Top Candidates Meet For San Diego Mayoral Debate
October 14, 2013 1:27 p.m.
David Alvarez, City Councilman, San Diego Mayoral Candidate
Nathan Fletcher, Former State Assemblyman
San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer is a candidate for mayor. He has represented San Diego's Council District 2 since 2006.
Related Story: Top Candidates Meet For San Diego Mayoral Debate
MODERATOR: Welcome to KPBS 10 News and SDSU school of Public affairs mayoral debate before the special election. I'm Peggy Pico with KPBS
MODERATOR: And I'm Virginia Cha with 10 News. So just how lively will this debate be? Well, the candidates will have a chance to challenge one another and answer your questions about issues important to San Diego.
MODERATOR: Ten candidates qualified for the ballot and in an effort to conduct a discussion that allows for time to delve deep into the issues we've limited participation to the top four candidates according to an independent poll.
MODERATOR: Now, they are San Diego Councilman Dave Alvarez. Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, former State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and San Diego city Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
MODERATOR: We begin with opening statements. Each candidate has one minute. The order was determined by a random draw. Councilman David Alvarez is first. Your time begins now.
DAVID ALVAREZ: Thank you very much for having me. I'm glad to be on my campus of San Diego State University. I'm a native San Diegan, born and raised here my parents came in the 70s. They were immigrants to this country my mom was a fast food worker. My dad was a janitor and we had a tough time growing up. It was a hard-working family that wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to be successful. In this wonderful city of ours I had the opportunity of the first in my family to graduate from high school and go on to college and a couple years ago I decided to take on a challenge that hadn't been taken on by anyone in my family. I decided to run for city Council. And I won. I was elected with a super majority of voters and I've shown over my course in the Council that we can get things done for this city that I love so much, that I grew up in and I want to make sure is a better place for my family to live in. I have a daughter and a wife. We are raising are family here in San Diego because we love the city. We want to make sure it's better for everyone. Whether it's eliminating our budget shortfalls or making sure we give back to the community and services in the neighborhood those are my priorities and I'm glad to be here today.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Dave Alvarez. Mike Aguirre is next. Your time begins now.
MIKE AGUIRRE: This election is about more than money and power. Morally it matters who wins because this year city officials spent more money on 17,000 pensions than they spent on fire protection for 1.2 million people here in San Diego. While they were spending so much money on pensions that they exceeded the IRS limits 50% of our roads were in poor condition or worse. Upon the education of the people of San Diego rests the fate of our city. Their ability to understand these facts is critical to our survival. As the 36th Mayor of San Diego we will issue unemployment bonds that will pay our workers to repair our streets and repair our sidewalks. We will get our libraries and rec centers open and as the Mayor of San Diego I will be committed always to serve the greatest good for the greatest number of San Diegans. Thank you for letting me participate.
MODERATOR: Thank you and Nathan, you're next.
NATHAN FLETCHER: Thank you. I want to thank all of the students that are here. The future of our city is really built on our youth and to see you actively engaged in politics and following the race is really encouraging. I want to be your Mayor for two reasons. I want to be the Mayor that rebuilds the city that invests in the neighborhood, that makes sure that communities are safe, that makes sure the streets are smooth. And the second thing I want to do is be a Mayor that gets us moving forward with good paying jobs. We put out a jobs plan to create 130,000 good paying jobs by 2020 and by will be held accountable for that. But that requires a Mayor that knows how to get things done. I showed that in the state assembly where we passed Chelsea's law. San Diego requires a Mayor who knows hard work. I've worked hard my whole life. I grew up in a working-class family. I was a janitor early in the morning before school in high school I was the first of my family to go to college on a scholarship. I drove forklifts all the way through. I served in the Marines. I answered my country's call for service after September 11th and deployed and fought in a war. I've served in the state legislature and in the last year at QUALCOMM I've put all of that to work. I'm ready to be your Mayor. I'm excited to be here to talk about the future. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you and Kevin Faulconer you have one minute.
KEVIN FAULCONER: I believe San Diego's best days are ahead because we've turned the city around before. I was elected seven years ago after the last mayoral resignations left our city reeling and I've worked every day since then to restore our city's finances and our credibility. I was proud to be part of the bipartisan effort that led to the resignation of Bob Filner. We have made such progress but in many ways Bob Filner halted the progress and reversed it. I'm running for mayor to finish the job. I have the experience of bringing people together and I have the leadership that's ready to go on day one. And most importantly, you can trust me to continue to move forward on the reforms that we've all worked so hard together to make sure that those tax dollars are reinvested into our neighborhoods, particularly our underserved neighborhood so that we can fix our streets, our sidewalks, put more police officers on the street. That's why I'm running for mayor. I'm looking forward to an honest conversation about our city's future and more importantly the path on how we get there.
MODERATOR: Thank you gentlemen. Our first question was submitted by SDSU student Jacqueline Castillo. Her question, what is San Diego's biggest problem and can you offer a solution? The question goes to Mike Aguirre. You have one minute.
MIKE AGUIRRE: San Diego's biggest problem is the structural deficit we have that impinges on all other opportunities. One of the things we learn in economics is when you spend money on one thing like $8 billion on pensions, the opportunity cost is that you don't have it available to spend on roads, libraries, rec centers, all the other essential services that the city should be providing. The biggest problem we have is that the public doesn't understand the nature of the pension problem. It was a $5.9 billion problem in 2005. It is now an eight billion-dollar problem. We used to spend 161 in 05 now it is 275 and what's happened is our politicians have put us to sleep. They passed out the tranquilizers, they've passed out the pablum and put us to sleep and now the problem has crept back up and we need to have a public that fully understands that and holds all the candidates accountable for answers that will actually work and move our city forward.
MODERATOR: And Nathan Fletcher same question. You have 30 seconds to respond.
NATHAN FLETCHER: Yeah, I think the basic challenge facing the city is in a doing the things that residents should expect. We are not putting police on the streets to make sure that people are safe and we aren't investing in the basic things that people need. Our roads have gone from the eighth worst to the fourth worst in the last five years and there aren't those economic opportunities there's no economic strategy or jobs plan for how to get San Diegans back to work in those good paying, middle-class jobs. I've laid out plans for how we're going to get all those done bringing a fresh start for how we are getting those done.
MODERATOR: And Kevin Faulconer, what city's biggest problem and offer a solution?
KEVIN FAULCONER: In 30 seconds the biggest challenge facing City Hall is to have trust and restore integrity and city government and have a Mayor that will stand up and continue the reforms we started so we can reinvest the dollars back in the neighborhood because the biggest challenge that is facing our neighborhoods is our streets. Moving forward on street repair, sidewalk repair, making sure that we have more police officers on the street. I'm proud of the police officer recruitment and retention plan that I rolled out last week that received strong support throughout the city employees to make sure, make tough decisions to ensure reform to invest those dollars into our neighborhoods.
MODERATOR: All right and David Alvarez same question, 30 seconds.
DAVID ALVAREZ: Thank you. I think what's missing at City Hall is real leadership and courageous leadership. To say no when it's time to say no, like I did when we were giving taxpayer money for big downtown projects. That is what this city has been about. It's not about neighborhoods and the that's why neighborhoods are falling apart the way they are we are moving forward, we made some cuts that are smart to ensure that we are investing in the neighborhoods more than ever before but the city has not had that type of leadership. That's what I've brought and that's the experience I have.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Mike Aguirre, you have 30 seconds to rebut anything your fellow candidates have said if you'd like.
MIKE AGUIRRE: It's true that downtown has received benefits but they pale in comparison to the pension. For example in 2007 we spent 18.3 million on roads and 162 on pension. In 2008 we spent 23.9 on roads 137 million on pensions. In 2012 we spent $59 million on roads and 231 on pensions. The pension problem has us in a stranglehold and until we get everyone back to the table to rid---
MODERATOR: All right it's time, you caught it right there, leaving us dangling. We are going to move on. One of Bob Filner's biggest priorities was to empower neighborhoods. My question is to you do you agree with this approach and if not what is your plan? We begin with Nathan Fletcher you have one minute.
NATHAN FLETCHER: I want to give Mike credit, when the light goes red he's like a tweet; he runs out of characters and he's done. I think that was the right conversation and it's the conversation need to have with all San Diegans that have been left behind. Our city hasn't struggled for lack of finding money to do lots of things, except invest in neighborhoods. Your streets have gotten worse, your response times have gone up and I think that it's time that we actually demonstrate a real commitment and a real focus to doing the basic things that people want, having a Mayor that's going to show leadership, is going to bring people together and is going to invest in all of our neighborhoods throughout San Diego.
MODERATOR: Kevin Faulconer, your 30 second response?
KEVIN FAULCONER: One of the biggest travesties of the Filner administration was he skipped putting money back into our neighborhoods. The plan that we worked so hard on after the city got out of the financial crisis we made so much headway we put out a five-year plan that said we're going to invest those back in our neighborhoods and Bob Filner skipped our infrastructure plan for this year and because of that we are not doing 80 miles of streets in the neighborhood from every neighborhood up and down the city of San Diego. I'm going to get us back on track. I have the experience that knows that we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. We've worked so hard and so when I'm Mayor, I'm going to ensure that neighborhood services are our priority because we will have to dollars to reinvest in those neighborhoods.
MODERATOR: All right. And Dave Alvarez same question. 30 seconds your plan to empower neighborhoods.
DAVID ALVAREZ: I think what people don't understand is what neighborhoods are talking about is an empowerment not just in the money that gets that from City Hall, the money that's not been put there, in fact it would seem like the midnight deal that assembly member Fletcher put to the assembly to make sure more the money went to downtown special projects. That is the type of leadership we do not need. What we mean by neighborhood empowerment is we make sure they have a voice in the process. That's the part that's missing and how do we get back into the communities to give them a chance to be successful with resources.
MODERATOR: All right and that's time. Mike Aguirre, your 30 second response.
MIKE AGUIRRE: When I say neighborhoods I mean the rec centers for libraries the roads, the sidewalks. We spent $216 million on libraries, roads and rec centers this year. We spent 275 million on pensions paid $16 million more for pensions. That is the problem when people say they're going to do something about the neighborhoods or they don't want to spend money in the neighborhoods you have to spend money on the neighborhoods you have to keep up your roads you have to keep the rec centers open you have to keep libraries open in order to deliver---
MODERATOR: To deliver. Right on time. Nathan Fletcher back to you with your 30 seconds to rebut anything from the other candidates.
NATHAN FLETCHER: That's very good. Again Mike if you want the candidate about pensions vote for Mike. He will work it into every answer. If you want somebody who's about neighborhoods and who's about good jobs, vote for me because the status quo is failing, it's not demonstrating the commitment to neighborhoods. It doesn't have a plan to get you back to work. I have both and I'm ready to lead and I be honored for your vote.
MODERATOR: All right, Gentlemen, California was just ranked by a nonprofit tax foundation as the third worst in the nation for its business tax climate. Ernesto Vidal joins us now from a question from the audience and he wants to ask you about jobs.
NEW SPEAKER: What would you do as Mayor to create more jobs?
MODERATOR: Kevin Faulconer, that question is for you. You have one minute.
KEVIN FAULCONER: Thank you. First and foremost we are going to protect the jobs we have here in the city of San Diego. I've been out front and vocal on standing up in the last several weeks with the ship repair industry and the jobs that the jobs made at the Port of San Diego, so incredibly important. We have to protect the tourism industry, one of the most important things, good paying jobs for San Diegans and it is a competitive advantage for the city of San Diego that allows us to have that revenue that we can spend in our neighborhoods and spend in our services. Without those revenue we do not have the dollars to do what is very important for all of us. But also we need to be forward thinking as well. We have to bring new ideas and energy. I've been proud to support new technology incubators in my own Council district with some seed money from my Council office. New, exciting technology industries started by local San Diegans that we can grow that to provide good paying jobs for San Diegans. Because at the end of the day that's what we want. Want to make sure that we have opportunities for our hard-working families and for all of us and for students, so when you graduate you will have a job to stay here in San Diego.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Dave Alvarez same question. 30 seconds to respond.
DAVID ALVAREZ: Thank you Ernesto for the question. I think first and foremost we have to make sure that we actually tested the neighborhoods to create the jobs there's a piece of the rat was published by the paper that talks about grassroots economics. Grassroots economics is when we actually start to build our neighborhoods to create good neighborhoods that includes good paying jobs. Something that we haven't done the city. We have invested in that way so that people can live and work and play as we call it within the confines of their neighborhood. So they can enjoy San Diego. That is the way we are going to attract more players so they can come here and bring their companies here.
MODERATOR: That is time, and Mike Aguirre, what would you like to do as Mayor what would you like to do to create more jobs?
MIKE AGUIRRE: What I mentioned before was we had Mayor (inaudible) 1980 1F Republican mayor push we should unemployment wants to the city I think it's 11 headed idea something that will produce real jobs and put people to work to help rebuild our city. The reason also that I'm in favor of project labor agreements, I'm in favor of for minimum wage, prevailing wage, collective bargaining because we have to get purchasing power into the hands of the middle-class of the city of San Diego and I have so much more to say.
MODERATOR So much more to say. We will come back to you. So Nathan Fletcher you have 30 seconds. What you would do as Mayor to create more jobs.
NATHAN FLETCHER: You we've seen over the course of the recession erosion of the middle-class and my jobs plan is specific. We have a plan to create 130,000 jobs by 2020 by rebranding. This is the world's most innovative city. I'm launching an entire campaign about the creative and innovative economies. We also want to invest in manufacturing. Over half 1 million manufacturing jobs have come back to America and we want those jobs to come back here. Those are good jobs with good wages you can buy a home you have health coverage, put your kids in college. So you want to invent the idea, make the product manufacture it and sell it to the rest of the world through our export plan.
MODERATOR: That is time. Kevin Faulconer you have 30 seconds for rebuttal to the things the other candidates have said
KEVIN FAULCONER: One of the things I did with the city is do a better job of creating bureaucracies with the small companies and small businesses are starting they know that when you interact with the city of San Diego you will have a surety of process there's going to be clear rules of the road. We don't have that right now and the city of San Diego and time is money. Particularly for our start-up businesses. Having been on the Council for a number of years and during the city's audit committee. I'm going to make it a priority to ensure that we are changing the way we do business. To bringing those performance standards up so we can be successful.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Now, many people were excited by Bob Filner's promise of transparency at City Hall. The question to you, starting with Dave Alvarez is what will you do as Mayor to ensure that your office has an open government policy? You have one minute.
DAVID ALVAREZ: Yeah, we actually unfortunately did not have real transparency even though that was the commitment. We've seen a lot of things are getting done that were not actually open to the public. And so I have the proud supporter of Donna Frye. Who was, during the very darkest moments City Hall over the last decade has been the only light. Making sure that people actually have access to government. So transparency goes beyond making sure the public records act requests get responded to from the public. Also making sure that we are responding to the needs of the public and making sure that we are going out to the public. One thing that I've done and I will continue to do is make sure that people have access to me. I have office hours every month. Since I started in office three years ago people come and talk to me they present their problems we work through them we get things done. That's the kind of leadership we need when it comes to open and transparent government in the city and again I'm proud to have Donna Frye's endorsement to do that.
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre, your response
MIKE AGUIRRE: Early in my career they did give me an award, they didn't give me too many toward the end but they gave me an award they called the light award, to open up city government (inaudible) and release those relating to the pension I wrote a legal opinion that made the Council members and the mayor turnover their calendars. I believe that all of the messaging that goes on during the course of city Council meetings should be public. I will be the most transparent Mayor we've ever had in the history of the city and I have a record.
MODERATOR: We will talk about that later, and Nathan Fletcher.
NATHAN FLETCHER: It would get my award for most interesting.
MIKE AGUIRRE: I'm ready to accept your endorsement if you want.
NATHAN FLETCHER: You know, if I'm the Mayor, you're not going to need a lobbyist to get me a meeting in the City Hall. I'm also going to have regular office hours like I did in the assembly. I went out into every neighborhood and I did town halls so I think that's expected. There's something different about a Mayor, it's personal, it's someone you want to be able to ask questions to see about going committed to going to the neighborhoods. I plan on doing that continuing the tradition of Saturday office hours on the weekends because regular San Diegans need to know that if they have a question or issue they can find their Mayor and get an answer.
MODERATOR: All right and Kevin Faulconer 30 seconds.
KEVIN FAULCONER: Something David and I have been working very closely on is to make sure the data is online searchable on the city's website, so any San Diegan who wants information and it's not just about obviously members of the media and reporters who deserve it but also the average San Diegans we are making a real push to make the government more open and transparent but it also comes down to the individual. And as Mayor you have to be open with people and say what's on your mind and when I'm Mayor, as you know based upon my time on the Council you will know where I stand on issues.
MODERATOR: That is time. Thank you. Dave Alvarez, you have 30 seconds for rebuttal
DAVID ALVAREZ: Thank you and I think politicians like to make promises and I'm not about promises, I'm about actions and the things I've done. So I posted office hours. I want people to come and meet with me every month to make sure that we address their problems. My staff actually walks door-to-door. Anybody who lives in my Council District has experienced that, to see what the problems are in the neighborhood to make sure we address them We need somebody who's proactive who's actually done that, not just someone who will make pledges and promises and probably not fulfill them.
MODERATOR: According to a recent study San Diego's roads are the fourth worst in the nation. Taxpayers here pay about $750 in additional operating costs each year because of the bad roads. It's not uncommon of course to drive on flooded city streets after a water main breaks. What is your plan to repair San Diego's crumbling infrastructure and why are you better suited to get the job done than the other candidates. Mike Aguirre, we start with you.
MIKE AGUIRRE: First recognize that on charter section 26.1 that the Mayor has the same obligation to maintain the roads as to maintain the pension. That is the biggest difference. What that means is that we are going to pay the $160 million not by borrowing it over 40 years, but we are going to want to pay the hundred $60 million each year to maintain to make sure they don't get any worse that's the minimum we have to pay. We then can borrow and what I'm suggesting by using an employment bond, we then can borrow to actually rebuild the roads, not repair the roads but rebuild the roads. That's what you use borrowed money for. You don't maintain your ongoing costs by borrowing money. That's like charging your groceries on your credit card. You pay-as-you-go. Long-term, you can put it on a bond, that's the biggest difference between myself and the others, not so much the others here but I think Kevin may have a different point of view about that. But that is why, and also I have the record---
MODERATOR: Thank you. We are really not cutting him off. Nathan Fletcher, your plan for fixing crumbling infrastructure?
NATHAN FLETCHER: Mike keeps running out of time but he gets the pension in on every answer. Look we've got to go. I've pledged as Mayor the first thing we're going to do when I take office the first six months I'm going to spend is going to every neighborhood hopefully working with Councilmember Alvarez and Councilmember Faulconer I'm hoping they are still on the Council to come up with a list of things that the last decade has neglected to do, but the list of things that need to happen. We will get the best minds together and come up with a financing plan and timeline and then we will actually get it done because we've seen the city find a lot of money for the last six of the last 10 years, just not for neighborhoods.
MODERATOR: And Kevin Faulconer?
KEVIN FAULCONER: You would have a Mayor who is committed to road repair and roadwork and as I mentioned before Bob Filner stopped the repair before, I don't care what neighborhood you live in the roads need help and they need help now. You have to have, America understands that's not just going to talk about it but will have the political will to get it done when there's competing interests. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past which is why I feel so strongly about continuing the reforms to give us those dollars to reinvest those back into our neighborhoods.
MODERATOR: All right and Dave Alvarez your plan and why you believe you are best suited to get the job done in 30 seconds.
DAVID ALVAREZ: Going to save my colleague here Mr. Fletcher six months. We already have the data already. We've had it for a long time. What we have done (inaudible) in the way that we need to. We've got data and we've got maps. Anybody can proceed along the city's website you can see which roads are red, meaning they are the worst, which ones are blue meaning they are in the best shape so we know what they are. We know what we need to do. We actually have to spend money, to dedicate the resources we have as a city to our roads, it's very simple.
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre you have 30 seconds to rebut your opponents' answers.
MIKE AGUIRRE: Data from the 2011 survey report that only currently 35%, the reason for that in 22,007 we only paid 18 million of the 160 million on roads but we put 162 million in for the pension, (inaudible). In 2011 we paid 26 million for roads we paid the pension is a portentous because the actual pension payment is only $50 million. We are paying five...all right, this is getting to be---
MODERATOR: Thank you very much and thank you for being so succinct. Next the candidates are going to be asking each other questions. Stay with us for the debate on more San Diego issues like development and medical marijuana. Welcome back to the KPBS 10 News San Diego State school of Public affairs mayoral debate for the special election. We are going to turn the tables right now. Each candidate will have a chance to ask any other candidate on the stage a question. Gentleman you will have up to 30 seconds to ask your question and up to 30 seconds to answer. Nathan Fletcher we are going to begin with you. You have 30 seconds.
NATHAN FLETCHER: Kevin, my question is for you was last week we had a public safety debate and we talked about how the number of officers has gone down in fact over the last two years 37,000 response times have been late for 911. You've been at City Hall for about a decade and have found a lot of money for a lot of things. Looking back do you wish there had been more attention to making sure the residents are safe because the reality is they are less safe today than they were seven years ago.
KEVIN FAULCONER: You know, Nathan, I'm not quite sure if you understand we've been doing for the last seven years at City Hall while you are up in Sacramento doing whatever it is you are doing. We were getting our city out of one of the biggest morasses of financial problems that we've ever had and we were working every day to get out of that so we could get the point we are able to start investing some of the dollars into our Police Department which is why one of the first things I've come out with is the police officer recruitment and retention plan. We got to that because we made tough decisions Nathan I sit up and make those tough decisions and as Mayor you have to be able to---
MODERATOR: And that is time but the good news is now this time Kevin Faulconer, I know you weren't finished, you have30 seconds to ask a question of someone else.
KEVIN FAULCONER: Very good. I actually have a question for Nathan. So Nathan, when you switched parties the first time you said you were not going to change your ideals and principles and as we found out you switched parties again. One of the strongest things I feel strongly about that I have never wavered on is pension reform and now you've changed your mind on pension reform. How can voters trust you to stand up for not only this but other issues you change your mind if things are politically convenient?
NATHAN FLETCHER: First (inaudible) I know that was always do what's right for the city of San Diego who want someone to look out for them. So the answer you just gave you said that you didn't have the money but the reality is you found tons of thousands of dollars for the tourism marketing district found hundreds of thousands of dollars for the marketing center found lots of money for downtown projects it wasn't that you didn't have the money over the last decade, it's that your priorities were wrong and regardless of party I'm always going to be doing the right thing for residents of the city that means public safety comes first, the neighborhoods and jobs and I'm proud of my track record of actually getting things done and I will continue that as Mayor.
MODERATOR: I have to step in. Dave Alvarez it is your turn to ask a question. You have 30 seconds
DAVID ALVAREZ: Finally a little change. My question is for Nathan, which actually Nathan and I spent some time talking before I got into this race about the election and the future San Diego and I'm really actually curious, there are three individuals that supported you in the past. I have a lot of questions about this as the democratically endorsed candidate and the Democrats want to know, you had your political mentor Pete Wilson you had Mitt Romney give money to your campaign and Karl Rove give you a fundraiser. As the democratically endorsed candidate, I want to know which one of those three do you still admire and why.
NATHAN FLETCHER: You know David, this is your typical partisan politics. I want to make a real clear statement that I will take support from anyone out there. I'm not going to base it on whatever party you are and who you supported in the past. I'm going to be willing to take the support of anyone out there and give it. I would tell you to look to those leaders of the Democratic Party like Congressman Juan Vargas, Congressman Scott Peters, Sen. Marty Block or Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the governor of the state, the speaker of the assembly who know what my values are, they know what my priorities are and they support me because they believe I will be the best candidate. I will let anyone support me.
MODERATOR: I'm sorry I have to interrupt. I'm sorry I have to interrupt. Let's go to Mike Aguirre. Your you have 30 seconds to ask the question.
MIKE AGUIRRE: I'm so jealous. I've been a Democrat my whole life I don't have that kind of support. What did I do wrong?
NATHAN FLETCHER: You can join, Mike, you can join.
MIKE AGUIRRE: Listen, here's the thing these three men are fabulous people and I think any one of them would make a great Mayor. I have a question for Kevin but it's a friendly question because the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce has said that the structural deficit is with us and remains. Mayor Sanders said that the structural deficit was over. Can you answer the question? I can't even get my questions asked---
KEVIN FAULCONER: I do like the kinder gentler Mike Aguirre, by the way. The structural deficit is there and it's real. We have structural deficit is a fancy word for saying what hasn't the city been doing. We are $900 million behind because of some of the poor decisions before the pension deficit that you and I know so much about because the city was making tough choices because city was granting benefits that it could not afford so we didn't have the dollars to put into our neighborhoods. So yes as Mayor and understand that and I understand that better than anybody on this stage. You have to have the political will to invest those dollars back into our neighborhoods and not make the mistake of trying to grant them the benefits to our employee unions.
MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. Well medical marijuana is a hot topic for San Diegans and this question comes from Jeffrey Gonzales.
NEW SPEAKER: Good afternoon. My question is what is your plans for the future regarding medical marijuana ordinance in San Diego?
MODERATOR: And Kevin Faulconer let's start with you.
KEVIN FAULCONER: Thank you. We spent a lot of work on medical marijuana ordinance and I did myself as well with the goal that we needed safe access to provide those access to the people that need the help but also with a clear vision and goal that we were going to protect our neighborhoods and our families so we did not have a dispensary on every single corner which was what was happening in some neighborhoods of the city of San Diego. So that was clear about that that we need to, we came together and fortunately folks of those that were on the Council did a lot of work on that. I'm going to hold my ground and make sure we provide the access but I will be equally as strong that says we are not going to pass an ordinance that allows the proliferation of those dispensaries in our neighborhood zones.
MODERATOR: All right. Dave Alvarez you have a 30 second rebuttal.
DAVID ALVAREZ: I oppose doing it for exactly the reason my colleague mentioned. There are particular neighborhoods in the city where there's concentration of these dispensaries and our people throughout this entire city that use this medicine and they should have access to it and also there are neighborhoods that have been dumped on with liquor stores and other bad uses of the city that should not be the dumping ground for these types of uses. We need to make sure they're success across the city and they are not all concentrated in one area or one particular community. We have to make sure we have an ordinance. In January we will be voting on that
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre, 30 seconds on a medical marijuana ordinance
MIKE AGUIRRE: I hope everybody has a chance to see the documentary Ride with Larry because he considers legitimate need for people not have this stuff, very near death types of diseases. I, as a former federal prosecutor and the former chief law enforcement officer for the city will work with the prosecutors to make sure that we get them on board in something that they can work with but we need to do expeditiously. We need to remember people are suffering. This is a legitimate issue but we cannot allow people to take advantage of it.
MODERATOR: Okay, Nathan Fletcher 30 seconds.
NATHAN FLETCHER: I support compassionate use and safe access and being consistent with the will of the voters we have to figure out a way to do that. It does have to be ones that protects the neighborhood that gives a lot force uncertainty so they know what the laws are and they know what the rules are in make and enforce them it's another example of just one of those basic things that cities ought to be doing that hasn't been getting done for quite a while and if I'm Mayor we will build that coalition we will bring law enforcement to neighborhoods and folks who care about compassionate access we will figure out a solution and get it done.
MODERATOR: That is time. Kevin Faulconer back to your 30 second response for rebuttals.
KEVIN FAULCONER: I think my answer was direct enough.
MODERATOR: You are saving us some time. You know, some have said that the Kearny Mesa Sunroad project was the start of Bob Filner's ultimate downfall. Some have criticized the city Council for accommodating the developers of the project. As Mayor, how will you make sure the development continues without compromising the city's interests? Dave Alvarez the question starts with you. You have one minute.
DAVID ALVAREZ: You've got to start by making sure that the city plans are updated, which are the great guiding documents every one of the documents updated. We have to continue on the path we have actually reconstitute a planning department in the city of San Diego which makes sure that we have the guiding document. That was eliminated over the last several years. That was bad policy. I will make sure that that never happens under my administration we have a strong planning department so communities can have an opportunity to voice their concerns, to share their thoughts on what the neighborhood should look like and they can have an actual say so that it's not control just by developers that's been the history of the city.
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre, 30 seconds.
MIKE AGUIRRE: We want to remove the development services Department--that went right to 15 or 30--we need to organize the development services Department and remove it from politics we have a schizophrenic personality when it came to Sunroad. When Jerry Sanders took money from the developer and used the building apartment as a sword to shield the developer from the rules of the Department of Transportation because of the unsafe height they were building to that was sort of passed over. And that is a real problem because what we have seen---
MODERATOR: Making sure development continues without compromising the interests. Nathan Fletcher, 30 seconds.
NATHAN FLETCHER: You need a Mayor that will stand up for what they believe is right for the city. I've done that. I've always been willing to stand up to tough interests. When I worked on the tax reform measure with Gov. Jerry Brown we stood up to out-of-state companies, the tobacco industry, to do the right thing for Californians. I will always be someone is willing to stand up to partisan interests or special interests and we will have the real thought of what is right for our city and what's best for them as my guiding principle moving us forward.
MODERATOR: And Kevin Faulconer 30 seconds.
KEVIN FAULCONER: The actions of Bob Filner in that instance were wrong. There is no place in it for the city of San Diego. We have clear rules of the road and the rules are followed equally for everyone whether you are doing a large project or small home addition there is no room for that type of pay to play attitude that we saw under the Filner administration I will not allow that when I'm Mayor of the city of San Diego. We will move forward and treat everyone fairly and as I also mentioned before clear and concise rules of the road. Everyone will understand the city of San Diego is open for business.
MODERATOR: That is time and Dave Alvarez that a second to make one response to that
DAVID ALVAREZ: Anyone who understands the city of San Diego knows that the pay to play has been there for a long long time unfortunately. What I will make sure is that the plan updates move forward and catalytic projects, projects that spur positive growth and development in our communities move forward. The Council joined me unanimously last week in pushing forward Brownfield a $1 billion project that will get jobs here today, as soon as next year. And also commercial and 22nd St., a quarter that has been abandoned, we are actually going to have housing and business opportunities of other projects we need in the city.
MODERATOR: That is time. Thank you. Well San Diego has the third-largest homeless population in the country according to a 2012 study. And Rashida (inaudible) has a question about this.
NEW SPEAKER: As Mayor, what permanent solution can you propose for the homeless population in San Diego and how can we fund it?
MODERATOR: This goes to Mike Aguirre, you have 30 seconds.
MIKE AGUIRRE: I want to congratulate KPBS on reporting on the fact that we have the third highest more than Chicago, more than San Francisco, more than Houston. 10,000 people that are homeless in San Diego. The housing problem cannot be separated from Wall Street. It's a super complex issue. But the bottom line is this, when I am Mayor the city of San Diego will recognize that it is the source of housing of last resort. We are not going to allow da-da-da-da-da....
MODERATOR: Nathan Fletcher, 30 seconds.
NATHAN FLETCHER: Yeah. I think it the city when we talk about this we have to take a more holistic approach which means we don't just talk about where to house people we talk about how to rebuild their lives because city are more than a collection of structures, they are people and I've been out talking to homeless I've been on doing the surveys of a lot of folks are first in last paycheck away from being in an apartment well let's help them get back on their feet. We should never tolerate homeless children we've got to figure out a way to get them out and the veterans I surf with that came back and struggled, they deserve for their service that we are willing to do it and tackle every person
MODERATOR: That is time. Kevin Faulconer.
KEVIN FAULCONER: Everyone deserves a roof over their head our families to kill your children this is an issue I've spent a lot of time on that realizing it's not just about providing emergency services but it's providing all of the services that we need to help somebody transition of homelessness. That's why we spend a lot of time on our connections housing a remarkable facility where we are providing transitional beds, counseling, a variety of services to help men and women get back on their feet to not be homeless. I feel very strongly that the city of San Diego has an obligation to help and I will continue to do that
MODERATOR: That is time. A permanent solution to San Diego's homeless population. 30 seconds Dave Alvarez.
DAVID ALVAREZ: I think if I'm Mayor I will be the first Mayor who was actually homeless in his past I spent my senior year in high school without a place to live because my home was bought out so I know what it feels like not to have a place to live to have to live with friends or out of your car and unfortunately sometimes out of the streets. I want to make sure that projects like the one at connections housing is the way forward we have to have wraparound services to give people the skills whether to take care of them because of illnesses to make sure they have high school, or GED and give them skills to get a job and get a roof over their head.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. The next question just about all of you have talked about similar priorities from investing in neighborhoods to boosting public safety. What is the one biggest difference that sets you apart from the other candidates here? This question goes to Nathan Fletcher you have one minute to respond.
NATHAN FLETCHER: I think the biggest difference that sets me apart is my jobs plan. We've laid out a specific plan. You can visit Nathan Fletcher.com, download a copy and view it but it really talks about embracing the innovative economies with a list of specific goals. Then we talk about our manufacturing plan as I mentioned earlier-lean manufacturing jobs have come back. We want those jobs here. We want them in San Diego those are good jobs with good wages you could buy a home and put your kids in college and we want to take the products that we manufacture and sell them to 90% of the world that lives outside of America because I have never given up on the American worker. I know they are strong and capable and if we do that we will build good solid middle-class jobs. We are going to look forward to a future with innovative economies and I put a goal and you can hold me accountable, 130,000 jobs by 2020. We were the first one to put that forward and I think it's really the defining characteristic of what I will do along with investing in our neighborhoods as your Mayor.
MODERATOR: Kevin Faulconer, 30 seconds
KEVIN FAULCONER: I'm not going to change depending on the with the political winds blow and stand up for San Diegans and their neighborhoods even though sometimes the decisions might not be politically convenient because I've seen how tough it was to turn our city around. I'm not going to allow us to go backward. All of us have come (inaudible) ongoing to ensure we are spending our dollars making it a priority. To treat every single employee group the same. We talked about police officers last time I will not support me to provision so-called where one groups get different
MODERATOR: That is time. Dave Alvarez, the biggest difference between you and the other candidates. 30 seconds.
DAVID ALVAREZ: The biggest difference is my experience in the city of San Diego as a champion for neighborhoods all my life before I was elected as a Council member. I'm the only one who has a proven record of making sure that their neighborhoods are taken care of and at the top of the priority. To make sure we have investments in the neighborhood not only with the city funds that we have but also with the funds that are available through state and federal agencies to make sure that we have investment and we have public-private partnerships that we can create jobs. That's what I've pushed for before was elected as Councilmember. That's what I'll do as Mayor.
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre, 30 seconds
MIKE AGUIRRE: I'm the only candidate that served in the citywide office during this critical period in history of the city. As the city attorney I set up for them securely people of the city of San Diego and put your interests ahead of mine. I didn't play the game. I didn't take a pension. I did what was right every single day. I always asked myself one question and that was, what is in the long-term best interest of the people of San Diego? I united people like they had never been united before. Unfortunately it was against me.
MODERATOR: And unfortunately you've run out of time, too.
MIKE AGUIRRE: I'm done.
MODERATOR: Nathan Fletcher 30 seconds to respond.
NATHAN FLETCHER: I think my experience also sets me apart latrines in combat serving overseas and some of the difficulty in most stressful environments you can imagine I demonstrated in the state legislature that you can actually despite dysfunction and gridlock bring folks together and get things done but Chelsey's Law we get healthcare, we help people struggling to keep their homes. I've showed and the private sector working at QUALCOMM that I can learn how to lead large organizations and how to grow a business and I'm ready to put that experience to work moving a city forward.
MODERATOR: That's time. The next question was submitted by Hugh Boyle through the KPBS Public insight network. The question is he wants to know where you stand on using taxpayer money to fund a new charger Stadium. Kevin Faulconer that question goes to you. You have 30 seconds
KEVIN FAULCONER: The Chargers stadium has been in the news a lot recently. I'm a strong supporter of moving forward on the convention center because as I said we are big city we can do both. I'm less concerned about the location of an Chargers stadium but I'm most concerned that any potential plan has to protect taxpayers. As somebody who has spent his time at city government not only as the Council or the chairman of the city's audit committee I know firsthand that any proposal that comes forward number one, two, three priorities going to be does it make sense for taxpayers? That's how I will approach it
MODERATOR: That is time. We go to Dave Alvarez. 30 seconds
DAVID ALVAREZ: The only way to protect Taxpayers is not use taxpayer money to build a Chargers stadium that is the only way and that is my position we can't use subsidies from our city when the money is supposed to be going into our neighborhoods and what we've seen in the history of the city is we are paying about $12 million for Petco Park out of general fund money that can pay for libraries or (inaudible) dollars on the expansion of the convention center the current one (inaudible) to my knowledge the previous one you keep getting into that we ran out of money to give to the neighborhoods. So that's my position and it's very clear.
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre, using taxpayer money to build a Chargers Stadium?
MIKE AGUIRRE: Sunday's are family days and seeing the Chargers play is important to thousands and thousands of San Diegans. I have not always been completely supportive of the Chargers plans. But I do support the proposal that Mr. Fabiani has made about submitting both the convention center and the Chargers to a public vote. I think it is a very courageous act on the part of the Chargers. Jack Murphy Stadium was a mixed-use facility. The case has not been completely made for the convention center but that they had to have only done---you get the idea.
MODERATOR: Thank you Nathan Fletcher 30 seconds
NATHAN FLETCHER: Yeah if you live in a neighborhood that doesn't have a sidewalk or street light you don't understand how every conversation is about a Stadium. I think there is a way to work it out. As a country we put a man on the moon I think we can do it and we can do it in a way that if I am Mayor doesn't use general city fund dollars my hair is pretty the first thing I want to do is on the residence expect safe communities move streets and good jobs it's times we get our first priority focused on those things.
MODERATOR: We are now at the end of the question face we will go to closing statements and based on a random route, Kevin Faulconer we begin with you one minute.
KEVIN FAULCONER: Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be here. Go Aztecs. The last year has taught us anything, it is that leadership matters. Principles matter. I feel strongly about the great direction that the city can take. If we elect a Mayor that is going to hold true to his principles and values and not change depending on which way the political winds may blow. I'm very proud of what we have done as a city to help turn us around financially. I'm proud of the work that I've done with our former Mayor Jerry Sanders on pension reform that will save the city billion dollars. I'm proud of the work in the Mission Bay Park initiative that will save dollars and one of our most treasured assets. You can count on me to continue to do the work to put in our neighborhoods to reinvest these dollars on things that matter most to us as San Diegans, our streets, our parks, our libraries. You do that however if you have the will that says I'm going to make that a priority and stand up to do what's right. I am a proud San Diegan. I am a proud Aztec. I cannot wait to be our next Mayor.
MODERATOR: Nathan Fletcher your closing statement, one minute.
NATHAN FLETCHER: If you look at what's going on in Washington DC is right now it's disheartening it's frustrating. People are entrenched in the corners there's no focus on solutions. I've always been a leader. I've always worked hard to bring people together to get things done. I demonstrated that in my time in the assembly. I demonstrated leadership in the Marine Corps, and even over the course of this campaign actual that we can bring people together. When we rolled out our jobs plan it was something that is rarely seen standing there we had biotech executives supporting me, we have small business owners representing the California small business Association supporting me, and we have leaders from the labor community. Because at the end of the day we are all in this together and we are not going to rebuild the neighborhoods we are not going to make communities safer, going to create the good jobs if we don't have a Mayor who can bring all of those parties together who can focus on solutions who can make sure they have their priorities right and always take a stand for what is in the best interest of the citizens of San Diego and as your mayor I will always do that. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Mike Aguirre, one minute.
MIKE AGUIRRE: I love San Diego. Love its people, its diversity. My grandfather came here almost 100 years ago. My mom and dad met at the Golden Hill rec center. They raised three boys. I buried y brother here in San Diego. And I've raised my two children. We have had unlimited opportunities, Princeton, Harvard, every conceivable financial reward that is possible only because of what San Diego has given to my family. I have tried to serve the people of San Diego with integrity and purpose and looking at their long-term best interest. I want to be the 36th Mayor of San Diego. I'm a little behind in the polls right now, but I'm looking forward to these debates because if we could come with an open mind I think that I can convince the people of San Diego to entrust me with this awesome responsibility. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Our final closing statement from Dave Alvarez. One minute.
DAVID ALVAREZ: Thank you very much. It's an honor to be here. It's an honor to serve the city as Councilmember. I had the privilege of working along with my colleagues to put toward bipartisan solutions on many of our problems we've got to continue to do that in this city. However I am the only one who is endorsed by the Democratic Party and that makes a difference because our party stands for things that are important to everyone in our society. I want to make sure that we actually invest in our neighborhoods. Right now 85% of neighborhoods throughout this entire city do not have a place to take their family, a park to take their family to to enjoy a Sunday afternoon. We have not invested in the ways that we need to in the city and by making sure every day on my work on the Council that we focus on that and that is what I want to do as your Mayor. I want to lead. I want leadership for all of us, not just for a select few who have control of the city's agenda. It's time that we retake our neighborhoods we rebuild neighborhoods and create a San Diego that's fair for all of us. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: And gentlemen thank you very much for attending the debate today. This concludes the mayoral debate. We'd like to thank mayoral candidate City Councilman Dave Alvarez, former city attorney Mike Aguirre, former state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer. Thank you. It's time to iPod if you want. Very quickly we would also like to thank our partners, San Diego State University school of Public affairs and of course our studio audience, this time you can apply for yourselves. For more on the Mayor's race and complete coverage of this special election please visit K PBS.org/election for K PBS I'm Peggy Pico. Also we have complete election email@example.com for 10 years I'm Virginia Chuck, thank you so much for watching.