The Invisible San Diego Mayor: Kevin Faulconer

For my friends in San Diego, if you are looking for a political leader—do not look at the Mayors office.  Of course if you want to transfer $1.8 billion from the taxpayers to a billionaire, for a stadium for his play toy football team, Kevin Faulconer is your guy.  If you want a tax increase to finance an expansion of the convention center—turned down a few times by the voters—Faulconer will be happy to raise your taxes.

“Where is the mayor? Back in 2015, when VOSD and other media outlets sued the city for access to video of a contested police shooting, the mayor was absent from what became an important discussion about policing, transparency and fairness. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis were the faces of the city’s position. When the city’s 911 system showed serious flaws that contributed to at least one death, the mayor didn’t say much.

On last year’s Measure C, an issue that dwarfed city politics for more than a year, the mayor held off from taking a position for so long that Scott Lewis and Andy Keatts devoted an entire segment of the podcast to “Faulconer Watch.”

Now, this financier of the rich, refuser to give leadership on key local issues, is thinking of running for Governor.  In shorthand, Faulconer is Schwarzenegger without the accent.  We need leaders that give us answers, not platitudes.

kevin-faulconer

The Invisible Mayor:  Kevin Faulconer

Sara Libby, Voice of San Diego,  3/26/17

Have you ever heard another person’s perspective on something and thought, “Were you watching the same show I was?” It’s that feeling of disconnect that happens when you interpret the same event or story so very differently from someone who experienced the same thing.

That’s how I’ve felt the last few months as political reporters from across the state have parachuted into town to relay the story of a man whom folks are desperate to see run for governor. That man is Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The Los Angeles Times has deemed Faulconer “the ideal prospect” and “the fair-haired favorite of California Republicans desperate for a serious candidate.” The Sacramento Bee says Republicans see Faulconer as “the only leader from within their withering ranks with enough crossover appeal to present a serious challenge to Democrats in sapphire-blue California.”

This week on the VOSD podcast, Republican Ron Nehring said Faulconer has the crossover appeal to succeed in a deeply blue state.

Here in San Diego, though, there’s a competing narrative — one that applies to virtually every major issue the city has faced over the last several years: Where is the mayor? Back in 2015, when VOSD and other media outlets sued the city for access to video of a contested police shooting, the mayor was absent from what became an important discussion about policing, transparency and fairness. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis were the faces of the city’s position. When the city’s 911 system showed serious flaws that contributed to at least one death, the mayor didn’t say much.

On last year’s Measure C, an issue that dwarfed city politics for more than a year, the mayor held off from taking a position for so long that Scott Lewis and Andy Keatts devoted an entire segment of the podcast to “Faulconer Watch.”

This week alone, three important issues have come up that could greatly benefit from even a modicum of leadership. Though he has started to become more vocal on homelessness (after an outcry over his silence), this week Faulconer once again tried to please everyone, and instead of backing one of the solutions being offered, he backed all of them — including one of the very solutions he previously rejected. As the SoccerCity proposal to redevelop Qualcomm Stadium gathers signatures, the mayor hasn’t said where he stands on the plan. And on the volatile issue of short-term vacation rentals, something that’s been brewing for years and that saw a heated town hall on Friday, your guess is as good as mine as to where Faulconer lands or what he wants to see in terms of city policy.

It could be that Faulconer’s strategy of offending no one and creating as few waves as possible is entirely strategic. Certainly there are worse things you could say about a politician than that he’s well-liked. But at some point Faulconer needs to cash in on all that goodwill and put it toward something. Anything.

Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.