In his first news conference since taking office, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer faced tough questioning ranging from the haste of his appointment of a new police chief to how he was going to handle the derailing of the planned centennial celebrations for Balboa Park.
The press conference came just two days after Balboa Park Celebration Inc. — the highly compensated nonprofit group in charge of planning the 2015 centennial — disbanded and transferred its responsibilities back to the city, after receiving $2.8 million in public funds with little to show for it.
Faulconer said that he's reserving judgment on the planning group, launched in 2011 by then-Mayor Jerry Sanders. He said it is now more important to move forward on the celebration than look back.
"I want to work closely with Council President Todd Gloria, whose district includes Balboa Park, to ensure that we're able to have a celebration that makes sense, that we can afford and that focuses on San Diego" — a reference to former Mayor Bob Filner's hope that the celebration would draw international attention.
Faulconer added that the group's collapse was not a total debacle and that some of their plans could be incorporated into the eventual celebration.
But Faulconer said he has asked the group to provide his office with all of their financial statements and other paperwork, which he pledged to make public.
He said that once he reviews the paperwork, he will decide whether other actions are warranted.
Faulconer was also asked about his decision to name Shelley Zimmerman as police chief just a day after former chief Bill Lansdowne announced he was resigning, with no nationwide search, little chance for public review or comment and no mention that Zimmerman is scheduled to retire in four years.
"Chief Zimmerman is the right person who could hit the ground running immediately — and we needed somebody immediately," he said.
He added that over the next four years, one of Zimmerman's tasks will be to focus on succession planning, not only for her position but also for internal promotions.
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Sept. 23, 2014 -- George Chamberlin speaks with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer about the importance of the military on San Diego's economy at a presentation of the San Diego Military Advisory Council’s sixth annual Military Economic Impact Study.