If San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ weekend meeting with San Diego Unified school board President Richard Barrera indicates that the mayor now supports a sales tax increase, his position would not only go against his public statements for two weeks — it would also contradict comments his spokesman made to me as recently as Friday.

For today’s story on the mayor’s leadership, I asked Sanders’ spokesman Darren Pudgil whether the mayor still opposed a ballot measure to temporarily increase the city’s sales tax in the wake of a toddler’s choking death last week. The Fire Department was slow to arrive to the 2-year-old, Bentley Do, in part because budget cuts shut down one fire engine that could have responded.

“Yes,” Pudgil replied.

I then asked Pudgil if the mayor would actively campaign against a tax increase or just be opposed. He said:

I think we’ve made it very clear that the mayor doesn’t think this is the right time. Beyond that, where we go from here, I’m not sure how we’re going to communicate that message. I think everyone knows how the mayor feels about it.

But that was last week. The Mayor’s Office hasn’t responded to my request for comment on the sales tax proposal in light of his meeting with Barrera.

Barrera agreed after that meeting to ask the rest of the San Diego Unified board to withdraw plans for a parcel tax to fund local schools, less than two weeks after the board voted to put it on the November ballot.

— LIAM DILLON

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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