Mayoral Candidates in the Hot Seat: Nathan Fletcher - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Mayoral Candidates in the Hot Seat: Nathan Fletcher

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  • San Diego Special Election

    San Diego Special Election

    A special election for the city of San Diego will take place on February 11, 2014. Check out related stories, videos and links on CBS 8's resource page. 
    A special election for the city of San Diego will take place on February 11, 2014. Check out related stories, videos and links on CBS 8's resource page. 

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego special election to fill the mayor spot vacated by Bob Filner will be held in four days. A CBS News 8 poll shows that ethics and integrity are at the top of the list for voters. On Friday, we sat down with candidate Nathan Fletcher.

It's Fletcher's second shot at the mayor's seat and he says he's ready to lead the city into the future.

Former Republican assemblyman turned Independent and now Democratic mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher says he's anxious to take over the vacant seat. We asked him what kind of PR damage control he would have to do if elected.

"Bob Filner did some horrible, awful things and thanks to courageous women who came forward, that issue has been dealt with and it's behind us. I think all San Diegans are ready to move forward. I bring a Marine Corps approach. I've been a Marine my whole life. We're upfront and we're honest. We focus on getting the job done and I think San Diegans need a mayor they can trust is always gonna do what's in their best interest," Fletcher said.

Fletcher has thoughts about trying to keep the San Diego Chargers in town and give them a new place to play.

"The Chargers are part of San Diego. They're a part of who we are and we want to keep them. I don't think it makes sense to build a standalone box that's used a handful of times to play football in. But I think it does make sense to do a multi-purpose, multi-use facility that can be used as convention space. We can get boxing and final fours, big concerts and hopefully have something that people visit 300-plus days a year, which also means that the city can make money off of it," Fletcher said.

San Diegans are concerned about the streets, potholes and sewer system. What's Fletcher's best solution?

"We've gone from the eighth-worst roads in America to the fourth-worst roads in America. Our weather is great, our roads are easy to maintain. But we've seen a focus in priority that wasn't on neighborhoods, it wasn't on the basic things that folks should expect. And I've said my highest priority as mayor is to make sure our residents are safe and then to make sure they have the city services they deserve, which means good streets, parks, libraries, rec centers. And as mayor that is the first thing we are going to prioritize and focus on," Fletcher responded.

As far as public safety worries including shrinking numbers in the police department and fewer fire stations around town, how would the ex-Marine tackle these issues?

"The city founds hundreds of millions of dollars in new money to build downtown projects, but couldn't find the money to make sure that our residents are safe -- 37,000 911 response calls were answered late in the last two years alone. I talked to a lady yesterday who lived in Nestor. She is a 62-year-old grandmother. At 4:30 in the morning, she called 911 with someone trying to break into her house, she was terrified. It took over two hours for an officer to be available to respond because we don't have enough officers on the streets. We don't have enough fire stations," Fletcher said.

Many CBS News 8 poll respondents say the next mayor must try to have an influence on local schools.

"I have two little boys, a five-year-old and a two-year-old. One of them is in the San Diego public school system, the other one will be. I think every elected official should lend a helping hand and be there to help our principles and teachers as they strive to continue to do right by our children," Fletcher said.

Former mayor Filner campaigned on a "Neighborhoods First" platform. CBS News 8 viewers are very curious if Fletcher will go down the same path.

"We've seen a neglect of our neighborhoods and the basic things our residents should expect. To change that… it's going to require leadership, and I've always been a leader who could bring people together and get the job done. That was true as a Marine, it was true in the legislature and true in my time at Qualcomm. That's exactly the experience and approach that I'll bring as mayor," he said.

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