Filner, DeMaio spar over economic growth

PoliticsElectionsBob FilnerUC San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego’s two mayoral candidates squared off once again Monday evening, this time on the issue of business.

The debate took place at the University of California San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse and dozens packed the auditorium to hear from Rep. Bob Filner and Councilman Carl DeMaio.

The candidates debated topics including economic competitiveness, legislation and cuts to defense funding.

The candidates were asked to answer questions about San Diego, the Imperial Valley and Mexican border region. The moderator asked, “How do you plan to build a cohesive and collaborative vision for our region?”

Filner spoke about experience.

“I have represented the Imperial Valley the last 10 years in Congress,” Filner said. “I have represented the border for decades. I am the one who is experienced in dealing with these issues, whether its agriculture or water in Imperial Valley, or efficiency of the border.

DeMaio focused on what he calls his vision for the region.

"Today we are competitive,” the candidate said. “We need to take that reality and go out and market San Diego, Baja, Imperial Valley, so that we can bring that investment here. But it’s going to take a mayor that can articulate and bring people together behind that coordinated agenda.”

Candidates were also asked if there is a vision for San Diego they’d seek to change.

DeMaio spoke about his business plan.

“I’m running on a real business plan -- a business plan for job creation, a business plan for reforming finances and restoring services, laying out all those ideas over 250 pages,” he said.

Filner had a different focus.

“These fiscal reforms, yes they’re important,” the congressman said. “But this is a spreadsheet versus a vision. When we talk about the greatness of San Diego we should be talking about our arts and culture, our school system.”

The debate was organized by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce, along with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Organizers said the topic of business is crucial for the future of San Diego.

“In the global competitive environment that we have we need to make sure that we are business friendly here in San Diego,” said Stath Karras, one of the organizers. “And that we have a mayor, city council and a platform that allows businesses to grow and prosper here in San Diego. It’s very simple. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.”

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