Kevin Faulconer cruised to victory in Tuesday’s election to elect a new full-time mayor for the city of San Diego, and with Faulconer came a sense of resolution to the whole mayor revolving-door game.
With the councilman’s win over his city council colleague Democrat David Alvarez, the Republican Faulconer is set to become the fourth person to serve as mayor within the past 16 months. Now, America’s finest city has an opportunity to finally settle down and work toward resolving the Barrio Logan debate, saving the Chargers, creating jobs for UCSD alumni and cleaning up La Jolla’s smelly bird poop problem.
Faulconer told a crowd of his supporters Tuesday night that party politics shouldn’t define this city’s operations, and reminded them “it’s about us being San Diegans.”
That mantra will be critical for a city weary of weak leadership from a city hall whose mayoral job is “non-partisan” while the city council is controlled by Democrats. Just saying the words “Bob” and “Filner” next to each other invokes negative feelings about local leadership as the former congressman’s short stint as mayor was marred by scandal and stubbornness to work with the tourism industry, among others.
We’re concerned that willingness to work with members who disagree with him may not one of Faulconer’s stronger attributes. With the current San Diego City Council split 5–4 in favor of Democrats (Faulconer will likely be replaced by a GOP member), the new mayor will need to be able to bridge the partisan divide in order to make progress and get legislation passed while in office.
If Faulconer is as dedicated to bipartisanship as he says he is, then the city will be able to fluidly address the pressing issues that 2014 and beyond will bring to San Diego.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought in California and San Diego is not immune to the lack of rainfall or water. Mayor-elect Faulconer will need to prioritize addressing the water shortages as soon as he takes office because water is a necessity for all San Diegans and not a partisan issue.
Additionally, Faulconer will have his feet wet this summer when San Diegans will go to the polls to vote on two referenda this June. One proposition would reset talks on the Barrio Logan industrial rezoning, and the other concerns a linkage fee tax on new businesses that pays for affordable housing units. Watching Faulconer as he responds to big city issues that divide voters and constituents will paint a real picture of what this mayor is all about.
The UCSD Guardian wishes Faulconer luck with his new digs and that he’ll stay true to his goals for office.