Candidates spar about DeMaio’s partner’s role in ‘Lilygate’Around the City Thursday, August 16th, 2012
The fallout of a weekend water-gun fight at the fabled lily pond in Balboa Park, now being called “Lilygate” includes more than $10,000 in municipal property damage – not to mention the potential to cost one leading mayoral candidate the 2012 election.
Candidates Bob Filner, a Democrat and San Diego’s firebrand liberal congressman and City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, very publicly traded jabs over the scope of alleged involvement of DeMaio’s life partner, Johnathan Hale in the midnight invasion of the koi-filled pond by thousands of trampling human feet.
At first the DeMaio campaign had sought to downplay the incident.
“I have no comment on that,” said DeMaio spokesman, Jeff Powell, speaking by phone from the councilman’s offices at City Hall. Similarly, hours after a voicemail was left at the councilman’s mayoral campaign headquarters regarding the issue, the campaign had offered no response.
The Filner Campaign, however, raised concerns over Hale’s involvement to the level of a campaign issue releasing the following statement:
“This is felony vandalism of the crown jewel of San Diego. Carl DeMaio’s partner reportedly helped to organize it. I call on Carl to condemn Jonathan Hale’s criminal actions. I think voters should be concerned about someone like this playing a significant role in the next mayoral administration.”
The DeMaio campaign struck back with a press conference refuting the Filner campaign’s allegations. Surrounded by supporters, a visibly angry DeMaio blasted Filner for conducting “desperate personal attacks against my family.”
“By condemning an innocent man today without any facts,” Demaio said. “Bob Filner has shown he is unfit to lead this city.”
The war of words over Johnathan Hale’s involvement escalated during a debate Tuesday sponsored by the San Diego Builders and Management Association, where DeMaio asserted that Filner was willing to lie to be elected mayor. The candidates clashed on the issue at least five times during the debate.
Afterwords K.B. Forbes, communications director, for the DeMaio campaign heckled Congressman Filner calling him a “bold-faced liar” among other things.
Damage done at the century-old koi pond in Balboa Park after the weekend melee included broken pipes, injured fish, destroyed plant life and broken fixtures.
An announcement on the Web site of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN.com), which is owned by DeMaio’s life partner, Johnathan Hale, promoted attendance of what calendar columnist Jim Winsor, termed “a very unique and unusual event.” Winsor gave former SDGLN.com contributor, “Ken St. Pierre and others” credit for organizing the midnight water-gun fight in Balboa Park.
Following is the text of the announcement, which includes a link to what appears to be a now-deactivated Facebook events page:
And this Saturday, we have a very unique and unusual event coming up: A midnight water-gun fight in Balboa Park being organized by Ken St. Pierre and others. The idea is to “… meet at the large fountain in front of San Diego Natural History Museum at 11:45 pm (near Park Boulevard). First “squirt” will be at the stroke of midnight and then it is a free-for-all of water-gun madness!!!”
The event is BYOWG (bring your own water gun) and pool attire is suggested, as everyone will be getting soaking wet. The fascinating thing is, this event has already generated LOTS of attention; as I write this over 900 people have already indicated themselves as “Going” on Facebook, and organizers are hoping the event will continue to go viral and attract over 1,000 potential attendees. So yeah, this should be interesting!
Despite conflicting reports, no animals died due to the invasion, according to city officials.
However, City Councilman Todd Gloria, whose district Balboa Park lies in, told LGBT Weekly that anyone who helped promote the incursion into the koi pond or who helped cause damage to city property should be held accountable.
“Anyone causing damage to public property should be held accountable, no matter who they are or who they know,” said Councilman Todd Gloria.
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