UCSD Hosts Mayoral Debate

San Diego mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner made their case for election in a debate at UCSD last Saturday, Oct. 13. The event was hosted by Student Organized Voter Access Committee (SOVAC), a UCSD org, and co-sponsored by XETV-TV.

The debate took place in Price Center East Ballroom and featured questions from a panel of UCSD students. The hour-long event aired Saturday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 9 a.m on XETV-TV.

The public event was moderated by Heather Myers from XETV-TV, who asked each candidate a series of questions focusing on innovation, sustainability and civic engagement in San Diego. The candidates had a minute and a half to answer the questions, followed by a 30-second rebuttal.

DeMaio, a Republican San Diego city councilmember, discussed his plans to make San Diego the most innovative economy.

“Getting San Diegans back to work is a top priority,” DeMaio said.

DeMaio also said he wants to create stronger after-school programs and improve job prospects for college graduates in San Diego.

Filner, a 10-term Democratic congressman for the 51st district by the border, explained his ideas to improve water sustainability while working toward a green economy.

“Let’s combine the green energy economy and a blue energy economy,” Filner said. “We have a responsibility to shift toward a blue and green economy and create jobs in that economy.”

Filner stated that one of the first things he will do as mayor is make sure all public buildings are solar-powered within the first five years.

DeMaio debated the importance of academic excellence and preparing students in science, technology and mathematics to make the San Diego region more competitive.

“We have to prepare the work force to fill those 21st century jobs,” DeMaio said.

When asked about his plans to improve transportation, DeMaio emphasized the importance of having both quality roads and public transit. His mobility plan focuses on redesigning San Diego streets and creating walkable lanes.

Filner plans to make all communities pedestrian and biker-friendly by fixing broken roads and building bike lanes in attempt to improve the overall quality of life in San Diego.

“We need a real bike infrastructure,” Filner said. “Let us really work on a system that can work.”

Filner also plans on increasing the budget for arts and culture in schools to motivate student involvement as well as create an urban community. He plans to promote student involvement in city decision making, and include them in political and economic decision making by creating internship opportunities for university students across San Diego.

DeMaio wants to bring in graduate and undergraduate students to get involved in the community, and strengthen the ties between local universities to assure their activeness in San Diego’s economic future. Kyle Heiskala, executive associate of SOVAC, helped organize the event to promote voter awareness.

“The policies of the next mayor of San Diego will direct many aspects of our region for the years to come and students should be involved in that process,” Heiskala said. “The importance of hosting the Mayoral Forum is connecting UC San Diego students with the broader region surrounding our university. This forum is our chance to show San Diego UCSD’s vision and make our issues known.”