DeMaio Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign
Pledges to Implement His “Roadmap to Recovery” and Pension Reform
City Councilmember Carl DeMaio launched his campaign for Mayor on Sunday in Rancho Bernardo. In his announcement, delivered to a crowd of 200 supporters, DeMaio focused on making city government work for San Diegans once again.
What follows is the full text of his speech:
Thank you Susan and Chris – it means so much to have you here today and I know Mom would be so proud and happy for us.
Thank you all for coming today. Welcome to my home community of Rancho Bernardo.
We have so much to be proud of in San Diego – we have the perfect climate, gorgeous beaches and bays, great neighborhoods, amazing diversity, world-wide respected research institutes, companies that are market leaders, and a people with immense talent and a can-do spirit.
With all of these great things going for us, I believe San Diego can do anything…and be anything it wants to be.
Unfortunately, the dreams of our city have been held hostage because our city government is in a complete state of deficit, dysfunction and disrepair.
Friends, we can do something to change that!
Three years ago I sold my businesses and committed myself to public service because I could not bear to see our city continue to decline.
I spent several years bringing the city’s financial problems to public light as a watchdog and urging our city leaders to act.
But city leaders refused to act and the situation just got worse.
Instead of giving up, I decided to do something about it – to be part of the solution – and I ran for City Council so I could
- bring a business perspective into City Hall,
- be the taxpayers’ eyes and ears on every decision being made,
- and force the issue of fiscal reform each and every day
I want to thank the people of District 5 for having faith in me and entrusting me to be their voice for the past two and a half years.
With your help, and with our strong grassroots support network throughout the city, we have been able to stop a lot of bad ideas – like the an unnecessary $300 million dollar new City Hall!
More importantly, we have been able to get a number of key reforms done in city government.
While the results we have achieved so far are a good start, they are only the beginning – and we must do much more to get our city government back on track.
I’m a businessman – and I know you cannot turn around a financially-troubled organization without a clear, comprehensive and detailed plan of action.
So six months ago I did just that. I released my Roadmap to Recovery – a 90-page step-by-step plan that reforms the pension system and fundamentally rethinks how our city government operates – with an emphasis on delivering services in faster, better, and more efficient ways.
The plan transforms five years of deficits into five years of surpluses – and saves roughly one billion dollars for taxpayers. More importantly it allows us to restore services and fix our roads.
Since releasing the Roadmap, I have been to every neighborhood in San Diego to share this plan with citizens, hear their feedback, and ask for their ideas on how to make it better.
The message we are hearing is clear: San Diegans are ready to do their part to fix their city government. And they are ready to support the reforms laid out in the Roadmap.
And that leads me to my announcement today:
We have a comprehensive plan to fix San Diego’s financial problems and make city government work again for the people – and I’m running for Mayor so we can implement that plan!
And I’m not waiting to be Mayor before I start implementing this plan.
Because of the gravity of our city’s financial problems, San Diego cannot wait for reform. That’s why I am sponsoring the Comprehensive Pension Reform ballot measure for the June 2012 election.
We must recognize that life-long, taxpayer guaranteed pensions are a relic of the past. They are unsustainable and have forced too much financial risk on taxpayers.
Our ballot measure ends the city pension system as we know it, moves employees to 401(k)s, requires city employees to pay a full and equal share of the costs, and prohibits pension spiking that has produced outrageous payouts to city employees over the years.
More importantly, the measure achieves the simple, but fair criteria I established: city employees deserve no better, and no worse, a retirement benefit than the taxpayers who are footing the bill.
As I campaign for Mayor, I am making passage of the pension reform ballot measure my top priority – and we will be collecting signatures and promoting passage of the measure at every one of our campaign stops.
Cleaning Up City Hall begins with Pension Reform, but it also includes other areas that we will emphasize during this campaign….
Cleaning Up City Hall…means balancing the budget for real—no accounting gimmicks.
Cleaning Up City Hall…means rebuilding our community infrastructure—starting with our streets and sidewalks first.
Cleaning Up City Hall…means reforming water rates and cutting costs in the water department – so our working families and seniors aren’t hit with higher and higher water bills.
Cleaning Up City Hall…means libraries and parks that are actually open so our children have a safe zone to go to after school.
Cleaning Up City Hall…means making our police and fire departments cost-efficient so they can get to you in the national response time or better when you need them.
Cleaning Up City Hall…means enacting the toughest sunshine laws in the nation by putting city performance measures, its checkbook, city contracts, and all employee salaries and compensation online. It’s your money and you should know how city leaders are spending it.
Cleaning Up City Hall…means more than just reforming finances and balancing the budget. It means positioning city government to have the capacity to pursue and pull off visionary projects that take the dreams of our city and make them a reality.
I chose the location for today’s announcement for a reason. We’re in an empty store that once contained a thriving business.
That’s why Cleaning Up City Hall also means getting our economy moving again!
We need to make city government a help, not a barrier, to job creation by rejecting costly mandates and getting businesses through city’s bureaucracy faster.
And finally, Cleaning Up City Hall…means instilling accountability at every level of government—starting with city leaders themselves.
In each of these areas, I intend to build on the specifics we already have laid out in the Roadmap to Recovery Plan.
San Diegans are tired of empty rhetoric and fluff – they want their elected leaders to provide details and make firm commitments. No more wiggle room, no more double-speak.
Make no mistake about it: Change won’t come easy at City Hall, and this campaign will not be easy.
And be sure, this kind of change won’t make me popular in and around City Hall. But we need leaders who are willing to take a risk for the greater good and I am willing to do that.
We can expect that the opponents of reform – particularly the special interest lobbyists and government labor bosses — will resort to nasty and negative tactics to defeat us.
Why? Because they do not even think we have a problem at City Hall.
Remember, this is a system that the special interests and government labor bosses have created and control.
This is a system that they benefit from. And they are doing it with YOUR money. That’s why the only solutions they offer are higher taxes and fees on working San Diegans, so they can continue to feed off the city trough.
Well, their day is done.
My campaign is about ending that system, ending the sweetheart deals for the insiders, and getting city government back where it should be: focused on the people who live and work here, the people who educate their children and raise their families here, and the people that want to see San Diego live up to our motto of being America’s Finest City.
So I hope you will join me. Let’s commit to working hard, and working together, to bring our campaign of ideas and solutions to every neighborhood.
It’s time to Clean Up City Hall. Are you ready?
Wait, I want to make sure the special interest lobbyists and government union bosses hear us: Are you ready?
Then let’s go out there and get our city back on track!