Program: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed introduced San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Mayor Faulconer was born and raised in Oxnard, CA, and graduated from San Diego State University. While at SDSU he served one year as Student Body President. He assumed the office of Mayor March 3, 2014. He and his wife Katherine live in Point Loma with their two children.
What San Diego does effects the entire region: the environment, transportation, and economic development. Mayor Faulconer said the tone and tenor that he strives for is everyone working together. The budget of $3 billion goes for sewers, street repair, infrastructure, library, public safety, police and firefighters. Revenue comes from sales, property, and hotel taxes. When Mayor Faulconer began serving, the City was on the verge of bankruptcy and had no audit for four years. The credit rating was close to zero. Pension reform was needed because the pension fund was underfunded and pensions were increasing. Now all increases in sale, property, and hotel taxes now go to the pension fund.
New things happening in the City include expansion of the Convention Center. Generated funds from the hotel tax will go to infrastructure and be a dedicated funding source for the homeless. Another thing is Soccer City and River Walk around the Qualcomm Stadium site. There will be a multiuse stadium for SDSU and a MLS soccer team. Also affordable housing needs to be built in a timely manner near transportation. Hurdles need to be easier for developers so they are not tied up.
Question: What can be done about homelessness?
Answer: Permanent housing for middle and low incomes with mental health support. The City has the fourth largest homeless population but funding from the Federal Government is as though we are nineteenth.
Question: Will there be another NFL team?
Answer: Mayor Faulconer says other owners may move here. We are a great region for an NFL team and he is confident in the future.
Question: What about water?
Answer: The City is working on infrastructure: desalination, raising the San Vicente dam level, and making the San Diego region self-sufficient with one third of water recycled through the Pure Water Project. We all know that there will be other droughts.
Question: What about Storm Water runoff?
Answer: Old cast iron pipes will be replaced. The city needs to work with Tijuana and Northern Baja to solve problems.
Question: What about Freeways?
Answer: Cal-Trans pays for freeways. The new gas tax is earmarked to pay for roads and freeways, but as the State does less and less, cities need to more.
Question: Will there be a trolley to the airport?
Answer: Not in the foreseeable future.