Mayor Kevin Faulconer told Rancho Bernardo “Noon” Rotarians that it is efforts like theirs that help make San Diego a great community.

In a nod to the international organization’s motto of “service above self,” Faulconer told them in his opening remarks that it is “great” for their community and the city that they “care enough to get involved and make a difference."

Photo and article courtesy of the Rancho Bernardo News Journal http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=50963

 

Mayor gives city update to RB Rotarians

By Elizabeth Marie Himchak

Mayor Kevin Faulconer told Rancho Bernardo “Noon” Rotarians that it is efforts like theirs that help make San Diego a great community.

In a nod to the international organization’s motto of “service above self,” Faulconer told them in his opening remarks that it is “great” for their community and the city that they “care enough to get involved and make a difference.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, left, with Rancho Bernardo “Noon” Rotary Club President Don Glover. Photo by Elizabeth Marie Himchak

“I love this city very much and it is successful because of all the work you are doing,” he said. “It is my job to point us in the right direction. The best ideas don’t start at the city, they start in our communities.”

He was speaking at the club’s monthly evening meeting on Aug. 14 in Bernardo Heights Country Club, where he recapped events and successes during his first five months in office.

Referring to the past year of San Diego city government as “unique,” Faulconer jokingly said, “I appreciate that the bar was set pretty low” by Bob Filner, who left the office in disgrace after only nine months on the job.

Because Faulconer had served almost two four-year terms on the City Council before being elected mayor, he said, “I have a fairly unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the City of San Diego.”

One of his goals — which he deemed successful thus far — is to set a tone of collaboration among city employees and others, saying one’s party affiliation should not matter when it comes to moving the city forward. He said an early success was getting the city budget crafted within 30 days of taking office, a budget that soon after gained unanimous approval by the City Council.

“I’m trying to put forward common sense proposals that are sorely needed and overdue, getting money back into the neighborhoods where it belongs,” he said. “The dollars I’m talking about are … your dollars, so I want to spend them efficiently and wisely.”

He said pension reform and managed competition enacted in recent years are starting to “bear fruit” — efforts he called “hard-fought victories” for taxpayers.

“The good news is that for the first time in a long time through reforms and the improving economy we are adding back services,” he said. This includes reinstating library hours later this year, increasing police and fire academies, and dedicating extra money toward park improvements and street repairs, the latter he said is “near and dear to my heart.”

“It is not just slurry seal, but asphalt overlay,” Faulconer said. “You know their condition is a symptom of the city not doing what it was supposed to do with our dollars.”

After more than a year of negative news over a couple of police officers’ alleged actions, Faulconer said the department is moving in the right direction.

“I’m holding the police department to the absolute highest standards, we’re moving forward on reforms and (recently appointed) Chief Shelley Zimmerman is the right woman at the right time. “She is a no-nonsense, hard charger who is doing a fantastic job,” he said.

With additional resources for both the police and fire departments, he said San Diego will be safer. He mentioned the improved coordination during the Bernardo fire, which he said greatly contributed to no homes or lives being lost during the blaze in May.

Faulconer said the fire should have also been a reminder to locals that they need to be prepared for wildfire year-round, not just in the fall, which means clearing brush and getting their important papers together in anticipation of evacuation.

While the Republican mayor and Democratic-majority council have mostly agreed on issues, his veto this month over the minimum wage ordinance the council passed — and its subsequent veto override on Monday — is an example that there is going to be points of contention.

“It is very important for me, as your mayor, to create a climate for jobs to grow because when you do well, our city does well,” he said while explaining his opposition to raising the minimum wage above state levels. Because sales tax, property taxes and transient occupancy taxes paid by hotel guests fund the city coffers, Faulconer said the city needs to have policies that attract jobs and protect small businesses, not adopt policies that in his view will “set us backward.”

“I’m all about growing jobs, and the perception and reality (must be) that this is a good place to do business,” he said. Methods include decreasing bureaucracy so businesses can open and expand within a reasonable time frame.

Photo and article courtesy of the Rancho Bernardo News Journal http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=50963

 
Sponsors