Photos by Sam Hodgson
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (left) and City Councilman Carl DeMaio
With early voting already underway in San Diego’s June 5 mayoral primary, mailboxes are beginning to overflow with colorful ads backing or disparaging the four main candidates.
If we judged them on the basis of hubris, one from a political action committee supporting Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher would be the winner so far.
The mailer attempts to contrast Fletcher and City Councilman Carl DeMaio on a variety of issues, including taxes. It reads: “City Councilman Carl DeMaio voted for a $1 billion tax INCREASE — without voter approval — to expand the convention center.”
It’s true that DeMaio supports the Convention Center expansion and the hotelier-approved hotel-room tax increase that pays for it.
But Fletcher supports the exact same project, the exact same tax and the exact same hotelier-approved process. It’s just as a city councilman DeMaio gets to vote on it, and Fletcher gets to throw rocks.
This isn’t the first time Fletcher or his allies have tried to hit DeMaio on this issue. Our own Scott Lewis documented the previous occasion, when Fletcher was trying to block the local Republican Party from endorsing DeMaio:
Hmm. So maybe [Fletcher] was just saying he, unlike DeMaio, is willing to consider tax hikes when appropriate?
Nope. The rest of the piece is a primal scream of anti-tax fervor. He says he has taken a no-tax pledge, nobody’d be tougher with unions, etc.
I chalk this up as progress: According to Fletcher, we can now call this a billion-dollar tax increase.
Fletcher’s campaign confirmed he still supported the measure.
The mailer contrasts DeMaio’s Convention Center tax position with Fletcher’s stance on a jobs bill pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown. It says Fletcher: “Led the effort in the state legislature to pass a $1 billion tax CUT to bring over 144,000 new jobs to California by encouraging business to locate and hire workers in the state.”
This isn’t the whole story, either. For starters, the bill never became law. Here’s how we’ve described it before:
Fletcher’s most high-profile position on taxes came as part of his day job. Last fall, Fletcher was one of two Republicans in the state Assembly to support a tax plan developed by Brown, a Democrat.
The plan would have ended a tax break for big out-of-state businesses and funneled $1.1 billion in new revenues toward increasing individual income tax deductions and lowering the tax rate for some in-state corporations.
But the tax proposal died after failing to garner Republican support in the state Senate amid opposition from one of California’s most significant anti-tax lobbyists.
For more of the major candidates’ positions on issues, we put together this handy scorecard last week.
And please keep sending us the campaign mailers you receive. We’d like to keep playing referee, but we can’t do that unless we see them.
Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?
Please contact him directly at email@example.com or 619.550.5663.
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