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Faulconer To Announce Chargers Task Force Members This Week

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his first State of the City address at the Balboa Theatre, Jan. 14, 2015.
Milan Kovacevic
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his first State of the City address at the Balboa Theatre, Jan. 14, 2015.
Faulconer To Announce Chargers Task Force Members This Week
San Diego Mayor To Talk About Chargers Stadium, Plastic Bags
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer To Talk About Chargers Stadium, Plastic Bags, More GUEST:Kevin Faulconer, Mayor, City of San Diego

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It's been a couple of months since we've had the opportunity to speak to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. During that term is proposed his agenda for 2015 those broad proposals have opened up a lot of questions about specifics so the pleasure to welcome back the mayor to address those issues. It's good to see you. ________________________________________ Great to be back. ________________________________________ If any of our listeners have a question for Mayor Faulconer is a different number from the pledge number so it's 1-888-895,-5727 or you can tweak a question at KPBS midday. Now the big headline that came out of your state address this month was your proposal to appoint a task force to study building a new charger station a stadium. Can you tell us who will be on that task force. The Mac we will be announcing that ________________________________________ Stay tuned. The goal is very simple. At the state of the city speech I talked about priorities I talked about our number one infrastructure priority is street and road repair. My goal of 1000 miles of street repair over the next five years. So I also talked about the importance of keeping the Chargers in San Diego. What is been missing in this dialogue has been an actual concrete plan a financial plan. So my commitment is that we will pull some people together, we're actually going to have not just the back of the napkin. It's designed to say here is a real plan, here is the plan that will protect taxpayers, here's a plan we think we can move forward with that the public can be involved in an the public will ultimately improve. Got a think is what has been missing from this dialogue for the last 8 to 10 years. I think it's important. I will tell you that when I look at what the city did and we came together and we see the tremendous stresses the difference that happened with Petco Park think we can do that again. ________________________________________ Can you tell us how many people might be on the task force. Where you are pulling them from, what areas of the community. ________________________________________ Is not going to be an exceptionally large group. It's designed to be an action group is designed to bring together folks that I think will bring the right skill set to the table. Looking at best practices and other cities. All that the design of what is right for us here in San Diego. What do we have to do in order to protect taxpayers because that is my number one goal. Had we do it by working together and being collaborative? We have done it before, I think we can do it again. If it was easy it probably would've been done before, but at the same time that is something I am looking for to. ________________________________________ You'll be announcing that by the end of this week? ________________________________________ Yes. ________________________________________ When you're running for mail you pledge that no taxpayer dollars would be used to build a new stadium condo city land to be sold to build a stadium, do you stick by that pledge? ________________________________________ Is that we have to have a plan that would protect taxpayers I said very clearly that we need to look at what are the best opportunities, we bring people together, what is the private financing options what is worked in other cities? I think we have the opportunity, ring, and I said this at the state of the city speech, how do we potentially combine things a report to us for example our convention center expansion. That is one of the options we are looking at. It is extremely important to us to expand our convention center. To keep groups like, condo we have the opportunity to do that across the street with a combined facility? I think we might. That is one of the things that I think that I am really interested in flushing out over the next several months because when you look at what is important for our neighborhood services, paving roads, hiring police officers, keeping our libraries open, one of our biggest drivers in San Diego is our TRT tax. When guests come to stay in hotels. Our tourism economy is something that is incredibly important to me as mayor, so we have the dollars to provide neighborhood services that San Diego is expected to serve. ________________________________________ If the task force submitted the plan that called for the use of taxpayer dollars to build the stadium, or a land sale, a city land sale, that would be a nonstarter for you? ________________________________________ I said clearly that it was a task force to look at all of the options that of been done in other cities, to develop a plan that I think works for San Diego. And taking those best practices, it has to be a plan that my judgment will protect taxpayers and it has to be a plan that voters will support. I have committed as did the Chargers that any final proposal will have to have the final approval of San Diego voters. ________________________________________ Let's go to the phones. We have a number of people that want to speak to you. Our number is 1-888-895-5727. Go to Nick and East Village. ________________________________________ Hello. I have a question for the mayor, and my question is Mr. Mayor what are your some of your plans to make the Police Department veteran how do you plan on retaining officers in San Diego. ________________________________________ Thank you for the question conduct. That was one of the other topics I talked about. We have to make sure we are being competitive. With our men and women that are out there protecting us every day. We are not competitive. We are not with the city of San Diego. That's a fact. We look at what we are losing in terms of attrition to other departments particularly the Sheriff department. We are going to change that. I will bring forward a proposal that accomplishes that goal. I think we united with the Council on that, we have to make sure that we are hiring the best and the brightest men and women that are absolutely out there with the highest possible standards. Once we hire them, and once we invest those dollars to train them, we have to keep them here. Because the worst thing we can do is to spend those dollars and have them leave for other departments. This is something that is an absolute priority for me and for the city. Not just sometime this year, but literally within the next month. ________________________________________ Keeping to the question of San Diego Police Department, a sergeant on the force sued the city, recently claiming job retaliation after he complained about a racist image being used in a police training course. That is also raised questions about other incidents involving racial attitudes among San Diego's police force. Do you think the SD PD has a problem within its ranks about race? ________________________________________ I would say to that specific lawsuit and I have talked to the chief so I want to make sure it's fairly investigated or we have to take everything like that seriously. I wanted to run through the process. That is what I will absolutely insist on. I think one of our hallmarks here in San Diego, we talk about our Police Department is our focus on community policing. Our focus on getting out of the neighborhoods, being responsive here our officers are not as doubting the cars they are already community groups soliciting input. I think that's what frankly sets us apart from a lot of big city departments. And we have just one of our diversity is our strength. In our San Diego Police Department. I have full confidence in our new police chief. Chief Shelley Zimmerman who is doing a remarkable job, has the highest expectations, and to make sure that the department delivers on those expectations. ________________________________________ Do you know if any kind of racial bias or any kind of race problem is also being examined by the Department of Justice as they do this audit of the San Diego Police Department? ________________________________________ Woollies that up earlier this year and we said to the Department of justice welcome that review will resolve the problems that we had earlier. A few unfortunate bad apples in this Police Department. That's an investigation and review that I welcomed as mayor. I want to make sure that we have the absolute best standards. We will be getting the results of that I believe here in the next several months. I have a lot of pride in our department. I think we do great things. I also am really looking forward to that review to say what should we be doing better. That should always be our goal is to make sure we are delivering the best service and making sure that our officers have the training and the support that they need to do their job. ________________________________________ I have to break here, but when we return I will be returning with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and we will be taking your calls at 1888 -895-5727. You listen to KPBS Midday Edition Natalie Walsh and this is our winter fundraising campaign. Over the past few months you've tuned into KPBS to understand stories about the city of San Diego as well as Cuba, Syria, and France. And every one of these stories was made possible by the support of your fellow listeners across San Diego. Right now it's your opportunity to become one of the people who make KPBS possible. Take two minutes to give@KPBS.org or call us that 800-576-5727 and with me in studio is reporter Claire tragus or. ________________________________________ Thank you. Tell me what other radio station would let you call in and ask questions directly to your own mayor. That is the type of thing that KPBS does. We're making progress toward our old today already we have had 218 people contribute so we are about halfway to reaching our goal and hitting our challenge to unlock an additional $13,000 for KPBS peer Queenie 500 contributions by 630 today pics stop what you're doing for two minutes and do your part. Give online at KPBS.org or call us at 800-576-KPBS. ________________________________________ You're right when you say KPBS is a place were you can call in and talk with the mayor of San Diego . We have them on about once a month and this is a place for San Diego and to find out about their community. The place that they care about. You are not going to find frivolous stories and inane banter on KPBS Midday Edition. You want deep analysis from experts in the field. 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Make your contribution now at KPBS.org, or it 800-576-KPBS KPBS brings you information presented with intelligence. We hire the finest journalist journalist like calendar does Claire. You can find them we find them and we give them the tools that they need and we let them take the time they need to present the story. The result is high-quality journalism that gives you the information you need to make decisions about the community. To do radio journalism right, it takes an appreciation and respect for intelligence. It also takes resources. Please do your part for journalism in our community and give online at KPBS.org or call us that 800-576-5727. That's 800-576-KPBS For some of you and may take something really special to motivate you to contribute right now. How about a very special evening at La Jolla Symphony and chorus. In March at the Mandeville Auditorium musical director Stephen Schick will lead one of the stunning pieces of music ever written. That's Hector Berlioz's Requiem with a chorus of 180. This is a rare chance to see a live performance of Berlioz's masterpiece. For a contribution of only hundred $20 you will receive a pair of tickets to this very special evening. These tickets are extremely limited so call right now before they are gone. We only have a few left. Call 800-576-KPBS or go online to KPBS.org. I can't stress this enough, these are limited so call or get online right now. As an added treat, there will be a pre-concert lecture given by conductor Stephen Schick. So call 800-576-5727 right now. ________________________________________ Claire our goal this hour is 40 contributions, and we have three so far so we need you if you have been sitting on the fence if you listen to midday edition every day and you are not sure if you want to step up and become a contributor to this station. Today is the day. Now is the time. Most media take less than a media to tell a story. 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If you become a member now, you help us get one step closer to unlocking that money as Claire said, and you have done your part to show your appreciation for the news and the information. For the long depth interviews that Maureen Cavanaugh does every day on Midday Edition right here on KPBS. We want you to become a contributing member to the station if you listen, if you love KPBS and we know you do, do your part and give us a call at 800-576-5727 ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ This is KPBS Midday Edition. I Maureen Cavanaugh. I'm back with Mayor Kevin Faulconer. And he's taking your calls here and you can tweet a question or call. At KPBS Midday. Scott did tweet a question for the mayor. He asks when will the city Council and Mayor moved to restrict vacation rentals that are invading neighborhoods not just in the beaches. ________________________________________ That is an issue that we are working on. It is a real issue in our beach communities. Trying to find the balance obviously from folks that are coming to enjoy San Diego for the summer and spring and all times of the year. But also neighborhood protections. To make sure that we have adequate enforcement, quality of life particularly centered around the issues of parking, centered around the issues of noise, I know that this is an issue that lorries off my colleague on city Council is looking into. We have made a lot of changes when it comes to the Council in terms of many ordinances rooming house ordinances, I'm confident that they working together, we can find the right solution. ________________________________________ Want to ask you about plastic bags. It looks like the opponents of the state plastic tag band have gathered enough signatures to stop it going into effect this summer and to put it on the ballot in 2016. In light of this, will you and the city councilman forward on a citywide plastic bad dose bagman. ________________________________________ Think will solid out very shortly if the signatures are adequate enough. If they are, the city will move forward with the environmental review. With something that was waiting to see what is going to happen with the statewide effort. You didn't want to necessarily spend a bunch of money if that was going to through on a statewide level. I would anticipate we will find out what happens with the signatures whether those are verified or not. I would anticipate moving forward after that. ________________________________________ Moving forward with an environmental review and and possibly if that comes in about today? ________________________________________ Yes. ________________________________________ Also I want to ask you about infrastructure because it was a big topic in your state of the city address. It was also a big topic because recently we have just heard from councilmember Mark Hersey and and the committee, that we have a lot more money a bigger gap in the amount of money that we have as opposed to the amount of infrastructure repairs that we have to make. It's a $2 billion gap to cover the needed work. The councilmember has proposed a ballot initiative. He's in the process of trying to put that together. For voters to approve and infrastructure financing plan. Do you support that effort? ________________________________________ I've talked a lot about it at the state of the city. I said strongly what we need to do, and the city is a couple of things. First and foremost, my priority is going to be street repair, street repair, and street repair. When we look at the condition of our roads anyone who is listening to me right out there driving knows exactly what I am talking about. In fact Maureen, when the city staff went around and did with our community planning groups and others, what is the number one priority for infrastructure, it was far and above street repair. My goal is to pay 1000 miles of streets in the next five years. That has to be our priority and that will be my priority. Secondly what I talked about is we have to repair the city's repair program. I have been in office for 10 months, and even - - I even think I realize having been on the cancel for a number of years, ring, the extent of how the system does not work. It takes too long. It's too complicated. The city is not spending its money wisely. In fact we have tens of millions of dollars that are sitting in accounts, on projects that will not be built anytime soon in the foreseeable future. Our neighborhoods need repaired streets now. I will be bringing forward to the Council here in the coming weeks, significant changes. That make sure we are spending the money that we have better that we are doing reforms to actually making sure we are doing that. If you wrote this via check for $2 billion right now, the city couldn't spend it. That's not what we should be doing until we prove that the city knows how we can deliver services and how we can make sure that we are getting quality work for the services. One of the things I also talked about in the state of the city speech, is I will bring forward new performance standards particularly through outside city contractors to make sure that we are getting value for our work I am not convinced we are, I don't think we have tough enough stairs, and I'm going to insist that our city departments and the leadership in those departments hold people accountable for that. ________________________________________ Considering the $2 billion gap that was uncovered in this investigation of infrastructure by the city Council. And the voice of San Diego reporting today that the infrastructure to Is apparently even worse because they didn't take into account all city streets are all city buildings or the convention center or the current charge Stadium or the buildings down the ballpark in that infrastructure analysis. The amount of money that is needed to repair San Diego's infrastructure is probably truly enormous. In light of that, would you support a ballot initiative to ask San Diego ends to increase the sales tax or fee to help pay for that infrastructure. ________________________________________ We can't ask San Diego in the send more money to City Hall until it is doing the good job with the dollars it has. That is fundamental. We look at the priorities have not been there for repair, I will change that. When we look at all of these dollars that are sitting in accounts that are in not going for neighborhood services and look at the length of time it takes to get the projects done. We have to change that. One of the things I'm actually very excited about that will help us from a dollar standpoint is restarting our managed competition progress for the city. I talked about that in the state of the city speech. There's a lot of things that we need to be doing and we have to be up front on the infrastructure issues. It's one of the things that we put out that report is to say we cannot hide it we have to put it out there. You have to make it that we are doing the right things with the dollars and prioritizing the dollars that we have. When we look at where the city was in terms of where we are, with the dollars that we are still spending even this year for the unfunded pension mistakes of the past it's astounding. Those are dollars that should be going to our neighborhoods. Were taken a lot of reforms to fix that and I will make sure as mayor that the city never repeats those financial mistakes of the past and we focus our dollars on neighborhoods. ________________________________________ Let me take a call. Lori is calling from point Loma. Lori you are on the line with Mayor Kevin Faulconer I'm working mom and I rely a lot on the good people and services at the hardy library to you have any plans to approve the library system. ________________________________________ Every library is a great library. It's right around the corner where I am. This is one of the areas where I think you saw a great collaboration with the city Council. We look at the first budget that we rolled out, we said as the economy is getting better, as a lot of the reforms that it started to kick in are working, we need to make neighborhood services our priority. With the councils support, they approved the budget were we added all those at hours to every single branch library. That is support. I will be releasing my new budget coming up in two months, it's hard to believe it's already budget season again. To answer your question directly, we are going to continue to invest in additional library hours, because that is where we serve so many communities and in fact one of the programs that we launched just the sheer that I am very proud of and I think is showing results is - - we did it at 18 branch libraries across the city. Your homework at the library program. We are combining the resources and the talent and people that we have in our libraries in some of the areas where our kids need help the most in terms of the API scores to raise that student achievement in the libraries of the perfect place to do that. Particularly with working families and working mothers in fathers. Libraries are not just a place for books they are a community resource that we are going to use much greater fashion. ________________________________________ I want to get this question and if I may. In your state of the cities that your plan for San Diego is to get all of its energy from renewable sources I 2035. One of the ways is could be through community choice aggregation which that without the city by energy for San Diego ends on the private market kind of bypassing SDG&E. Is there any reason that you would not pursue community choice aggregation for San Diego. ________________________________________ We have to look at all options because that goal is an important goal for us to hit and one I am committed to. I think we should rightfully be a nationwide leader when it comes to utilizing clean energy. It's an aggressive goal, but it's one I put out there full well knowing that I think we can achieve it. So we look at the outstanding work we are doing now with solar as an example, and part of what we have said part of the climate action plan I released as all new housing construction will be wired for solar. It will not be after the fact we will plan for the future. I think as we look at all of those opportunities, it's important, it's going to be a menu, and my job is to hit that goal. It's too important for our environment not to pick ________________________________________ Last quick question your name has been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Barbara boxer. As anyone in the Republican Party talk to about that? ________________________________________ They have not. I love being mayor of the city of San Diego. That's what am focused on and I think this is the best job. ________________________________________ Is that an absolute no. ________________________________________ I am not running for the U.S. Senate seat how is that. ________________________________________ How desperate he good. ________________________________________ I been speaking with San Diego Mert Kevin Faulconer ________________________________________ ________________________________________ I'm Natalie Walsh and visit the winter fundraising campaign here at KPBS five dollars a month is all we asked for the listing that you do it makes a path that the budget at KPBS missed the reason we are able to bring you the news of integrity and independence and in-depth interviews like the one you just heard with Maureen Cavanaugh and San Diego Mayor full.. 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San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Wednesday said he'll announce the members of his Chargers task force this week.

Faulconer told KPBS Midday Edition that the task force, or what he calls an "action group," will research the options available in creating a new stadium for the Chargers.

"What's been missing in this dialogue has been an actual, concrete plan — a financial plan," Faulconer said.

In his "State of the City" address two weeks ago, he said he would appoint a committee to develop a plan to build a stadium for the National Football League franchise that would go before voters for approval. The members would go over the alternatives for a stadium and come up with something that satisfies the team and protects taxpayers.

Chargers officials criticized the idea, contending the issues had already been vetted over the dozen or so years that they've sought a new playing venue.

"My commitment is that we're going to pull some people together," Faulconer said. "We're actually going to have not just a back-of-the-napkin, you know, it's designed to say here's a real plan, here's a plan that will protect taxpayers, here's a plan we think we can move forward with, that the public will be involved in, (that) the public will ultimately approve."

He declined to say how many people would be on the task force, but it will not be "an exceptionally large group." He said the task force will have members who "will bring the right skill set to the table."

In his speech two weeks ago, the mayor said the Chargers were closer to leaving San Diego than ever before. The apparent options open to the task force, he said, are to build a new facility next to Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley or making it part of an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

"I said very clearly that I want the task force to look at all of the options that have been done in other cities, to come develop a plan that I think works for San Diego and taking those best practices," Faulconer said. "It has to be a plan that in my judgment will protect taxpayers and it has to be a plan that voters will support."

If the task force is successful, a vote would most likely be scheduled for an election in 2016.

Faulconer also spoke about the San Diego Police Department and a controversial lawsuit its now facing. He said the department would investigate the lawsuit that claims a sergeant was mistreated after he expressed his dissatisfaction with a racist cartoon that shown during a training.

"I think what sets us a part is diversity," Faulconer said. "I have full confidence in our new police chief who is doing a remarkable job and has the highest expectations."

Faulconer touched on the Department of Justice review of the police department that was announced in 2014, and said that report will be released in coming months.

Other issues Faulconer touched on included the plastic bag ban that's now in limbo. He said if the petition to stop the bag ban has enough valid signatures, the city will move forward with an environmental review of the proposal. The City Council will then consider the idea.

Faulconer, who is currently completing the rest of former Mayor Bob Filner's term, also addressed talks about him being a contender for a U.S. Senate seat that will be left open after Sen. Barbara Boxer retires.

"I love being mayor of the city of San Diego," Faulconer said. "I think this is the best job ever. I am not ready for a Senate seat."

Corrected:
City News Service contributed to this report.