Candidates make final push to be San Diego's next mayor

SAN DIEGO - The major candidates for mayor of San Diego spent their last day of campaigning Monday riding the trolley, waving signs and holding rallies.

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Councilmen David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer, and ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, top the polls heading into Tuesday's balloting.

Alvarez rode trolley cars during the morning commute to get his message out to passengers and remind them to vote.

"I'm someone who has supported our communities, made sure we have a balanced budget, (make sure) we're spending our money in the right way," Alvarez told a local television station. "We support economic development for small business and job growth."

He planned to spend the rest of the day making calls to voters and speaking to members of a community planning group.

Faulconer and his supporters waved signs during the morning in Ocean Beach.

He has held a commanding lead in polls released over the past couple of weeks. However, his support falls short of the majority needed to win the office outright.

"We feel real good about where we are and we're not taking anything for granted. That's why we're out here," Faulconer told 10News.

The councilman also visited the Monarch School in Barrio Logan, which educates children who are homeless or living in shelters.

Fletcher, who is in a statistical dead heat with Alvarez for the second spot on a runoff ballot, held a news conference and rally on Harbor Island.

"As mayor, I'm going to stand and fight for San Diegans," Fletcher told a local television station. "Not always the status quo -- the way it's always been done -- but for regular San Diegans who deserve a voice, and want to have a voice and want to be heard."

City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who has been running a distant fourth in the polls, appeared at the City Council's Infrastructure Committee meeting to applaud the panel for moving forward with a five-year plan to fix up city facilities.

"The problem that we have is imposing more debt burdens on the public without having a source of financing -- it's not a solution," Aguirre said. "Bonds are taxes plus interest. Taking out 40-year bonds to pay for 10 years of worth of street repairs is not a solution."

Aguirre, who has railed against the city's high payouts to retired employees, suggested cutting the city's pension obligation by one-third. He urged the committee members to ask municipal employees "to make some sacrifices" in order to free up $150 million to $200 million.

The city is paying out five times the actual annual cost of the pension system, he said.

In a SurveyUSA poll released Sunday, Faulconer led with 40 percent support. The survey conducted on behalf of 10News and U-T San Diego showed Fletcher with 24 percent, Alvarez 22 percent, and Aguirre with 7 percent. Fletcher and Alvarez are focusing on the Latino vote, which experts say could be the deciding fact.

A runoff, if necessary, would take place early next year.

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