SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, both offered support for efforts to boost innovation in the local economy during a mayoral forum Wednesday in Balboa Park.
Innovation was the theme of the debate, one of five this week, hosted by the San Diego Innovation Alliance and KPBS.
Few jabs were offered by the candidates. DeMaio said city funding for the arts and sciences was still dependent on continued reforms in city finances, while Filner said one has to think bigger.
"I'm sick of hearing, frankly, of this bang for the buck and this fiscal thing when we talk about arts, culture and innovation," Filner said. "These are things that are good for themselves, and we ought to have a mayor who understands that, and can glorify it and who can defend it."
DeMaio told the audience at the Museum of Photographic Arts that his opponent doesn't want to worry about the money.
"We all love the idea -- it's what unites us," DeMaio said. "But what you want is a mayor who can get us there, achieve this vision and get things done."
Going into debt to fund the innovation concept will be repeating past fiscal mistakes, he said.
The forum was moderated by Erik Anderson of KPBS, with questions from Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.; Joyce Gattas, of the San Diego State University College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts; and former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, head of the Urban Lands Institute.
A recording will be available online at KPBS.com beginning on Thursday.
DeMaio said he wants to be mayor of a city that dares to dream big. Innovation, arts and culture are important not just for quality of life, but for economic competitiveness, he said.
Filner pointed to his academic background, which combined history and science, and said a mayor has to embody the idea of innovation.