It's pretty clear that the new candidates are far superior to the current set.
Pete Babich is easily head and shoulders above any of the other candidates running for the two open Council seats. It's not even close. He demonstrated a fantastic depth of knowledge about City issues and the need to update the General Plan for 2050. He decried the piecemeal short term patches that the council now takes for planning. Lurching along from one quick fix to the next. Fastest way to sprawl. Long term planning is the way to go and his impressive depth of knowledge will certainly guide him there.
Dave Grosch was the only person up there talking about reigning in the budget. A friend of mine once said that "it's not how much you earn, it's how much you spend." Take a look at other cities, other governments, other companies. They bloat up their pension benefits because it is easier to get labor support, but it only lasts so long. Small cuts now, or really painful ones later. He was also the only one who pledged not to take any of the benefits assigned to city council members. Meaning no health insurance, car allowances, or retirement benefits.
He also had some new ideas on how to foster small business growth by working with property owners to reduce vacancies. He recognizes that small business is the backbone of our local economy, not incompatible multinational box stores.
Mullin promoted the need to have more big box stores to increase sales tax revenue. It's an old school model that works when you can continue to build out the city. Poway's basically built out so it's a no go. He had some good ideas about streamlining certain processes in the city government, transferring some of the decision making power into City Staff's hands. Sadly, what most people don't notice is that 3 of the 5 specific proposals (up on the 19th of October) are for Temporary Use Permits, Specific Use Amendments, and most importantly, General Plan Amendments. In City Staff hands, that leads to block parties, rock concerts in strange places, and no General Plan. Open season.
Kruse just seemed to think that his experience running failed banks was a good thing, and the everything was fine in the past for Poway and thus should be fine into the future. He also took credit for writing the Poway General Plan. From what he says in council meetings, however, it does not look like he has read it.
On the Mayoral side:
Nick Stavros had some forward thinking ideas about how to bring in high paying biotech and industry jobs and how the people would come so long as the General Plan was followed, as that plan insures the high quality of life that attracts the good people. He also stressed the need for transparency and active communication between the council and the residents.
Higginson also seemed to think that everything was going pretty well and did not see many problems for his constituency, so long as he was reelected. He also had a lot of inside knowledge of how he had set up the city government over the last 24 years.