The first debate of the San Diego mayoral campaign is scheduled today, and the deadline for prospective candidates to file their nomination papers is at 5 p.m.
The debate will take place as part of the 2013 California Asian Business Summit at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.
Scheduled to participate are former City Attorney Mike Aguirre and Councilmen David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer. Ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who is speaking to summit attendees separately, will not take part.
The panel is scheduled to include Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California; Tyler Orion, president of Connect; Linda Caballero Sotelo, president of the San Diego chapter of the National Latina Business Women's Association; and Wendy Urushima-Conn, president and CEO of the Asian Business Association of San Diego.
The moderator is journalist Wendy Fry of NBC7/39.
Today is also the deadline for prospective candidates to file nomination papers with at least 200 valid signatures to the City Clerk's Office in order to qualify for the Nov. 19 ballot. They also have to pay a filing fee.
Faulconer, Fletcher and Bruce Coons, executive director of the preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation, are among those who have turned in their papers.
On Thursday, two former Bob Filner supporters who later became among the first to call on him to resign over his behavior as mayor announced their endorsements for his replacement.
Alvarez won support from ex-Councilwoman Donna Frye.
"David is dedicated to ensuring that all members of our San Diego communities have a voice in decisions that impact their quality of life," Frye said. "He understands that he is a public servant and knows that the needs of the public come first."
Frye worked as Filner's director of open government until she resigned in April. She later joined with attorneys Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez in accusing Filner of sexual harassment and demanding he step down. Filner left office Aug. 30.
While endorsing Alvarez, she called for humility and courtesy in the mayor's office.
"With David, what you see is what you get," Frye said. "He's grounded and comes from a family who instilled in him core beliefs and values that are based upon respect for all members of our San Diego communities."
Gonzalez threw his support behind Fletcher.
"When it comes to the environmental issues most important to me and those I represent, Nathan is the only candidate with the vision and leadership capabilities to effect real change," Gonzalez said. "He will bring a much needed energy and focus to the mayor's office, and I look forward to standing with him as we tackle the significant challenges ahead.'
Before kickstarting Filner's downfall, Gonzalez was best known for his lawsuits that sought to eliminate fireworks displays over sensitive marine habitats off San Diego's coastline.
If no one wins a majority of the vote in the special election, a runoff between the top two vote-getters would be scheduled for early next year.
—City News Service