If the first debate of the General Election season is any indicator of the next four and a half months leading up to the final vote for mayor, the now-two candidates are playing a whole new ballgame.
At a debate Thursday held by the San Diego Rotary Club, mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner appeared with what appeared to be fresh approaches to their campaigns.
In the primary season, DeMaio directed most of his energy at Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. With Fletcher out of the race, he’s turning all guns on Filner. The attacks combined Filner’s time in Congress with his pension plan, which would refinance the city’s pension debt at a lower interest rate.
“[Filner] is kicking the can down the road... That’s the Washington DC model. That’s what got us into this problem.”
Filner defended the pension plan, saying it’s what anyone with debt would do. He also said it would save the city $550 million over the next 10 years.
Filner’s performance was consistent with past debates – lauding his plan to use the port to bring in revenue. He even cracked his trademark joke, offering to make DeMaio his water commissioner when the two agreed on future methods to conserve San Diego’s water supply.
However he also suggested several new ideas for economic growth in San Diego, once including placing solar panels on every public rooftop within the next five years.
Filner directed his attacks of DeMaio toward the assemblyman’s lack of support in city council.
Councilmembers Lorie Zapf and Kevin Faulconer both voted against DeMaio’s street repair initiative in Wednesday’s Rules Committee meeting, despite endorsing DeMaio two days prior.
Filner said the lack of support for one of his financing plans was an indication of DeMaio’s management flaws. Though, as moderator Diane Bell pointed out, both carry a reputation of having strong, polarizing personalities.