One day after San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders used a little profanity to blast City Councilman Carl DeMaio, the mayoral candidate had something new -- and some might say unexpected -- to say about the mayor.
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"I think the mayor has tried," were just some of the positive words DeMaio had for Sanders on Thursday.
In a Wednesday press conference about how financial reforms have put the city on sound financial footing, Sanders said, "Because of our improved financial standing, we announced the restoration of some services such as additional operating hours at our libraries and recreation centers."
During a question-and-answer session following the press conference, Sanders told reporters, "I want to be very clear that, that one councilmember has to have doom and gloom in order to get elected mayor, but I'm not buying into that and I don't think the people in San Diego are either."
When a reporter asked about candidate DeMaio taking credit for city budget reforms, Sanders did not hold back, saying, "Carl takes credit for putting me on it? He probably takes credit for my weight loss, probably takes credit for the weeds I pulled in the backyard last week. It's all (expletive)!"
"I don't mind, I don't take personally some of the things that happen during a campaign. I respect the mayor," DeMaio said Thursday of Sanders' remarks.
DeMaio's office also issued this statement in response to Sanders' comments.
"It's silly season. Chalk it up to that. I don't care about credit, I'm just thrilled our fiscal reform agenda is working for taxpayers. We all can celebrate and be proud that we have made this much progress without a tax increase. I look forward to finishing the job of fiscal reform as San Diego's next Mayor and presenting a budget in December that fully funds our road repairs and restores more neighborhood services."
A 10News poll taken last week shows DeMaio leading the mayoral race with an 18-point lead ahead of Bonnie Dumanis, who has been endorsed by Sanders.
Dumanis picked up an endorsement Thursday from Keith Slotter, the former head of the FBI office in San Diego, while Independent Nathan Fletcher received an endorsement from environmental leader Carolyn Chase, who founded San Diego's Earth Fair.
Wednesday's press conference was not the first time Sanders, typically measured and low-key during public appearances, has used colorful language.
In April 2008, while running for re-election, Sanders told opponent Steve Francis, "(Expletive) you, Steve," when Francis tried to shake his hand after a debate.
At the time, Sanders explained it this way: "I don't appreciate someone spending $5 million to tear down my character. I don't want to pretend we're friendly and having a handshake."
DeMaio credited Sanders for getting San Diego through a difficult time, saying, "The fact that he kept our city moving is commendable."
However, he also said the condition of the city's roads shows Sanders' budget is not truly balanced.
"You can always balance a budget by not doing something and right now what they're not doing is enough of the road repairs and our neighborhoods actually reflect that," said DeMaio.
On Thursday, DeMaio unveiled plans called the "repair" initiative, a $480 million ballot initiative to fund San Diego road repairs.
"I don't care about the credit, I don't care about the personality, I care about getting the job done," he said.
Sanders issued this statement Thursday:
"Over the past several years, San Diego has faced enormous challenges starting with a pension scandal and more recently a deep economic recession. Through much hard work and a variety of cost-saving reforms, we are now emerging from those dark clouds and back into the sunlight where our city belongs. While some have been quick to publicly claim credit, this has always been a team effort. I'm grateful to the people of San Diego, our employees and the City Council for coming together to bring our city back. I am proud to have simply been part of this team."
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