A mayoral forum for the City of San Diego was held Wednesday night and of the four announced candidates only two participated and answered the questions from a diverse panel. What the audience did hear were the positions of candidate Bob Filner and Nathan Fletcher on a variety of topics. But, the audience probably learned more about the two candidates who did not show up. They learned that Bonnie Dumanis and Carlo DeMaio lacked the courage and the courtesy to attend this mayoral forum.
The forum was hosted by an organization billed as “A Better San Diego.” The organization is made up of community groups and a diverse segment of the population that shares a heavy Democratic/Union slant. Dumanis and DeMaio, Republicans with anti-union positions, decided to skip this forum instead of interacting with this community. It should be noted that Fletcher is also a Republican but he had the courage to be present and represent himself.
The City of San Diego is a diverse city with many different perspectives. Especially now that it has a strong mayor form of government, the mayor should try to represent and hear from different points of views, weighing the pros and cons, and then make an informed decision. With Dumanis and DeMaio skipping this forum they are basically telling these voters that they are not interested in their concerns, issues, or points of view!
Perhaps what is more damning is that Dumanis nor DeMaio don’t have enough faith or belief in themselves to come before what is perceived as unfriendly audience and fight for what they believe in most. If they can’t fight for themselves, how can we have faith they will fight for the city during those times of hardship and confrontation?
Instead Dumanis and DeMaio chose to sit on the sidelines and watch this parade go by. This is too bad. The city needs leaders not kibitzers.
For the two candidates who did attend, Nathan Fletcher demonstrated courage and a belief in himself. He believed in his vision for the city and had the courage to defend his positions. If anything Fletcher won the respect of the audience and probably won a few converts.
For Bob Filner, the lone Democrat in the race, this audience was his audience to begin with. It was primarily a Democratic audience, consisting of many union backers who have supported him over the many years of his political career. If it had been an unfriendly audience, we believe Filner would have still shown up, based on his history of participating in both friendly and hostile forums.
We hope that San Diegans – even those who did not attend the forum, have learned something about the character of all four mayoral contenders.