Lately Councilmen Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer have bemoaned the so-called scare tactics of those lining up in support behind Proposition D.

The argument is based on two planks: 1) Proposition D supporters make no bones about the risk of cuts to public safety they claim will come if the measure doesn’t pass. And 2) Faulconer and DeMaio say this is a lie and a bluff. The council doesn’t have the moxie to cut police or fire. They all would oppose cuts to fire and police and so other services would be lost and reforms made to deal with the shortfall.

So, therefore, the claim that Proposition D is needed to avoid a deterioration of public safety resources is a scare tactic.

Fair enough. It is hard, though, to imagine the city cutting so much from its budget and not touching public safety. The claim that it wouldn’t is based on the idea that, so scared about this reality, the city, unions and leaders, would agree to even greater benefit reform. I think this ignores the reality that unions might just want to fight to the death on benefits and let some of their members — even police and fire — get laid off in the battle.

But you also probably won’t die if Prop. D doesn’t pass and it’s not right to overly alarm the public.

On the other hand, how about the claims from the other side that Proposition D will ruin the economy?

Are they just friendly public service messages? Is it not a scare tactic to say, for instance, that a half-cent sales tax will destroy the local construction industry? Or hurt families just trying to eat?

There are good arguments on both sides of Proposition D. You can watch the debate we hosted, and peruse them on our Proposition D page.

But you can’t complain about scare tactics while you’re deploying them.

Please contact Scott Lewis directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow him on Twitter:

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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