Oct. 20 2011 12:00 AM

Outtakes from A Better San Diego debate

Kelly Davis
Mayoral candidates Bob Filner and Nathan Fletcher squared off last night in the second debate of the campaign season. While the four major candidates were invited, they were the only two to accept the invitation. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has said she has no plans to debate until March, while DeMaio questioned whether the debate's organizers, the labor-backed A Better San Diego, would put on a fair forum.

And, indeed, Fletcher, a moderate Republican, was clearly at odds with the politics of most of the folks in attendance. Comprehensive pension reform? He supports it (boo!). Forcing city workers to prove they can do their jobs more cheaply than the private sector? He supports that, too (double boo!). Implementing a policy that requires the city to hire locally for taxpayer-funded projects? He doesn't support that (triple boo!).

But Fletcher showed populist leanings, too. He said he'd support an ordinance similar to one in Chula Vista that holds banks responsible for the condition of vacant foreclosed properties; he wants to see spending on public transit be more of a priority (and he briefly mentioned improving things for bike riders); and, he pointed out that he supports legislation by Gil Cedillo that would prohibit police from impounding the cars of unlicensed drivers at DUI checkpoints.---

Fletcher came across as practical and pragmatic; the dude didn't flinch, regardless of how the audience responded. Filner, meanwhile, stopped short of promising everyone in the audience a pony (credit to political observer Seth Hall for that one). Voiceofsandiego.org's Liam Dillon wrote up a good summary of everything Filner said he'd do.

"But as the months tick down to the June 2012 primary," Dillon sums up, "it's on Filner to fill in the details of his world." Among the blanks that need filling in is Filner's plan to fix the city's pension problem. He reiterated last night that he does, indeed, have a plan and will be releasing it "soon." But, he's been saying that for awhile now.

Some things to watch for—and mull over—in upcoming debates:

* When you're running for city office, to what extent do you bring up your history in state or federal office? Both Fletcher a state Assembly member and Filner, a member of Congress, talked at length about their records. Does that resonate with voters?

* Filner said that, if elected, he'd abolish the Centre City Development Corp., the city's Downtown redevelopment arm. He's made it clear that Downtown redevelopment's run its course, but has never been so unequivocal about putting an end to CCDC. From our interview with him in August:

I'm going to run the whole campaign around neighborhoods—there are different needs in different neighborhoods. And I think Downtown, CCDC has done its job. They've turned Downtown around.

Now it's time to refocus and maybe use those tools redevelopment gives us on other areas. And maybe be more creative because you don't have that same kind of blight, but you have infrastructure needs.

* Both candidates talked about economic fairness and equality, though neither directly answered CityBeat editor Dave Rolland's question about trash fees (currently paid only by folks living in apartments and not by homeowners) and stormwater fees (currently far less than what they should be, even for businesses whose activities impact water quality, forcing the city to cover the difference to the tune of $30+ million). Both candidates took Mayor Jerry Sanders' tack, saying that voters wouldn't trust any kind of revenue increases until the city's got its financial house in order.


  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28