“In the Matter of Kevin Faulconer,” my column that ran last month in the Daily Transcript, appears to have displeased some people who admire the mayor.
They thought my column was way too one-sided, that my critique of his honor was partial because it failed to point out all the forward-looking, progressive things he has done.
A teammate of mine on the Marston Mets of the San Diego Adult Baseball League (yes, I’m 79 and I still play), was particularly vexed over my column, and said I should provide balance this month by presenting a more complete portrayal of Faulconer’s doings.
Unlike other dissidents, though, my teammate actually took time to write down and send his thoughts on the mayor’s accomplishments.
Here, in part, is what he wrote:
“Many assumed the business community that supported Faulconer would get the mayor to water down San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which [Todd] Gloria first introduced as interim mayor. He didn’t. In fact, it is one of the strongest plans to fight climate change in the nation.
“While other Republicans in this country continue to deny climate change exists, Mayor Faulconer believes it is real and actually wants to do something about it. The city’s proposed Climate Action Plan would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half and have renewable energy sources supply 100 percent of San Diego’s energy use by 2035.
“He supports same-sex marriage. In fact, he’s a national chair of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry and the only prominent Republican in that organization. And his wife, Katherine, is leading the fundraising effort to build San Diego’s first AIDS memorial.
“Faulconer’s budget priorities are also spot-on. Yes, I understand he benefits from a rebounding economy that gives him a lot more money to work with than former Mayor Jerry Sanders, who had the pension crisis and Great Recession forcing him to make deep cuts. But I also see what Faulconer is doing with that money.
“He has dedicated half of all new major revenue toward neighborhood infrastructure projects, from street repair to new fire stations. He’s doubling the number of potholes filled throughout the city each year. He has expanded library hours to their highest level in a decade.
“He has improved emergency response times in Encanto and South Bay (yes, both of which are south of I-8).
“He negotiated a much-needed compensation increase for our police officers to help recruitment and retention efforts.
“He created an after-school program at libraries in communities with the lowest test scores. “He created a nonprofit called One San Diego to bring our city together, and its first act was to buy laptops for children to use at the library.
“I know these are all enormously positive things that have a direct impact on our neighborhoods and the people who live in them.
“Pick any one of those accomplishments and it would trump everything former Mayor Bob Filner was able to accomplish in his disastrous nine months in office. While Filner made many promises, he never delivered.
“Faulconer is delivering every day.”
Those things said, things that in the grander scheme trump my criticism, there remains the mayor’s puzzling failure to appoint even one Democrat to the Stadium Task Force.
The business establishment in our town remains overwhelmingly Republican, but Democrats play a major role here, and to ignore that fact is silly. (You do realize, do you not, the three greatest philanthropists in San Diego history, Joan Kroc, John Moores and Irwin Jacobs, are Democrats.)
That said, I have no criticism of those the mayor appointed to the task force, all good, decent, public spirited citizens, something I greatly honor; but at least one Democrat deserved to be on the panel (and I do not mean this Democrat, even though some think for me that’s the rub of it; not true).
How it happened, appointing an all-Republican panel, beats me. It should have been obvious, such a composition was way too impolitic.
But, I think the mayor missed it because, hastening to get something done — as he could not have afforded to do nothing — relied too heavily on his advisers, some of whom suffer from excessive partisanship, which hurts the mayor.
On the other matter I raised, the mayor’s failure to back Todd Gloria for another term as council president, I offer no apology.