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Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivered his third state of the city address Thursday, and we’ve got you covered.
These sorts of speeches tend to be sprawling, policy-heavy odes to all the things a city does and could do. If you don’t obsess over city government, it’s a lot to handle.
We’ve reproduced his entire speech and annotated it to provide additional context and clarity in all the places we thought could use it. We’ve explained where the numbers he used came from, laid out the backstory for all the things he congratulated the city on accomplishing and outlined how realistic some of his plans and promises are going forward.
Faulconer issued parting words to the Chargers, touted his route to stemming housing costs citywide and unveiled his big plan to raise hotel taxes to expand the convention center, address homelessness and pave more streets.
Those are big plans, and we’ve tried to provide the context the mayor couldn’t – or didn’t want to – in his big annual speech.
About That Hotel Tax Hike
For the fifth time since 2004, San Diego voters will soon decide whether to increase hotel taxes to pay for a convention center expansion.
This time, though, the expansion will be paired with two other pressing city issues: finding a way to house the more than 1,000 people who live on downtown streets, and fixing the city’s decrepit streets.
As Scott Lewis covers in a piece reacting to the would-be ballot measure, getting two thirds of voters to approve the tax increase might be the easy part.
For one, attorney Cory Briggs still has a major lawsuit alleging that the convention center expansion illegally blocks coastal access. He might win, which would doom the project. Plus, two businessmen who own the lease for the land slated for the expansion have moved on and are trying to build a hotel and marina on the property instead. The city will need to buy them out to keep the project viable.
Homelessness and city streets are clear issues for the city, though, and their inclusion in any ballot measure could make it easier for it to win the two-thirds voter support it needs. It’s an uphill fight.
Sacramento Report: It’s On Cities to Combat the Housing Crisis
Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget doesn’t include any new funding for subsidized housing programs. Instead, he’s made clear the state needs to focus on making it easier for new projects to get approved to combat the costs of market-rate housing – the same type of stuff Faulconer promised to do in his State of the City address.
Two of San Diego’s representatives who focus on housing – Assemblyman Todd Gloria and state Sen. Toni Atkins – said they were disappointed by the news, as Maya Srikrishnan covered in this week’s Sacramento Report. Atkins, though, is pushing a bill she failed to pass last year which would create a new revenue stream for subsidized housing by collecting a fee on all real estate transactions.
In other news from the capitol, Sara Libby rounded up budget reactions from the rest of the San Diego delegation, and pulled video of Assemblywoman Shirley Webber’s loving tribute to the state of California as she questioned Rep. Xavier Becerra, the nominee for California attorney general.
It Happened. The Chargers Are Gone. That’s Done Now.
It’s become a running joke on the podcast that we spend maybe a little too much time talking about the Chargers stadium saga.
Well, that’s over. They’re gone now. We don’t need to beat our heads against the wall reiterating that there simply was never a tenable stadium solution in San Diego as long as the Chargers insisted on a stadium that cost more than $1 billion.
But for old time’s sake, we did one last show on the ordeal, covering why the team finally pulled the trigger on leaving its home of the last 56 years.
For hero of the week, we commended all the people who preserved Chicano Park and helped it win its newfound place as a national historic landmark.
Goat of the week was, who else, Dean Spanos. Goodbye, Dean.
Opinion: San Diego, Not Faulconer, Told the Chargers ‘No’
National media has been awfully kind to San Diego since the Chargers left. After voters rejected the team’s ballot measure in November, the narrative has taken hold that San Diego is the first city to tell the NFL to take its extortion-based business model and shove it.
Well, that image shouldn’t include Mayor Kevin Faulconer, according to a new op-ed from Bay Park resident Joe Armenta.
By the time voters went to the polls, Faulconer had endorsed the Chargers measure. And that was just one time over the course of the ordeal, Armenta argues, that Faulconer bent over backward to keep Spanos in town.
“And in the end, the mayor got played. The Chargers are leaving San Diego fans brokenhearted and we have nothing to show for it,” Armenta writes.
Opinion: One Wealthy Neighbor Can’t Veto a Housing Development
Earlier this week, Ry Rivard covered the legal fight the Golden Door, a serene North County resort where some of the country’s wealthiest people escape for yoga and tranquility, has waged against a 2,100-unit housing complex proposed across the street. Resort ownership says the project is an existential threat.
It’s time to get over it, argues North County resident and real estate broker Joanne Rodriguez in a new op-ed.
North County is now a region of 400,000 people, she writes, and plenty of them wish they’d get a chance to buy a newly constructed dream home.
“It is clear that the joyful noise of children riding on school buses and playing in parks does not blend well with the peaceful yoga poses of the uber elite,” she writes.
In Other News
• Desire Navas is one of the hundreds of San Diegans who doesn’t have a home. She’s also 7 years old, and goes to school during the day before returning to an emergency shelter each night. KPBS reporter Susan Murphy profiled Navas, as well as the other families who crowd homeless shelters in a region that has failed to address a worsening crisis.
• Well, it’s been a full day since anyone speculated on whether the Chargers would relocate soon. I know, I missed it. Good news, though: U-T columnist Tom Krasovic has a theory: the Chargers will be in L.A. for a short time and then consider relocating to Anaheim or somewhere in North San Diego County. Maybe!
• Former La Jolla car dealer Marc Chase was sentenced to three years’ probation in federal court Thursday. Chase was a key figure in the years-long corruption case involving Mexican national Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, who attempted to influence San Diego politics by illegally donating to figures like District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and former Mayor Bob Filner. It was Chase who made many of the illegal contributions on Azano’s behalf, and later cooperated with the prosecution to help convict him. (San Diego Union-Tribune)