The Starting Line — A DeMaio Tripleheader: Mayoral Candidate Snubs Cops, Flip Flops on Issues and Abets Suppression of Critical City Auditor Report

San Diego’s mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio makes no bones about his antagonism towards city workers. Promotional materials for campaign fundraisers boast that he will refuse any and all campaign donations from any city employee. When the candidate was booed during the recent LGBT pride day parade – activists take issue with his political and financial relationships with wealthy social conservatives –, DeMaio told the UT-San Diego that unions were behind the critical crowds. But his deliberate snub of a City Council proclamation acknowledging the centennial anniversary of the San Diego Police Officers Association (SDPOA) yesterday left local observers agape. The mayoral hopeful used an interview with KUSI-TV as the excuse to duck out of the ceremony. His appearances on the local broadcast outlet are so frequent that wags say he may as well have his own dressing room at the station. DeMaio tweeted that the KUSI interview allowed him to “discuss my commitment to open government and full transparency”.

DeMaio takes a page from the Romney campaign… The Voice of San Diego published a report yesterday detailing five issues that candidate DeMaio has flip-flopped positions on, now that the primary season is over. Those subjects include: the Jacobs/Sanders Balboa Park remake (for it, against it, then for it again), funding for the arts (cut $6 million, now doubling support), Social Security benefits for city workers (no, now yes), road repairs (ballot initiative, now a budget matter), and downtown “insiders” (demonized during primary season, aggressive courtship now).

So much for all DeMaio’s talk about transparency and cleaning up government… Given an opportunity to actually demonstrate that commitment, audit committee member Carl DeMaio was quick to join in criticism of independent auditor Eduardo Luna’s attempts to shine a little light on the city’s Development Services Department regarding building permit fees. Although the permit agency responded to news of Luna’s investigation by informing Luna that the auditor’s office would be moved to a less desirable location and (initially) refusing to respond to requests for information, DeMaio and other audit committee members refused to allow Luna’s report to be presented to the full City Council.  They sent it back, calling for more research, and DeMaio urged Luna to tone down his audits and work to come up with more positive reports.  UT-San Diego ran with this revealing quote:

“I’d rather have you come back and say, ‘you know we looked at this department and they did a really good job.’ That’s OK for this committee and the public to hear that,” Councilman Carl DeMaio told Luna.

Luna’s report, had it made it to the full council, would have disclosed that one in five permit department billings audited were found to be over-billings or under-billings of applicants. Weak internal controls in the department’s computer system appeared to put the city at risk of fraud, with pricing on fees for developers susceptible to being changed without leaving a trace in the computer system.

Congressional Republicans have jumped on the Defense Department for its decision to allow members of the armed forces to march in uniform in last weekend’s San Diego Pride parade. Serviceman in uniform joined the parade last Saturday along with a “Freedom to Serve” banner and a rainbow flag.  Armed Forces Committee member Sen. Jim Inhofe sent a letter to the Pentagon demanding a full explanation of the decision, and issued a statement saying he was concerned that the Obama administration “continues to force its liberal social agenda on the military by promoting the homosexual agenda, mandating the use of high-cost green energy initiatives, pursuing abortion rights and suppressing the free exercise of religious liberties.”  Rep. J. Randy Forbes, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also issued a statement condemning the DOD decision.

Anaheim protests turn rough…. Recent shootings by police up in Anaheim continue to reverberate up in the Orange County city, with protests spanning the last four nights. Hundreds of police, including the California Highway Patrol and units from the Santa Ana and Garden Grove police departments were called in last night to disperse crowds protesting the recent deaths of two men and police brutality directed at local residents in the aftermath of those shootings. After protesters took over an intersection at the Anaheim Boulevard and Broadway Avenue, offices moved in firing pepper gas and “less-than-lethal’ weapons into the crowd. Police helicopters hovered overhead as fireworks from nearby Disneyland lit up the sky.  Last night’s street actions came on the heels of a 5-0 vote by the Anaheim City Council to ask the U.S. Attorney’s office to review the police shootings.  Many of those in the crowd outside attempted to attend the council meeting, but were denied entry due to an overflow crowd. Earlier in the day, the family of one of the deceased men filed a civil rights lawsuit seeking $50 million in damages from the city of Anaheim and its police department, claiming he was shot while running away.  [Editor: see our full report, photos and video here.]

A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said that the GOP plan to repeal President Obama’s healthcare reform would increase the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years. This comes after June’s Supreme Court ruling that upheld most of the law. The report also said that about three million more people will be uninsured as a result of the high court’s decision. House Republicans have voted 33 times to repeal part or all of the 2010 Affordable care Act or to cut funding for various programs included in the law.

Mitt Romney’s foreign policy for white people… The U.K. Telegraph ran with the headline: “Mitt Romney would restore ‘Anglo-Saxon’ relations between Britain and America” after advisors told the paper that the presidential contender would abandon Mr Obama’s “Left-wing” coolness towards London. Money quote:

In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.

“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.

Home Depot employees file lawsuit… Dave Rice over at the SDReader reported yesterday that workers at Home Depot stores have filed a class action lawsuit in San Diego against the company alleging that employees were forced to work while off the clock, denied overtime wages, and refused rest and meal breaks as required by law. The legal action seeks restitution of any unpaid wages, including overtime pay and asks for penalties of up to $4,000 per employee from Home Depot.

Feed your mind: Mark your calendars! One week from today Voice of San Diego will be sponsoring the third “Meeting of the Minds” arts and culture event, a cultural mash-up that’s proven to be wildly successful (SRO!) in past incarnations. This time around they’re using the ‘Lemon’ (#7) level atop downtown’s Horton Plaza parking garage, which they’re promising to convert into an ‘unusual outdoor meeting space’. Speakers from various arts disciplines will introduce you to their worlds—it may sound wonkish, but, as past participants will attest, there’ll be plenty going on to stimulate the senses as well as the mind. Here’s the date & time: 7:30 pm, Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Why, you may ask, are we promoting a VOSD event so far in advance?   That’s because editor/writer Anna Daniels, also known as a “retired librarian”, is among the speakers. She’ll be talking about ‘stretching musical sensibilities’. Trust me, she’s very entertaining. Other speakers, no doubt equally interesting, include: UC San Diego’s Alexandra Hubenko, manager of a project that’s trying to uncover a hidden daVinci painting, Martin Poirier, a landscape architect, on the new federal courthouse’s luminous art, San Diego Symphony bassist Jory Herman on learning a giant instrument, Lauren Popp, an assistant curator at the New Children’s Museum, on artist-invented spaces like Space 4 Art in East Village and San Diego Ballet co-director Javier Velasco on debunking stereotypes with drama.

Tweet of the Day: Bill Maher ‏@billmaher: If California gets any stupider in its crackdown on pot (on top of voting down gay marriage) it shld change its name to West Arizona

On This Day… In 1943 Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was overthrown in a coup. In 1967 the Beatles and other U.K. rock groups urged the British government to legalize marijuana in a London Times ad signed by all members of the fab four. In 1978 Louise Joy Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born in Oldham, England. She had been conceived through in-vitro fertilization.

Eat Fresh!  Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills  (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead  (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach  (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos  (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee  (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm

I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org    Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.


Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatarAnna Daniels says

    Doug- thanks for your advance coverage of the Meeting of the Minds & the kind words. You know what they say “When life gives you Lemons on the 7th floor of the Horton Plaza Parking Garage, seize the opportunity to say things like ‘This symphony has been described as Einstein meets Le Corbusier with the musically replicated sound of gunshots in the background!'”

    While art professionals and artists have comprised the majority of past Meeting of the Minds presenters, voiceofsandiego is to be commended for inviting a number of us to participate who enjoy the arts and are an enthusiastic and receptive audience. Jay Porter, North Park restaurateur, did a prior presentation on public art in Colonial Federal in Tijuana.

  2. avatarJMW says

    Doug, I don’t comment much, but First Cup and now Starting Line have been first reads almost every day they’re posted. Thanks for the help staying near sane.