Carl DeMaio referred to a defeat and some victories during his talk at the May 1 San Carlos Area Council meeting. He also weighed in on the proposed City of San Diego budget and discussed his activities since losing the mayoral race to Bob Filner last November.
DeMaio thanked the audience for supporting his campaign and his position on three ballot items. DeMaio helped write two 2006 successful ballot measures: Proposition B, which required voter approval of city pension increases; and Proposition C, which mandated competitive bidding and outsourcing of some city functions.
In 2008, DeMaio began a four-year term as District Five’s city councilman. Two years later, he led opposition to Proposition D, the half-cent sales-tax increase that voters rejected. DeMaio told the group that proponents said without the tax increase, services would be lost and "the world would swallow us whole. No, that would just happen if Bob Filner was elected."
He said a balanced budget would allow the city to restore services. After the 2012 election, DeMaio said he decided to "stay in the game" and "continue to analyze things and oppose bad policy and propose good policy."
DeMaio now chairs two political advocacy groups: Reform San Diego and Reform California Agenda. The statewide group was launched this year through the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation. Board trustees include comedian/game-show host Drew Carey and David Koch of Koch Industries, according to the foundation's website. DeMaio said Reform California is modeled on the San Diego Citizens Budget Project. According to DeMaio's website, he headed that 2003 project.
DeMaio said that California Reform in June would release what he called the "Pay More Get Less in California Report." He said there are major spending increases and reductions in state services. As with Proposition D, he said the issue was not "Democrat or Republican, it's mathematical." He challenged politicians to come back with a plan.
"The City of San Diego is falling backwards into failed practices" and could return to becoming "Enron By the Sea,” said DeMaio. He criticized the reduction in infrastructure spending in the proposed 2014 city budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Council budget hearings are scheduled from May 6–10.
A review of the budget by the city Independent Budget Analyst described Filner's proposal to delay issuing an $80 million bond as "the most significant and concerning budget reduction." The mayor proposed shifting issuance from this year to January 2014 and delaying "all planned subsequent issuances to achieve annual debt service savings of $5.6 million for five years," according to the IBA.
At the SCAC meeting, new president Mickey Zeichick said to DeMaio, "We are in a serious situation with a strong mayor. How do we turn that around legally?" DeMaio responded by saying city finances were "better, but we're not out of the ICU. We decided to throw the ball long and become a skunk at a garden party. If we keep working hard…we will get the city government we deserve."