Much achieved, much left to be done in 2011
by City Councilmember KEVIN FAULCONER
Dec 15, 2010 | 562 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CITY COUNCILMAN KEVIN FAULCONER
CITY COUNCILMAN KEVIN FAULCONER
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The following is an excerpt from City Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer’s Inauguration Address, delivered Dec. 6. To read the full address or watch the video go to: www.sandiego.gov/city-council/cd2/

As your councilmember, my mission is clear: To passionately guard San Diego’s tax dollars, protect our beaches and bays, and provide effective, consensus-driven neighborhood and citywide leadership — and to do so transparently, ethically and with results for the citizens of San Diego.

I am honored to represent District 2, which includes the city’s bays, most of its beaches, historic neighborhoods rich with character, and the vibrant urban core. It is truly the heart of our city.

I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together since you first elected me in 2006.

Of the many achievements, those that stand out include breaking ground on a new main library, opening the 46-acre NTC Park, establishing the Mission Hills historic districts, bringing curbside recycling to Mission Beach, preventing the closure of the Ocean Beach library and repairing 72 miles of streets in our communities.

Fighting for my neighborhoods also means tackling citywide issues that benefit all San Diegans. Since I took office, there have been six significant proposals on the ballot that were important to District 2 and the city as a whole.

I championed five of those ballot proposals, all of which voters supported.

The Mission Bay Park protection measure; alcohol-free beaches and bays; strengthening the city’s audit functions; allowing managed competition and making the city’s “strong mayor” form of government permanent.

I campaigned strongly against one ballot measure, which voters rejected — Proposition D.

In overwhelmingly rejecting this sales-tax increase last month, voters delivered a clear message: City Hall must live within its means. We must continue to change the way we do business.

To accomplish this, San Diego needs strong leadership, and I’ve sought to lead by example — by standing up to fight for what’s right, even when it may be unpopular.

While we’ve clearly made strides, our work is not done. In the upcoming year, the city is facing a significant budget shortfall. As we work to face this challenge head-on and balance the budget, I want to make one point very clear: I will not vote to lay off police officers or firefighters. Public safety is the number one role of government, and nothing should stand in the way of that. In fact, we must go one step further and examine every option to end rolling brownouts.

We can do this!

In the upcoming year, we can save tens of millions of dollars if we take decisive action, including:

• Getting out of the landfill business and competitively bidding our information technology contracts;

• Permanently reducing retiree health care costs; and

• Unleashing the efficiencies and creativity of the private sector by finally starting managed competition and fulfilling the will of San Diego voters.

The tax dollars hard-working San Diegans send to City Hall must be spent wisely. That is why I am proud to be spearheading an effort with Mayor Jerry Sanders that will end the pension system as we know it.

This groundbreaking ballot measure asks San Diego voters to replace pensions for new general member hires and elected officials with a 401(k)-style plan. We must have a system that is fair to employees but affordable to San Diego taxpayers.

I’ve listed several of the reforms we’ve made since I took office. Ladies and gentlemen, this would be the biggest reform yet. And it has already come under significant fire by those who seek to continue the status quo.

The status quo is broken.

This is a bold move for our city, but if a 401(k)-style plan works for businesses everywhere, it can — and will — work here.

Let me be clear: city employees did not cause this problem, and you will not hear me say that they are to blame.  But we must change this system because an unaffordable benefit is not a benefit at all.

— Kevin Faulconer represents District 2 of the San Diego City Council, including Ocean Beach and Point Loma.

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