San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer went off script for the start of his annual State of the City Address.
“At the end of the day, Dean Spanos was truly never willing to work with us on a stadium solution and demanded a lot more money than we could have ever agreed to," Faulconer said. "We live in a great city and we will move forward. San Diego didn’t lose the Chargers; the Chargers just lost San Diego."
Faulconer, who is starting his second term, spoke about a long list of accomplishments during his first term, including the addition of 40 more 9-1-1 dispatchers, saying the city completely overhauled San Diego’s “broken dispatch system,” with more than 90% of calls now answered in under 10 seconds.
Faulconer also spoke about San Diego’s problems, like the housing crisis.
“More than 70% of San Diegans cannot currently afford a medium priced home,” Faulconer said.
He plans to tackle skyrocketing rents, unaffordable home prices, and homelessness.
“So, I’m going to say something now that mayors have traditionally been afraid to say: we need to build more housing,” Faulconer said.
Faulconer called on the council to approve a package to build low and medium priced housing.
He also called on government and businesses to work together to help the thousands of people sleeping on the streets of San Diego every night.
“We must make reducing homelessness our region’s number one social service priority,” Faulconer said.
City Councilmember David Alvarez responded to Falconers speech with a statement that reads, in part:
"The City is experiencing an explosion in the homeless. The Mayor must create new shelter space downtown near existing service providers to allow for people to sleep indoors rather than camp on the street. If he does not do this, the homeless population will continue to grow in downtown and throughout the City."
"It’s a sad day for San Diegans. There are no excuses. We lost our team, the Mayor won his public relations battle and Dean Spanos won relocation and more money."
The San Diego Police Officer Retention Crisis:
"The City is bleeding police officers. Over 150 have left since the Mayor’s last State of the City address. The fact that we’re losing officers faster than we can recruit is not only dangerous for officers, but it’s also dangerous for citizens.”
City Councilmember Chris Ward sent out the following statement:
“I appreciate the Mayor acknowledging that the most pressing issues facing our city all flow through District Three and will require new revenue sources to produce the results our residents deserve. Whether it is homelessness, housing affordability, infrastructure needs, or investing in the enduring success of our waterfront and tourism industry, these are long-neglected issues that require strong city leadership and bold proposals.
More importantly in lean budget years, it is critical that we focus on long-term funding solutions to provide us the quality of life and access to opportunity all San Diegans deserve.
I look forward to working with the Mayor and my council colleagues to work out the details of these programs to begin delivering improved services as quickly as possible and present voters with a fiscally responsible opportunity to fund San Diego's future.”