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KPBS Midday Edition

Mayor Faulconer On San Diego Chargers, 2016 Budget, Water Enforcement

Mayor Faulconer On San Diego Chargers, 2016 Budget, Water Enforcement
Mayor Faulconer On San Diego Chargers, 2016 Budget, Water Enforcement
Mayor Faulconer on San Diego Chargers, Budget, Water GUEST:Kevin Faulconer, mayor, city of San Diego

San Diego Kevin Faulkner have the budget to play with your children in the Imperial Valley are suffering from dangerous air quality and fans of the TV show mad men are talking about what the story revealed as the final episode approaches. This is midday edition. Today is Thursday, April 23 I'm Allison St. John info Maureen Cavanaugh. A note, Maureen is preparing for a special live show on the USS Midway tomorrow in honor of the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Be sure and tune into that. Today, first of all, the headlines, city of San Diego will need to spend nearly $47 million to fix its 5000 miles of sidewalks. That is from a report that will be presented to a city Council committee member this afternoon and engineers have found more than 70,000 spots that need repairs or replacement. The California assembly has approved legislation protecting residents from fines. If they do not water their loans -- lawns during the drought. A P1 assembly woman Cheryl brought advances with 74 votes and prohibits cities from penalizing residence for having brown lawns. Former Mayor San Diego Marriott Maureen O'Connor had surgery to remove a cancerous breast lesion. Ottawa 68 remains hospitalized but authorities say the procedure was successful. In today's weather, rain does not look likely, but strong gusty winds are expected to develop in the mountains and deserts for a wind advisory is scheduled to take effect at 8 PM tonight. Today, we have in the studio San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joins us in the KPBS studio's most much. Becky for joining a Great to be here. Thank you. We also want to invite listeners to call in if you have a question for Mayor Faulconer, the number is 888-895-5727. Get your call an early. Mayor Faulconer, the last time you and we talked about you and Maureen talked about your advisory group for the Chargers and the fact that they settled on Mission Valley since then the city of Carson has voted to go ahead with the stadium there. So what is left for us to do quest do have sleepless nights about this ? [ Laughter ] We have a lot of issues we're dealing with and that is certainly one of them. What I have been focused on, Allison, is obviously working with the citizens advisory group. There's been a lot of time on developing a plan which they will be unveiling of the next several weeks. The financing plan, focusing on how we ensure that it is fair and that it is responsible, keeps the charges and aspects playing right here in Mission Valley. I'm confident that we can do that and since we probably last spoke, we brought in some outside expertise from some legal folks that have a lot of experience doing this and other places across the country. As well as investment bankers, all designed to make sure that this is a plan that is as I mentioned before fair to taxpayers, one that San Diegans will support, and one that I think will be a good deal for the long-term. That are we fiddling while the room birds, as it were. Monday at Los Angeles you said that a public San Diego has no workable plan and that the timetable isn't going to happen soon enough to keep the charges in place. Would you say to that ? I'm not sure with the daily news was referring to but I do know in the discussions that we've had with the NFL, they are very aware of all of the good work that is happening here in San Diego I have been in communications with them directly. What the group is doing from the citizens group that we are going to have for the first time in all of this discussion over the years a real plan, a real financing plan. That is what is I think different in San Diego now as opposed to in the past. And so once that gets unveiled, thank you will see a lot of momentum as it continues to build. And it's going to require working together with the Chargers, it can't work if they are not working together. And I think we have the opportunity to do that. Cement once again, the number of you would like to speak to or ask a question of Mayor Kevin Faulkner is 888, -- I've heard it said that you probably would not be hurt politically if the charges left town. Do you still worry about that ? I worry about a lot of things. It's important as I said that's a lot of great things go into our fabric of who we are as a city. Our neighborhoods, our environment, and part of that fabric is watching the aspects and the Chargers play on the weekends during football season. So yes, it's important. And it's important that we have a viable plan we came together as a city to build Petco Park. I think that is a great example of what happens when you do work together. It's a responsible financial plan so we've done it before I know we can do it again. And that is the task that lies ahead of us in the coming months. Okay. We've done it before but of course it did lead to some financial crises for the city down the line. You should not forget. The city made a lot of bad decisions in the best parlay as -- primarily as you know nothing accurate with books, underfunding deliberately underfunding the pension system and not reporting it. Things that I will never allow to happen again as mayor. Well, let's talk about the budget that's looking pretty positive it to. $3.2 billion, good couple hundred million more than last year. It is good. Because we -- the past we had to do with the budgets when we were cutting services. In the midst of the possession and other crises as you mentioned. But to be on the other side of that, now, Allison as the reforms and voters have supported taking hold, as we are letting folks know that San Diego is back and we are open for businesses in our small businesses are doing very well, putting people back to work and so to see that growth is only good news. And so I presented to the Council, just last week, we had the opportunity for infrastructure, more street repair, 50% of all the funds are dedicated to that street sidewalks, expanding hours is our largest rec centers, there's good news. And we have been on the inside of that for so long that it is good to be here. You have talked about investing in neighborhoods. How would you do that ? Easily. It's dedicating those dollars to where they should of been going for years. So as you look at the things that the city did not invest in, for example, restrict when anybody who's listening to me now who is driving in San Diego, knows exactly the need and so making that commitment to say that is where it is going, continuing reforms that allows us to have those additional dollars. Last year we expanded hours at branch libraries across the city it works. And that's a real partnership in a tone that I have tried to set as mayor with the Council all working together. Somebody sure that every neighborhood in San Diego gets its fair share to be successful. That's an important part that point how do you make sure roads in the area Logan get fixed this fax as a lawyer -- La Jolla. ] You should be doing it by politics or a little bit here in this Council District you should do it by need. And that's one of the things were changing. And so in fact, we have an assessment that is out that literally driving over every single road, grading the conditions of those roads, and say, hey, we're going to put our dollars for street repair and those street that needed the most and we're also going to be smarter about looking ahead when we are doing sewer and water jobs tearing up the streets to put Hudson, making sure we're coordinating that not just one year, you use in advance because the worst thing that people can see and I get frustrated is with to see in the old days the city of tear up street and then come back and do something two years later. No, we have to be much smarter. That public money. Yes. Yes, it is. Creating a budget game and wanted to see what people have submitted their own budgets and one of the most popular items was sidewalks. They want to spend $5 million on sidewalks. I guess only about 10% of the fix is needed in sidewalks will be fixed according to the report that's been presented to it is the right ? Will have about $4 million was allocated that you and is no doubt when we look at infrastructure, streets and sidewalks, there is a whole lot more to do. But I think as you look at allocating those dollars M a prioritizing them, that is important and I'm going to continue to make sure we allocate -- allocate dollars for that You talk about how the citizen for such a program is broken, was a broken? Is there something you can do to make the money flow more effectively into where it needs to go ? There is. And it's one of those things being on the job for nearly out -- a you know, we have to do a better job of making sure that the tax dollars that people are sending to us are being spent wisely and efficiently. Just one suggestion, put forward just as we to the Council a list of 20 reforms. And I think they are really pretty much common sense, Allison, but things that the city should of been doing for years but I will give you one example. City wasn't doing electronic online bidding. And people use that defendant bids, manually if they filled out something wrong the city would take it out and send it back to them, manually. That would literally add weeks and sometimes months to the process. Digital age now. Imagine that. [ Laughter ] So that's just one example of what I say common sense trying to bring the city up to where it should be doing for a bureaucracy and technology standpoint. And that's something we're spending a lot of money -- time on, and we will seek we were all those in it but as we bring on projects faster and provide for example, as we were talking the other day about a swimming pool, whirlpool, the faster we can do that, the better kids and families will enjoy The backlog is enormous isn't it over the years. So people who have problems with sidewalks and roads for Houston should they see something happen ? You are seeing changes in the row started doing more that we've done in quite some time. And that is back to my commitment that set as our economy approved, as we see growth in revenue, which is very fortunate, that we have to make sure that we are putting back into the structure. As of 50% of all those funds are going into the budget this year and then they will every single year ? I want to talk about trash. A lot of people who don't live in the city of San Diego look at that People's ordinance as they grow up, it's like believing in Santa Claus that you can get your trash taking care of without paying for it. What are the chances that that People's ordinance might get overturned some time to ? That's not something that I'm pushing forward. I think our system works very well, the boys do a great job. Folks in landfills submit ideas for cost savings that we are able to pass on, but I am not interested in raising significant taxes on San Diegans. I'm really focusing on -- that's morbidly, is in a? It's a tragedy. How're we doing as I mentioned before, how are we doing with the money that people are already sending to us. And I think we have a lot of work to do and that is really something we're working on very closely with counsel as we make those changes, as we make those reforms, and I think it is working ? have you made an estimate of how much I would add to the general fund is San Diegans the paper the trash pickup ? Of course, some already do. Is just single-family homeowners that don't What I'm looking at is, as I said before, how are we growing in applying our economy by putting people back to work by getting small businesses to expand and what we do that, we have the additional dollars like we've seen this year to put right back in neighborhoods and so I think that is making sure our fees and taxes are those that can to provide those neighborhood services and to keep that -- those job growth going, that's important for us in San Diego as we are in a competitive environment One last question on that. Subsidy like those aside have zero waste policy of the city Fingal has blasted the plan get how high is that on your agenda Talked about it for 45 minutes yesterday. Funny you should ask for folks with environment to services. Yes, will be rolling out a very waste policy and it's going to be part of the climate action plan that we are proud of. The San Diegans are taking a lead on that. For not only from a sustainability standpoint but also you are spending a lot of time on water issues right now. And I'm going to be going up to Sacramento in the next week to talk to state regulators and the governor about the work that we're doing here for example on water recycling. We will have the largest water recycling facility in the state of California when our pure water program is up and running. That something good for the environment. And it is good for our sustainability and for the long-term, and it's something I'm pushing very hard to get expedited approval so we can start recycling Badwater. Was talk more about water. If you have hired a huge -- quite a few extra stop to enforce mandatory water restrictions. This is an enormous task to have her body change their habits and what he use. How effective are those few staff going to be and what will be the consequences. When we think about what he use, San Diegans have already changed their behavior and done a remarkable job. As you look at for example the conservation that Sandy and have done since 2007, that is with double-digit. Conservation has become a way of life for so many families weather showers or cutting back on landscaping, most people are doing it remarkable job. For those that are not, that happened got the message, folks out there and making sure people are not wasting water because we do not have the ability to waste even a single drop as we are entering -- this is the fourth year of a very extensive drought that is real. Understand you're actually using technology and invited people to send tweets or text to the city? As you are running around and saying I saw for example I making sure the city is doing our part for example on all of our parks and recreation facilities. It's going to be cut way back. You will notice it unfortunately with some of the Browning of the landscaping, but -- smacking you give is an example where you might notice ? in parks and neighborhoods, that's -- people are noticing it everywhere. Must be a dilemma in a ballpark which is celebrating this year. We are going to keep major Turk feels other running for recreational activities and others, but conservation has been a way of life for San Diego and will continue and we will also make sure that we are moving forward on things like pure water, water recycling, the solemnization the coming online this year. It's all going to be helpful to us. Wever: Who's saying she heard a rumor that there will be a walkable area or walk Street in Hillcrest. Is there anything to that rumor ? Were working about -- on a lot of walkable areas and bike lanes. That's one of the late -- things we are very proud of is the bike Master plan. I'm a cyclist and I get out there not as much as I would like, but providing the opportunity for not only dedicated bike lanes, but also shares on those streets to remind people to share the road. As much as we can do, Allison, to encourage folks to get out of their cars. But also to make it convenient to do so. I think that that is an investment well needed for us here in the city. Okay. We have such a beautiful city, but with the drought, it's going to be changing landscapes isn't it so you think the city is changing some of his landscape but how are you going to incentivize your average resident. Is it all about penalizing them or are there any actual incentives that may be carrots that can -- the city can offer ? We started to do that with the turf rebate program, putting some dollars and they are going fast it's one of the things that I'm looking at is to add some additional dollars and for that in the May revise because it is an incentive that works. And as we have those type of rebate program, it's been proven time and time again that folks will take advantage of them. Interesting if you can try an incentive program if they can reduce water use and that nothing would change under Bill. Well, that something that we're looking at that's an issue statewide issue that happened a couple of days ago on tiered water rates and how to make that work into a zettabyte or how can you not do that and so that's one of the things we're looking at is to your point, incentives to work and -- better than sticks. When you look at the fact that water use as the city is below what it was and 2007 I think that is just a testament to how seriously San Diego and take this. But also how much they have done a very good job changing their way of life and it is important because we are at the end of the tap from Los Angeles and the Colorado River. So why are pure wore -- water program so important to recycle our water is when we do that, we will create a third of our water supply that will control locally. That's a big step. It's been a long time coming. I'm going to sneak in one question on the wire about the closet of Panama, a lot of color there, how long is that going to be there. Very temporary. Is going to be there for at least several months and maybe longer. It is very but decided to be that because out there from a -- community leaders and environmental leaders yesterday, it's all about activating the space, getting people to come, it's amazing what some umbrellas, chairs, plants, couches, helps to activate the space and the whole point of it was to make it something that can be moved and that can be changed as we have new opportunities. So to feel the kids running around, having a limited time yesterday, activating public spaces about that are part of being a great city. And that's our opportunity ? great. I have to wrap it up. Mayor Faulconer, thank you for joining us. Great to be here thank you.

The stadium

The prospects that the Chargers will have San Diego attached to their name after 2016 became more remote in the last two weeks.

As San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s task force continues to work on a plan for a stadium based in Mission Valley, Eric Grubman, in charge of stadium issues for the National Football League, told the group, essentially, hurry up! He said waiting for a city vote in November 2016 was risky and the league may move up the timetable for team relocation requests.


Tuesday's vote by the Carson City Council to go ahead with its own NFL stadium may have put a cap on the whole business.

“We have a lot of issues we’re dealing,” Faulconer told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. “Since we last spoke, we brought in outside expertise as well as investment bankers all designed to ensure this is a plan that’s fair to taxpayers.”

Faulconer said his task force will release a financing plan in the next several weeks.

“We are going to have for the first time a real plan,” he said. “Once that gets unveiled, you’re going to see a lot of momentum.”

The 2016 budget


Increased revenues citywide have made it possible for the mayor to present the City Council with a budget totaling $3.2 billion which restores many neighborhood services, repairs infrastructure, including some sidewalks, and increases public safety.

But a report that will be presented to the City Council's infrastructure committee says the city has found more than 78,000 problems, like cracks, with sidewalks.

“There’s no doubt when we look at infrastructure there is a whole lot more to do,” Faulconer said. “I’m going to continue that we allocate dollars for that.”

Water enforcement

The city currently has very few code enforcement officers to monitor compliance with mandatory water restrictions. In fact, some volunteer groups are looking for water wasters and reporting them to the city.

But the mayor has said the city is hiring more people in enforcement, and the 2016 budget includes funds for several more. Faulconer also said residents are already cutting back.

“When we think about water use, San Diegans have already changed their behavior,” Falconer said. “They’ve done a remarkable job.”