Filner, DeMaio Clash Over Balboa Park Water Fight

Rep. Bob Filner Claims Councilman Carl DeMaio's Partner Promoted Event

The furor over damage to the lily pond at Balboa Park at a weekend water fight took center stage in the race for mayor of San Diego Monday when one of the candidates, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, accused the gay partner of his opponent, Councilman Carl DeMaio, of helping to promote the event.

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Filner's campaign emailed a statement to reporters that called on DeMaio to condemn the actions of Johnathan Hale, the publisher of San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, for his "criminal actions."

An article that ran in Hale's publication on Thursday, which promoted the upcoming CityFest in Hillcrest, mentioned the water fight, which was originally supposed to take place at the fountain near Park Boulevard. The fountain was closed for maintenance.

The article pointed out that 900 people were listed as "going" on Facebook, and concluded with the comment, "So yeah, this should be interesting!" The article also noted other events connected to CityFest.

"I think voters should be concerned about someone like this playing a significant role in the next mayoral administration," Filner said.

Hale is the partner of DeMaio, one of two openly gay members of the San Diego City Council.

At a news conference, DeMaio called Filner's comments "desperate personal attacks against my family." That kind of "mean-spirited divisiveness" might be typical in Congress, but is rejected in San Diego, he said.

DeMaio said how a mayor responds to such incidents is a test of leadership.

"We need a mayor who allows for a full investigation of these incidents and waits for all facts to be determined before casting judgment on who should be held accountable," DeMaio said. "By condemning an innocent man today without any facts, Bob Filner has shown he is unfit to lead this city."

The article was still available on the web as of late Monday afternoon.

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