Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher today laid out his vision to energize San Diego’s maritime economy with a plan to make the city’s port the “World’s Most Innovative”.
“In the Fletcher Administration, our port will be the catalyst and epicenter for a new innovative maritime technology cluster, churning out new ideas and generating new jobs for our region,” said Fletcher. “As Mayor, I want to use my role as a regional leader to help promote the Port and the maritime industry and create good-paying, permanent jobs.”
Fletcher’s Port plan, a supplement to his jobs plan, focuses on three key concepts: increasing the amount of defense dollars in San Diego; increasing the mayor’s role in business development, and developing policies and programs to keep San Diego on the cutting edge. Fletcher’s plan includes specific goals, including:
Protecting Our Status As A Strategic Port
As Mayor, Fletcher will make sure San Diego maintains its “strategic port” designation. He will work with local, state and federal leaders to safeguard San Diego against threats posed by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
Increasing the Navy / Marine Corps Presence
As Mayor, Fletcher will utilize his relationships with Naval and Marine leadership in San Diego and at the Pentagon to aggressively pursue new opportunities for the Navy and Marine Corps here in San Diego. Because San Diego is a strategic port, BRAC could mean increased military activity in San Diego.
Increase Local Usage of The Port
As Mayor, Fletcher will work with the Port to develop a list of all businesses in San Diego using maritime cargo services outside San Diego. When the list is complete, Fletcher will personally meet with each business to find out why, and then work with the Port to bring them back to San Diego. Fletcher will also work with firms involved with major City projects to ensure the Port of San Diego is used as much as possible.
Embracing the Mayor’s Role as an Ambassador
Mayor Fletcher will help local businesses establish relationships with businesses in other countries and regions. When elected, Fletcher will reach out to cities nationally and globally, helping our local business leaders connect with potential business partners to find opportunities to bring job-creating investment to San Diego.
Working To Create New Market Opportunities
Fletcher is committed to working with the Port to reach out to short sea shipping operators around the world to identify roadblocks standing in the way of developing this industry.
Additionally, Fletcher will work with SANDAG and the Port to fully integrate the M-5 Marine Highway Corridor into our regional transportation system.
Creating a Maritime Industry Incubator
As Mayor, Fletcher will bring as many of organizations as possible together to explore the possibility of creating an incubator in San Diego. A Maritime Incubator could take ideas out of our research institutions and universities and cultivate them into marketable products and services. Startup companies participating in the incubator could be encouraged and incentivized to setup shop in San Diego upon graduation.
Making Smarter Land Use Decisions
Fletcher pledges to create Maritime Industrial Zoning Overlay Districts (MIZOD) to protect marine industrial lands from encroachment.
Investing in Harbor Drive/Barrio Logan
As Mayor, Fletcher will not only fix Harbor Drive, but work with the Port to explore ways to make the trip down Harbor Drive easier and more efficient for cargo leaving the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
Fletcher will explore the feasibility of the City and Port building dedicated lanes for trucks down Harbor Drive, giving them quick and efficient access to the freeway. The project could be funded using existing City funds and an investment by the Port, as the road would directly support maritime use. Additionally, Fletcher will work to eliminate the 28th and 32nd Street bottlenecks.
Each day, trucks coming from the Tenth Avenue Terminal get bottlenecked trying to access the freeway on 28th and 32nd Streets. As Mayor, Fletcher will make funding improvements in this area a high priority.
“I want to build a coalition of mayors, council members, port commissioners, business groups and labor organizations that share my vision,” stated Fletcher. “With cooperation we can build our port into the world’s most innovative.”
Fletcher was joined by some of San Diego’s leading port stakeholders who expressed the need for a mayor who will act as a regional leader, promoting the Port and acting on its behalf to improve maritime economic health and vitality.
“Nathan’s plan for the Port of San Diego is a bold and comprehensive plan that will create jobs and expand its economic impact. Nathan understands the strategic military importance of the port and will work with federal leaders from both sides to expand the amount of defense dollars flowing into the region,” said Rear Admiral Len Hering, former Navy Mayor, San Diego.
Earlier this year, Fletcher outlined his jobs plan to create a competitive environment that will contribute to the creation of 130,000 new jobs in our region by 2020 and will move our city into a new era. The goals of Fletcher’s “World’s Most Innovative City” jobs plan include:
Increasing the number of patents generated by our region 33% by 2020. We will measure our progress each year and report the numbers.
Increasing the amount of venture capital San Diego receives 33% by 2020, bringing the total to more than a billion dollars annually in San Diego.
Increasing exports from our region 33% by 2020. That would equate to a $5 billion increase, bringing our total exports to over $20 billion annually by 2020.
Ensuring balanced economic growth and ensure we have a robust middle class, the fifth goal will focus on increasing the median household income 33% by 2020. That increase of over $18,000 would bring regional median household income to close to 80,000 a year.