By Ed Harris, Candidate for San Diego Mayor
The first and most important responsibility of local elected officials is to protect your safety and the safety of your family. Nothing else – not football stadiums or running for higher office – comes close.
But here in San Diego, our mayor has spent considerably more time on the last two items than he has on the first. Informed in 2013 that a crisis was looming in 9-1-1 emergency dispatch because of the city’s inability to recruit and retain dispatchers, he ignored the problem for nearly three years, until horror stories of lengthy waits began leaking out.
If Election Day weren’t approaching and I hadn’t raised the issue, he still wouldn’t be addressing the problem. But in response to my criticism, he held a news conference to announce he’s throwing a little money at the problem and has a plan for fixing it. But his plan consists of shifting a few police officers from their regular duties to the Dispatch Center.
Councilman Todd Gloria spoke for many of his council colleagues when he said he wanted to know how that money would be spent before he judged its effectiveness. “I don’t know anything about it,” Gloria said. “I’d like to know a hell of a lot more, because I have had constituents contact me very upset about not having folks answering the phone.”
According to a San Diego Union-Tribune poll, close to 50% of respondents think the mayor’s response to the 911 issue has either been too slow or inadequate.
The same pattern of inaction followed by news conferences followed by promises of “plans” has repeated itself for months. In his State of the City address, Faulconer promised to have a plan for expanding the Convention Center presented to voters on the June ballot. Well June is almost here, and there’s no plan on the ballot.
He promised to put a comprehensive plan for repairing neighborhood infrastructure before voters, but that plan never materialized. Instead, Faulconer defaulted to a band aid plan developed by Council Member Mark Kersey that shuffles revenues around, but – according to the city’s Independent Budget Analyst – makes very little headway towards solving the problem.
He promised to do something about the alarming loss of experienced police officers that threatens the city’s ability to protect us, but the city is now losing 30% more officers per month than before Faulconer made that promise.
The mayor is big on promises, but short on solutions. Here’s the promise I make to you: I won’t put off solving problems to run for governor, and I won’t hide behind do-nothing plans. I will solve problems the old-fashioned way: By proposing specific solutions and then making them happen.
From the day you elect me, I will commit 100% of my attention to recruiting and retaining 9-1-1 dispatchers and police officers, to securing the funds necessary to repair city infrastructure in your neighborhood and to making your neighborhood as safe and healthy as possible.
Ed Harris is a San Diego Lifeguard Sergeant honored for valor, a Marine veteran, and former Council Member representing the 2nd District. For more information visit www.HarrisForMayor2016.com Email: Edharrisformayor@gmail.com