Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Nathan Fletcher, desperate politician?

Jerry Stratton, May 18, 2012

Fletcher’s Misdirection

Is it a disservice to taxpayers show governments how to provide better and more efficient service?

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is flooding my mailbox with bad ads; he’s coming across as a typical dishonest beltway1 politician. He’s just making stuff up and throwing it at the mailbox to see if it sticks. Over the last five days I’ve received three large advertisements from his campaign misrepresenting Councilman Carl DeMaio’s record.

Yesterday’s ad asks, in screaming yellow,

How can Carl DeMaio claim to be the taxpayers’ watchdog when HE GOT RICH OFF TAXPAYERS through government contracts?

Well, off the top of my head, what if his contracts were to show public officials how to spend less of our taxes and provide better service? Does teaching public officials how to not raise taxes count as being a taxpayer watchdog? Why yes, I think it does.

Fletcher’s yellow screamer is layered atop a blurred-out Union-Tribune article, headlined “Government contracts fueled DeMaio’s business success.” But the first paragraph of that article, which Fletcher blurred out so that it can’t be read?2

The political career of City Councilman Carl DeMaio has been built on his reputation as a successful businessman who knows what it takes to make governments run better.

DeMaio, quoted in the article, adds:

“I actually built a private think tank dedicated to improving government,” he said. “That’s my life’s work. If the unions want to try to distort that, I can’t control them. They can say what they want to say, but the reality is my passion is government reform, government improvement. Translating best practices from the private sector into government to cut costs, save money and improve performance. That’s a record that’s unassailable.”

Fletcher’s yellow screamer would be a lot more accurate and a lot less useful to Fletcher if it included the full context of that article.

I’m wondering if this is a result of California’s term limits. This is Fletcher’s second term; if he ran for the state assembly this year, it would be his last race: in 2014 he’d be term-limited out, with little options for other seats. In the mayor’s office, however, he could have eight years of relative job security, up to the end of the decade in 2020.3

In response to California 2012: 2012 is going to be a very important election for San Diego. Do we continue to reform the city’s financial state, or do we resume the path to insolvency?

May 22, 2012: Ask Carl This?

The mayoral campaign is really heating up. Assemblyman Fletcher now has a web site, AskCarlThis, that pretends Carl DeMaio isn’t answering questions. It’s headlined “Carl won’t answer the questions”, but you can go straight to DeMaio’s web site to see the direct answers to most, if not all, of them.

The most ridiculous is the charge that DeMaio attempted to “defund the ethics commission”. Fletcher is exhibiting the typical beltway mentality here: any attempt to cut costs on a project is morally equivalent to shutting the project down.

DeMaio’s response about the “defunding”:

From 2006 to 2008, the commission’s budget increased dramatically, by over 34%. The cost savings I proposed for the Ethics Commission budget of $307,000 was actually significantly less than the $350,000 budget increase during that two-year period. The reductions were geared towards a secondary ‘education and outreach’ function of the commission’s budget, not its primary enforcement operation. As a comparison, this reduction was less than half of what I recommend for the City Council and it’s administrative ($669,400).

Over two years, it increased by $350,000; DeMaio’s proposed budget wouldn’t even have rolled it back two years. If we can’t reduce budgets without being accused of completely withdrawing support, we will never get our budget in line without continually raising taxes. This is part of what got California—and DC—into its current mess: basing every budget on the previous year’s budget, and calling any attempt to cut budgets as sacrilege. That needs to change, and it sounds like DeMaio is trying to change it.

  1. Yes, I know, that’s DC. Work with me here, I’m on a roll.

  2. Besides blurring it out, I’m pretty sure he replaced the entire article with boilerplate, just to make sure the ad didn’t provide even subliminal context. The length of the blurred out words don’t seem to match up with the text of the Union-Trib article. The three columns of blurred-out text don’t even appear to have any paragraph breaks.

  3. Similar concerns from other politicians are probably behind Proposition 28, which increases the number of years a politician can remain in the state assembly from six years to twelve years, and the number of years a politician can remain the state senate from eight years to twelve years.

  1. <- Carl DeMaio’s salary
  2. City worker salaries ->