Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visit an affordable housing complex in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Feb. 14 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is taking his pitch for state homelessness reforms on the road.

Faulconer gave a keynote address at a symposium on Thursday hosted by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and Price Center for Social Innovation arguing the state must zero in on policies he believes have hampered the state’s response.

“For our cities to turn the corner on homelessness, we also need to fix state laws,” said Faulconer, who went on to describe his newly launched Rebuilding the California Dream committee.

Faulconer said he has started assembling a group that will support state and local ballot measures that “decrease homeless, increase public safety, grow the economy and clean up public spaces and the environment.”

The mayor, who is also rumored to be eyeing a run for governor, said he is in the early stages of an effort to craft a 2022 statewide ballot initiative focused on homelessness. He did not elaborate on what that initiative might entail but has repeatedly criticized criminal justice reform Propositions 47 and 57.

“(Prop. 47) turned cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine into a slap on the wrist and then Prop. 57 labeled the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act doubled down on this approach,” Faulconer said Thursday. “If you think someone who’s addicted to drugs and sleeping in a canyon is going to turn their life around without an intervention, you’re not being honest. These are cries for help and folks are not going to change without consequences for their actions.”

Before his speech, host and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said his conversations with the San Diego mayor helped inspire the Thursday symposium that also included panels and speeches by officials including federal Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Earlier in the week, the Legislative Analyst’s Office criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom’s spending plan to address homelessness. The report says the spending plan lacks a clear strategy, and therefore “is less likely to make a meaningful ongoing impact on the state’s homelessness crisis.”

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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