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Housing And Homelessness Expected To Be Addressed In State Of The City Speech

January 11, 2018 1:41 p.m.

Housing And Homelessness Expected To Be Addressed In State Of The City Speech


Carl Luna, director, University of San Diego Institute for Civil Civic Engagement

Related Story: Mayor Faulconer Focuses On Homelessness, Housing In State Of The City Address


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

>>> I am Maureen Cavanaugh . It is Thursday, January 11. Our top story on Midday Edition , the San Diego Mayor's office released some information about tonight's State of the city address saying tonight's speech would be very different from last year's speech. Having said that, the themes the mayor says he will address a somewhat similar to those of last year including the issue of homelessness and housing. Earlier I spoke with a non-partisan political commentator.
>> Carl, welcome back.
>> Good to be here.
>> Last year the announcement that got the most attention was the mayor's hotel tax increase proposal to fund the convention center expansion. It was also supposed to be the city's response to the homeless crisis. Tell me what happened to that?
>> It did not. That was the bottom line. And never made it through the Council. It didn't make it to the voters. Some version of that is supposed to come back. You have a citizen group trying to push through version themselves. This is like the catchall. Take care of two realms at once. Do something for the downtown homeless. Critics say it doesn't do a notch -- enough of each other either. Maybe should focus on the homeless independently. People don't like the taxes being increased. This was unfinished business. They are going to hope to finish it in 2018.
>> Now, in the year since the proposal about the hotel tax increase, the homeless population suffered a devastating hepatitis a break that also tarnish the city's reputation. How has that changed the stakes on what the mayor says tonight?
>> It is definitely unscarred -- underscored. This was definitely a black eye on San Diego. People were dying. This this was something that was preventable. It was something that was predictable. If the same people had died in La Jolla, there would've been an outcry. The problem would've been solved immediately. There is a lot of blame to go around. I'm surprised nobody has lost their job. A surprise that nobody has filed a lawsuit over this issue. If you don't resolve this, San Diego has another hard time selling itself as the Americas -- best America city.
>> Do you expect to hear anything about the housing crisis tonight?
>> There should at least be rhetoric to address it. We need a comprehensive plan to look at increasing densities in the city. Pulling it off as the ultimate thing. That will create a lot of political capitol, leadership to resolve the problem.
>> What are some of the new topics the mayor might address?
>> The elephant in the room is that good times might be over. We recovered from the 2008 recession. He finally got to the point where you could pave streets, please got a raise. There seems to be a looming hole in the city budget. You're starting to look at cuts again. More than likely, sometime over the next 2 years we could see an economic downturn. We have had a long expansion. What are you planning for a rainy day? We could get a stormy day fiscally even if we are going through a drought.
>> The mayor has been handed some defeats from the city Council with the Democratic majority this year. Thinking of the sucker city development and that regional convention center expansion panned -- plan didn't get on the ballot. Do you foresee any changes in the power balance?
>> Right now the mayor enjoys the fact that the Council does not have a vetoproof majority on him. You have a Democratic swing. There's a good chance that the Democrats will pick up enough seats to override the mayor's veto. If they tip to a decisive Democratic veto majority, it will be harder for the mere -- mayor to deal with the console. You have the 2020 election looming. No Democrat wants to give the mayor a win between now and 2020. There will be people that want to run against him in 2020. You have until November to get stuff done.
>> This time last year, there were rumors that tread 33 would be a good candidate for governor. He took his name out of the race. So you are saying that he needs to accomplish something definitive this year in order to maintain a good grace into the 2020 election. What would that be?
>> Solve the homeless problem or take a serious dent out of it. Not just directing tenants by coming up with a comprehensive plan to try to reduce homelessness in San Diego. Tackle affordable housing. Settled the Stadium issue and come up with a resolution of that. And also, come up with a way to make sure we are not bleeding Frisco red ink -- fiscal red ink.
>> The city of it -- address takes place tonight. I've been speaking with Carl. Carl, thank you very much.
>> Thank you.