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The Union-Tribune’s Craig Gustafson dropped this bombshell today exposing that the mayor has quietly been accepting his full salary since beginning his second term — in direct contrast to his 2005 campaign promise.

It’s tough to argue that the mayor of a major city doesn’t deserve a full salary. What makes this one a stinker is the deception. He didn’t bother to tell anyone he’d started taking his full salary.

Here’s the mayor’s excuse for that, from Gustafson’s story:

Asked why he didn’t inform the public, Sanders said he didn’t know how to address it because it didn’t feel appropriate to hold a news conference or issue a news release.

That’s ironic, considering how often the Mayor’s Office finds reason to hold press conferences and send out press releases. Just this month, the Mayor’s Office has made sure the media and public knew about his myriad national television appearances each time they happened, the city’s participation in Earth Hour, his push to cut foreclosures, Torrey Pines hosting the 2009 Samsung World Championship and many more.

Back in December, when he began accepting his pay, the mayor announced that he was turning on the holiday lights at Balboa Park and that an anonymous resident had donated money to keep the fire pits at the beach — an amenity the Mayor’s Office had shut down in order to save a program it estimated to costs $173,000 to maintain.

In 2005, the mayor’s pledge not to accept the full salary in addition to his already healthy pension from the city was a big deal. The mayor helped himself win an election and received good will for years for sacrificing so much of his deserved wages. He publicized this sacrifice.

He therefore had an obligation to publicize his change of mind. If he decided it was time to take the full salary, he could have easily justified it. But he has to inform the public — lest his constituents continue to believe he’s doing something he’s not.

What do you think about this news? If you’re in The Clipboard, comment below. If you’re not, go there.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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