By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Though Carl DeMaio’s unsuccessful run for mayor led him to being a one-term city councilman, the Rancho Bernardo resident said he would not have done anything differently.
“My approach is to go with your gut,” the 38-year-old said. “I have no regrets. But I believe my role as mayor could have been significant.”
DeMaio said polls leading up to election day showed a mayoral victory was possible, but the race was “swept up in a national tsunami” that led to him and other Republicans failing to claim victory.
As for his four years representing District 5, DeMaio said he accomplished much that he is proud of and credited those of all political leanings who joined his efforts to bring pension reform to the city and stop a tax increase while restoring library and recreation center hours and repairing miles of roads.
DeMaio said issues were never Democrat versus Republican for him or those who rallied around the issues he advocated. Progress made can continue “if we stay the course,” he added.
DeMaio has yet to reveal his career plans once leaving office on Monday and did not rule out seeking office again. “I’m going to continue pushing City Hall, pushing for fiscal reform and giving back services lost over the last decade.” He added, “I love San Diego. It’s my home.”
As for accomplishments beyond the city’s finances, DeMaio listed cutting red tape for small businesses, last year’s passage of a regulatory relief package and recent passage of the Sunshine Act that brings more transparency to city government contracts.
“I’m quite proud of my staff’s responsiveness to resident inquiries and requests,” he said. “They were creative in finding solutions to work through (problems).”
As for Rancho Bernardo issues, DeMaio listed helping keep the Ed Brown Senior Center open when “city staff wanted to pull the plug on it.” He also mentioned eliminating for sale vehicles parked along Rancho Bernardo Road that predecessor Brian Maienschein had worked on but was termed out before it became reality.
He spoke of attracting businesses to the district, road repair rallies that drew hundreds of volunteers and initiating the annual Hats Off to Volunteers recognition program in RB.
DeMaio said he would have liked to see more services restored and had reforms he advocated been implemented when he joined the council more could have been accomplished.
“The frustration is that things take time,” he said. “It took a full four years to implement the reform agenda. I hope they stay the course to finish the job.”
As for lessons learned, DeMaio said, “There was a lot more resistance to working together. That was a surprise.”
Regarding his constituents, DeMaio said, “Thank you is so inadequate ... but I’m feeling such gratitude and appreciation (of you).”