Rep. Bob Filner nabbed the endorsement of the fifth and final Board of Education member Wednesday, giving him the support of the entire board in his bid to be San Diego mayor.
Scott Barnett, school board vice president with the San Diego Unified School District and lifelong Republican, said he hesitated to get involved in the mayoral race, but Councilman Carl DeMaio’s education plan tipped him over the edge.
“As a parent, as a school board member and as a taxpayer, as a Republican, I believe the candidacy of Carl DeMaio is a clear and present danger to the citizens of San Diego,” Barnett said. “I believe we do have a stark choice, and the best choice for San Diego is Bob Filner.”
Barnett said DeMaio’s education plan, released Oct. 3, was mere lip service with no real content, and came from someone with virtually no knowledge of San Diego schools.
“I can guarantee you my teenage daughters know more about what’s happening at San Diego Unified than Mr. DeMaio, and I’m pretty confident my dog Milo has been on more school sites than Mr. DeMaio as well,” Barnett said.
DeMaio spokesman K.B. Forbes said this picture of DeMaio is not true and is uncalled for.
“Carl DeMaio has supported $5.7 million for after-school programs since taking office,” Forbes said. “The divisive and vulgar tone of Filner's campaign and its supporters is unbecoming of city leaders."
Barnett said Filner’s education plan was based on experience, and would be in the best interest of San Diego’s children. Filner made it clear that he opposed a mayoral take-over of the board of education, and instead vowed to work with the resources of the city to improve education funding, starting with Proposition Z.
“We need to help you in every way possible. We need to help you as you advocate for Prop. Z. We need to help you advocate for adequate funding. We need to advocate for you before and after school,” Filner said. “We leave the school kids to you for the major part of the day, but we can’t expect you to be responsible before and after school.”
Filner said he wants to have community institutions such as museums, senior centers, sports teams and churches work together to improve the state of after-school care. In his Clean and Safe Schools plan, DeMaio, who has said he will not take a stance on Prop. Z, focuses on improving the safety of schools through an increased police presence and what he calls a “Safe Zone” in each neighborhood. These facilities would be staffed by nonprofits and volunteers, and would serve as after-school care from 3 to 9 p.m.
Filner and Barnett both questioned DeMaio’s support of the school system given that he is not openly supporting Prop. Z, which raises $2.8 billion in taxes to be spent on refurbishing San Diego’s schools.