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Lori Saldaña Discusses Her Run For San Diego Mayor

Lori Saldaña at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.
Lori Lum
Lori Saldaña at Golden Hall on June 5, 2012.
Lori Saldaña Discusses Her Run For San Diego Mayor
Lori Saldaña Discusses Her Run For San Diego Mayor GUEST: Lori Saldaña, former assemblywoman

Since the special election that brought him into office San Diego has court get approval ratings from city resident and long into the 26th in election cycle it seemed that Faulconer was so popular he would not be challenged for reelection and then this January, former Democratic assembly member Lori Saldaña launched an independent bid for mayor, Lori Saldaña joins us now welcome to the program. Thank you good afternoon. So why did you wait so long to enter the race. That someone else is going to challenge the mayor, he is a Republican in the city dominated by moderates and progressive Democrats and I kept thinking that we would have people that had direct city experience stepping into the fray but they all left and went to Sacramento. So I have come back from Sacramento, I have experienced I was listening to the prior guess, 80% of this mayors climate action plan our state laws that I co-authored over my legislative history. If I were greeting him I would say this is plagiarism. He is not enacting the type of change we need to get in front of the curve of climate change and putting 60% of the funding into pure water program that is a house of cards because water, I agree takes a lot of energy in the state but not at the local level. So putting 60% of your climate change funds into pure water is a ridiculous funding expenditure. See you got into the race because you thought somebody else would but then you said I want to step into in January. Then you moved on to climate action, that was going to be my second question anyway. How would you implement the Climate Action Plan for the city? If all the law already on the books and look to emphasize energy-efficient for commercial building something I authored bills on that Governor. Schwarzenegger signed before. I would certainly not be devoting my campaign to these types of issues, would be looking at affordability when we have people living on the streets of San Diego it is because we have such a high cost of energy and water in part. There is a Republican mayor who vetoed an increase of the living wage for the minimum wage in San Diego, and he is doing everything he can to divert attention away from our most serious problems, climate change is important but it is handled at the state level. The Climate Action Plan is earning brownie points I would simply say let's build on what has already been done at the state level and at deal with human safety and public services here. That is really where our priority needs to be. To be clear you would not have supported the city's Climate Action Plan as it has taken over because it is basically settled by the state laws? 80% of it is settled by the state different say he's going to do with water which is another issue I have dealt with that decades for local levels it is smoking mirrors. He is spending, the reason he needs of million dollars to run his campaign as he wants to run on a record he is not develop is taking credit for other people's work is not running a campaign he is running a cover-up of not having good policies and days on affordable housing in dealing with homelessness on issues that he will not address. So I entered this race because I saw his we do some things that matter to people that I teach every day in my classroom, people who have been homeless, this mayor has made their lives harder. Now, putting rocks under bridges to force people out unsheltered areas, not funding affordable housing those are his failures. I saw them clearly and I'm hoping to run a campaign to show other people what a failure he has been for the majority of San Diego's. One of the things that state laws are not taking care of is that huge infrastructure backlog in deficit and Lori I am wondering how you would deal with the city's how to pay for, the clambering street and infrastructure. For one thing we need better people in City Hall and are planning a long-term community development programs. I think when under Kevin Faulconer's watch fewer people are willing to join City Hall's ranks that tells you something about his management style. They are leaving because they are overworked, like our police officers and what I am getting to is it we need to start paying people to do what they are worth to do more planning to look at we fund infrastructure, not focus on real estate investments which is what he has been doing but let's look at our crown jewel in Balboa Park for historic preservation that under planning, or rather not under development services or she has done that put it back into the planning department and let's think long-term. I think he is thinking quarterly, short-term which is what Republicans often do they are looking at private, public or private profit models, this mayor needs to think long-term. He is not even willing to commit on the record to stay for a full four-year term. Would you support the rebuild San Diego proposition. I don't think it's a vision or enough. We are chasing after infrastructure that is crumbling. I support, for example, no public money for a new stadium downtown guy would rather have the to your TV increase into the general fund is addressing some of those funds into the backlog of repairs and I wanted hey city employees what they are worth. Use overworking people with overtime. If you look at his budget proposal he is cost savings for people whose positions are not being filled with employees reason he is being even more in overtime which is an counted towards the long-term benefit. So we have people working more for less which is what he did by vetoing the minimum wage as well. Is forcing city employees to work more have less to show for it at the end of their careers. That is why City Hall is in such disarray and cannot do long-term planning the way it needs to. Some city workers, that everyone agrees are being overworked, but a 911 dispatchers. They are on mandatory overtime and of course that came into the spotlight recently with the death of an infant in Mira Mesa. The understaffing of the San Diego 911 dispatchers because they had to wait on the line, we're not*-- were not sure why they had to wait 30 seconds and I I believe it was longer than 30 seconds We do not know if it was because the 911 dispatchers are understaffed but we found out they were understaffed because of the story. If you are mayor how would you address this shortage. And I have trained dispatchers in my class at the college Friday work force training for police cadets and for dispatchers that I would make sure that there are reinforcements and support that they can do their job without being burned out on overtime. Other police departments are treating their staff better and hours are leaving that we are paying between M&A leaving city also I would make sure they have the support, not just money, not being forced into mandatory overtime to do that kind of work I will say it is a tragedy to have this type of a loss of life and the mayor really needs to go and speak to this people personally. That me say one more thing about police safety, 2800 rape kits are untested in police evidence lockers. There are France to clear the cases but this mayor refuses to request that. That is a Republican attitude we do not want to take money to solve the problems those are violent sexual offenders that are not being investigated on his watch. Other cities have cleared the cases using federal funds Umea, serial rapist the of, other criminals they are the worst of the worst and he is leading evidence that in police lockers I think that set the tone but if you are going to go after criminals you need the person at the top to give you the support including the investigation funds to do that. There are so many things this mayor is failing at for public safety. Were used to be a Democrat but you parted ways with the Democrats, how can you build a partisan consensus if you can even get along with your own party? I think what I did not get along within the Democratic Party's they are willing to support a man who was harassing women, sexually harassing women Bum Filner. Women came to me when I was a candidate and told me confidentially that I have been harassed by this man I went to the chairman of the party at this time and told him he needed a new candidate the sky has serious problems, they made me the problem, they decided that my speaking up and being open about Rob Filner's transgressions that was the problem not his actions. I will not be part of a party that is so desperate to win an election that they will sacrifice. The but we have sacrificed. Leadership, confidence and trust. So I am running as an independent, somebody who is chaired women's legislative caucus was received awards from my leadership on women issues I'm endorsed as Planned Parenthood hundred percent family-planning issues I look out for people not just by words but by my actions and I was so discouraged by that that is why left it was not because I disagreed with them. It was because I spoke the truth and they did not want to hear. Line You sign the pledge if you're elected mayor you will serve a full four years be that mayor Faulconer will not. I believe he is looking at running for governor, the people he surrounded by are the same people who overturned minimum wage and community planning their working at a national level for Marco Rubio before he dropped out for other room Republicans also, he is largest -- years largely Republican. Is looking for his own professional interest not San Diego and that means electing him for governor. He said half jokingly that it looked pretty hopeless, how does it look now. The feedback I've gotten from every community group meeting I have attended and people I meet people who know me and my family for decades scoring appear in San Diego I think we have a big voter turnout we are going to surprise a lot of evil on June 7 so spoken in Spanish we need more people to get out there and vote we need a good portion of voters. I'm going from feeling hopeless to feeling optimistic about this community. I've been's ticking with candidate Lori Saldana . Thank you so much. Thank you.

For several months, it seemed San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer would not be challenged for re-election in 2016.

But this January, former Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña entered the race.

Saldaña, who is running as an independent, served in the California Assembly from 2004 to 2010. She is currently a professor in the San Diego Community College District.

She waited until this year to enter the race because she thought someone else would challenge Faulconer, Saldaña told KPBS Midday Edition.

"I kept thinking people with direct city experience would step into the fray, but they left and went to Sacramento," she said.

After Saldaña announced her bid, Democrat Ed Harris also decided to run against Faulconer.

Saldaña said Faulconer's Climate Action Plan plagiarizes California's AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which she co-authored and was passed in 2006.

She said 80 percent of the items laid out in the plan are already state laws.

"Putting 60 percent of the funding into the pure water program is a house of cards," she said. "Water, I agree, takes up a lot of energy in the state, but not at the local level."

If elected mayor, Saldaña said she would build on what's already done at the state level and focus on energy efficient buildings, affordable housing and the minimum wage.

"The reason an incumbent needs $1 million to run a campaign is he's trying to run on a record he hasn't developed, he's taking credit for other people's work," she said.

Saldaña also said she believed Faulconer won't serve the full four-year term if re-elected because he will run for governor of California.

"He's part of a large Republican machine," she said. "I believe he's a very decent human being, but he's surrounding himself with people who are not looking out for San Diego, they're looking out for their own professional interests, and that means electing him to governor."