Carl DeMaio: High Risk or Sound Investment?

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Council member Carl DeMaio at the StartupCircle forum –  photo credit: Mike Foster[/caption]

On Tuesday, October 16 StartupCircle hosted a mayoral debate at the Co-Merge building downtown. As a start-up company “dedicated to bringing together entrepreneurs, industry experts, sponsors, investors and resources,” StartupCircle centered the debate on the relationship between San Diego City governance and local businesses.

Mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner were presented with questions posed by audience members, read by host Gabriella Dow. The first question asked: “Would you change or simplify regulations for starting businesses and other organizations so that entrepreneurs can focus on innovating their start-ups, rather than getting wrapped up in the bureaucratic paperwork and processes? If yes, how specifically?”

Council member Carl DeMaio was the first to address the question, and he began his response by saying that “time is money.” He described his experience creating two successful start-ups, where he learned that to foster a business or organization entrepreneurs need the right kind of environment, the right kind of people, and access to capital.

DeMaio argued that there is more than bureaucratic regulation keeping start-up companies from becoming a success stating, “It’s not just the regulation; it’s the cost of operating.” From this comment he lynch pinned one of his most interesting platform plans—pension reform. After claiming to have led the way for pension cost reform in San Diego, DeMaio explained that pension costs are embedded in every regulatory fee that the city charges, levying unnecessary expenses on start-ups.

If elected, DeMaio plans to create the right kind of environment in San Diego by allowing the right kind of people access to capital. DeMaio’s course intends to bring venture capitalists and angel investors back to San Diego by focusing on reforming regulations and the permit process, as well as improving cycle time.

When presented with questions, Carl DeMaio didn’t dance around the issues, but was ready with detailed answers that are each covered in his comprehensive plan of action, Pathway to Prosperity. He stressed that the centerpiece of his financial reform, presented in the Road to Recovery, was already passed by voters and is ready to put into action, should he step into office.

DeMaio is ready to make drastic changes to the way San Diego is run, and could be a big risk should he win. However, if his intention is to pull San Diego out of financial crisis, foster local businesses and entrepreneurship, and present San Diego as a model for other cities he may be a sound investment.