By Ed Harris, Candidate for San Diego Mayor
Kevin Faulconer is a nice enough guy. He’s worked hard to build an image as a down-to-earth problem solver. His political handlers claim that polls show he’s viewed favorably by most voters. In fact, they say he’s done such a good job that he’s now a contender to be California’s next governor.
So an obvious question is, why am I running against him for mayor in the June 7 primary election?
The reason is that Mayor Faulconer’s carefully burnished image is at odds with his actual performance. When he ran for mayor in 2013, he said he would fix our streets and create a plan of action to deal with the city’s billion dollar backlog of neighborhood infrastructure repair.
But the city’s Independent Budget Analyst recently confirmed what all of you who drive or walk on our streets already knew: Our neighborhood streets, sidewalks and other city infrastructure have gotten worse, not better. And Faulconer’s long-term “plan” to solve this problem is a ballot measure that just perpetuates the budget shell game that created the problem to begin with.
I won’t play political games with our city’s infrastructure. As a San Diego City Councilmember, I saved the city millions of dollars by blocking a terrible deal negotiated by Faulconer with the operator of Belmont Park. In 2014, the Independent Budget Analyst confirmed my objections, saying the city could do much better.
Faulconer promised to stem the loss of highly-trained police officers, firefighters and lifeguards that threatens the safety of our neighborhoods, but during his tenure the problem has gotten much worse. Our crime rate has spiked, and we recently learned that loss of trained 9-1-1 dispatchers have resulted in long delays in responding to emergency calls.
I’ll do what it takes to recruit and retain the finest public safety personnel so we can restore community policing, ensure timely response to emergency calls and keep our beaches safe and secure.
Faulconer promised he would protect taxpayers in negotiations to keep the Chargers in San Diego. His solution? A $200-million-dollar giveaway of our tax dollars for a billionaire owner and traffic gridlock in Mission Valley.
In contrast, I support the Citizens’ Plan, an initiative that finally gives the voters a say, prohibits use of public money for a Chargers stadium, and makes major hotel owners pay their fair share.
Faulconer promised he would expand our Convention Center to keep our visitor industry strong. But he is so beholden to campaign contributions from hotel owners that he’s been unable to present a viable expansion plan voters can support.
Unlike Faulconer, I will never put political ambition ahead of solving real problems. Faulconer has been mayor a little more than two years, but he’s already focused on running for governor. San Diego deserves better leadership.
During my time of service as a U.S. Marine, I learned to focus on teamwork and self-sacrifice to achieve goals. I have carried those values with me when I built a small business, to my service as a San Diego Lifeguard, and as a City Councilmember for the 2nd District.
As your mayor, I will restore quality city services, protect our neighborhoods and coastline and support a livable minimum wage.
What I won’t do is substitute news conferences and photo ops to promote my political career for real progress in addressing our city’s challenges. I prefer substance over sound bites and San Diego over Sacramento. With your support, I can and will do better.
Ed Harris is a husband and father of two, a San Diego Lifeguard Sergeant, Spokesperson for the San Diego Lifeguard Association and a former District 2 San Diego City Councilmember.
For more information visit www.HarrisForMayor2016.com