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It’s never too early for a good debate.

That’s why we’re kicking off our Politifest with the first debate of the 2012 mayor’s race. Politifest’s goal is to celebrate the ideas that shape San Diego’s future in a new and fun way. And what better way to do that than hear from the people who want to be leading us into that future?

We want it to be an open and inclusive event, so we’ve extended invitations to all 14 formally declared candidates. Nathan Fletcher and Bob Filner will be there. Bonnie Dumanis and Carl DeMaio have decided they have better things to do. (Boo!)

And we’ll also be having a number of the lesser-known candidates so that we can start to get to know them as well. So far, David Cardon, Loch David Crane, Hud Collins, Rob Harter and Steven Greenwald have also said they’ll be attending.

The debate will be moderated by me and NBC 7 San Diego’s Gene Cubbison. We want to focus the debate on a larger vision for San Diego.

The financial issues are clearly important and we’ll be covering those closely throughout the campaign. But for the last decade San Diego’s been unable to talk about a vision of the city it wants to be because of all the distractions.

While the new leader will have to deal with finances, he or she will also at the same time be charting a vision for our future. What will that vision be?

The details:

• When: Saturday, Sept. 17 (Festival starts at 10 a.m., debate at 10:30 a.m.)

• Where: In the open air of Ingram Plaza in Point Loma’s Liberty Station

Also, it’s free to attend. We’ll have food trucks, a beer garden, people from all walks of life, family-friendly events (even animals), and the Idea Tournament. Bring a picnic lunch if you’d like.

So come out and join us. Let’s celebrate, and shape, San Diego’s future.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0526.

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