California Western welcomed three of the leading candidates for San Diego mayor to campus for a 90-minute look at the key issues facing the next leader of the country’s eighth largest city. The debate was co-sponsored by KNSJ Radio, which broadcast the event live, and covered by CBS 8 News.
“Having this event at the law school is definitely a plus,” says 3L Mitchell Miller. “It helps us gain access to the mayoral candidates.”
The candidates didn’t slug it out. Instead, San Diego City Councilmembers Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez, along with former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre took questions from a panel of reporters, an audience of students and citizens, and by social media. Instead of fireworks, the candidates were respectful of each other as they answered questions about transportation, crime, police protection, homelessness, their own qualifications, the Hispanic vote, economic growth, and of course, taxes.
Faulconer spoke frequently about stimulating business, saying, “small business is the backbone of this city.” He returned several times to the theme of working together, citing his work on issues including immigration, housing, and tax policy.
Alvarez touted his progressive credentials and his vision for a new San Diego, including greater energy independence and bike-friendly policies. “I would be the first mayor to bike to work,” he said.
Aguirre spoke again and again throughout the forum about the impact the pension fund debt is having on the city budget and services, at taxpayer expense. “San Diego can’t afford more taxes,” he said.
When it was time for audience questions, Miller was the first to address the candidates, saying, “I’m surprised that we haven’t mentioned anything about education. How do we bridge the knowledge gap?”
Miller feels the candidates were on the right track. “They all said they wanted to offer experiential learning,” he said.
All in all, it was a very civil discourse—issue-oriented with no personal attacks.
One of the media panelists, KNSJ’s Kali Katt, says, “I really appreciate the candidates coming. I hope we can put on more events like this where we involve the community.”
Dean Niels. B. Schaumann welcomed the candidates and guests to campus and remarked on the high level of civic participation in San Diego.
“Next week’s election is an important one for our city,” says Schaumann. “I’m pleased California Western was able to co-sponsor this informative event and provide our students access to the region’s decision-makers.”
The mayoral election will be held Tuesday, November 19.