Nov. 23 2011 11:51 AM

CityBeat grades DeMaio's publicity stunt and Bonnie Dumanis' questionable endorsement


The latest installment of CityBeat's election column, wherein we rate campaigns and candidates and award them turds or blossoms for their latest foibles and triumphs. 

Cart blanche

Earlier this month, CityBeat reported on a fundraiser San Diego City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio threw at Downtown Johnny Brown's for the two Civic Center businesses that say they were forced to shut down due to the negative impact of Occupy San Diego. According to a spreadsheet received through a public-records request, DeMaio's call for donations raised $2,095 for Brooklyn Dogs and $2,340 for Centre City Coffee.

To DeMaio's credit, he personally donated $250 to each of the businesses— and we'll award him five carnations for the gesture. At the same time, the fundraiser also allowed many of DeMaio's supporters who'd already reached the $500 legal limit of what they could give his mayoral campaign to buy just a little more influence by contributing the cause. These donors included former Republican City Council candidate Phil Thalheimer ($250 to both businesses), builders Jimmie Nelson ($100 to both) and Terry Arnett ($50 to both) and developer Ure Kretowicz ($50 to both). DeMaio's campaign spokesman Stephen Puetz donated $20 to both businesses, while DeMaio booster Jerome Navarro of Jerome's Furniture donated $250 to both.

We'll award 16 turds, one for each campaign donor who contributed. DeMaio also collected $455 in unattributed cash, some of which came from Occupy protesters who confronted him at the fundraiser.

Strike out

District attorney Bonnie Dumanis has been unveiling a steady stream of endorsements for her mayoral campaign, including Sandra McBrayer, whom Dumanis described in a press-release headline as National “Teacher of the Year.” To be clear, McBrayer wasn't the 2011 teacher of the year; she received that honor 17 years ago from President Bill Clinton.

More recently, she's known as the executive director of the Children's Initiative, a local nonprofit at the center of ethical controversy last year over self-dealing grants. As reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune, McBrayer sits on the state's Corrections Standards Authority, which awarded $100,000 to the county that was in turn used for a no-bid contract with McBrayer's organization. In 2009, the U-T found that another agency whose board she sits on, First 5 Commission of San Diego, also awarded contracts to its members' organizations. McBrayer is back in the news this week, as the Commission on Children, Youth and Families—yet another agency where she holds a leadership position—is engaged in the same practice. That's three strikes, and therefore we'll award Dumanis three poos on behalf of her supporter.

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