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Morning Report: What Faulconer Has Delivered

Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his 2019 State of the City address. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Build five new fire stations. Repair 1,000 miles or streets. Open a year-round homeless shelter. These are just a few of the promises Mayor Kevin Faulconer has made over the years in his annual State of the City address.

So, did he follow through? Ahead of Faulconer’s final State of the City speech Wednesday night, Voice of San Diego reporters Lisa Halverstadt and Andrew Keatts checked in on five years of promises [1]. In some cases, Faulconer delivered ahead of schedule. In others, he fell short or abandoned the idea altogether. 

Expanding the Convention Center, for example, has always been one of the mayor’s top goals and has factored heavily in prior speeches, and … the Convention Center has not been expanded. (After failed efforts to put measures on the ballot that would fund an expansion, a new proposal will finally go before voters this March as Measure C.)

Efforts to proceed with the Plaza de Panama Plan, and to create a hotline people can call to check on shelter openings, fizzled. 

But on other promises, Faulconer delivered. He pledged in his 2015 address to repair 1,000 miles of streets within five years, and finished two years ahead of schedule. He delivered on his promise to house 1,000 homeless veterans and to create a housing navigation center, though both took longer than the mayor hoped.

Supes Approve Tri-City Deal

After 18 months of uncertainty, county supervisors have approved a deal with Tri-City Medical Center to build a 16-bed behavioral health unit [2] in Oceanside, reports the Union-Tribune. The deal will restore behavioral health services to the coastal North County region after Tri-City closed its inpatient behavioral health and crisis stabilization units in 2018.

The deal calls for the county and Tri-City to split the cost of the $17.4 million project. The county will lease the Tri-City property [3] and provide an upfront, no-interest loan for the hospital district’s share of the project.

North County law enforcement agencies told VOSD last year they were spending more time away from their patrols and instead waiting in emergency rooms [4] following the closure of Tri-City’s behavioral health units in 2018. 

The new deal could serve as a template for future hospital contracts [5].

GOP Touts Poll Showing Sherman Has a Shot

A new poll [6] conducted by Competitive Edge Research & Communication shows Assemblyman Todd Gloria as the front-runner in San Diego’s mayoral race, although “the race is wide open,” according to the report.

Of about 400 registered voters polled, 30 percent initially said they would vote for Gloria. Councilwoman Barbara Bry and Councilman Scott Sherman tied with 12 percent of voters saying they would vote for them. The remaining 42 percent of residents polled were unsure.

After sharing campaign messages and candidate bios, the report’s authors said Sherman moves “within striking distance of Gloria.”

“If the campaign plays out along the lines we tested, Sherman will make the run-off,” they said.

Council Boosts Housing Bond

The San Diego City Council’s Democratic supermajority voted Tuesday to approve a resolution of necessity for a proposed $900 million affordable housing bond. 

The resolution, which passed in a 6-3 vote, paves the way for a potential property tax measure to fund 7,500 homes for homeless and low-income San Diegans. 

It would also make San Diego eligible for matching state funding to address homelessness, according to the San Diego Housing Federation, an affordable housing advocacy group that has championed the measure.

“Addressing homelessness requires decisive action, and this measure is an important part of the puzzle,” Housing Federation Executive Director Stephen Russell said.

The Tuesday vote didn’t guarantee the measure will appear on the November 2020 ballot. Tuesday’s vote gave city staff the go-ahead to begin drafting a proposed measure. The City Council will have to vote again later this year on whether to place it on the ballot.

The City Council also took a required second vote to approve City Council President Georgette Gómez’s inclusionary housing policy update [7] that aims to provide more affordable housing in the city. The changes will be implemented incrementally over five years beginning this July.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.