Kevin Lee Faulconer (born January 24, 1967) is an American politician serving as the 36th mayor of San Diego, California. He was elected in a special election in February 2014 after the resignation of Bob Filner and served the balance of his predecessor's term, through the end of 2016. He was sworn in as mayor on March 3, 2014. On June 7, 2016, he won election to a full term.
|36th Mayor of San Diego|
|Assumed office |
March 3, 2014
|Preceded by||Todd Gloria (Acting)|
|Member of San Diego City Council|
from the 2nd district
January 10, 2006 – March 3, 2014
|Preceded by||Michael Zucchet|
|Succeeded by||Ed Harris|
Kevin Lee Faulconer
January 24, 1967
San Jose, California, U.S.
|Education||San Diego State University (BA)|
Prior to his election as mayor, Faulconer served as a San Diego City Council member representing City Council District 2. He served on the council from January 2006 to March 2014, including two years as the council president pro tem, the number two leadership position on the council. He is a Republican, although local government positions are officially nonpartisan per California state law. With Faulconer as mayor, San Diego became the largest city in the United States with a Republican mayor.
Life and careerEdit
Faulconer was born in San Jose, California and grew up in Oxnard, where he learned to speak Spanish in grade school. Graduating from San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1990, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and served one year as Student Body President of Associated Students. He and his wife Katherine, a small business owner, live in Point Loma with their two children. Before running for office he was an executive with the public relations firm NCG Porter Novelli and volunteered on the Mission Bay Park Committee.
San Diego City CouncilEdit
Faulconer ran in the 2002 city council election for district 2 but lost to Michael Zucchet in a close-fought election. After Zucchet resigned in 2005, a special election was held that November. There were 17 candidates and none got a majority, so a runoff was held on January 10, 2006, between the two top vote-getters, Faulconer and Lorena Gonzalez. Faulconer won the runoff with 51.5% of the vote.
Faulconer was elected to a full term in June 2006 and re-elected in June 2010; in both cases he won an outright majority in the primary and so did not have to run in the November general election. He was ineligible to run for re-election in 2014 per city term limits.
Although Faulconer was once a supporter of alcohol being allowed on public beaches in San Diego (his 2006 opponent Gonzalez supported a limited ban), he changed his opinion after winning election to the city council. Following an alcohol-fueled riot at Pacific Beach in 2007, he persuaded the city council to pass a trial one-year ban on alcohol at the beaches; the next year the ban was made permanent by a citywide vote. The ban has not been challenged since, with the community generally approving of cleaner beaches and fewer emergency calls, and lifeguards and police saying it has made their jobs easier. However, the long-term economic impact, claimed by one individual to be a 160,000 person reduction in attendance on holiday weekends and a 50% drop in revenue for beach businesses, has not been studied.
In the fall of 2006, over 30 bars and restaurants in Pacific Beach agreed with one another to limit the offering of discounts on alcohol drinks. Faulconer supported the price-fixing agreement and spoke at the press conference announcing the agreement.
He campaigned against a proposed sales tax increase in 2010. Other issues he promoted include the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan and more housing services for the homeless. He pushed for several years for an ordinance limiting the parking of oversize vehicles on the streets; the ordinance finally passed the city council in July 2013.
Faulconer was chair of the council's Audit Committee, which is charged with clearing out an audit backlog and restoring the city's credit rating. He was vice chair of the Rules and Economic Development Committee and a member of the Budget and Finance Committee.
Mayor of San DiegoEdit
In September 2013 Faulconer entered the special mayoral election that resulted from the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner. He was endorsed by the local Republican Party and by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now president of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. He campaigned both in English and Spanish.
In the election held November 19, 2013 Faulconer received 43.6 percent of the vote and advanced to a runoff election against fellow city councilmember David Alvarez (who had received 25.6 percent of the vote) on February 11, 2014. In the runoff, Faulconer was endorsed by former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, a Democratic mayoral candidate who had placed fourth in the first round of the election. Faulconer was elected mayor with 54.5 percent of the vote in the runoff. He was sworn in on March 3, 2014.
In 2015, Faulconer declared his intention to run for a full term in 2016. His opponents in the election were former state assemblywoman Lori Saldaña and former San Diego City Council member Ed Harris. Faulconer won re-election in the June 7, 2016 primary by garnering 58.2 percent of the vote.
Faulconer had been urged by state Republican leaders to run for governor in 2018, and polls showed him as the leading Republican candidate. But he had consistently said he would not run, and in June 2017 he confirmed it, saying his top priority is finishing out his term as mayor.
In August 2014, Faulconer vetoed a measure passed by the City Council which would incrementally increase the minimum wage in San Diego to $11.50 per hour from the $9.00 statewide minimum. The Council overrode his veto by a vote of 6 to 2. However, implementation of the measure was delayed by a successful signature drive led by business groups, forcing a public referendum before the measure could go into effect. On June 7, 2016, the ballot measure passed with a 63.8 percent majority vote, allowing the measure to go into effect.
San Diego ChargersEdit
A major issue during his first term was a bid by the San Diego Chargers to move to the Los Angeles area. Faulconer campaigned to keep the Chargers in San Diego and proposed that the city build a new stadium, financed in part by the city and county governments. Faulconer later endorsed a ballot measure sponsored by the Chargers that would raise the hotel tax to pay for a stadium. The ballot measure failed with only 43 percent of the vote in favor. In January 2017, the Chargers announced that they would be relocating from San Diego to Los Angeles.
Convention center expansionEdit
In 2017, Faulconer put forth a measure that would fund the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center by increasing the hotel tax, but the City Council declined to call for a special election. In 2018, Faulconer supported a citizen's initiative that would accomplish the same thing as his original measure. The measure qualified, but too late to be included on the 2018 ballot. In April 2019, the City Council approved a proposal by Faulconer to move the election from the November 2020 general election to the March 2020 primary election by a vote of 5-4.
Housing and HomelessnessEdit
Faulconer has been an outspoken opponent of the "Not In My BackYard" mentality (also known as NIMBYism). He has called for scrapping restrictions on housing development, such as building height limits near public transit and parking requirements, as well as various restrictions on dense housing (including affordable housing). He has called for streamlining of the approvals process. Faulconer said these reforms were needed to combat San Diego's housing crisis, reduce homelessness and improve the environment.
In both his 2018 and 2019 State of the City Addresses, Faulconer vowed to reduce the growing number of people who are street homeless in San Diego. Faulconer's efforts included a 40 percent increase in funding from 2018 to 2019, the opening of shelter tents, the creation of safe parking spots, a storage center of the homeless, and successful advocacy for more funding from the State.
Climate action planEdit
In 2014, Mayor Faulconer released San Diego's first Climate Action Plan. The plan outlined Faulconer's proposed strategy for the city to meet State goals for the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, Faulconer proposed pursuing a City-run community choice aggregation program to meet the plan's goal of purchasing 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. By September 2019, Faulconer had convinced four other nearby cities (Encinitas, La Mesa, Imperial Beach and Chula Vista) to join San Diego's CCA through a joint powers authority.
Though a fiscally conservative Republican, Faulconer holds many socially moderate positions. Faulconer supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who live in the United States. He also supports same-sex marriage. In 2014, he participated in and supported LGBTQ Pride Month. In 2019, the mayor met with San Diego community leaders to voice support and encourage the US Congress to vote for the Equality Act to extend the Civil Rights Act to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As a part of his previously mentioned effort to address homelessness, Faulconer announced he was working with local faith leaders to provide shelter to LGBTQ homeless youth.
Mayor Faulconer has described himself as pro-choice on the issue of abortion. Responding to protests against pro-life, or anti-abortion, legislation, Faulconer made a statement saying that he would not restrict abortion rights in San Diego and would oppose movements to restrict abortion in California.
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- Mencken, Walter; May 31; 2019. "In wake of #StopTheBans protests, Kevin Faulconer pledges support for abortion rights in Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri". www.sandiegoreader.com. Retrieved 2019-09-06.