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Roundtable: San Diego’s Mayoral Race

Evening Edition

Above: Andrew Donohue, voiceofsandiego.org editor, and Alisa Joyce Barba, senior editor at Fronteras, talk with Joanne Faryon about the San Diego mayor's race.

Aired 3/9/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests: Katie Orr, KPBS News Metro Reporter

Andrew Donohue, Editor, voiceofsandiego.org

Alisa Joyce Barba, Senior Editor, Fronteras Changing America Desk

The race for San Diego's next mayor has been "pretty tame" so far, Andrew Donohue, editor of voiceofsandiego.org, told KPBS Television's "Evening Edition," despite the stark differences between the candidates.

Donohue's news website has been emphasizing how each candidate is attempting to frame the race, and he continued that theme during the roundtable discussion.

City Councilman Carl DeMaio is focused on the city's finances and pensions; District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis says she will be a leader and administrator; state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is positioning himself as the next generation of leadership, "plus a guy who's negotiated with al-Qaeda," Donohue said.

"And now you have Bob Filner who's saying, I'm the Democrat, vote for me because I'm a Democrat, and by the way I want to do something cool with the port," he said.

KPBS unveiled its coverage of the mayor's race this week with a series of profiles on each of the candidates that showed the candidates' positions on local issues and gave a personal look at each candidate's hobby.

For hobbies, Dumanis chose walking her dog, Fletcher chose working out, Filner chose playing the piano and DeMaio chose "knocking on doors and talking to voters," KPBS metro reporter Katie Orr said on "Midday Edition."

"That is what he does in his free time," Orr said. "The man works 18 hours a day."

"I think that really does define his political personality, and perhaps even his life," Donohue added.

"He carves out a small amount of time on Friday night, I think four hours, and that's the time he has his personal life," Orr said.

Although three of the candidates are Republicans and one is a Democrat, party affiliations will not be printed on the ballots, so that distinction may be less important to voters, said Alisa Joyce Barba, senior editor at Fronteras Changing America Desk.

"They're going to look at the names they know and the people they've heard of, that's how they'll vote," she said.

For the first time in recent memory, education has been an important issue in the mayor's race, and that trend is also playing out across the country, Donohue said.

In San Diego, the problems in the school district make it a good issue to latch on, Barba said.

"If you can come in and really restore some functionality to the school district and make it a good school district, it draws families, it draws jobs, it draws business," she said.

The issues that most resonate with voters are jobs, potholes and education, Donohue added.

"I have no doubt that the reason candidates are moving toward education isn't just some sort of warm feeling in their heart, but because their consultants have told them people are going to vote for this if you appear to be a leader for it," he said.

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