While watching one of the debates between mayoral candidates Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner, you may be able to notice some similarities to the debates between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Each candidate is quick to point out the flaws in today’s economy and schools. Both are adamant in telling us how their plans will revive our market and bring jobs back to San Diego. Lastly, Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner both have a clear disdain for one another that is hard to ignore. However, both Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio share a similarity that neither President Obama nor Governor Romney can claim. Between the sly personal attacks, both mayoral candidates have stated unique plans to expand clean energy and sustainability in San Diego.
Bob Filner’s plan for a greener San Diego centers on expanding the clean energy job market by promoting water-based blue jobs. Blue energy is a form of alternative energy derived from the use of water or water-based organisms. Examples of blue energy possibilities in San Diego include, using algae as a main biofuel ingredient, and refining wave energy into electricity. During the San Diego Mayoral Forum, hosted at UC San Diego, Bob Filner said “We ought to combine our responsibility to the planet, in terms of alternative energy, in terms of global warming, and create jobs at the same time.” With San Diego’s unique location as a coastal city, Bob Filner sees the blue economy as a logical step with the chance of setting San Diego apart in the national push toward alternative energy. As a result of this plan, Bob Filner hopes the dual approach of a green and blue economy, or “aqua economy”, will create 6,000 jobs.
Bob Filner has also not been afraid to talk about eco-responsibility. “We are going to look at global warming as real…If we are going to save our beaches, we need to get our heads out of the sand” said Bob Filner at the Mayoral Forum. Bob Filner stated that one of his first moves as mayor, if elected, would be to mandate converting all public buildings in San Diego to solar power within five years. By doing so, Bob Filner hopes to reduce energy costs while creating jobs for small businesses that focus on solar installation services.
Carl DeMaio frequently responded to Bob Filner’s plans for an “aqua economy” by pointing to his own record of supporting clean energy initiatives as a San Diego City Councilman. He emphasized his history of working within a bipartisan coalition to ensure the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program went forward. The PACE program allows property owners to defer the cost of clean energy improvements by having items such as solar panels paid down over a period of years as part of the annual property tax. As mayor, Carl DeMaio plans on furthering solar installation and clean energy jobs by cutting permit fees and regulations for businesses looking to update their facilities. At the Mayoral Forum, about the changes needed in San Diego’s government toward small business Carl DeMaio said, “instead of a culture of higher regulation, higher taxes, and fees… we ought to ask a very simple question, how can we help you?”
Like Bob Filner, Carl DeMaio’s plan for a more sustainable San Diego does not ignore San Diego’s position on the Pacific Coast and our growing water concerns. As part of the Clean Coast 2020 Plan, Carl DeMaio wants to improve our storm water management systems to ensure higher water quality in the beaches and bays. In an effort to encourage less water consumption, Carl DeMaio would also like to provide water rate discounts to customers that maintain low usage rates. He sees this as a way to maintain lower consumption and reward San Diego citizens for being eco-responsible.
Despite their differences, San Diego should be happy that Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio do not shy away from the climate and water issues needing to be address. Each has their own paths to achieve a more sustainable San Diego but both realize economic growth and eco-responsibility should go hand in hand. Green Chamber wants you to stay updated this election and ready to make informed vote on November 6th. To read more about this election and others visit, http://www.kpbs.org/news/election.