Live Blogging the Final San Diego Mayoral Debate

by on May 30, 2012 · 8 comments

in Election, Politics, San Diego

And that’s a wrap!  (Thank God!!!)

1:37-  What qualification do you have that assures voters that you are most qualified to lead on education issues?

Dumanis:  When education system fails, the kids end up in criminal justice system.  I’ve dealt with it as judge and as DA.  More parent involvement.  Transparency.  Parents at table.  I’m going to fix city schools in first term.

1:36-  Fletcher made excessive partisanship a major issue.

Fletcher:  Extremely partisan in Sacramento.  Made deal to close tax loopholes, Repubs said can’t do that because it makes Dems look good.  Not moving us forward.  Public is tired of it.

1:34-  Partisanship is part of Filner’s campaign, constantly pointing out that he’s the only Dem in the race.

Filner:  I was elected to school board, they elected me president because I was the most effective leader.  Chair of Veterans Committee.  Could not have gotten funding for VA without total bipartisan support.

1:32-  Nathan Fletcher says DeMaio is most divisive figure in city hall, want to make SD “Wisconsin of the West.”  Share how you’ve worked across aisle?

DeMaio:  Makes for good talking points in campaign, but doesn’t reflect reality.  They call it divisive, I call it standing up for you.  People deserve to know what’s being done with their money.  We stood against the establishment, the employee unions.  Coalition of Republicans and independents.  I call it getting results.

1:28-  Unemployment rate 50% higher for veterans.  What will you do to help vets get jobs?

Fletcher:  I’m a veteran looking for a job!

I’ve worked to enact a veterans hiring policy.  Most cities didn’t have one,  San Diego now does.  Apprenticeship and training programs.

Filner:  in NDAA, active duty troops that are being foreclosed on are protected by law.  I will establish veterans employment office.

Dumanis:  Been involved in vet issues as judge and DA.  Propose veterans business opportunity program.  City College has training programs.

DeMaio:  Pensions, Potholes, Prosperity.  Make sure vets have jobs.  They’ve put off their education to serve, we have to do more for them.

Fletcher:  Hire a veteran to be your mayor!  He’ll be the best one to deal with it.  Intangibles vets bring are invaluable.

1:24- What would DeMaio administration do to help homeless begging for change on roadsides?

DeMaio:  We need to have support svcs to break cycle of homelessness.  We also need strict enforcement.  If someone continues to panhandle, we need to arrest them.

Fletcher:  We have a moral obligation to take care of our veterans.  There are a lot of organizations working on this.  There was one homeless man identified that cost the city $800k.

Filner:  I have plan, supported in Congress, to deal with homeless veterans.  I have a plan to use vacant hospitals and hotels to house homeless.

Dumanis:  Moral and economic issue.

DeMaio:  One of my main strategies is to reach out to the non-profit partners.

1:20-  What advice would you give patients regarding medical marijuana?

Dumanis:  I’m for safe access for medicinal use.  What I object to is the sale of marijuana in schools and neighborhoods.  What I’ve found is that there are a lot of sick people between the ages of 17 and 35.

DeMaio:  Mom suffered from cancer.  I will solve this problem by bringing DA and law enforcement together.

Fletcher:  Bonnie has done a great job, that’s why three of us are hoping she stays district Attorney.

Everyone has had someone in their lives afflicted by a terminal illness.  Supports compassionate use.

Filner:  I’ve tried at federal level unsuccessfully (without my name on bill) to reclassify marijuana as a drug that can be sold through pharmacies.

1:16- Each candidate has had their career and personal lives examined.  Tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know?

Filner:  I play the piano.

Dumanis:  I worked on a garbage line in college.

DeMaio:  People need to understand why I’m so passionate on the need to resolve our problems in San Diego. I’m all about overcoming adversity.

Fletcher:  In college I was a bouncer at a bar.  When people say “all they do in politics is fight,” I’m your guy.  I cleaned a movie theater, and still pick up trash in theaters today.

Filner:  I met MLK when I was 13.  Convicted at 18 and in jail.  Conviction overturned, changed the entire legal system with regards to civil rights.

Dumanis:  I’m passionate about San Diego having lived here for almost 40 years.

1:14-  From Dumanis:  If you’ve been in Congress for 20 years and have only passed 6 bills, how do you expect to be mayor when you have to get 6 things done before breakfast?

Filner:  Have to count things that get done but doesn’t necessarily have my name on it.  GI Bill.  I’ve put $30 billion into veterans homeless issues.

1:13- Filner:  Who has the broadest experience to be mayor?

1:11-  Candidates get to ask questions:

Fletcher:  Special interests–to Filner and DeMaio–how do you differentiate with special interest is good and which is bad?

DeMaio:  I’m supported by a very broad base of San Diegans (including Democrats (not likely)).  I’m about bringing San Digans together no matter what.

Filner:  I’ll put up my construction workers, firefighters, teachers, etc, against the others’ supporters.

1:06-  Focus on pothole repair is top priority (to Carl)  What do you say to your critics who fear that your pothole plan will come at the expense of city services?

DeMaio:  Today city hall is balancing budget by ignoring road repair (no, they’re not.  I’ve seen plenty of roads in my neighborhood that have been completely repaved quite nicely).  We need to reform city government for transparently.  I’ve showed 249 pages on how to get it done.

Fletcher:  Imagine if the aspirational goal of a city is to fill potholes.  ” San Diego strives for mediocrity.”

Filner:  I associate myself with Nathan’s remarks.  That’s why I want to hire him.

CCDC has been abolished, I want to establish a neighborhood development corp.  Use CCDC funds redirected.

Dumanis:  My vision is for San Diego to be the greatest place with greatest schools.  It’s not just potholes, but filling potholes and then having to come back to repair a sewer line.  Do job with money that we have.  We can do that with teh fiscal savings from pension reform.

DeMaio:  Question reveals real differences between candidates.  I’m offering a 249 page plan.  city government has failed our neighborhoods.

1:02- Civic Center:  Thoughts on building new Civic Center

Dumanis:  Now is not the time for building a new civic center.  I will make decisions on how this will impact San Diego’s economy.  Look at Civic Center way down road.

DeMaio:  I took up the cause of defeating new City Hall project.  They want to build a huge city hall for “city workers.”  (he actually said that, “city workers” line specifically)

Fletcher:  We’ll find what’s most reasonable.  Not acceptable for City Hall to be in a building with asbestos.  Renovation or new building?

Filner:  New approach to city hall.  Look at iconic structures.  (???)

12:59-  If there are lengthy delays to expanding convention center, what would you do to keep ComiCon around?

Filner:  City Council has a plan supported by DeMaio that will be shot down by Coastal Commission due to sea wall.  Hoteliers voted on a tax that should go to public.  I will not tolerate a private giveaway of public money.

Dumanis:  It’s not a private giveaway.  I support current convention center plan.  Creates jobs.  City Atty. has filed a validation motion with judge to determine if plan is legal.

DeMaio:  Too important to our economy, jobs, to treat as political football.  WE’ll take entire package before a judge.

Fletcher:  You have to do it right.  Make sure environmental concerns are addressed for Coastal Commission.  Need to grow our defense sector.

Filner:  NOt political football, but I’m throwing a yellow flag.  Plan will be challenged.  Litigation makes plan at best 1-1 1/2 years off.

12:58-  Bob’s more than holding his own, but I have to admit that I do like Nathan Fletcher’s answers too.

12:53-  City workers haven’t received a pay raise in 5 years, Prop B would extend that for another 5 years.  haven’t workers suffered enough?

Fletcher:  City workers taking the blame for problems created by city politicians.  But the people that have suffered the most are the taxpayers.  All candidates agree to the 5 year freeze in pensionable pay.

Filner:  Employees did not cause the problem, two Republican mayors did.  Wall St. collapse is the biggest cause.  My 5 year labor peace plan saves $250 million.

Dumanis:  Bob, your plan really is a borrowing plan and is very risky.  Give employees the tools they need to do the right thing.  There are ways to reward good behavior through merit pay.

DeMaio:  We are still able to provide merit based or performance based bonuses.  City employees currently get raises (no they don’t, needs to be fact checked).

Filner:  We are paying on our debt 7.75% on debt.  If we borrow at 2% lower, it will save money (playing to real estate crowd)

Fletcher:  The way you talk about city workers says a lot about who you are as a person.  We will see what went wrong and never repeat those mistakes.

12:48- Real Estate agents double taxed since they are considered independent contractors.

DeMaio:  I’m against higher taxes.  I defeated the Prop D sales tax increase two years ago.  I will reverse decision that double taxes real estate agents.

Fletcher:  I don’t like being single taxed let alone double taxed.  I have worked to eliminate tax loopholes.

Filner:  Goes without saying that I’m for lower taxes and helping small business.  (Dumanis:  Next you’re going to become a Republican).  I would repeal the double taxation.  I’ve voted 100% on issues important to US industry.

Dumanis:  Having sold real estate I understand that you hook up with a broker.  We will take care of that law, cut red tape at City Hall, make it friendly.  I want to make San Diego the easiest place to do business in the State of California.

DeMaio:  I look forward to working with each business association and listening to their needs.  I’m the only one with small business experience.


Fletcher:  I’m proud of my record of success in the Assembly.

Dumanis:  Your job is to legislate (says he missed 70% of votes)

Fletcher:  My job is to get things done.

Filner:  I give my time to Nathan!  (to respond to Dumanis)

Fletcher:  Long list of things we got done.  Adoption process works better because of our legislation.

DeMaio:  (shrugs shoulders)  How are we going to repair our roads?  At the end of the day, San Diegans need to ask themselves who they trust to run San Diego.

12:42- Are ballot initiatives taking the easy way out by shirking the responsibility of making tough decisions through Props A and B?

Dumanis:  With Prop A we want fair and open competition.  Prop B changes the pension system.  We need these.

DeMaio:  Ballot measures are a critical part of our effort to reform city finances.

Fletcher:  If your idea of governing is one ballot measure after another then you don’t have to run for mayor.  People elect us to do our jobs and make decisions on their behalf.

Filner:  I associate myself completely with Nathan’s remarks.  Prop B unfair, a fraud, and does not save a cent.  Will face 10 years of litigation.  I fyou want pension reform, vote down Prop B.

Dumanis:  to Filner and Fletcher:  You haven’t been doing your jobs since January.

12:37-  With recent loss of redevelopment dollars, affordable housing in jeopardy.  Do you support Affordable housing?

Filner:  Yes.  need transit oriented development.  Pre permit sites for affordable housing.

Dumanis:  We need affordable housing, but it shouldn’t be laid on any particular industry.  We need to get people buying houses.

DeMaio:  Focus is on how we get government subsidies to provide affordable housing.  We nee to get people to work so they can provide their own housing.  Current programs are not working.

Fletcher:  Not enough just to create jobs, must create good jobs.  They have to make enough to be able to buy a home.  Make affordable housing more affordable to build.

Filner:  On homeless:  I have a 5 year plan to end veterans’ homelessness (see our interview with him).

12:32- Chargers Stadium plan at transit terminal.  Where does it stand on your list of priorities?

Fletcher:  “If you see a street with potholes and no lights, you don’t understand the conversation about a stadium.”

Filner:  “Glad Nathan has adopted my plan for expansion of the Port.”  Stadium plan pushed by UT non-starter.  Teams make hundreds of millions of dollars, and are asking for a billion (no they’re not, but anyway).

No public money for a stadium.

Dumanis:  “Get your head in the game Bob!  You’re not running in the 1970’s”  No stadium at taxpayer’s expense.  Wants Chargers here.

DeMaio:  I do not support public funding for a Chargers stadium.  Private model for public/private partnership (gee, sounds an awful lot like what the Chargers have been proposing all along, and I would know)

12:29-  Question:  What is the most blatant falsehood or misleading statement made about you?

DeMaio:  The government employees and employee unions are evil.  Taken out nearly $1 million in negative ads about “my” ballot measure.

Says he will “unite San Diego”

Fletcher:  “The great thing about TV is you actually know where the attack ads are coming from.”

Says he’s proud of his record in the Assembly.

Filner:  “Carl’s running an incredible ad accusing me of being an Obama Democrat, that includes a clip of me working with the President on a Veteran’s bill.”

“If elected, San Diego will have a friend in the White House.”

Dumanis:  “I go to work every day, I show up, kick butt, and take names.”


12:28- Bob Filner

Cracks joke about the Lincoln Club sending mailers on his behalf.

“I’m probably the most qualified candidate who’s ever run for mayor.”

12:27-  Nathan Fletcher

Iwo Jima survivor Lou Fleming was a hero of his.

Public office is public service, and we’re there to make a real difference.

“I have an ability to bring people together and solve problems.”

12:26-  Carl DeMaio

“This is a very important election that will determine whether we fix our streets.”

Mentions his “249 page detailed step by step plan.”

“I want to change the culture at City Hall.”  Really?

12:24-  Opening statements.

Bonnie Dumanis-  “I’m the only one who’s had a real estate license and sold real estate.”

“I’m applying for a job here, to be the CEO of San Diego.”


12:23-  Atkinson introduces the candidates.  DeMaio gets a good reception.  But they LOVE Nathan Fletcher here at the San Diego Association of Realtors.

12:22-  Steve Atkinson of Channel 10 will be moderating the debate.  Looks like we’re getting close to the start of the debate itself.

12:20-  George Chamberlain cracks jokes about the Marines in Camp Pendleton protecting San Diego from the “crazies” in Orange County.

12:12- The candidates are announced.  DeMaio and Dumanis receive polite applause.  Filner receives an even more tepid reception, and Nathan Fletcher receives the most boisterous welcome.

12:00-  Still waiting.  There was supposed to be a presentation that started 15 minutes ago, with the debate starting 15 minutes from now.  I guess they’re running behind schedule.  At least the candidates are here.

11:30-  Well, I’m here.  Waiting to get started.

Check back this afternoon, as I’ll be live blogging from the scene the final debate between Mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio, Bonnie Dumanis, Nathan Fletcher, and Bob Filner before next Tuesday’s primary election.

Now, I’ve never done this before, so please be a little patient with me.  It should be interesting.  The debate starts at 12:15 and is hosted by the San Diego Association of Realtors.

The debate itself will be broadcast by Channel 10 on Saturday, June 2nd, at 7pm.  But in the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep you all informed as to what’s going on down there at the Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center.  I know you’ll all be waiting with baited breath.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Daniels May 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Thanks Andy! Did DeMaio whip out his 249 page detailed plan and hold it up for everyone to see? I treat myself to a handful of M&M’s every time he does that.


Doug Porter May 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

we shoulda made a drinking game out of Carl’s debate appearances. Every time he whips out a plan, you gotta do a shot of Jaegermeister. The face you make after drinking it s appropriate for thinking about Carl DeMaio.


Frank Gormlie May 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

You guys are sooo cynical! Carl is just a simple boy, misunderstood by all yee lefty traitors. He’s really a gooood friend of the working guy. And he’s got a wunderful final plan for all of us, and I’m sure he’ll announce it while carefully standing on that part of our body between the head and shoulders.


Frank Gormlie May 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Seriously? Did this get a laugh from the audience:

Fletcher: Bonnie has done a great job, that’s why three of us are hoping she stays district Attorney.


Frank Gormlie May 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

This just in:
AbenicioSD AbenicioSD
Hey @obrag can someone over there please give Andy Cohen a history lesson and explain that MoveOn and Emily’s List aren’t the “far left”.
May 30, 1:04 PM via web


Andy Cohen May 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

MoveOn isn’t the far left? I like MoveOn as much as the rest of you, but they are pretty far left, right there with ThinkProgress. Nothing wrong with that.


Frank Gormlie May 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Andy, are you asking me, a MoveOn organizer?


Mary June 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm

The debate was won by CarlnDeMaio with Bonnie coming in second. Carl knows San Diego and has worked long and hard for our city. His passion is evident for getting things done for our city. Signature collector? Who else stood outside of stores and neighborhoods to collect those signatures that were needed to secure ballot measures? Who else gave up their weekends, and their other six days of the week working day and night to get things done? I am sorry to say that if Nathan did not serene in the Marine Corp, he would have little else to talk about. While Bonnie and he did a great job getting the law passed making it tougher for sexual predators, he has done little else for San Diego.Quite honestly, never really heard of Nathan prior to the horrible murder of dear Chelsea King.
Carl is the only candidate with a written plan to help our city in his Roadmap to Recovery. Nathan is all talk and charming and little else. He does not know San Diego and did not do much in Sacramento. We need a Mayor who will do the job that he/she was elected to do and that requires being physically present in that job.


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