How much will real estate and development interests spend to elect DeMaio?

by on February 23, 2012 · 0 comments

in Election, San Diego

By Dirty DeMaio/ February 21, 2012

 One of Carl DeMaio’s favorite claims on the campaign trail is that government doesn’t create jobs. We’ve noted previously that DeMaio can actually thank government for every job he’s ever had, but is he also looking to have government create jobs for his campaign contributors?

After he didn’t back down from a statement that he “owes” his supporters, DeMaio assured the audience at a mayoral debate in January that “we have not had any contract process where I’m awarding a contract.” But as we noted last month, that’s not entirely accurate:

Let’s start with whether DeMaio has anything to do with awarding contracts. According to campaign finance reports, in 2007, DeMaio received more than $2,700 in contributions from private waste management companies, including Allied Waste. In December 2009 DeMaio voted to transfer the city’s franchise for solid waste management to… Allied Waste Management! In February 2011, DeMaio was pushing to outsource trash services to private contractors, and on September 26, 2011, DeMaio was part of the 5-3 majority to put privatizing the city’s landfill out to bid. Maybe he wouldn’t be voting on contracts as mayor, but it certainly seems like his donors have already benefited from a politician who says he owes them.

In that same 2007 campaign cycle, DeMaio pulled in nearly $10,000 in contributions from hotel executives. After that, DeMaio pushed to protect hotel developers from public oversight, even though at the debate he was declaring “I think open government is a principle that you do not violate for any reason; the ends never justify the means. What do you fear with public participation and public review and input? Why fear it?” In 2010, he voted for a lease agreement bailout with Bartell Hotels designed to head off bankruptcy. The Bartell family was good for more than $1,600 in contributions in 2007.

The real estate and development interests dropped more than $100,000 on DeMaio from June 2007 through August 2010, and he was there for them. But it wasn’t only the last cycle when real estate and development interests bankrolled DeMaio. They’ve doubled down for Carl DeMaio’s mayoral bid. Hundreds have ponied up to the campaign through the end of 2011, totalling nearly $80,000.

Last cycle, DeMaio’s tally included a single $50,000 check from Bergelectric — a contractor on the city’s Prequalified list, helping streamline the awarding of city contracts. And now, his mayoral campaign’s donor list includes more than 50 donations from Prequalified city contractors, including Bergelectric management and executives. So not only are city contractors funding him, they’re many of the city’s leading contractors.

Of course, DeMaio has plenty of personal experience working with preferred contractor lists. DeMaio’s Performance Institute benefitted from such a status at the federal level, receiving dozens of contracts worth nearly nearly half a million dollars in contracts that did not face full and open bidding. That’s a significant chunk of the $2.7 million in government contracts that he took while railing against the government — $355,000 of which he’s already dumped into his own campaign to bolster his fundraising numbers.

Since DeMaio makes no bones about his belief that he “owes” the people who bankroll his campaign, the people who are asking the city for contracts are funding a mayoral candidate who says he’d owe them once in office. We’ve already seen it happen on council, and as mayor he would have much more power to reward contributors.

We can see that DeMaio will abandon principle to support a tax increase without a public vote to support hoteliers and development interests — and clearly the message has reached their checkbooks. What happens if DeMaio is given the opportunity to help steer even more tax dollars to his political allies?

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