Who is Carl DeMaio Working For?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

As the airwaves heat up with expensive TV ads, there's been renewed attention on how Carl DeMaio initially made the fortune that's allowed him to pour half a million dollars of his own cash into his campaign.

The Union-Tribune painted a good picture of the set up that DeMaio had going as well. DeMaio was making money by training the government to outsource, and making more money by training contractors to get those outsourcing deals. Which raises the fundamental concern that persists today: Who is Carl DeMaio really working for?

Unlike most advocacy groups, DeMaio's was for-profit. So his personal success didn't hinge on giving the advice and training that would be best for taxpayers, it hinged on advocating a specific position that would get him more contracts. Maybe the two pieces overlapped sometimes, but what about when they didn't? While playing both sides against the middle, who was he looking out for? From the UT:

Clare Crawford, executive director for the Center on Policy Initiatives, a nonprofit that advocates for workers, said DeMaio’s whole career is defined by the privatization agenda espoused by far-right politicians.
 
“He’s nothing but a snake-oil salesman who is all about taking taxpayer dollars and turning them over to private industry,” she said.
Especially when that private industry was his own. Now in San Diego, the same concerns remain. He uses tax dollars for campaign props and campaign documents, taxpayer-funded research is rolled out at campaign events, he sends 45 times more taxpayer-funded mail than the rest of the city council combined.
 
He assures the public that he’ll “owe” his supporters if he’s elected, and leads the charge to privatize control of the Convention Center for his donors and champions imposing a billion dollar tax that will all go to private companies and that the public will never get to vote on. Who is Carl DeMaio working for?
 
At Voice of San Diego, Liam Dillon notes that DeMaio has ponied up more than $1 million of his own money for various campaign efforts since arriving in San Diego. That, combined with the constant gray area that distinguishes his role as candidate from his role as public servant causes some problems:
This dichotomy cuts to the core of how DeMaio operates. It's never been clear, either in Washington or San Diego, if DeMaio is working on behalf of himself or the ideas he's promoting. He has crossed the boundaries between partisan and nonpartisan, business and politics, and innovator and imitator so often that it's difficult to understand what's motivating him on any issue.
Carl DeMaio is backed by lobbyists, developers and contractors that have funneled hundreds of thousands into his campaign effort. He’s held hundreds of meetings with lobbyists, helped push through a giant slush fund that will let the next mayor hand out huge government contracts with no oversight, and has defended taxpayer subsidies for downtown developers.
 
That’s all great for them, but what about the rest of San Diego? All the other people who can’t afford to make themselves a priority?