SAN DIEGO - Councilman Kevin Faulconer's mayoral campaign Monday gained the support of the San Diego Police Officers Association, while his opponent, Councilman David Alvarez, was endorsed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
"Kevin Faulconer's experience and proven leadership make him the best candidate for mayor," said police union President Brian Marvel. "He has demonstrated a deep understanding of the dire need to rebuild the San Diego Police Department and retain experienced police officers to keep our neighborhoods safe."
Last summer, Faulconer spearheaded a City Council effort to increase allowances for officer uniforms and equipment, and hike funding for SDPD recruiting drives. Alvarez voted in favor of the plan.
Years of recession-era funding reductions for the police department have ended, but the SDPD has in recent months employed roughly 130 fewer officers than called for in the city's budget -- largely due to defections to nearby agencies that offer better take-home pay.
"There should be no higher goal for local government than keeping our neighborhoods safe, and if we continue with fiscal reforms at City Hall we can direct the savings toward ensuring every San Diegan lives in a safe and vibrant community," Faulconer said.
Feinstein said her support for Alvarez in the Feb. 11 runoff election is based on his opposition to assault weapons.
Alvarez said he was "so honored to stand with Senator Feinstein to get high powered assault weapons off of our streets. We've seen one too many breaking news stories ripping communities apart. Let's put an end to these senseless acts of violence with common sense solutions."
Alvarez has been endorsed by numerous Democratic state officials and the city of San Diego's lifeguards.
Faulconer held a 53 percent-to-37 percent lead among likely voters polled by SurveyUSA on behalf of 10News and U-T San Diego. The poll, released Sunday, represented a significant shift from one conducted last month that showed the two in a dead heat.
View the poll: http://bit.ly/1m3PjVd
According to the survey, Faulconer holds a two-to-one advantage among voters north of Interstate 8 and is even with Alvarez in areas south of the freeway. The winner of next month's election will finish the nearly three years remaining in the term of Bob Filner, who stepped down Aug. 30.
This week, Faulconer and Alvarez will be asked some tough questions from 10News and our partners, KPBS, in the first runoff debate. KOGO and the Society of Professional Journalists will be represented on the panel as well.
The debate can be seen live on 10News.com/your mobile device on Wed., Jan. 15, at 1 p.m. The debate will air on 10News Wed., Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.