SAN DIEGO - Three of the four top candidates for San Diego mayor faced off Friday night in the first of many debates to come.
Even though he was invited, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher did not debate during the 2nd annual California Asian Business Summit due to a scheduling conflict.
Political analyst John Dadian called the decision "a strategic mistake."
"I think they should have moved heaven and earth to be here," said Dadian.
However, Fletcher was given the opportunity to speak during a packed luncheon. Two hours before the debate – which was put on by the Asian Business Association of San Diego – 10News cameras were there in that same ballroom as Fletcher appeared on stage as a technology speaker for the California Asian Business Summit.
"We have to have a greater emphasis on ensuring kids in middle school and high school have an interest in science and technology, engineering and math and we've got to make sure that every child has access to those fields," said Fletcher.
While Fletcher did not campaign for mayor so to speak, he did get to talk for 15 minutes uninterrupted, using notes and a podium.
Meantime, during the debate, San Diego City Councilmembers Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez and former city attorney Mike Aguirre debated topics ranging from the convention center expansion to the increase in minimum wage to jobs.
"I absolutely think that the minimum wage being increased is going to help our economy," said Alvarez.
Aguirre said, "I opt in favor of growing businesses that are here as opposed to necessarily putting our resources into trying to attract new businesses."
"Mayor that's going say San Diego is back and open for business to streamline and cut regulations and that's going to be my focus and mayor to get San Diegans back to work," said Faulconer.
Dadian said he did not see there being any clear winners Friday night.
Meantime, the San Diego City Clerk's Office says 19 prospective mayoral candidates did meet Friday's 5 p.m. filing deadline. By Wednesday, Sept. 28, the city clerk should know how many people have qualified.