Live Blog: Filner DeMaio Debate at USD

Filner and DeMaio debate on quality of life


We will be live blogging from the University of San Diego during the Filner DeMaio debate on enhancing the quality of life in San Diego. The debate will begin at 7pm. Stay posted for updates throughout the event. Tweet questions to #walkbikemovelive


Waiting for the debate to begin, the auditorium is full of 250+ people, Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio have not yet taken the stage.


USD Director of Sustainability Michael Catanzaro introduces the debate. Catanzaro points out the leadership of the University of San Diego in creating a sustainable campus. He also introduces other Filner DeMaio debate partners including: Walk San Diego, California’s largest pedestrian advocacy group. San Diego County Bicycle coalition promotes bicycling as transportation within the city. Move SD implements convenient and sustainable transportation alternatives. And the moderator for tonight Mark Mullen from NBC San Diego.


Mark Mullen introduces the debate panelists on stage. Debate panelists include: Tony Pauker from Urban Land Institute. Marcela Escobar Eck from Move SD. Kevin Wood, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Helen Elias from Walk San Diego.


San Diego mayoral candidates Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio take the stage. Each candidate will have 2 minutes to answer a question, 1 minute rebuttal from opposing candidate, 1 minute rebuttal. Khalisa and Leylla, sitting next to us, are really excited about the debate and want to see San Diego recycle more often.


Carl DeMaio begins by pointing out the healthy, active, and sustainable lifestyle that San Diego embodies. Bob Filner begins speaking on the abolition of the planning department by the City Council and his position on the Transportation Committee in the House of Representatives.


Q1 – How will San Diego become a model for being a great place to live.
Filner – Don’t make city employees the bad guys in your first day in office. We need to excite city employees, start a new agency tasked with moving toward sustainability and complete streets, called APLUS. Should include planning, land use, capital improvement, and movement for a holistic approach. Will get San Diegans excited about a city of villages.
DeMaio – The culture of antagonism is a bigger problem and the city inherits the personality of its Mayor.


Q2 – How would you work with City Council to promote best practices?
DeMaio – Tony Young has done a great job of creating bipartisan solutions by presenting multiple ideas. DeMaio voted against the elimination of the planning department. We decided to put more money into improving city plans that are updated and reflect our new vision for sustainable communities.
Filner – The bipartisanship is feigned when you want to break unions and privatized government programs.


Q3 – What will you do to make San Diego America’s Finest Bike City?
Filner – Make sure we have the infrastructure to have a bikeable city. Bike sharing program is great, but we need bike lanes too. Bikes should be a higher priority. We need more excitement about biking!
DeMaio – Anchorage, Alaska is beating San Diego on the most bike-friendly cities. We need to rebuild our roads!


Mullen – What specific plans would you have to accomodate the bike community?
DeMaio – Rebuild the roads so they are safe, make infrastructure a priority, complete streets include safe bike lanes. Ask the bike community which bike routes need to be navigable first.
Filner – Let’s learn from Anchorage and from Portland. San Diego’s Mayor “should get people excited about walking, talking, and having street fairs.”


Q4 – How can we better encourage alternative forms of transportation and increase available parking?
DeMaio – It will be up to the neighborhoods to increase community parking districts, local control is best. Encouraging the Car2Go program has increased local alternatives. Local control will decrease overhead.
Filner – The first test needs to be the traffic count and the parking. How do we stimulate walking and biking and housing near employment? Let’s start there and come to a better solution.


Q5 – What steps would you take to ensure pedestrian safety?
DeMaio – The fiscal crisis has left our infrastructure in disrepair. Let’s cost-effectively rebuild streets, sidewalks, and cross-walks the right way.
Filner – Start a neighborhood investment corporation to keep the money in San Diego’s neighborhoods.


Q6 – How will Bob Filner get excited about changing the street design standards away from cars and meet broad community needs?
Filner – APLUS will handle land use, mobility, housing, and local employment. Have a comprehensive planning approach for the neighborhoods. I would support alternative street structures that benefit pedestrians and small businesses.
DeMaio – You need money for infrastructure funding, it has to be a priority. Fully fund updated street standards.


Q7 – How would you make sure the neighborhoods that need complete streets most, get them?
DeMaio – Plan better for issuing and using municipal bonds. A street department should be included which incorporates citizen input, utilities, and construction. We have to possess the money necessary to pay for the projects and ensure they are completed properly.
Filner – Special interests are controlling the money and keeping it. Knowing where the money is in Washington will allow San Diego to fund its neighborhood projects.


Q8 – Most of our city plans are out of date and don’t conform to zoning regulations. New plans would cost $100M+ and more than a first term. How would you issue permits, create a new plan, and conform to regulations?
Filner – We’re years behind where we should be. The restoration of our neighborhoods is dependent on community plans. We can do this within the first term with good leadership at the top and a great team.
DeMaio – City Council has brought together all parties and interests. Special interests and parties have crammed their solutions down the throats of working families. The regular folks will support me on Nov 6.


TwitterQ1 – How do we get funding allocations adjusted for transit?
Filner – Special interests are depriving neighborhoods of money
DeMaio – Make a bigger pie with fiscal reform. You either raise taxes or reform spending. We will reform so we don’t cut quality of life programs. Private partnerships, like Car2Go, will get people comfortable with new transit programs

TwitterQ2 – How would you encourage city employees to use alternative transportation?
DeMaio – Embrace new work patterns that are better for quality of life. We need to re-think the way that city government operate. It should be good for the environment, the employees, and the fiscal house of San Diego.
Filner – The city has to raise its view of quality of life. Fiscal reform only gets us half-way.

8:10pm – Closing Remarks

DeMaio – We need to get Republicans, Democrats, and Independents working together, listening to one another, and solve problems by convening San Diegans. “That’s what San Diego has done on fiscal reform and what we will do on sustainable communities.”
Filner – “You have two choices in this election, a failed councilman, or someone who has devoted his life to these issues.” Filner points to his time as representative of Balboa Park and Downtown, turning around the Gaslamp and keeping cars out of Balboa Park.

That’s it for tonight thanks for following along.