Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego - Today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer delivered his first State of the City address, laying out a bold agenda to connect San Diegans to opportunities, improve San Diego neighborhoods and solve the biggest challenges facing the City.
"Opportunity starts here," Faulconer told a crowd of roughly 1,300 at the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. "Never before has there been so much promise for our future. After a decade of crises and crashes, San Diego is writing its comeback story and each of us has a line to contribute. The state of our city is strong and getting stronger."
To further his "One San Diego" vision, Mayor Faulconer introduced several new initiatives that will create opportunities for San Diegans to improve their lives. He is assembling San Diego's leading educators and employers to develop concrete solutions to help San Diegans move into the middle class. He is also launching a free online program through the City's library system to help adults earn high school diplomas and career certificates. In addition, the City will triple the speed of the free broadband Internet available at every single branch library.
"We must connect every San Diego resident to opportunity," Faulconer said. "More and more of our neighbors are having a hard time securing a good-paying job and moving into the middle class. We will improve access to affordable education. We will increase opportunities for young people in the fields of science and technology. And we will connect San Diegans to lifelong, successful careers that command a higher wage."
REBUILDING SAN DIEGO
Noting the poor condition of San Diego's roads, Mayor Faulconer declared that street repairs will be the City's top infrastructure priority. He pledged to repair 1,000 miles of streets over the next five years, an ambitious effort that would improve roughly one-third of the City's entire street network. The mayor also said he will release the City's first-ever multi-year plan for neighborhood repairs and bring forward a series of reforms to speed up projects and hold contractors accountable.
Faulconer said, "It's time to repair the City's repair program. I am making street repair the City's highest infrastructure priority. Period. This spring I will ask the City Council to approve my five-year plan to double our street repair efforts. We will repair 1,000 miles of streets. We are going to fix our streets!"
SOLUTIONS FOR SAN DIEGO
Mayor Faulconer declared that 2015 will be a year of action on an issue that has vexed City leaders for more than a decade: the Chargers stadium search. Many ideas and proposals have been floated through the years yet there's never been a real, tangible plan for where to build a new stadium and exactly how to pay for it. That will change in 2015.
Faulconer is assembling a group of civic leaders to recommend a stadium location and develop a viable financing plan by the fall of this year. They will explore all possibilities to finance the project, with clear direction from the mayor that the final results must be a good and fair deal for San Diego taxpayers.
"At no point in San Diego's history has the possibility of the Chargers moving to Los Angeles been more real," Faulconer said. "It's time for us, as a community, to come together to decide the future of the Chargers in San Diego. For the first time, this year, the public will have a real plan to consider. And my commitment is that San Diegans have the final say with a public vote."
Faulconer will also enlist the help of everyday San Diegans to tackle the City's biggest challenges. The "Innovate San Diego Challenge" - a collaborative venture with U-T San Diego and Hero X - kicks off later this year and seeks big ideas to solve challenges and create opportunities. The best idea will receive private funding to put the proposal into action.
ONE SAN DIEGO IN ACTION
Before laying out his vision for the coming year, Mayor Faulconer shared how our city came together as One San Diego in 2014.
Since taking office in March, Faulconer appointed the first female police chief in San Diego history; invested half of all new major revenue growth toward neighborhood repairs; significantly improved emergency responses times in neighborhoods south of I-8; made San Diego the largest U.S. city with widespread use of police body cameras; signed the first cooperative agreement with Tijuana in 10 years to strengthen economic ties; changed the spending focus on homelessness to wraparound services that get people off the street for good; rallied the community to save plans for the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial celebration; expanded library hours to their highest levels in a decade; and brought together environmental and business groups to release a Climate Action Plan to protect our environment.
"San Diego's story is changing. The financial reforms and accountability we have championed are allowing for community revitalization and economic growth," Faulconer said. "Whether you're an hourly worker ready to start a new career, an entrepreneur looking to create the next big thing, or a parent working to help your child achieve the very best, opportunity starts in San Diego."
CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or [email protected]