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Carl DeMaio Says His Support For Same-Sex Marriage Separate From Role As Mayor

City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio talks to KPBS.

Guest

Carl DeMaio, San Diego City Councilman, district 5 and candidate for mayor in the City of San Diego.

Transcript

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City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio is an openly gay man and has accepted more than $100,000 in donations from new U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester. In 2008, Manchester donated $125,000 to Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California.

DeMaio said he "obviously" supports gay marriage, but said he views his role as mayor as separate from that.

"Obviously I have strongly held personal views, the issues that are important to me as Carl, an individual, a private citizen, but my role as mayor is quite different," he said. "My role as mayor is to stay focused on the issues, the crisis that the city faces."

"What's more important, the mayor beating the drum on social issues that really don't have anything to do with city government, or the mayor staying focused on resolving the fiscal crisis and restoring important neighborhood services?" he asked.

DeMaio said Manchester supports him because he gets pension reform and fiscal reform results.

DeMaio, who is the front-runner in the mayor's race, has sometimes been criticized for not being completely upfront with voters.

During KPBS' mayoral debate, DeMaio said the Convention Center expansion would be funded by private investment from the hotel owners. Voice of San Diego fact checked this statement and called it "Huckster Propaganda," the lowest rating on their lie detector scale.

DeMaio defended his statement to KPBS.

"What the hoteliers are doing is not raising the TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) tax, which would be a general fund tax, they're creating a self-assessment district, and my point is, Mr. Filner, earlier in the debate, had said 'let's use that money for public purposes,'" DeMaio said. "It's not allowed to be used for public purposes because like a Mello-Roos, it can only go to the communities or the individuals that raise it."

DeMaio said the point to focus on is the importance of the Convention Center to San Diego's economy.

"In politics, instead of focusing on what the people want, jobs, an important expansion to our Convention Center which supports a key part of our economy, these politicians in the political debate are about splitting hairs," he said.

"The point was being made that you could use it for public purposes, and the reality is, and you'll find that the city attorney agrees with me, that the money can only go to the Convention Center if it's being raised by the hoteliers," he said.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has told KPBS that passing a tax on hotel rooms without a public vote “tests the boundaries of the law,” but that he will file a validation lawsuit to test the plan's legality.

Also during KPBS' debate, DeMaio questioned fellow candidate Nathan Fletcher on whether he was under investigation by the city's Ethics Commission. The complaint against Fletcher with the Ethics Commission had been dismissed the previous day, and critics said DeMaio was aware of that when he made that claim.

But DeMaio said his campaign did not know about the dismissal and wanted to question why Fletcher's campaign had spent a large amount of money on ethics lawyers.

"Nobody knew that it had been resolved and the ethics commission confirmed that," he said. "We were asking a legitimate question, why do you have so much, how many bills do you have for ethics lawyers?"

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