The frontrunner in San Diego's mayoral campaign drew harsh words Wednesday from the current holder of the office, while two challengers picked up endorsements.
In a news conference to announce revisions to his proposed budget, Mayor Jerry Sanders congratulated council members Tony Young, Todd Gloria and Lorie Zapf for their assistance but blasted their colleague, Carl DeMaio, who has criticized parts of the spending plan.
DeMaio, who is not running for re-election to the council so he can concentrate on the mayor's race, disagrees with Sanders' assessment that the city's structural budget deficit is now resolved.
"I'm not a candidate for anything, so I don't have to make up things, I don't have to be on a political doomsday tour to make people think it's worse than it actually is," Sanders said. "I want to be very clear that one council member has to have doom and gloom in order to be elected to mayor, but I'm not buying into that and I don't think the people in San Diego are, either."
DeMaio leads among the four major candidates -- District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who is now an independent -- in polling leading up to the June 5 primary election.
Sanders' harshest words came in response to a question about DeMaio taking credit for $155 million in city budget reforms.
"He probably takes credit for my weight loss, he probably takes credit for the weeds I pulled in the backyard last week. It's all bulls---," Sanders said.
The three council members who stood with Sanders smiled and chuckled at his remarks.
DeMaio later said it should be chalked up to "silly season" in the waning weeks of the campaign.
"I don't care about credit. I'm just thrilled our fiscal reform agenda is working for taxpayers," DeMaio said. "We all can celebrate and be proud of that we have made this much progress without a tax increase."
The councilman said he looks forward to finishing the job of fiscal reform as mayor, should he be elected. He said he would present another spending plan upon taking office to fully fund road repairs and restore more services.
In other campaign developments, Dumanis, who is endorsed by Sanders, received the backing of Keith Slotter, the former head of the FBI office in San Diego.
"Bonnie knows how to work with communities to solve neighborhood issues and get things done," Slotter said. "She's done that with crime prevention the past nine years, and she'll bring that same toughness and spirit of collaboration to the mayor's office."
Fletcher, meanwhile, was endorsed by the founder of San Diego's Earth Fair, Carolyn Chase, and other environmental leaders.
At a news conference, the assemblyman who recently left the Republican Party said he would make an annual "State of the Environment" address. He said he would also have an environmental dashboard to measure the city's progress on such issues.
-City News Service