Politics & Media Mashup is on break for the next few weeks so we can bring you exclusive Q & As with San Diego Mayoral candidates Nathan Fletcher, Carl DeMaio and Bonnie Dumanis.
We kick off this series with Fletcher. We determined the order based on when the responses to our questions were received — first in, first up. Despite repeated attempts, no one from Bob Filner’s campaign would answer our questions, even though a staffer there said, “We read Rostra all the time.”
Perhaps by the end of this series — following Q & As with Fletcher, DeMaio and Dumanis over the next three Saturdays — Filner will have changed his mind and we can learn a little more about him.
Here is Rostra’s Q & A with Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher:
- Why are you running for Mayor?
My candidacy represents a chance to turn the page on the problems of the past and start new. I will bring a new energy, a new vision and a new generation of leadership to City Hall. It is time to get our city moving again with a real focus on the future. Re-fighting the battles of the last decade or defending the status quo won’t move our city forward. I bring a set of comprehensive plans, a commitment to protecting taxpayers, to reinventing how our city delivers services, and to making San Diego the world’s most innovative city so we can compete for and create the high-paying jobs and successful companies that will be the foundation for our future prosperity.
- What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?
Surfing. This past weekend, I got out surfing on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and the waves were great. It reminds me how much I miss surfing on a regular basis. With all the travel back and forth to Sacramento, it has been harder to get out the last two years. I do try to get out once a week now.
- Which of your opponents do you fear the most? Why?
I was a counterintelligence/human intelligence specialist who served in combat. I saw an enemy up close and personal. These experiences teach you about real fear and real enemies. While political opponents may disagree sometimes or have a differing vision for the future, they aren’t the enemy and certainly aren’t to be feared.
- What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
One of my favorite activities as a kid was going camping in the mountains. I lived in Carson City, and we would go into the Sierra Nevada. We would rock climb, hike, snowshoe and ski. The eastern Sierra remain one of my favorite mountain ranges in the world. I had the chance while in the Marines to do some mountain and winter work, and still enjoy alpine mountaineering and glacier climbing. So far, I have reached the summit of Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, Mount Whitney, Mount Russell and a few more.
- What’s the biggest problem the City faces? How would you fix that problem?
We need to make San Diego the World’s Most Innovative City; the kind of place where innovative, private sector companies want to invest and expand. That is why I released a detailed and comprehensive plan to create a competitive environment to allow for the creation of more than 130,000 jobs in San Diego by 2020, increase the number of patents, exports, and venture capital, and raise the median income. Whoever is the next mayor must be able to build broad coalitions and get things done. Having plans and ideas is a start, but you must also have the ability to bring people together to get things done. When you look at my track record, you can see that I have done exactly that.
- What’s your go-to place for fish tacos?
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
- What is your vision of San Diego in 10 years?
I see a tremendous opportunity for San Diego. My vision is to make San Diego the World’s Most Innovative City. It won’t be just a slogan, it will be the cornerstone of everything we do. That includes our economic base, our education system, our city government and our quality of life. My goal is that when you travel, I want people to say, “you live in San Diego — the World’s Most Innovative City – that just happens to have great weather.”
- President Obama admitted last year he never sent out a tweet from his Twitter account. Since then, when he does send a tweet himself he signs it, “BO.” Do you send out your own tweets? If not, who deserves the credit?
That sounds like a good way to distinguish which ones I do myself and which ones my staff does for me — maybe we will start doing it that way. I’m not able to spend as much time as I would like on these interactions, and so not every tweet is actually from me. I do believe social media is a great way to connect with voters and constituents, and of course bloggers and reporters.
Rostra note: Since answering these questions, Fletcher has started signing tweets he sends himself with his initials.
- Pensions, education and ___________ are the three biggest issues in the Mayor’s race.
Growing our economy. Those are the issues, but even more important is the vision for the city’s future and the tone, temperament, and energy of its leader.
You are never done with the job of reforming a city or working to ensure its budget is as lean and efficient as possible. While the job is never done, the mayor has made progress on the structural budget deficit, and the pension reform initiative will address the problems with our pension system. That allows us the opportunity to begin a conversation about rebuilding our economic base. We can begin to talk about long-term changes to position San Diego for the next 10, 20, 30 or 50 years. The next mayor must be someone who has a vision for our City and the ability to get it done.
- House Speaker John Boehner recently said the first thing he reads in the morning is POLITICO on his iPad. What’s the first thing you read in the morning and what device (if any) do you use to read it?
First thing in the morning, I grab my iPad and check my email, Pulse News feed (an iPad app) and then Twitter. I have four private lists in Twitter — one for San Diego news, one for state news, one for national/international and one just for personal and/or fun stuff. Then I check in on some of the various San Diego and California news sources. I also have a few sites I visit once a week on certain days-various columnists, etc. After that, I review our background materials again for the upcoming day (read the night before) and I’m off to the gym.
- What one word best describes Mayor Jerry Sanders?
- Are you a dog or cat person? If you have a dog and/or a cat, please share your pet’s name, breed, age and how you met.
Definitely dog. I’m allergic to cats – which is perfectly fine.
I have two dogs: Jagger and Rez. Rez is a great dog we rescued a few years ago. I told Mindy two dogs was easier than one. I’m not sure that is actually true. Jagger was my welcome home from Iraq present. He is a crazy brown lab. He sleeps on the floor on my side of the bed and often sleeps on my feet under my desk when I’m working from home. When I deployed to Africa, I told Mindy to make sure she threw the tennis ball with Jagger. He lives to fetch the ball. But I made clear to not let him keep the ball. It isn’t good for his teeth to chew on and it gets gross. On my deployment, I wasn’t sure he would remember me — I was gone a long time. I get home and he goes nuts and then runs into the back yard and starts digging in the grass. While I was gone, he had buried a tennis ball waiting for the moment I got home. He dug it up, ran into the house and dropped it at my feet. Ready to play.
- Anything else you want to add?
Elections are about choices, and the voters of San Diego have four very clear and distinct approaches and choices for mayor. No candidate is trying to be like the other. It promises to be a great contest. Our city deserves the debate and to make an informed choice. I feel confident that our approach will carry the day, but everyone should appreciate all the candidates who are willing to dedicate their life to service.