San Diego's mayor this afternoon took some sharp verbals shots at the front runner who wants to replace him at City Hall.
At one point, irritated over campaign claims by Councilman Carl DeMaio, Jerry Sanders even let loose a barnyard crudity.
Last month, DeMaio accused Sanders of accounting 'gimmicks', hiding a $50 million deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Today, the mayor released updated figures showing there's actually $12 million more to spend than originally projected.
"I am not a candidate for anything," Sanders said. "So I don't have to make things up. I don't have to be on a political doomsday tour, to make people think it's worse than it actually is."
The mayor was then asked about DeMaio's claim of having been instrumental in financial reforms that created $155 million worth of budget savings.
"Carl takes credit for putting me -- he probably takes credit for my weight loss," Sanders said, referring to his loss of nearly 100 pounds last year. "Probably takes credit for the weeds I pulled in the back yard last week. It's all bull****!"
DeMaio delivered a measured comeback.
"San Diegans will know when the budget is balanced for real -- when their roads are properly maintained," DeMaio said. "When their services are fully restored. That's when San Diegans will know we've finally gotten past the fiscal crisis."
The revised budget's new-found $12 million, largely due to increased room tax proceeds and healthier legal and disability fund balances, will be plowed into core services such as:
- More police officers and fire fighters.
- More street upgrades and infrastructure repairs.
- Longer library hours.
- Even greater support for arts and culture
Other mayoral candidates chimed in on Hizzoner's behalf.
"Mayor Sanders has done a great job of running into a burning building, dealing with the mistakes of the past, and bringing us to a point where we are more structured," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, whom Sanders has endorsed.
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher echoed the praise.
"I think Mayor Sanders is to be commended for working with people and getting us back to a position to where the next mayor really gets to take us off," Fletcher said.
While the mayor is projecting a budget surplus of $120 million over five years, there are still some question marks.
Right now, $14 million has been set aside in case the city's claim for funds to pay outstanding obligations on redevelopment projects are rejected by the state.
A public hearing on the mayor's revised budget is set for Friday morning at City Hall. A council vote on the budget is expected on June 11.