The backlash over damage done to an historic lily pond in San Diego’s Balboa Park continued Tuesday as one mayoral candidate pressed another on the destructive water fight on park property.
Members of the San Diego City Parks and Recreation Department spent the morning pumping water and restoring the habitat inside the popular pond outside the Botanical Building.
A crowd estimated at 1500 to 2000 people responded to the event that was publicized through social media and several websites. One such website was SDGLN.com whose publisher, Johnathan Hale, is the partner of San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio.
U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, DeMaio’s opponent in the city’s mayoral race, accused Hale of criminal activity late Monday.
His accusations continued when the two candidates met Tuesday at a debate organized by the Building Owners and Managers Association inside the Marriott Gaslamp Quarter.
At the 45-minute debate, the pond vandalism was mentioned five separate times despite the moderator’s attempt to keep the debate on topic.
“I asked Mr. DeMaio 10 times at this [debate] ‘Is it a lie that this event, illegal event, an illegal event which led to illegal activity was promoted by websites that he controls and owns?’ That is the truth and he refused to answer it,” said Filner.
Filner said he wanted Hale to face the media and explain his role in the event, “I want him to answer the questions. If they I’m unfairly attacking him, let him answer the questions.”
When asked about Filner’s accusations after the event, DeMaio told reporters, “It is truly astounding that Mr. Filner continues to perpetuate a lie and nasty personal attacks when important issues are here,” DeMaio said.
But, DeMaio never clearly explained what part of Filner’s accusation was a lie.
When a member of the media asked DeMaio to clarify, the candidate walked away from the microphone and communication director K.B. Forbes stepped forward saying the allegations were outrageous.
“The lie is that he is accusing a family member of Carl DeMaio of organizing an event,” Forbes explained.
When asked if Hale would address the accusations, Forbes said “Bob Filner should not be taking on a loved one. It’s disrespectful and egregious behavior and he should apologize to Mr. DeMaio and his family.”