Kevin Faulconer Sworn In As San Diego Mayor
Monday, March 3, 2014
Aired 3/3/14 on KPBS News.
Former City Councilman Kevin Faulconer took the office of San Diego mayor, promising to make public safety his first priority and boost standards in police department.
Kevin Faulconer was sworn in as mayor of San Diego today, and followed his inauguration with a speech promising to fix potholed streets and restore credibility to the San Diego police department.
Faulconer attended the inaugural ceremony with his wife and two children. Interim Mayor Todd Gloria presided over the event, which made Faulconer the 36th mayor of the City of San Diego.
The new mayor struck a tone that invited people of all political stripes to play a part in the future of the city. He said his role as mayor begins a new chapter, "written by the people of San Diego."
"You sent a clear message," said Faulconer, a Republican who had to woo many liberal voters in a city with a large Democratic constituency.
"You want a government that works for you. You want a City Hall that will continue the reforms that you voted for, reforms that will help create the city that we all deserve," he added.
Faulconer's inauguration comes little more than a year after Bob Filner took the mayor's office. Filner was forced from the position in August, when he resigned following multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
A former member of the City Council, Faulconer told dignitaries, assembled for his inauguration, that he was optimistic about the future of the city. He made it clear that his top priority was ensuring public safety in San Diego neighborhoods, and ensuring the integrity of the police department. The San Diego Police Department has lately been hit with several allegations of sexual misconduct by its police officers.
Faulconer acknowledged Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who was in the crowd, telling people she was the right woman for the top job in the department. Zimmerman is expected to be officially appointed to the job of police chief this week, following last week's resignation of Chief William Lansdowne.
"Not only will (Zimmerman) become the first female police chief (in San Diego) but she will be one of the finest police chiefs this city has ever seen," said Faulconer.
The new mayor announced that he was committed to "holding police officers to the highest level of integrity and honor" and rebuilding the department "from the ground up." Zimmerman will be forced to leave the position of police chief after four years, due to her pension plan commitments related to the city's DROP program.
Faulconer made repair of streets a high priority, promising to commit more funding to the cause.
He also made a commitment to housing the homeless.
"Our work won't be done until every San Diego man, woman and every family has a roof over their heads," said Faulconer.
The inauguration took place at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. The setting, in southeastern San Diego, was chosen to emphasize Faulconer's stated emphasis on improving the infrastructure of neighborhoods.