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Scott Ellis 5:15 a.m., Aug. 5
Bob Filner’s mayoral campaign is on the offensive again, this time taking aim at Wednesday’s endorsement of opponent Carl DeMaio by the San Diego County Apartment Association.
“Carl DeMaio will help make housing more affordable for San Diego’s middle-class families,” said Association president John Modlin in a release. “In addition to his leadership on policies to keep the cost of housing affordable, Carl has demonstrated his commitment to sound fiscal policy, improving infrastructure deficiencies, and is a strong advocate for small businesses. We strongly believe Carl DeMaio’s vision, leadership and track record make him the best choice to be San Diego’s next mayor.”
DeMaio opponents are framing the endorsement not as an indication that the candidate is committed to protecting renters, but instead implying that his real commitment is to protect landlords at the expense of affordable housing.
“During this economic downturn, many families have lost their homes, and rentals have become a critical safety net. We need to make sure that the rental housing sector remains free of unfair government mandates as they serve our residents,” DeMaio says.
The Association’s website describes the group as being dedicated to “serving the needs of individuals and companies who own, manage, or provide services and products to more than 150,000 rental housing units in San Diego County.”
Filner’s own release regarding the endorsement included several comments from affordable housing advocates backing his position.
“Why do San Diegan workers continue to struggle to make ends meet? The answer lies in the gap between what a job pays and what it costs to live in San Diego," said Dr. Murtaza Baxamusa, director of planning and development for the San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corporation, a non-profit housing group sponsored by a collection of construction unions. “But all we see from the likes of Carl DeMaio is the same failed economic experiment that puts landlords, big business and developers above the interests of middle class San Diegans.”
Dr. Nico Calavita, professor emeritus at San Diego State University's School of Public Affairs, also argued that the lack of jobs paying a living wage is a major factor in the region’s housing woes.
“Supporting affordable housing means ensuring that if you work in San Diego, you can afford to live in San Diego,” says Calavita. “Mr. DeMaio has undermined policies and programs in support of that goal. Saying he is a supporter of affordable housing is preposterous.”