San Diego

State of the City: Mayor Promises Convention Center Expansion

Mayor Kevin Faulconer focused on homelessness and the waterfront expansion in Downtown San Diego

Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave the State of the City address Thursday, just after the Chargers announced their move to Los Angeles.

But he did not use much of his one-hour long speech to discuss the hot-button issue. Instead he focused on what's to come.

Faulconer committed to a waterfront convention center expansion, solving what he calls the "homeless emergency", and creating more affordable housing.

It is an aggressive agenda for a budget that is expected to include city department cuts.

He stated that he is planning to draw new revenue from an old source.

San Diego's homeless population spiked last year, jumping 19 percent higher than in 2015.

In Thursday's address, Faulconer committed to fast tracking services and finding beds for the homeless community.

“We'll start restoring the homeless funding we lost and put more revenue behind efforts to house San Diego's homeless,” he said.

The Mayor proposed a housing affordability movement for middle and lower income renters wanting to own homes.

“We are going to slash permit times and allow more market rate houses to be built,” Mayor Faulconer said.

Without the Chargers new stadium, proposals are off the drawing board but expanding the Convention Center, once coupled with a Downtown stadium plan, is still part of the waterfront makeover.

A recent budget analysis report indicated the City's pension costs could lead to deficits. Faulconer said he'll propose a hotel tax to generate new revenue.

“I will ask voters to increase lodging revenue from tourists so we can finally fund the waterfront expansion,” Mayor Faulconer said.

Councilman David Alvarez, for Dist. 8, often at odds with Faulconer, is not optimistic.

“All of those require a two thirds vote. That is a huge line to cross as we saw this year with a couple of initiatives,” Alvarez said.

The departure of the Chargers leaves open potential money making opportunities with Qualcomm stadium.

Councilman Scott Sherman, Dist. 7, said he likes the idea of a new NFL franchise, like the Raiders.

“If the Raiders were to be here in San Diego, they would own the southern California and California market,” Sherman said.

Both detached and contiguous convention center expansion plans were proposed last year.

Mayor Faulconer is throwing his support behind a plan that builds on to the existing structure along the waterfront.

Contact Us