Morgan M. Hurley | Downtown Editor
San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN)’s Editorial Board (EB) is made up of Publisher David Mannis, Editor Anthony King and Editor Morgan M. Hurley. The EB submitted the following questions to mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, to counter the previous Q&A run with Rep. Filner [See Vol. 13. Issue 8]. These are City Councilmember DeMaio’s responses.
(SDCNN EB) What do you see as the incoming mayor’s most pressing issues?
(Carl DeMaio) Two challenges: finishing the job of fiscal reform and creating middle class jobs for San Diegans. The incoming mayor will need to catch up on over $900 million in backlogged infrastructure maintenance and cut through regulatory red tape that has stifled economic development and business growth in our City. The incoming mayor will need to provide the leadership to fix these problems and improve the quality of life for San Diego.
(SDCNN) Please share with us your stance on three issues we feel are on the minds of many in both the private and the public sector of San Diego: 1) New Charger stadium Downtown, 2) Convention Center expansion, 3) SANDAG’s MTS Rapid Bus Transit (BRT) plan
(CD) I support the concept of a new stadium, whether downtown or elsewhere, and the convention center expansion, if they will provide a cost-effective benefit to San Diegans without putting taxpayer dollars on the line. I believe this can be done and I look forward to working towards a solution on each that makes sense for our region.
I support the concept [of the BRT], which was passed overwhelmingly by voters, but I’m concerned about the placement of bus stops in areas where the community does not support them. We need to listen to our neighborhoods.
(SDCNN) What are your thoughts on the strong opposition to the City Council-approved “Jacobs Plan” for Plaza de Panama and its pending litigation?
(CD) As we approach the centennial celebration of Balboa Park in 2015, we must look for ways to invest in the park to ensure this landmark treasure is in prime condition for both the celebration and its second century. I supported the Jacobs Plan because the project reflects my core philosophy of engaging private philanthropy and public-private partnerships to carry out visionary projects for San Diego.
I understand there were numerous San Diegans who didn’t support that particular design and I respect the differing viewpoints that were expressed during the public input process.
(SDCNN) San Diegans, like most Americans, are concerned about jobs. What will you do to improve the economy and create jobs for our community?
(CD) As a former small business owner, I understand the challenges of doing business in San Diego. I released my 100-page “Pathway to Prosperity” job creation plan last year, which detailed numerous specific strategies to cut red tape and allow small business owners to more easily start and grow businesses in San Diego.
Additionally, I believe that we must attract major employers in key economic sectors and invest in our local workforce to ensure that San Diegans are well prepared to enter into emerging sectors.
(SDCNN) Is the City taking the correct steps with regards to its homeless population? What else can be done?
(CD) No, much more must be done. This impacts all our communities, especially Downtown, and negatively impacts our local economy. There is a pressing need to improve case management for homeless individuals – and to coordinate resources and funding across a variety of governmental and non-profit service providers. Compassionately and properly addressing San Diego’s homeless population is, on the one hand, a pressing issue of human dignity, while on the other hand, a pressing issue of economic significance.
(SDCNN) What are your concerns over the legal challenges being lodged against Proposition B?
(CD) I am confident that Prop B will withstand all legal challenges. It has been thoroughly vetted by legal experts and carefully follows existing state law and legal precedents. Our victories in the courtroom so far reinforce this point.
My hope is that at some point in the near future, the labor unions will decide to stop pursuing frivolous legal challenges and focus their efforts on implementing the will of the people in a collaborative way.
(SDCNN) Will Proposition B be the beginning of the outsourcing of city work to private companies? If so, how will this affect jobs and the local economy?
(CD) No. Prop B focuses on bringing employee compensation in line with the local labor market, not outsourcing services. The long-term goal is to preserve City services that would otherwise face drastic cuts in years to come and avoid massive tax increases to pay for excessive benefits. By accomplishing those goals, we will be encouraging growth in the local economy and spurring job creation.
In regards to outsourcing and managed competition, it is important that the citizens of San Diego get quality City services at a reasonable price, since they are the ones footing the bill. San Diegans overwhelmingly passed Prop C in 2006, which allows the City to put public services up for competition from private bidders. The City has completed this process for four City services, and the result is that City employees have won each bid by streamlining existing City operations. The result is that the City will save at least $8.4 million dollars a year, without even outsourcing any of these four functions.
I believe in the long run, both Prop B and C will help make San Diego a model for efficient government that provides the services our citizens expect, without burdening families and small businesses with excessive taxes.
(SDCNN) How do you plan to bridge your relationship with city labor workers to keep San Diego running?
(CD) I believe rank-and-file City employees and I share a common goal: Making sure San Diegans receive the services they deserve as efficiently as possible. We may disagree on how to get there, but I believe these disagreements will fade over time as they see the result of reforms.
Another area where I think common ground can be found is in the sustainability of employee compensation. I want employees to receive a fair compensation package that is in line with the local labor market, and most importantly, that is sustainable in the long run. Other cities across California have resorted to massive cuts to their workforce in order to pay for benefits that are unsustainable. None of us want to see massive layoffs because we made promises that we knew we could not keep. My commitment to employees is to make promises to them that we can afford.
Additionally, as a businessman, I understand the importance of providing training, coaching, mentoring and rewarding our employees as a key to productivity.
(SDCNN) How do you plan to balance your response to the expectations created during the election cycle by those who voted for you and those who did not?
(CD) I do not see my role as being mayor of supporters, but rather as mayor for all San Diegans. Again, I think we all share the most important goal: delivering City services at a cost that San Diegans can afford. My hope is that even those who do not support me right now will work with me in areas where we agree, and eventually see the benefits of what we are accomplishing. A City that provides quality services and a thriving local economy benefits all San Diegans.
(SDCNN) Now that the primary is over, do you plan to seek the endorsement of either Bonnie Dumanis or Nathan Fletcher?
(CD) I have reached out to both of my primary opponents and look forward to continuing a dialogue with them. They both brought some good ideas to the civic discussion and I value their insight and leadership.
(SDCNN) How are you reaching out to Democratic voters who may be hesitant to cross party lines?
(CD) Democrats for DeMaio is one of our fastest growing coalitions and already has several hundred members. I am finding that when we put partisanship aside and have a frank discussion about the direction of our City, there is a tremendous amount of common ground. I’m grateful to all the Democrats who have met with me and kept an open mind in recent months, and my sense is that they appreciate my pragmatic and bipartisan approach to solving problems.
Note: Tune into the Sept. 7 issue of SDCNN’s Gay San Diego (Vol. 3. Issue 18) for an exclusive Q&A from City Councilmember Carl DeMaio. Or read it online at gay-sd.com.