The room was packed full with cameras far before the morning’s star entered. In a box sat a stack of 80-page books. Reporters and City Hall staff members reached for copies.
This was what leadership finally looked like for San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio. Five years ago, he appeared as an outsider to praise and then savage the city’s financial management — after it became clear the city’s financial management wasn’t praiseworthy. Two years ago, he was elected to City Council and became its most conservative Republican. Less than a week ago, Proposition D, a financial recovery plan promoted by Mayor Jerry Sanders, City Council, business and labor leaders, failed spectacularly at the ballot box.
Now it’s DeMaio’s turn. He was Prop. D’s leading opponent and City Council’s most consistent contrarian. Friday morning, with his own financial recovery plan in tow, he claimed a mandate for his pension-slashing, union-busting version of budget reform.
“They said during the campaign you can’t balance the budget without a massive tax increase or major cuts in police and fire,” DeMaio said. “The cost savings in this plan were only the tip of the iceberg. They were wrong.”
A plan it is. Laminated and bound. Charts, graphs and presented with an actuary on hand to discuss the finer points. A path to eliminate the city’s $70 million-plus deficit now and forever. It even has a fancy name: “A Roadmap to Recovery.”