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Mayoral candidates spar over plans to help jobless veterans

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Candidates for San Diego's mayor traded jabs Thursday over competing initiatives to help military veterans find jobs.

Mayoral candidate and City Councilman Carl DeMaio announced he would hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to release his “Welcome Home Plan,” seven proposals to create jobs for veterans.

Just before 10:30 a.m., District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, also running for mayor, released her plans to open a satellite Small Business Administration Veterans Business Outreach Center in San Diego.

DeMaio then moved his press conference to 1 p.m. At it, he presented his proposals, which include providing veteran mentors to help new veterans transition to employment, creating more opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses to bid on city contracts and working with the USO to create a permanent facility in San Diego.

Dumanis said her proposal will create a local help center for veterans, instead of forcing them to "phone or email" the Veterans Business Outreach Center in Sacramento. She said she would use the existing local veterans' network to create the center.

At around 3 p.m., mayoral campaign staff for state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher sent out a statement from Jack Harkins, the head of Veterans for Fletcher and the United Veterans Council of San Diego County. Fletcher served in the Marine Corps for 10 years.

“Veterans for Fletcher welcomes the sudden interest by two of Nathan's opponents in veterans' issues," Harkins' statement said. "As the only veteran in the field, this is an issue that has been a priority for him from day one.

"In addition to the many pieces of veterans' legislation he's sponsored in the legislature, several months ago Nathan released a comprehensive plan to aid San Diego veterans. I urge his opponents to take a look at his plan to understand what really matters and what really works.”

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