San Diego -- The biggest revelation of last night's KNSD CA 52 debate: DeMaio opposes the broad bipartisan support for the U.S. national defense commanders’ actions in Syria and Iraq. Shockingly, DeMaio did not outline any alternative course of action to protect American families against an imminent threat.
As usual, DeMaio told a series of whoppers during the debate. So let’s set the record straight on some things:
1. DeMaio claims he isn’t aligned with the Tea Party
In 2012, DeMaio stood in front of a Tea Party group, called the Tea Party the “conscience of the accountable-government movement” and said he would owe them “everything” if elected mayor.
DeMaio has publicly cited Ted Cruz as an example of someone who is making a difference in Washington, D.C..
While on the City Council, DeMaio took an obstructionist approach to government that is identical to the Tea Party’s tactics in D.C.. He repeatedly voting no on everything to the point that even the city’s Republican mayor threw up his hands in disgust.
There’s a reason the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Peters, not DeMaio, in this race. The Chamber has made clear it will actively oppose obstructionist, Tea Party-aligned candidates who are more interested in flame-throwing and causing gridlock than helping solve problems.
As Peters said during the debate, “Sending a Tea Party extremist to fix the Tea Party extremism is not the way to fix the problem.”
2. Medicare/Social Security
DeMaio claims Peters has voted to cut Medicare and Social Security. This is simply false.
DeMaio bases his claims on national Republican talking points that have been refuted repeatedly. Peters has voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have been claiming that the ACA includes more than $700 billion in cuts to Medicare, which isn’t true. The ACA does produce that amount of long-term savings to Medicare by forcing providers to become more efficient and competitive. Various news orgs have discredited the Republicans’ claim about the supposed $700 billion in Medicare cuts. Here’s one such fact-check.
Peters has actually fought specifically against cuts to Medicare. As a result of his efforts, he was able to convince the White House to limit certain cuts to Medicare’s prescription-drug coverage.
DeMaio is also claiming that Peters’ vote in favor of using the Simpson-Bowles approach to balancing the budget is a vote to “cut” Medicare. The 2010 Simpson-Bowles report did list certain long-term cuts to entitlement programs within a long list of potential options. But Peters’ vote was on using the general framework of Simpson-Bowles as an approach to deficit reduction; Peters never voted in favor of specific entitlement cuts.
3. Social Issues
DeMaio repeatedly said Congress shouldn’t involve itself in “social issues.” His exact quote during the debate was, “I don’t believe social issues should be part of Congress’s agenda.” This is a very odd position for someone who wants to serve in the House of Representatives, which deals with social issues all the time.
DeMaio never explained why he has repeatedly refused to so much as fill out a questionnaire from Planned Parenthood. He never explained why he stayed silent for months on whether or not he supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which guarantees women equal pay for equal work. To this day, he has never made clear where he stands on the Supreme Court’s draconian Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows corporations to decide whether their employees are entitled to birth-control coverage.
DeMaio did say he opposes the Affordable Care Act, which mandates no co-pay prescription coverage of birth control and other preventive health care for women. Given an opportunity to explain his refusal to take a stand on Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, DeMaio refused to say anything about the controversial initiative.
Voters deserve to know where DeMaio stands on these issues. “Social issues should not be part of Congress’s agenda” is simply not an acceptable answer.
4. Auto Allowance
As DeMaio well knows Peters took the exact same car allowance as all other members of the City Council. As DeMaio also knows, Peters hasn’t kept a penny of his city pension, turning over every cent to the city’s libraries. Plus Peters donated more than $40,000 of his 2008 council salary to improving constituent services in his district.
What’s more, DeMaio’s current TV ads prominently feature Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who continues to take a car allowance from the city.
Let’s also recall that DeMaio is the one who publicly bragged about owning a BMW, telling the Union-Tribune, “Don’t people know I’m a man of means now. I drive a BMW!” At the time DeMaio made that statement he was making a fortune off government contracts, many of them no-bid.
5. DeMaio supposedly solved the city’s pension problems
During the debate, DeMaio repeatedly used the word “we” when talking about solving problems while at City Hall. Odd use of this word, considered DeMaio was the lone-dissenting vote on the Council as staggering 102 times. Not once did he vote for Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget. That’s one of the reasons Sanders absolutely eviscerated DeMaio in a 2012 press conference, saying DeMaio never voted yes on anything because doing so “might have muddied up his political calculations.”
DeMaio also claimed Peters did nothing on pension reform, an assertion that is belied by this 2008 video in which DeMaio stands next to Peters at a press conference and praises the Council’s work on pension reform. Specifically, DeMaio called those reforms “the first step toward sustainable pension benefits for the city of San Diego.” As DeMaio knows, the pension reforms instituted when Peters was council president will save the city $22 million a year.
DeMaio also engaged in wild distortions in his relentless pursuit of credit for supposedly fixing the city’s pension problems. DeMaio repeatedly took credit for passing Proposition B without acknowledging that virtually all those savings come from freezing pensionable pay – a freeze that, for most employees, had already been in place for the five years before Prop. B. And even with the passage of Prop. B, the only way to enact a multi-year freeze on pensionable pay is with the agreement of the unions. DeMaio had nothing to do with these successful negotiations, having already left the Council when the city negotiated the pensionable-pay freeze with its unions.
DeMaio repeatedly avoided answering questions, instead resorting to scripted personal attacks -- while also bizarrely claiming to be the victim of personal attacks.