This week on the Voice of San Diego podcast, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke with host Scott Lewis about some huge decisions he’s made recently.
As we discussed in last week’s episode, the city’s budget is starting to take shape. But one week is a long time on a coronavirus calendar.
Since then, Faulconer confirmed that $248 million is “in the bank” from the federal CARES Act. What the city needs to do now, he said, is figure out what it can be used for; it has to be “COVID-related.”
Faulconer said the upcoming budget is going to be unlike any we’ve ever seen. It’s better to “face reality now” and make touch decisions to get to the other side of things soon, he said.
Among these big decisions the mayor’s made in recent weeks, there’s what the city will do with the more than 1,000 residents it’s begun to house inside the Convention Center.
Right now the city is working with the San Diego Housing Commission to acquire hundreds of hotel rooms to turn into long-term housing for homeless people.
Faulconer said the plan could be a model for California.
“Every other city is looking to do exactly this for the obvious reasons. I think we’re going to be a statewide leader, because we’re moving expeditiously because we have a need, but because we’ve also — we have everybody rowing in the same direction. That doesn’t always happen,” he said.
Testing, Testing, One, Two, 4,000
Also on the podcast, Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby tackled one of the biggest stories surrounding the crisis: testing.
Testing is the clearest path out of where we are right now. But San Diego County seems to have far more tests than it’s using. Officials and hospitals differ on why tests are happening far below capacity. And it points to the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive strategy for the region.