Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer
Thursday, January 12, 2017 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego – Issuing a call to action to tackle San Diego’s toughest challenges, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer on Thursday rolled out aggressive plans to reduce homelessness, make housing more affordable, create a dedicated funding source for road repair and expand the convention center in his third State of the City address.
“We must challenge ourselves to do more than simply accept the world of today. We must take action to create the city that we want for tomorrow,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Let’s give our children opportunity, our seniors security and our economy new vitality by spurring housing affordability. Let’s overcome San Diego’s most enduring challenges by voting to expand the convention center, house our homeless and pave our roads. Let’s celebrate that the state of our city is strong – and vow not to rest until it is even stronger.”
Using San Diego’s growing tourism economy as a catalyst, Mayor Faulconer plans to introduce a ballot measure that would increase lodging revenue to build a waterfront expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and create dedicated funding streams for road repair and homelessness.
“This is going to be good for our tourism economy, good for our infrastructure and good for our city,” Mayor Faulconer said. “I will present this measure to the City Council this year so they can place it on the ballot. Together, we will invest in helping the homeless – and save taxpayers money. Together, we will pave our roads. Together, we will finally expand San Diego’s convention center.”
To reduce the number of homeless individuals living on San Diego’s streets, Mayor Faulconer announced he would seek proposals to build and operate a new homeless assessment center and – more immediately – identify a new facility to add hundreds of beds for the homeless on a nightly basis. He also said he would bolster existing programs with additional resources, such as increasing the number of clinics available for Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams, partnering with the 211 information system to establish a 24/7 hotline for emergency beds for the homeless, and securing private funding to expand a successful family reunification program.
“This is an unprecedented problem that demands an unprecedented level of cooperation. We need San Diego’s business community, care organizations, the City and the County to all come to the table,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We must channel the fundamental decency of San Diego’s people into compassionate and collective action. We must lift up the neediest among us, and carry their burdens as if they were our own. We must make reducing homelessness our region’s number one social service priority.”
To address a statewide housing crisis on the local level, Mayor Faulconer called on the City Council to approve a new housing package that would add homes, lower costs and promote smart growth in San Diego. The package would include incentives to build low-income, middle-class and green housing, and encourage growth in transit-friendly areas.
“One of the biggest issues affecting us in California is the state’s housing shortage and the unaffordable housing market it has spawned,” Mayor Faulconer said. “More than 70 percent of San Diegans cannot currently afford a median priced home. We have to change that. People who love San Diego and want to live in San Diego should not be priced out of San Diego. We need to build more housing.”
Since taking office three years ago, Mayor Faulconer has aggressively invested in neighborhoods by setting funding records for infrastructure projects and road repair. While those efforts will continue, he cautioned the City Council to remain fiscally responsible in the coming budget cycle as growing pension costs far exceed revenue growth.
“San Diego’s economy is growing. Sales tax revenue, property tax revenue and tourism revenue are all up. But all of this revenue growth and more will be entirely consumed by this year’s increased pension payment,” Mayor Faulconer said. “It’s a stark reminder that political negligence from the past continues to haunt us. It’s going to be a lean budget year. I urge each Councilmember to join me in responsibly balancing this year’s budget.”
Mayor Faulconer also previewed what San Diegans can expect in the coming year, from the groundbreaking of the Plaza de Panama project in Balboa Park to the construction of three new fire stations to requesting San Diego be designated an official Autonomous Vehicle Pilot location.
“We have a lot of work to do in the year ahead,” Mayor Faulconer said. “There are new challenges that we must overcome, but I know we can did it because turning our greatest challenges into our greatest strengths is something San Diego has always done. This is who we are and the year ahead will decide who we become.”