DeMaio: ‘My real opponents are the government employee unions and powerful downtown interests’
Politics & Media Mashup is on break for the next few weeks so we can bring you exclusive Q & As with San Diego Mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio, Bonnie Dumanis and Nathan Fletcher.
We kicked off the series last week with Fletcher. We determined the order based on when the responses to our questions were received — first in, first up. Despite repeated attempts, no one from Bob Filner’s campaign would answer our questions, even though a staffer there said, “We read Rostra all the time.”
Perhaps by the end of this series — following Q & As with DeMaio, Dumanis and Fletcher over three consecutive Saturdays — Filner will have changed his mind and we can learn a little more about him.
Here is Rostra’s Q & A with City Council member Carl DeMaio:
- Why are you running for Mayor?
City government is broken and we need real reform. San Diegans are sick of empty rhetoric and endless talk by politicians – they want details and action. And that is exactly what my candidacy represents.
I’m offering specific and concrete commitments to taxpayers through my 90-page comprehensive plan to fix San Diego’s financial problems and make city government work again for the people. The plan transforms five years of deficits into five years of surpluses – and saves roughly one billion dollars for taxpayers.
Unlike the other candidates who are just now suddenly talking about city issues because they now want to be Mayor, I have been talking about and leading on these issues all along.
More importantly, I’m not waiting to be Mayor to get reform done. I’ve been getting results for taxpayers – from the managed competition program, to cutting red tape on businesses, to our upcoming public vote on the Comprehensive Pension Reform ballot measure.
- What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?
We have an exceptional quality of life in San Diego so there’s so much I enjoy. When I can break myself away from working to advance reform for taxpayers, I enjoy hiking the trails and spending time at the beach.
- Which of your opponents do you fear the most? Why?
I don’t see this as a race of me against these three other candidates. My campaign is the same campaign I have waged since becoming a taxpayer watchdog years ago: to clean up the mess at city hall.
My real opponents are the government employee unions and powerful downtown interests that benefit from the cozy system at City Hall at the taxpayers’ expense. They know I will end their taxpayer-funded gravy train, and that’s why they are doing everything they can to defeat our grassroots campaign.
- What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
My childhood was not typical by any measure, with my mother passing away and my father leaving his children. I had to grow up pretty quickly.
In my elementary school each year, they gave out a big prize for the student that could sell the most raffle tickets. Starting in the third grade, each year I sold thousands of tickets by walking door-to-door in neighborhoods. I always won one of the top two prizes, winning a bike one year and a surf board another year. I reconnected with my raffle ticket selling experiences when I walked door-to-door in my race for city council – personally walking to over 15,000 houses in 2008.
- What’s the biggest problem the City faces? How would you fix that problem?
The single most important issue is fiscal reform, which includes comprehensive pension reform. Our city government is in a complete state of deficit, dysfunction and disrepair and as a result, our financial crisis has negatively impacted even the most basic city services like road repairs, emergency response times and neighborhood services. We cannot address these other issues in a meaningful way until we get our finances back on track. I have developed a 90-page comprehensive plan to fix San Diego’s financial problems and make city government work again for the people.
- What’s your go-to place for fish tacos?
Rubios – a San Diego original.
- What is your vision of San Diego in 10 years?
I envision a San Diego that is no longer in a constant state of disrepair. A San Diego that has balanced budgets, streamlined city government, repaved roads and upgraded infrastructure. San Diego will be more attractive to job creators. I don’t think that vision is a fantasy and I don’t even think it will take 10 years to start seeing. I have developed a 90-page comprehensive plan to fix San Diego’s financial problems and make city government work again for the people of San Diego. The plan transforms five years of deficits into five years of surpluses – and saves roughly one billion dollars for taxpayers. This plan allows us to restore services and fix our roads.
- President Obama admitted last year he never sent out a tweet from his account. Since then, when he does send a tweet himself he signs it, “BO.” Do you send out your own tweets? If not, who deserves the credit?
Yes, I send out tweets myself. I try to stagger my tweets throughout the day, and sometimes schedule tweets and posts through social media software.
- Pensions, education and ________ are the 3 biggest issues in the Mayor’s race.
I’m running on the 3 P’s: Pensions, Potholes and Prosperity! By that I mean we need to fix the finances, rebuild our streets and infrastructure, and get San Diegans back to work through job creation. My proposals in education are all geared to preparing our youth for prosperous futures by giving them the skills they need to get quality jobs.
- House Speaker John Boehner recently said the first thing he reads in the morning is POLITICO on his iPad. What’s the first thing you read in the morning and what device (if any) do you use to read it?
I use my laptop – and I crowd source my news by checking a Twitter feed I’ve built of local news reporters, news organizations and civic leaders. I then read the digital version of our city’s newspaper of record: U-T San Diego.
- What one word best describes Mayor Jerry Sanders?
- Are you a dog or cat person? If you have a dog and/or a cat, please share your pet’s name, breed, age and how you met.
Cat: Ace the Cat is five year old bengal; he actually received some national and international media attention when I stood up against the “Cat Tax” proposed by city staff.
- Anything else you want to add?
I believe San Diegans share my vision of fixing our financial problems, closing a troubling chapter in our city’s history and allowing our city to pursue big dreams again. As Mayor, I believe we will make this vision a reality, and will invite everyone to work together to make that happen.