Mayor Kevin Faulconer is back in the GOP limelight and his approach to homelessness is drawing headlines.
The mayor spoke at the state GOP’s fall convention in Indian Wells last weekend, highlighting opportunities for the state’s Republican minority to bat back the Democratic supermajority. His proposed method: Deliver homelessness solutions in a state crying out for them.
“It’s time for California Republicans to provide a real alternative to the machine majority. And let’s start by showing how we make a difference in places where we are in leadership – like cities,” Faulconer said. “In San Diego, we’re doing things differently and getting results. Nowhere is that more apparent than in how we address homelessness.”
“San Diego County was one of the only places in the state where homelessness decreased this year,” Faulconer said. “It went down by 6 percent.”
That statement is missing some context. The group that conducts San Diego’s homeless census changed its methodology this year. The task force has cautioned that this year’s data isn’t comparable to past years’ counts.
What is true: San Diego County didn’t have the surge in homelessness that other major counties saw this year.
Before San Diego’s deadly hepatitis A outbreak, Faulconer acknowledged he sought consensus before taking action. Since then, he has dramatically increased spending to address homelessness in the city and pushed for code changes to make it easier to build homeless housing in the city. He’s also increased city trash clean-ups and created a Neighborhood Policing Division to focus on quality-of-life crimes that can be linked to homelessness, an approach that has proven controversial.
Faulconer argued that state Republicans can – and should – distinguish themselves by offering up homelessness solutions across the state.
“This is our chance to be the party that says ‘Yes!’ to solving this crisis. ‘Yes!’ to mental health services to get the sick off the sidewalks. ‘Yes!’ to common-sense projects like bridge shelters, so people have a safe and clean place to sleep at night. And ‘Yes!’ to building the housing our state needs. My fellow Republicans, we need to be the party of ‘Yes!’” Faulconer said.
Those comments echo his State of the City speech this year, in which he positioned himself as a so-called YIMBY, begging city leaders to join him in saying “yes” to making way for more housing.
You can read Faulconer’s full remarks here.