DeMaio: ‘My real opponents are the government employee unions and powerful downtown interests’

Tony ManolatosTony Manolatos 12 Comments

[captionpix imgsrc=”” captiontext=”Carl DeMaio”]

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.


Be sure to follow San Diego Rostra on Twitter and like Rostra on Facebook.

Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedInYou can hear Tony talk politics and media with KOGO’s LaDona Harvey every Friday at 2:35 p.m. on AM 600 and FM 95.7.

Comments 12

  1. I couldn’t agree more with Carl DeMaio about who his true opponents are. The author of this article, Tony Manolatos, exercised superb judgement in headlining the article the way he did. This also speaks to my long time complaint here in San Diego, that our political choices have been between government that favors big business or government that favors big labor. We need government that favors the taxpayers and average citizens, whether or not that favors particular businesses. An even playing field will ultimately make our city a better place to live.

  2. “Powerful Downtown Interests?” Like all the downtown builders that recently endorsed DeMaio?”

  3. Downtown interests may have endorsed Carl, but they also understand that there is a hurdle to be crossed, the TAX payers. Everyone here needs to admit that Carl DeMaio is a very shrewd tax payer advocate.

  4. Alger:
    If you review the board members of the SD Downtown Partnership, you will find a healthy mix of folks who are Carl supporters, Carl detractors, and a number who have maxed out ($500) to all 3 right of center mayoral candidates. The downtown types are far more comfortable with the Sanders/Dumanis/Fletcher types. To say otherwise is rather fanciful.
    By the way Alger, while certainly some developers are based downtown, the builders and contractors that have overwhelmingly supported Carl are overwhelmingly located in Kearny Mesa/Mira Mesa.

  5. James,

    It is not where your office is located that counts; it is where you do the work. The City has some major projects that they will have to decide whether to build and that decision will take place during the next Mayor’s turn.

    DeMaio has, at least publicly, not been very supportive of a new City Hall, a new Chargers Stadium or an expansion to the Convention Center, yet all the major builders and contractors’ associations have endorsed his candidacy. As Richard Rider would say “hmm?”

  6. Ms. Right,

    DeMaio is certainly shrewd, but I am not so sure of the second part of your contention. As for major projects needing a vote of the people, there is no legal obligation for that.

  7. Alger:
    Did it ever cross your mind that the builders and contractors support Carl due to his unwavering support of their right to work?
    If they impose PLAs on all those downtown project (thus only allowing the 13% who are unionized bid and shutting out 87% of workers), it won’t be very helpful to employers and companies ready to compete for those jobs.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Fletcher and/or Dumanis said they were against PLAs… but that means nothing. Builders and contractors know that.

  8. James,

    The City has never (nor have any of the other cities that have recently passed anti-PLA ordinances) ever mandated that a PLA be used on a municipal projects.

    As for those who are not unionized being able to work on projects that are under a PLA, I think you need to check the bidders’ list for San Diego Unified’s projects or the list of those who built PetCo Park. You will see many of those same companies that belong to these associations that have endorsed DeMaio.

    You are drinking the Kool Aid on his one; PLA’s are nothing more than a red herring used to rile up the uninformed.

  9. While there is definitely some overlap, there are two kinds of companies involved in the construction industry. One type is primarily dependent on GOVERNMENT contracts, and one is primarily dependent on PRIVATE construction to meet market demand.

    Generally those who are are dependent on government contracts oppose taxpayer champions such as DeMaio. Generally those who see to meet private sector needs though voluntary agreements support folks like DeMaio.

    I hope that helps Alger understand. Of course, I don’t EXPECT Alger to grasp the distinction — or at least ADMIT he understands the distinction.

  10. To show just how nutty Alger is, consider his comment:

    “DeMaio has, AT LEAST PUBLICLY, not been very supportive of a new City Hall, a new Chargers Stadium or an expansion to the Convention Center . . .”

    “At least publicly”???? “Not very supportive”??? Where can I pick up a set those union-tinted glasses you sport so well?

    Alger, you figure that DeMaio pissing off the San Diego Downtown Business Subsidy Association — causing them to support Nathan Fletcher and Bonnie Dumanis — is some sort of clever RUSE by DeMaio????

    Perhaps, once elected, you figure he really will want to further indebt taxpayers by building expensive pyramids to benefit the very folks opposing his candidacy??? That his consistent pro-taxpayer record in office to date should not count for anything?


  11. Now that ‘ol Carl is done fleecing taxpayer with his former business that was “dependent on GOVERNMENT contracts”, he’s now somehow their advocate?


  12. Alger:
    The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Unions have spent 10s of thousands to defeat ant-PLA measures countywide and in Chula Vista. You say: “PLA’s are nothing more than a red herring used to rile up the uninformed.”
    I say unfounded smugness is for the uninformed. To each their own.

    If Carl were opposed managed competition, the outsourcing of city contracts to companies that execute services faster, better and cheaper than the City does… then he would be a raging hypocrite. However Carl is a huge proponent of managed competition… so you and I have very different definitions of hypocrite, I suppose. That’s good to know.

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