Wowzer. On Monday, I talked to City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

He was in an interesting spot. His spokesman had been hammering on the last-minute add-on to the sprawling California budget from Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher that wiped out the process underway to decide whether downtown needed more redevelopment investment. It steamrolled counterparts at the county who were negotiating with the city and it threw into question the credibility of city officials at exactly the wrong time.

And it really was a tough one for Faulconer.

He’s in favor of lifting the cap on redevelopment downtown — which would pave the way for billions in tax dollars from the rest of the city and other local governments to be redirected downtown with the hope that subsidized development will pay off for everyone in the future.

But downtown is his district and, as he told me Monday, he wasn’t included in discussions about the bill from Fletcher, whose own legislative district only includes La Jolla, Mira Mesa and cities northwest.

Faulconer was quite upset.

“I support raising the cap and have for two years now. But I worked hard to finally get in place a process by which to do that. To do a blight study, communicate with the public and win the debate on its merits, But, well, here I am,” he told me.

Fortunately for him, today two of his colleagues on the City Council offered him a way to get back to the way things were. Councilwomen Donna Frye and Sherri Lightner proposed an emergency resolution that would have asked the governor to veto that part of the budget and restore the public process underway.

They explain why pretty well:

• The City Council previously authorized a blight study and a public process to ensure that all concerns were heard in advance of taking action to lift the cap;

• The public interest demands that the local legislative branch of government, the City Council, and the public be included in decisions, before, not after the fact;

• To ensure that the public does not lose faith in their local elected officials, this City Council has a responsibility to stand up for the publics’ right to know, the publics’ right to participate and the publics’ right to be heard;

• The Governor has yet to sign the legislation, and;

• It is in the best interest of the public to take immediate action to request that the Governor not sign this legislation.

So here was Faulconer’s chance to get us back to the public process he lamented losing. Because this hadn’t been on the City Council’s agenda, they needed six votes, instead of a majority of five votes, to make it official.

How did Faulconer vote? Well, apparently he wasn’t that upset by the process Fletcher used. The vote failed 5-2. The majority of the City Council is officially upset with what happened in the dark last week. Faulconer was in the minority.

He started to get criticized on Twitter right after the vote so logged on himself and issued an explanation:

On CAP: I’m not pleased w/the process bc it could jeopardize future projects, but there are no guarantees we’re able to lift the CAP in the future. This gives us a chance to complete work I’ve pushed for. So as much as I dislike the process, I can’t oppose result.

In other words, he didn’t like the process Fletcher took. But Faulconer couldn’t trust his own process to get what he wanted.

I think that voting to support what happened is a pretty official way of saying you actually like what happened.

What we have here, folks, is a clear case of someone just being angry they weren’t in the loop. And since few outside of Fletcher and Mayor Jerry Sanders seem to have really been in that loop, we all can actually understand exactly how he feels.

A couple of post scripts:

• Rachel Laing, the spokeswoman for the Yes on Prop. D campaign also tweeted something interesting:

Strictly from a PR perspective, I believe broader public (those outside poliwonk sphere) will not know or care how cap was lifted.

Wow! Perhaps you all can prove her wrong.

• I know one person who doesn’t like late-night deals in Sacramento with major local consequences:

“This legislation is nothing more than a sweetheart deal drawn up in the middle of the night by…” Hmm, who said that?

Please contact Scott Lewis directly at or 619.325.0527 and follow him on Twitter:

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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