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DeMaio talks to entrepreneurs, offers 10 regulatory reforms

San Diego City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio called Thursday for 10 proposed reforms to promote business and create jobs in San Diego.

Seven of those reforms were already set forth in DeMaio's "Pathway to Prosperity" jobs plan, while the others were gleaned from three jobs forums DeMaio hosted for business leaders over the past two months. Joining DeMaio's often-repeated "Pathway to Prosperity" initiatives, such as overhauling permit processing and eliminating project labor agreements, are three newcomers: giving the mayor the power to enact regulatory amnesty, changing 50 percent of all permits to ministerial within five years and lobbying Sacramento for regulatory reform.

Those three jobs forums were paid for with city funding and, DeMaio said, were meant to address issues he will handle as a city councilman before he gets the chance to be mayor. While he said Thursday's speech was not a campaign event, the event's title was, "Carl DeMaio As The Next San Diego Mayor -- You Decide," and flyers reading "Carl DeMaio for Mayor" were waiting at each attendee's seat.

DeMaio spoke at the monthly luncheon for the San Diego chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, an invitation-only business group reserved for heads of companies that gross $1 million in revenues each year. About 40 people attended the event, which was hosted and paid for by the Entrepreneurs' Organization.

Blake Canedy, who organized the Entrepreneurs' Organization event, said it was not a campaign event for DeMaio and that the organization does not officially support DeMaio for mayor.

"But a lot of members like what he has to say," Canedy added. "This is for people interested in hearing what Carl can do for our city."

Canedy said he does not have plans to host District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Congressman Bob Filner, two other candidates for mayor. Canedy said while the final mayoral candidate, State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, is interested in speaking, Canedy is not sure he can fit him in during the busy holiday season.

"I have a feeling we're not going to do it," he said.

DeMaio did not mention his run for mayor during his speech and when an audience member asked how he would implement his reforms, DeMaio answered with the assumption that he would be working as a city councilman.

"I'm working to line up support on the council," he said. "If that doesn't work, I'll go around the council and get a ballot measure."

But when another audience member asked what DeMaio would do differently than current Mayor Jerry Sanders, DeMaio answered directly.

"The fact that he kept the lights on was pretty darn commendable," he said, referring to the corruption in city government before Sanders took office. "He did what he could do with the cards that were dealt to him. I'm different because I'm from the business community, so I'm a bit more aggressive and see things from a different perspective."

DeMaio spoke with a loud and firm voice and made swooping hand gestures while outlining his 10 proposed reforms. He hit on his favorite topics, including the 24-7 permitting shop set up in Austin, Texas to speed construction of a Samsung factory and his work to increase efficiency in San Diego's business improvement district fee system.

"We have to understand the nexus between government and business will hurt us or help us in terms of our search for jobs," he said.

DeMaio's new reforms call for giving the mayor authority to grant citywide regulatory amnesty, a period of time when business owners can get permits and approvals without having to pay extra penalties and fines. He also said he wants to establish "regulatory certainty zones" with set standards that allow permits to be easily approved.

His last reform, lobbying Sacramento for regulatory reform, included the acknowledgement that many reforms are beyond the purview of city government.

"As a city councilmember, I can only do so much," he said.

DeMaio said the jobs forums helped him generate his three new ideas.

"I cast a wide net to get as many people talking as I could," he said. "I pulled through those ideas, found what people were talking about most and got these ideas that were put into the plan."

He added that these were only his initial proposed reforms and said he would unveil more ideas in a complete "Pathway to Prosperity" plan soon.

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