Mayor Faulconer Presents Blueprint for Building Our Better Future
State of the City: Major Investments in Neighborhood Improvements & Bold Initiatives to Bring Opportunity to All San Diegans
Thursday, January 14, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego - Heralding 2016 as the year we begin the next phase of One San Diego, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer on Thursday presented his blueprint for building a better future for all San Diegans in his second State of the City address.
"This is a great time for San Diego," Mayor Faulconer said. "We are a city on the rise and we are a city on the move. San Diegans are getting back to work, small businesses are growing, local innovators are making new breakthroughs, families are enjoying improved parks and libraries, and we are paving our streets."
Describing San Diego’s foundation as the strength and resiliency of its people, Mayor Faulconer shared stories of struggle, hard work and triumph from everyday San Diegans as he outlined his vision for the city’s future.
"We are unified in our most essential pursuit: Forging a better life for ourselves, our children, and our community," Mayor Faulconer said. "We are uniting as one city, one community, One San Diego. By working together, we are building our better future. And tonight we draw our blueprint for what comes next."
To address homelessness, Mayor Faulconer announced the “Housing Our Heroes” campaign - a call to action to help 1,000 homeless veterans get the housing they deserve by the end of 2016. To do that, he will ask the City Council to approve $4 million in City funds toward the San Diego Housing Commission's Rapid Re-Housing efforts to help veterans, pushing the overall effort to $12 million. And he is working with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and local apartment associations to identify hundreds of housing units for veterans.
"Sometimes the key to a better life is as simple as a key to a home you can call your own," Mayor Faulconer said. "We will work to stop homelessness among veterans before it starts. The challenges are complicated, but our goal is simple. This year we will help 1,000 veterans get off the streets."
Since taking office two years ago, Mayor Faulconer has aggressively invested in neighborhood upgrades, with a focus on his top infrastructure priority: fixing San Diego’s streets. This year alone, the City will spend nearly $500 million to rebuild neighborhoods - directing nearly $10 million toward community improvements every week on average.
"When we talk about repairing our infrastructure, this is what we mean: Better streets, better parks, better libraries, better sidewalks, a better San Diego," Mayor Faulconer said. "These are your hard-earned tax dollars at work. This is your city in action."
The City is on its way to repairing 1,000 miles of streets in five years - a goal set by Mayor Faulconer in last year's address. The City will also open or expand four branch libraries, build more fire stations and begin a historic expansion of San Diego’s parks.
"I want every neighborhood, every family and every child to have a park where they can make memories of their own," Mayor Faulconer said. "This year we are embarking on the largest park investment effort San Diego has seen in modern history."
Mayor Faulconer announced plans to move forward on 50 parks over the next five years and create a new master plan for San Diego’s park system for the first time since the 1950s. Dozens of those parks will be built or upgraded through the “Play All Day” initiative - a joint-use partnership between the City and the San Diego Unified School District.
Creating more opportunities for San Diegans continues to be one of Mayor Faulconer’s top priorities and in 2016 he will push several initiatives to prepare San Diego’s next generation for the middle class jobs of the 21st century.
"We are failing the next generation if the best opportunity we can offer hardworking people without a college degree is a lifetime of low-wage employment," Mayor Faulconer said. "Especially when careers that offer a better life are ready for the taking. I believe bringing equality to economic opportunity is our generation's calling."
Mayor Faulconer noted that there are thousands of well-paying jobs throughout San Diego but not enough candidates locally with the skills or training to fill them. To connect children to future career opportunities in their own backyard, Mayor Faulconer and San Diego Unified School District are working with companies to launch educational labs that give students hands-on experience similar to Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab, which introduces students to the world of engineering.
One of the hallmarks of Mayor Faulconer’s tenure is bringing people together to get things done.
"It’s been my goal to set a tone of collaboration with a focus on results," Mayor Faulconer said. "Because when we work together we can do great things. We are creating a world-class city for all."
In 2015, he brought business and environmental groups together to support a Climate Action Plan that won unanimous City Council approval and is now considered a national model for other cities. He partnered with the Padres on the winning bid to bring this summer’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game to Petco Park. He brokered a new multi-year agreement to keep Comic-Con in San Diego. And he won unanimous, bipartisan Council approval for a permanent, indoor shelter to house homeless individuals and veterans every single night of the year.
Mayor Faulconer reminded San Diegans that the foundation of the city isn't made of bricks and mortar but rather people who have a shared bond in creating a better future for the city.
"To move forward, our community must strengthen that bond," Mayor Faulconer said. "We must come together to construct our next generation of parks, to repair our broken roads, to forge a stronger economy, to inspire our children to learn more, to create a community that earns more, to support our veterans, and to strengthen our neighborhoods. San Diego, this is how we build our better future. Let’s keep moving."
Read Mayor Faulconer's 2016 State of the City Address.