Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Endorsing DeMaio - One Tea Party View

I don't speak for the tea party movement, no one does. I think that's necessary to understanding the movement as a whole. The best explanation for this comes from the SCTRC web page on the Starfish and the Spider. The principles that bring the tea party movement together are less government, less regulation, and lower taxes and lower costs of government. It is as much a state of mind as a movement. We question why government at all levels has become so big and dominant. We question why government costs so much.

When looking to endorse a politician for mayor of San Diego, I have to ask, among the major candidates, who has been the most vocal advocate of those principles? To me it is obvious that Carl DeMaio is that man. His strong and vocal opposition to Proposition D (1/2 cent sales tax) is the most reliable indicator of where he stands on issues important to the tea party. He has pushed hard for more competition in providing government services. He has been the most visible supporter of the pension reform initiative. Temple of Mut reminded me of this little gem regarding DeMaio.
DeMaio stood up for California Citizens, challenging the airing of the odious union-backed ad that tries to undermine our state’s petition process by false claims of identity theft. Sadly, the (un)The Fair Political Practices Commission has dismissed a request.
My one beef is that he is still willing to use tax dollars to fund some "investment." Part of his response to a question about "redevelopment."
When you have things like the Convention Center expansion, North Embarcadero, that can and should be funded first because they will ignite private investment, On the Chargers stadium, if we’re going to pull that off, it’s not going to be through redevelopment money as much as it’s going to be through public/private partnerships, perhaps some of our existing landholdings in, for example, the existing Qualcomm site, redeveloping it.

I also have reservations about the "Republican establishment," which exists as surely as the tea party movement, even if not officially. I perceive Dumanis and Fletcher as part of that group. As a taxpayer, I have been unhappy with how Republican mayors and city council members have handled underfunding the pensions, the city's Enron like accounting, and until recently, giving away city dollars to professional sports franchises. The 1997 agreement to renovate Jack Murphy Stadium using "lease revenue bonds" has not worked out well for the city and still sticks in my craw. From the 2003 task force report.
Thus, the contract we are dealing with today is the 1995 agreement as modified in 1997 (referred to hereafter as "the Contract"). It would be fair to say - - indeed, an understatement - - that the 1995-97 Contract has not worked out well for the City. The ticket guarantee has cost the City millions of dollars. The trigger/renegotiation clause threatens to cost the City more, and possibly permit the Chargers to leave town. And notwithstanding contract language suggesting that the renovations would bring Qualcomm up to state of the art, the NFL, the Chargers, and certain professional architects and contractors assert that Qualcomm Stadium is out of date already, and that single-purpose football-only stadiums are far superior to Qualcomm. Thus, with the benefit of hindsight, the Contract is highly unfortunate and the $78 million renovation and practice facility may have been uneconomic.
My issue is that the Republican establishment seems bent on rewarding big businesses in the city with little regard for the tax paying public. They don't seem to mind monuments of grandeur that we the taxpayers don't particularly want to fund. Petco Park, another football stadium, a bigger city hall (Sanders endorsed), a big new library downtown; these are all symptoms of the same disease.

Even though many tea partyers are willing to make alliances with Republicans and business types to prevent the labor unions from bleeding the taxpayers dry, expect us to oppose the monument building waste that is the penchant of that group. (I love the Chargers, but if they leave town, tough, I don't want to foot the bill to keep them. Nor do I want to force other taxpayers to do so.) This is a big part of my attraction to DeMaio, he doesn't seem to be part of the established order, unlike Dumanis and Fletcher or Filner on the union side, for that matter. Here is what DeMaio says on much the same theme about the contest collusion between big labor and big business.

There’s a very cozy system at City Hall. Big business and big labor don’t think there’s anything wrong with City Hall. The only thing they think is wrong is that you’re not paying enough. And in areas where they have the ability to do so, like water bills, they’ve increased what you’re paying into city government. They’ve tried with sales tax increases to get you to pay more through taxes. I think it’s an illegitimate system. And you’re going to find that my administration is fundamentally different and operates in a totally different fashion than prior administrations.
Spot on.


  1. As the site on which Qualcomm stadium sits is divvied up amongst no less than 3 separate entities, I think rebuilding on that site is an idea that is DOA.

  2. Dean, thanks for the tip. I will miss the Chargers, because I am pretty sure, some politico, somewhere will hold up the taxpayers to entice them to move.