoming court nominees make a few big posters with markers. Then they smile at both the nerds and the popular kids for the week leading up to the vote. Finally, to their credit, they put their popularity on the line in front of God, man, the principal and the janitor. Dumanis seems more than willing to do that. However, she is not willing to put a stake in the ground on issues, especially fiscal ones.
Dumanis dodged the entire contentious Prop D debate. Prop D would have raised the city’s sales tax by .5 cent to 9.25%. It was truly a battle for the ideological soul of San Diego. Would it be reform before revenue (no on Prop D) or revenue before reform (yes on Prop D). It pit a business group (San Diego Chamber of Commerce) versus an actual pro-business group (the Lincoln Club of San Diego). It put the mayor and six city councilmembers in opposition to two councilmembers, Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio. Labor unions and taxpayer advocates collided. Prop D, the mayor, six city councilmembers, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, and labor unions lost miserably: 38% to 62%.
District Attorney Dumanis decided to recuse herself from the case of Prop D. It was too hot to handle. Police Chief Bill Lansdowne spoke out passionately in favor of Prop D. Police Chief and District Attorney are similar positions in their nature. However, the one running for mayor, District Attorney Dumanis, did not see fit to take a stand. Would it be safe to assume that Dumanis, like Mayor Sanders, won’t confront unions generally and will be beholden to the Police and Fire unions specifically? Will she be seeking their money? The answers seem to be yes and yes.
Per Craig Gustafson of San Diego Union Tribune: She may be running for mayor of San Diego, but District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis remained silent when it came to weighing in on one of the most divisive ballot measures in city history. Along with a few other potential mayoral candidates, including Bob Filner, Dumanis refused to fill out a questionnaire about the ballot measure in October. “Thanks for giving Bonnie the opportunity, but she has decided not to participate in your survey of potential mayoral candidates,” Dumanis’ campaign spokeswoman Jen Tierney wrote in an Oct. 27 response. Tierney was then asked if Dumanis had a position on Proposition D. Tierney responded: “She has not taken a position on it.”
Gustafson ended his article with this line: “To date, Dumanis has yet to address how she’ll fix city finances.”
That’s not entirely true. Right now her plan is to release a plan a while from now. Part two of her plan is to hope for “consensus” between the Mayor Sanders and the current City Council. Fair enough. If we could just get her to reveal her definition of “consensus”, perhaps in a mayoral questionnaire, then her fiscal plan would be less murky.