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DeMaio Brings Rochambeau-Style Reforms to City Council

In the months leading up to his December 8 inauguration to the San Diego City Council, Councilmember-elect Carl DeMaio was outspoken about the role of the city-council president. He believed the position — created in 2004 as part of the "strong mayor" form of government — gave the president too much power over the council and too much influence on the docket.

During several town-hall meetings, DeMaio rebuked outgoing council president Scott Peters for exercising those powers. He accused Peters of “manipulating” future agendas, thereby essentially silencing certain councilmembers from raising their concerns to the public.

To prevent further abuses of power, DeMaio, along with Councilmember Donna Frye, suggested ways to limit the president’s powers, which would provide equal access to the docket for all councilmembers. They proposed borrowing some methods from the County Board of Supervisors, mainly designating the city clerk as parliamentarian over council meetings, while simultaneously allowing each councilmember a chance to docket items on the agenda.

While changing the role of the president was something for the new council to deliberate on, DeMaio and Frye were successful in convincing outgoing-president Peters to let the incoming council vote for their next president. That vote happened on December 9, one day after DeMaio and his three fellow incoming councilmembers were sworn into office.

During the vote to elect a new council president, DeMaio had one more reform. Instead of deciding between District 8 representative Ben Hueso or District 6 councilmember Donna Frye, DeMaio proposed to elect both of them. Each would serve a one-year term. As for who would serve first, DeMaio proposed to adopt an age-old democratic procedure: the coin toss.

DeMaio jumped from his council seat with a coin in his left hand and outlined the reform measure. The winner of the flip would serve as president the first year and the loser would assume powers the following year.

Unfortunately, no other councilmembers wanted to play along, and DeMaio’s motion was not supported. The council opted for the old-fashioned way: majority vote.

Councilmembers Faulconer, Gloria, Emerald, Hueso, Young, and DeMaio voted in favor of Hueso serving as council president for the next year, while Frye and Lightner supported Frye.

For more of the unorthodox reforms that Councilmember DeMaio has in mind for city government, tune in to CityTV every Monday and Tuesday (Cox and Time Warner Cable channel 24, AT&T channel 99).

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In the months leading up to his December 8 inauguration to the San Diego City Council, Councilmember-elect Carl DeMaio was outspoken about the role of the city-council president. He believed the position — created in 2004 as part of the "strong mayor" form of government — gave the president too much power over the council and too much influence on the docket.

During several town-hall meetings, DeMaio rebuked outgoing council president Scott Peters for exercising those powers. He accused Peters of “manipulating” future agendas, thereby essentially silencing certain councilmembers from raising their concerns to the public.

To prevent further abuses of power, DeMaio, along with Councilmember Donna Frye, suggested ways to limit the president’s powers, which would provide equal access to the docket for all councilmembers. They proposed borrowing some methods from the County Board of Supervisors, mainly designating the city clerk as parliamentarian over council meetings, while simultaneously allowing each councilmember a chance to docket items on the agenda.

While changing the role of the president was something for the new council to deliberate on, DeMaio and Frye were successful in convincing outgoing-president Peters to let the incoming council vote for their next president. That vote happened on December 9, one day after DeMaio and his three fellow incoming councilmembers were sworn into office.

During the vote to elect a new council president, DeMaio had one more reform. Instead of deciding between District 8 representative Ben Hueso or District 6 councilmember Donna Frye, DeMaio proposed to elect both of them. Each would serve a one-year term. As for who would serve first, DeMaio proposed to adopt an age-old democratic procedure: the coin toss.

DeMaio jumped from his council seat with a coin in his left hand and outlined the reform measure. The winner of the flip would serve as president the first year and the loser would assume powers the following year.

Unfortunately, no other councilmembers wanted to play along, and DeMaio’s motion was not supported. The council opted for the old-fashioned way: majority vote.

Councilmembers Faulconer, Gloria, Emerald, Hueso, Young, and DeMaio voted in favor of Hueso serving as council president for the next year, while Frye and Lightner supported Frye.

For more of the unorthodox reforms that Councilmember DeMaio has in mind for city government, tune in to CityTV every Monday and Tuesday (Cox and Time Warner Cable channel 24, AT&T channel 99).

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Comments
15

Reforms?

Why are you giving this guy a free pass?

Didn't Carl DeMaio make millions of dollars on "no bid insider government consulting contracts" from the Bush Administration and then "sell his consulting business for millions to a high rolling Republican" who expects something in return for it?

Also, the so called "consulting contracts" are just recycled ideas that have been around for decades that he charged the Federal government and some Orange County governments millions for?

It is like charging the government and doing a report stating that they have a budget deficit and they better cut services or raise taxes.

We should outsource or have managed competition?

Really? No S**T Batman. We all know that already. Thank you for those very 1970's ideas Einstein!

What is this invoice for a few million dollars for?

"You are doing a great job Brownie".

If this guy is a reformer, then I'm Bono

Oh, and he parachuted in from Orange County and knows nothing about San Diego, but he believes he is an "expert" on San Diego too!

Please! Give us all a break!

Dec. 11, 2008

Well, I suppose the great Bono is posting amongst us. That or a lackey of Marti's.

If it's your opinion that Carl "parachuted" in to SD then I guess you're kind of right. Like an Army Paratrooper sailing down behind enemy lines during WWII, Mr.DeMaio has come to hold the powers that be responsible and to liberate this city from a financial nightmare.

It's a shame that truly bold moves to reform city hall haven't been made by any of the new council members.

Save Ms.Emerald's ridiculous foray back in to journalism Carl is the only member of the council worth talking about right now. It seems when the others took office it just transitioned right back in to business as usual.

SAVE US CARL

Dec. 11, 2008

I don't expect everyone to conform to my viewpoint, but what is the deal with that rambling nonsensical screed from concerned citizen?

Anyway I like what Carl has done so far. I think he has a long and hard road ahead of him before he can truly claim the title of reformer, but he is off to a strong start.

Dec. 11, 2008

I think its great that Carl is shaking things up, this city council is made up of so many stiffs that we need someone who can be a shock to the failing system.

Oh and to ConcernedCitizen: Are you ok? Because it is very hard to make sense of what you wrote, just looking out for ya.

Dec. 11, 2008

concernedcitizen77 = is now Bono. Nice to know a member of a super rock group.

Dec. 12, 2008

I'll add myself to the list of people who are rather encouraged that DeMaio is on the council. He could do an awful lot of good there precisely by not being popular with his colleagues.

We've seen what consensus brings...and it's not good. I want there to be challenges to underlying assumptions, and I am hopeful DeMaio is willing to question how business is done in San Diego.

Give DeMaio a chance. He may end up a lightning rod for the insiders, taking misdirected blame for their own misdeeds. So he deserves our support. The more the UT opposes him, the better he's doing...

Dec. 12, 2008

Reforms and "Shakeup" of government surely is needed.

But, "Reform" is not a "hidden agenda" disguised as reform.

In politics, they call "parachuting in" "carpetbagging".

De Maio seems to be aligned with the "downtown establishment" and that is not reform.

If Carl De Maio can prove me wrong by his actions against "all special interests in San Diego", including:

the powerful downtown establishment, the business community, developers, the Union-Tribune, that have secretly run this town behind the scenes since it was founded,

then he will have my wholehearted support.

(In the case of C. Arnold Smith it was not so secret rule of San Diego).

Reform does not embrace the same way San Diego has been mismanaged for decades and the reason San Diego is in a fiscal mess---too many backroom deals to wealthy business, builders and downtown establishment and "Pay To Play " deals:

Millions subsidizing wealthy golfers in Rancho Sante Fe at City owned golf course,

Millions subsidizing Petco Park and give away of 12 blocks of Prime Real Estate downtown, (former City Manager who "negotiated Petco and downtown redevelopment deal are now Padres executives),

18 Million dollar naming rights "insider deal" for Qualcomm Stadium (that was worth 200m-400m former Mayor is now a VP at Qualcomm.

Millions payed to subsidize the Republican Convention

And too many more "shady backroom deals" to list here (many probably have not even been discovered yet).

"Creative Accounting" to defer all the costs of these deals to some "future day of reckoning" which is NOW.

(It is like a NFL team that creatively "uses the salary cap" to win now and then forfeits future competitiveness for a decade(s) by pushing all the "real costs into the future"

(See San Francisco 49ers).

If Carl De Maio and others put "everything on the table" and not just attack the local scapegoat and bogeyman (labor and employees) then he may have more credibility.

Otherwise, he sounds like he is getting talking points from certain partisan special interest groups.

Dec. 13, 2008

If Carl De Maio and others put "everything on the table" and not just attack the local scapegoat and bogeyman (labor and employees) then he may have more credibility. ========================

The budget problems are 100% attributed to the scams the 1) public employees are pulling and 2) the developer scams.

Between the two they have BKed this city.

Dec. 13, 2008

Memo to EsaiRodrigues

I do not know nor have I ever met Marti Emerald.

I share many of the posters' frustrations with the local government the Council.

"Common Sense" and "informed governance" has gone out the window.

Just read last week that "Cal Fire" has cut millions of dollars for fire protection services in San Diego County.

Another dumb move.

Stay safe and Try To Stay Positive!

Dec. 13, 2008

Memo To AbortionSurvivor 5

Ad hominem (latin for attacking the person and not the arguments) Personal attacks do nothing but reflect poorly on yourself.

Facts and intelligent discussion are not "rambling and nonsensical" as you state in your post.

If you can intelligently rebut my facts with any counter facts and footnotes then please do so.

If not, then please refrain from personal attacks.

The reason San Diego government is such a mess is that nobody (except Donna Frye) and now perhaps Carl De Maio(jury is still out).

1)looks at the facts 2)reads the reports 3)asks the probing questions 4)demands accountability

on all pertinent issues,

but instead "blindly trusts"

Mayor, Council, Staff or anyone with a title when manytimes those persons should answer the hard questions on all issues of public interest.

In the Case of Carl De Maio,

it is reasonable and legitimate to "vet" him since he is a public official and accountable to the public. It goes with the territory

Dec. 13, 2008

Memo to Frank Montigan

My post is very straight forward and written in plain simple english and points out well known and documented facts for those who read a lot and keep informed on the issues

1)Fact Carl De Maio made millions on "no bid" govenment contracts or "crony deals" based on his inside connections to the Republican Party and the Bush Administration (not exactly considered a "reform or change administration").

2)Fact De Maio's "reports" or glorified term papers" recycled many ideas that were already known and already in the "public domain"

3)Fact "Outsourcing" government services has been done and tried for decades with mixed results.

Some cities report a dramatic drop in the quality of services rendered (Example: Police and Fire services)

In some areas of services, such as legal and consulting services, outsourcing is much more expensive that doing the work in house or in government.

County of San Diego has tried "competitive bidding" with existing County Departments competing with the private sector(It is called "managed competition").

The Result?

County Departments ended up "winning managed competition on the majority of the bids".

Why?

Because there is "no profit" to justify private companies doing these services according to mandated Federal, State and local laws.

But, Mr. De Maio and others will "discover this"

when they get into the bidding process.

Have fun!

Dec. 13, 2008

Response to Fred Williams:

Give DeMaio a chance. He may end up a lightning rod for the insiders, taking misdirected blame for their own misdeeds. So he deserves our support. The more the UT opposes him, the better he's doing...

By Fred_Williams 2:23 p.m., Dec 12, 2008 > Report it

Did you see what the Union Tribune and Downtown Establishment just did to the last "lightening rod" in City government(aka Michael Aguirre)?

I certainly support reform in government, but it must be done in a manner where the reformers can actually accomplish concrete objectives and not just "talk a good game".

Any reformer must build a coalition and get the support of others or he or she is just one dissenting voice without the power to fundamentally change the status quo.

Donna Frye tried, but was rebuffed by the last majority council on many issues of reform.

Dec. 13, 2008

The reason San Diego government is such a mess is that nobody (except Donna Frye) and now perhaps Carl De Maio(jury is still out).

1)looks at the facts 2)reads the reports 3)asks the probing questions 4)demands accountability

on all pertinent issues,

but instead "blindly trusts"

Memo to concernedcitizen77;

The reason government is such a smess, and not just San Diego, is because public unions are bribing elected officials with campaign contributions, same goes for Big Business (as in developers), NOT because they do not look at the facts, read reports (OK, there may be some truth to this one), ask probing questions or demand responsibility.

They are out for pure greed, along with their "donors", and there is no laying this nonsene off on them being uniformed.

Sorry.

Dec. 13, 2008

????

You tell me FUmbler- You're the "expert"!

Dec. 14, 2008

It doesn't beg the question, Fumbler; it RAISES the question.

Dec. 14, 2008

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