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Water Gun Fight Spills Into San Diego Mayor’s Race

Aired 8/15/12 on KPBS News.

The water fight gone wrong at the Balboa Park lily pond continues to cause ripples in the San Diego mayor’s race.

— The water fight gone wrong at the Balboa Park lily pond continues to cause ripples in the San Diego mayor’s race. The tension was obvious at the latest mayoral debate.

The lily pond in Balboa Park on Monday August 13, 2012.
Enlarge this image

Above: The lily pond in Balboa Park on Monday August 13, 2012.

The debate in front of the Building Owners and Managers Association was supposed to be about issues like pension reform and project labor agreements. And it was, to some extent. But the real topic of discussion was how big a role Republican Carl DeMaio’s partner, Johnathan Hale, should play in the mayoral race. Hale has a business connection to a man who helped organize the water gun fight in Balboa Park.

Democratic Congressman Bob Filner issued a press release linking Hale to the criminal vandalism that took place at the park's lily pond. The DeMaio camp then issued a release stating police have verified Hale was not involved.

DeMaio held a news conference Monday blasting Filner’s release, and he continued to skewer Filner at today's debate.

"I do not believe that our mayor should take incidents like Balboa Park and use them to attack and try to ruin innocent people’s lives," DeMaio said. "It’s shameful. It may be the way you work in Congress, but it has no place in San Diego and it should be repudiated."

But Filner refused to back down from his claim. He said he believes Hale should hold a press conference on his connection to the water gun fight organizers.

"Surely this Johnathan Hale ought to answer some questions about his culpability in all this," Filner said. "The police are investigating. But, at the very least, there’s an incredible lack of judgment and character on the part of a man, who Carl says, will be his close adviser."

DeMaio's campaign said Hale would not have an official role in his administration.

There was more drama after the debate. While Filner continued to press his case with the media in the hall outside the debate room, DeMaio’s spokesman shouted that Filner is a "bold-faced liar."

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 14, 2012 at 2:49 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

First off, the article doesn't quote exactly what Filner said, and that's important.

If all Filner said is that he wants Mr. DeMaio's partner to clarify his role in the incident, then that is neither a lie or something outrageous coming from Mr. Filner.

Here are two FACTS that have been reported in local media:

(1) Mr. DeMaio has accepted campaign contributions from at least one of the organizers of the event

(2) Mr. DeMaio's partner is editor of SDGLN which did indeed mention the then upcoming event in a column. To their credit, SDGLN did mention in their coverage of the balboa park incident that they as well as other local media had made mention of the event ahead of time

(3) It's been reported that both Mr. DeMaio and Mr. Gloria are "friends" on facebook with at least one of the events organizers.

(4) Nobody is bringing Mr. Hale into the Mayoral debate simply because of this incident, people have been concerned previously with what role Mr. Hale would play in a DeMaio mayorship. A photo surfaced of Mr. Hale with his feet up on Mr. DeMaio's desk with a folder right next to him that read "CONFIDENTIAL". Mr. Hale also reportedly uses his ties to city government by throwing his weight around at gay night clubs and giving veiled threats to people he doesn't like concerning retaliation based on the "connections" he has.

With all this being public information that I have gathered, I think Mr. Filner is 100% in his right to ask questions about Mr. Hale and his role in this event.

I have also called for Mr. DeMaio to take the campaign contribution he received from one of the event organizers and donate that directly to the restoration effort in the park.

It would be the right thing to do.

Mr. DeMaio and Mr. Hale quite frankly make themselves look like they have something to hide by their defensiveness to Mr. Filner's statements.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 14, 2012 at 2:53 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Sorry, I just realized I wrote "2" facts and then listed more.

Anyway, the summary of all this is that DeMaio and his partner both have some loose connections to this incident.

That doesn't mean they are responsible for it, and it doesn't mean they participated in it, but it does mean they owe the public an explanation clarifying the contacts and connections they do have to this event.

If Mr. DeMaio and Mr. Hale really want to be San Diego's first family come election day, I would like to see them act more with transparency and less with defensiveness.

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Avatar for user 'TerrieBest'

TerrieBest | August 14, 2012 at 3:47 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Jonathan Hale = nails on chalkboard

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 14, 2012 at 7:46 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Water has an erotic connotation and guns are phallic symbols. This is no surprise.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 14, 2012 at 7:47 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Hey Duck, supposedly today's LA Times Late Section, mentions inner sanctum groups closely tied to De Mayo, NOT mentioned by the UT.

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Avatar for user 'JohnOgre'

JohnOgre | August 14, 2012 at 9:22 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Hale's website promoted the illegal event. VOSD confirmed it.

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Avatar for user 'no_soup_for_you'

no_soup_for_you | August 14, 2012 at 11:37 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

So both DeMaio and his lover are tied to this massacre of the lily pond, but they are attacking Filner for even mentioning it?
Are the Demaios really that naive and unaware about how politics works? DeMaio would not even blink before attacking Filner if he had an even remote connection to something like this but since the roles are reversed he is going to throw one of his big-boy tantrums. DeMaio has always been one to dish it out but he can't take it.

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Avatar for user 'SDCyclist'

SDCyclist | August 15, 2012 at 10:59 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

This entire thing is just incredibly silly, reductive, and petty. Talk about political rhetoric! I'm certainly not a supporter of DeMaio but can we please place the focus where it belongs? None of this has anything to do with the event that happened at the park nor the Mayoral campaign. It was simply an unfortunate event with no malicious intent that got way out of control and something bad happened. BIG DEAL! The people responsible are being held accountable for it. It's over. Move on.

And what's with all this guilt by association? Are you all serious? The UT and The Reader mentioned the event as well. How come none of you are skewering them?

Duck - I normally agree with 99% of the things you say but your "facts" listed above are just worthless statements that carry no meaning nor weight. And, your last "fact" is just completely unsubstantiated heresay meant to provoke and incite an emotional reaction.

You don't like DeMaio. We get it. Stop jumping on the smear-bandwagon and let the rest of us think for ourselves. We're certainly capable of that despite your constant preaching from your soap box.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | August 15, 2012 at 11:25 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

SDCyclist,

Everything you wrote is reasonable but there's something latent about this whole affair which just became manifest: A person very closely associated with a candidate for mayor used one of the city's most sacred spots as his personal playground. Fantastic error in judgement at best; patrician arrogance at worst. Bob Filner is a politician. He'd be derelict to his supporters if he didn't use this to his advantage. Do you think the DeMaio people aren't waiting for someone in the Filner camp to slip and inject sexual orientation into the debate?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | August 15, 2012 at 11:36 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Leave it to a bunch of ... to organize some fantasy land event where they can run around like children playing with water guns. I mean seriously... grow up, people.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | August 15, 2012 at 11:49 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Come on Duck. Your smear list is absolutely ridiculous and you would be screaming bloody murder had the same been used against Filner.

Facebook friends? Seriously?

Shall we drag Filner's fiance Bronwyn Ingram into this? Or perhaps we should speak to his 2nd ex-wife Jane Merrill? Anyone know the name of his 1st ex-wife? It's hard to keep track.

Filner is a typical congress critter who sold his soul to the highest bidder a long time ago. He should keep his dirty DC gutter politics in DC.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 15, 2012 at 4:50 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

JeanMarc, if you need to write ..... it's a sign your statement is rooted in bigotry that even you are afraid to put in black and white.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 15, 2012 at 4:53 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

CADefender:

*"Shall we drag Filner's fiance Bronwyn Ingram into this? Or perhaps we should speak to his 2nd ex-wife Jane Merrill? Anyone know the name of his 1st ex-wife? It's hard to keep track.*"

Do any of those people run media outlets that promoted this event? If so, then yeah fair enough.

You seem to be ignoring the fact that DeMaio DOES indeed have connections to this. You may think they are worthless to mention, but they are there. Filner's fiance or the others you mention have no reports of any ties to this whatsoever. The comparison is ridiculous.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 15, 2012 at 5:10 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

SDCyclist, I can see some of your points, but I still stick with my original post.

I realize I might not have explained some things well. What I was trying to say in (4) in my post above, which I admit I didn't convey very well, is that Mr. Hale is already a lighting rod and citizens have raised concerns about him and his role in a DeMaio regime even prior to this incident.

The picture of Hale with his feet up on the desk in the office tax payers flip the bill for with files marked confidential right next that he could easily read raised a lot of questions about what kind of access this man would have to city government if DeMaio is elected.

Mr. Hale has a criminal background and has changed his name more than once. Some people are worried that an unbalanced person would have back-door access to our city government if DeMaio gets elected, and they are within their right to ask those questions.

That's why I think this exploded into something bigger than it normally would be with respect to Hale - it brings up yet more questions about the decisions of Mr. Hale and what kind of influence he has over DeMaio. You may think it's petty or not worth talking about, but apparently many citizens are concerned because this is in all the local media.

And some of the things mentioned are not that petty.

It's pretty standard in politics for accepted campaign contributions to be scrutinized. I'm not suggesting DeMaio could have predicted this when he accepted the contribution, but now that he is aware of it, he should reject the money donated by this person and put it towards Balboa Park's upkeep.

Finally, I don't post to change minds or preach, I post because I enjoy current events, politics, and enjoy writing about it. I also like debating with those of different opinions. If I come across as being on a soap-box I will try and work on that, but it's not my attention. I am just one of millions of people who posts their opinions online every day - I'm not out to change anyone just express my own beliefs or occasionally get the media to follow-up on something I think is important.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 16, 2012 at 10:33 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Some of the promoters/organizers listen by KFMB 8 yesterday, include a former head of Cox Cable.

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Avatar for user 'AndrewSanDiego'

AndrewSanDiego | August 16, 2012 at 6:02 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

And I heard a rumor somewhere (on the Internet, so it MUST be true) that Peking Duck was the one who vandalized the pond and killed the koi. This rumor is proof positive that Filner is corrupt and on the take from concrete contractors and pond fish sellers who line his pockets.

At least by the standards of evidence of Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats, no?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 16, 2012 at 7:59 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

If anyone is interested in an account of the event by an eye-witness, I recommend this from CityBeat:

http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-10848-balboa-park-water-fight-was-a-tragedy-of-the-commons.html

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