Fact Check Roundup: Mayor Jerry Sanders

Elections

Fact Check Roundup: Mayor Jerry Sanders

How have the mayor’s statements performed when put to the
test?

 

The public is getting a healthy dose of Mayor Jerry Sanders these days. He’s campaigning for Proposition D and talking with news media about how more tax revenue would be used for future budgets.

But that also means Sanders is more often landing in our Fact Check queue. Speaking at the first campaign press conference in support of Proposition D, Sanders earned two False ratings. A week later, a statistic-packed statement from Sanders’ interview with the Union-Tribune editorial board earned a True.

Since we started the Fact Check Blog in January, we’ve examined nine statements from Sanders and his office. We found one True, two Mostly True, one Barely True, one Misleading and four False. To date, we haven’t found a statement from Sanders that fell in huckster territory.

To be clear, this isn’t to suggest that the mayor is wrong nearly half the time. We choose bold claims for Fact Check that have a comparably higher potential for influencing the civic debate. And we look for statements that, by checking them, can explain the context surrounding what’s going on.

When we have found errors in Sanders’ rhetoric, his staff has usually acknowledged mistakes and made more accurate information available. And they’ve argued those mistakes were the result of misunderstandings and not meant to deceive the public.

More than other people we’ve fact checked, Sanders’ statements have addressed a wide range of subjects. He’s drifted toward the False side of the spectrum when talking about financial policies like outsourcing and closer to True on public safety issues. (Sanders was the city’s police chief before running for mayor.)

For a full picture of Sanders’ record, here’s a list of each statement and links to our analyses. If you have suggestions for new Fact Checks, please send an email to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org or contact me.

Statement: “We invited private firms to bid on services performed for us by the San Diego Data Processing Corporation, which had a virtual monopoly on our information technology needs — to the tune of $42 million a year,” Sanders said at his Jan. 13 State of the City speech. Determination: Barely true.

Statement: “So let’s talk about the Chargers. They want a new football stadium. They’ve agreed to partner with us to explore sites. And it’s no secret that they could leave San Diego for another city, virtually any time they choose,” Sanders also said during the State of the City speech. Determination: Mostly true.

Statement: “We’ve been able to make those cuts without dramatically cutting services. We’ve done that by competing out some of the functions like our IT function. Received about a 55 percent reduction in costs by doing that,” Sanders said Feb. 8 on Fox Business Network describing how the city has closed past budget deficits. Determination: False.

Statement: Sanders told SDNN in February that “cyber crime in San Diego has probably gone up at the same rate other crime has dropped.” Determination: Mostly true.

Statement: The front page of the city’s website in March featured an announcement headlined “Mayor Applauds Police for Big Crime Drop.” The page included a graphic, faded behind a San Diego Police emblem, accompanied with police imagery, showing a consistent decline. Determination: Misleading.

Statement: “These (are) tough economic times for the city of San Diego, where library hours have been reduced and police and fire personnel have been laid off,” Sanders said in a news release April 12. Determination: False.

Statement: “No other city has had discussions about retiree health reform. We’re in those discussions and negotiations and we’ll continue with those,” Sanders at a press conference Aug. 5 promoting Proposition D, the half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot. Determination: False.

Statement: “Our pension payments after 2012 will start going down instead of up,” Sanders said at the same Aug. 5 press conference. Determination: False.

Statement: “We’ve reduced over 1,400 positions in the city. And that includes 200 public safety people. We’ve cut over $300 million in our budget since ’06, $180 million which are permanent cuts,” Sanders told the Union-Tribune for an Aug. 29 Q&A he did in support of Proposition D. Determination: True.

Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle.

 

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