DeMaio: “We’re on a roll, my friends.” Filner: “Republicans are racists.”

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Guest Commentary
by Brian Brady

I attended the first “mano a mano” Mayoral debate between Republican Carl DeMaio and Democrat Bob Filner Thursday night at the Institute of the Americas at UCSD.  The topic was relations with Mexico. Ten years ago, I thought The San Diego/Tijuana region was a megalopolis with untapped potential but after the murder of Rosarito’s mayor, I resigned myself to the fact that Mexico’s corrupt government ceded power to the cartels, rendering the prospect of regional trade doubtful.  After watching the debate, I realized there are good opportunities for regional commerce.

The crowd was mostly pro-Filner with less than 15 percent of the 100 people who attended in the DeMaio camp.  The format was to have the candidates answer questions which were submitted from the audience and was moderated by Tom Fudge from KPBS.  Fudge had his hands full, trying to keep Filner on topic.

The first question was directed to both candidates, asking them if they would enforce federal immigration law in the City of San Diego.  Filner predictably parroted the Obama Administration’s talking points about how enforcing federal immigration law led to racial profiling and violated the civil rights of Mexican citizens in America.  Filner intimated that the San Diego police dont have the super human powers the federal agents have to enforce immigration law.

DeMaio explained that his number one priority as Mayor is public safety.  He reminded us that legal immigrants, as well as Americans of Mexican descent, were victims of the crime promulgated by many illegal aliens.  DeMaio didn’t go so far as to promote the Arizona solution but did say there were opportunities for San Diego law enforcement to work in coordination with federal immigration officials.  He made it clear that racial profiling would never be tolerated in a DeMaio Administration.  Filner visibly rolled his eyes and muttered his disbelief.

Both candidates acknowledged that the border wait times were impeding commerce but only DeMaio offered a solution.  Filner touted his accomplishments at securing federal funding for the 905 and Otay Mesa border crossing while DeMaio promoted the idea of technology for collaborative efforts between both countries to enforce immigration laws more efficiently and facilitate international trade.  DeMaio noted that the technology was already available at UCSD.


DeMaio announced that he would be leading a delegation to Tijuana for three days to discuss these issues which prompted Filner to attack his commitment to the idea.  Filner accused DeMaio of not visiting Mexico which prompted a question from the audience asking how many times each candidate had been to Mexico in the past year.

DeMaio explained that he had been busy defeating Proposition D sales tax and working on comprehensive pension reform.  Filner rattled off a number of Mexican cities he’d visited, reminding me of Johnny Cash, but wouldn’t state if he’d been to Mexico in the past year.

When asked about the maquiladores, DeMaio explained that both sides of the border benefit when one side advances economically,  He seemed to understand that the region, while currently bifurcated, still complements one another,  DeMaio explained that the maquis are attracting jobs which had formerly been in China and understood that, as the standard of living rises on the Mexican side of the border, American stores and businesses benefit.

Finer expressed his disdain for the maquis by explaining that he has been a champion of environmental rights and human rights.  He said the maquis dont treat the environment well and that they offer false hope for interior Mexicans, drawn to Tijuana at the prospect of high maqui wages but eventually cross our border illegally.  Bluntly stated, Filner said that maquiladores are bad business.

Both candidates used the platform to attack the other’s ability to lead San Diego.  DeMaio criticized Filner’s work in Congress while Filner retorted that DeMaio didn’t help him much these past four years. DeMaio reminded us that he was cleaning up the pension mess which Filner (among others) created from their past terms on the Council.  Filner’s continually hammered DeMaio’s inexperience in public service while DeMaio continually highlighted Filner’s low efficacy in public service.

The most divisive comment came from Filner when he accused DeMaio of belonging to a party of racists:

“Carl, you can not disown your party. They have enveloped you, they have taken you over, you have worked them over every inch,” he said. “They are a party that does not believe that the people of color in this nation deserve an equal chance, they do not believe that Mexico is worthy of respect as a nation.”

DeMaio was visibly upset (as was I) at Filner’s race-baiting but calmly replied, “While Filner was dividing in Washington, I was building coalitions of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to reform government in San Diego.  Bob Filner should stay in DC because there is no place for his divisive politics in San Diego.”

Filner closed with ideas about a green economy and a “blue economy” (highlighting the potential of wave energy) and suggested a fusion of the two to make San Diego an “aqua city.”  He painted in broad strokes of ideas, with no real details, and closed with the RFK quote, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

DeMaio closed with his list of his accomplishments as a Council member, not limited to but including defeating Proposition D, reforming pensions, and implementing managed competition.  Rather than take sole credit for these feats, he offered the credit to a coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and independents.  DeMaio closed by saying “We’re on a roll, my friends.”

Indeed we are.

P.S.-  One enjoyable moment came when I had an opportunity to meet a Filner supporter who comments under a pseudonym regularly here at SDRostra.  I always like to meet people face-to-face.  After last night’s conversation, I expect the level of discourse to rise to a new height with that person.

# # #

Brian Brady is a small business owner who lives in Solana Beach.  He is a director for Stop Taxing Us, the taxpayer advocacy and tea party group.  There, he crafted the “Promise to California taxpayers,” a no new tax pledge candidates make.  He is a Member-Elect of the SDGOP Central Committee.


Comments 9

  1. Congressman Bob Filner was in Mexico the day before the debate to attend the signing of Border 2020, the environmental agreement between the US EPA and Mexico.

    Bob also discussed the meaning of REform.


    Navy Broadway Complex, Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, Qualcomm Stadium, Sports Arena, private 5 percent annual $80+ million hotel tax, and up to $18 million Balboa Park valet parking structure paid by taxpayers without a vote.

  2. Filner didn’t mention that he went to Mexico in the debate. I have no doubt that he went to Mexico recently and more often then DeMaio.

    LPH, were you disappointed with Filner’s comment about Republicans and people of color?

  3. The race card. What was once the last card Democrats used, is now the first, second, last and everything in between.

    I am disappointed Carl didn’t light into Filner. Forget this calm congenial response, which, in my opinion, was weak, he should have ripped Filner a new one. We have to stop letting them beat us with the racism card. To just let something that disgusting go, without an equally harsh, yet truthful and honest rebuttal is sad.

    I hope Carl is more aggressive and first out the door in the attack ads this election cycle, and this was a one time thing, because I guarantee you, the other side is never weak when it comes to attacking us.

  4. Bingo baby. Carl is a Local hack. Filner is a Federal Hack. San diego needs and will get a man of Federal Power. This SDPD spew from Carl. How hackish can one be. SDPD needs to write traffic tickets to support the cost of much needed training.

    I’m sorry I missed the debate. I can’t stand peons in local office (Donna Fry, Kevin the falconer, etc). Have we not learned to arise above these clucks? Dick Murphy? My God we could have elected Ron Roberts. Donna Don’t Surf Fry, My God we could have had Steve Danon. The beat goes on. Give me Filner, then Bilbray. Midget Manchester has no sway.

    But Carl as Mayor? Why? Who are the deep rooted investors? Manchester, and his pod need to swim away. We need outspoken brilliance. When Obama gets the nod, San Diego needs a Democrat. Its monopoly money, but San Diego deserves its share.

  5. I’m with Prophet Mike Earl! Speak to us, Earl…make us wise. Yeah, man, like peace and stuff, baby! Down with Johnson! Down with Nixon! It takes a village to grow a pot crop! We don’t need no bureaucrat taking our wine and weed, man! Drop out, and drop in, and stop drop and roll! I mean seriously? Seriously, man? Filner Bilner Bo-Bilner? Well, he is experienced.
    Open your mind, open your miiiiind!

    You guys keep talking about “jobs” this and “jobs” that. I’ve gone my entire 65 years without a single paycheck. So what do you all really know?

    ::: drum circle outro :::

  6. “When Obama gets the nod, San Diego needs a Democrat. It’s monopoly money, but San Diego deserves its share.”

    Therein lies the problem. In a kleptocracy, even good people become thieves.

  7. Carl has a wonderful and diverse staff.

    Filner was off base.

    However Filner has promised to END homelessness in San Diego. In order to END homelessness, former Redevelopment Tax Increment has to be redirected from the rich downtown money interests who stole the $228 million in Federal CDBG debt. According to the Federal Office of Inspector General Audit, CCDC leveraged the Federal HUD meant for the poor, into luxury condos and hotels with the goal of increasing future Tax Increment, while over 50+ San Diegans die each year.

  8. Moonshadow. You got me babe. Did you enjoy the LILY POND? Hey I had my infrared out there. Did you see my Go Pro set up on the roof? My amigo, payday is on election night. See you in Tampa Sarge. Yes, You and your Hegalians may set up in my suite. (maybe)

    PS: The only reason I have not seen a paycheck since 1979, is because my life partner sees it first……….Amen

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