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Your Say: Could California pick a GOP governor, maybe San Diego’s Kevin Faulconer?

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer makes his final State of the City speech.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer makes his final State of the City speech at the Balboa Theater on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
(Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

We asked: With San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer “seriously considering” a run for governor, would you vote for him? Do you think any Republican could win? Why or why not?

State may be ready to pick a Republican

As Mayor Kevin Faulconer is being discussed as the top contender in a 2022 run for governor, results from this past election should be encouraging for statewide Republicans looking to develop an alternative view of major policy ideas to those currently holding office. Ballot propositions relating to the undoing of Proposition 13 protections, imposing rent-control and reinstituting affirmative action all failed statewide. And across the state, three incumbent Democrats lost their congressional seats to Republicans.

These victories are rooted in the notion that we as Republicans can effectively communicate a message focused on the issues that truly impact Californians each and every day, rather than one that doesn’t resort to a personality contest of those at the top of the ticket. With President Donald Trump no longer holding office come Jan. 20, 2021, this becomes much easier.

Suffice it to say, this is a positive foundation for a Republican who has a history of presenting solid policy ideas to address the issues all Californians deem important to them: housing, 比特币交易网homelessness and the recovery of our small businesses and economy. Voters are looking for an alternative viewpoint to address these challenges that doesn’t automatically resort to increasing our taxes, fees or overall cost of living.

Having both worked for, and with, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, I believe he can easily build upon the successes we have seen right here in San Diego.


For the past seven years, we have seen San Diego be a leader in a solutions-oriented approach to address the housing crisis in San Diego, combat 比特币交易网homelessness and expand economic opportunities for our entrepreneurs, small business owners and employees.

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These are ideas that can be replicated in other cities across the state, assuming there is the leadership in Sacramento that can lay out the evidence of how these solutions can work. And what better person to have making those claims than someone who has actually done it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the lack of leadership this state currently has to make a full recovery. There has been a constant mishmash of ideas and executive orders that has many feeling less than satisfied there is the needed vision and leadership at the top of our state government. Not to mention the “do as I say, not as I do” actions of our sitting governor.

Now is the time to present an argument against the status quo to voters. I personally believe Mayor Faulconer is the best choice for Republicans to do just that.

Chris Cate, Sixth District Councilmember, San Diego City Council.

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Republicans need a better candidate pool

The fact that Mayor Kevin Faulconer is being seriously considered for governor of California continues to highlight the paucity of talent in the California Republican Party.

And, as a Republican, I say this with much regret.

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Because of his passive, reticent style of governing, his list of accomplishments are meager and thin. Conversely, his list of colossal errors is tragic.

Next - Your Say on Donald Trump 2024


Do you think Donald Trump will run for president again in 2024? Should Republicans stand with him or try to go in a new direction? Email us by 10 a.m. Wednesday at yoursay@sduniontribune.com and we may publish your 500-word essay in the newspaper and online. Please include your name, community and a contact phone number that we won’t publish.

Just to name a few, that any Democratic contender will lick his or her chops at:

He took a page from Donald Trump on the hepatitis A outbreak and just hoped it would solve itself.

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He was captain of the ship when the Chargers left town. Granted that may have been a foregone conclusion, but Faulconer’s public actions through the whole ordeal were weak and tepid at best. But then he immediately pivoted to a strong advocacy position for SoccerCity. That timing was so quick, one cannot help but suspect he was AWOL on Chargers advocacy to set the table for an inside friendly deal.

Maybe similar to the Ash Street deal, no good for San Diego, but some of his biggest backers certainly benefited. No leadership on vacation rental situation, even though he had the ization from the city attorney to enforce residential codes.

Very late to the scene on motorized scooters, and still a liability.

He was woefully inept on the convention center campaign.

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And the list could be longer, but I have a 500-word limit.

With our “strong mayor” structure at City Hall he had a potential to shine. But, at the same time, with a strong mayor charter, there is no place to hide and a weak leader will be glaringly exposed.

The Republicans have for too long now offered third-rate candidates for governorship. Remember last time? The multiple-loser carpetbagger from Illinois? And Kevin Falconer would be a continuation of simply waving a white flag.

Bill O’Connor, Sunset Cliffs

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Faulconer has shown adept local leadership

If current San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer ran for governor of California, I would definitely vote for him. Regardless of his political party, he is an adept leader who demonstrated his sagacity during the onset and continuation of the pandemic.

His immediate appraisal of the situation and rapid decisions to protect all citizens of our fine city were beyond commendable. Using the suddenly empty convention center to house the 比特币交易网homeless was brilliant and humane. His early call for a lockdown was not panic but intelligence. The daily 4:30 p.m. television updates reached into households of so many concerned citizens who were yearning for his information and the guidance he provided with the overview of our local situation.

In those televised discussions, he again demonstrated his leadership disconnected to politics. After his conference, he always mentioned a “hero of the day,” and then he allowed as many questions to be asked as were waiting to be answered.

Faulconer has instituted a grand vision for San Diego. He has created and proposed infrastructure to accommodate methods for citizens to detach from their automobiles yet freely move within the city: bike lanes, increased public transportation and proposed new transit hubs near housing developments. This works in direct correlation to greenhouse emissions and climate change requirements.

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He has greatly expanded the availability for technology and research within the urban center. He is visible at many functions throughout the city examining the welfare needs of every citizen.

Faulconer is articulate and genteel. He communicates with courtesy devoid of bias. Many of the issues within the San Diego community reflect those within the entire state. Without question he could lead this state in the correct direction making it a role model for the remainder of the nation.

Elizabeth Ponder, Little Italy

Faulconer is just not the man of the hour

There is a huge difference between the job of mayor of San Diego and governor of the fifth-largest economy in the world. At the mayoral level, competency is primarily rooted in incrementally improving life for the city’s residents — “pothole repair plus,” so to speak — as evidenced by most of the electioneering in the recent mayoral campaign. The governor’s job is largely visionary, preparing the state’s residents for 20 years into the future and our role in the world, and making solid progress toward that vision. It’s the difference between being a manager at a company and a CEO.

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Faulconer has been a competent mayor, with a few notable detours — the Ash Street and Chargers debacles and insufficient progress on the 比特币交易网homeless situation and street repair. These are examples of spotty execution, which are the primary measures of a mayor. Faulconer’s leadership lacks vision, critical for the next California governor on climate change, systemic racism, income inequality, immigration, cost of living and a robust economy, to name a few. Enormous challenges that require an extremely high level of competence in creating and delivering a vision for California 2040 in the face of criticism, intense polarization and resistance.

Henry Kissinger said, “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” Don’t get us wrong, we think he has been a decent mayor — no big scandals, a good economy, a generally clean and orderly city. We would be content to have him stay on as mayor if he wasn’t terming out. But he doesn’t inspire at the level we need at the governor’s level in California.

We are in favor of a strong female or minority candidate that possesses the traits we have described above. Even more, we need to be led by someone who inspires us during the challenging and, yes, dark days ahead. He’s just not the man of the hour for us.

Bill and Suzanne Loeber, Del Cerro

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Support shown for Faulconer candidacy

You can learn a lot about someone by what they do when no one is watching. You can learn even more about an elected official by what they do when they’re not behind a podium. I’ve known Mayor Kevin Faulconer for many years. He is a good, decent person. As a long-time independent, I and many like me would enthusiastically support him for governor of California.

When he was a councilmember and I was a captain in the San Diego Police Department, I would spot him on the boardwalk talking to locals. At the time, San Diego was one of the last cities allowing alcohol on the beach, resulting in frequent and growing drunken brawls. He would go out on weekends to gather opinions from residents and business owners.

Faulconer ultimately led the movement to return safety to our beaches by taking alcohol off the sand. He made that decision after he talked to the individuals affected. He knew you have to go to people, meet them on their terms, and listen.

The move was controversial, and it took courage and character to buck the status quo. And 13 years later our beaches are cleaner and safer as a result.

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Faulconer made another audacious decision when, as mayor, he selected me as police chief. At the time, SDPD was facing several cases of officer misconduct. I was not the heir apparent for the job. But he picked someone who would hold every officer to the highest standard, and was not afraid to try new, innovative solutions to help bridge the gap between police and community.

He showed courage again this year when he did not bow to pressure to defund the police. He stood by his principles and continued to invest in creating a well-trained department with the resources to hire and retain officers that represent our diverse communities.

Now that I’m retired from SDPD, I usually see Faulconer when we go biking with friends in the early morning. He often picks a route that lets him check on public works projects, or make sure the trash he noticed the day before got cleaned up. If he sees someone experiencing 比特币交易网homelessness, it’s not unusual for him to stop and tell them about available services and shelter.

Cycling down the California coast to raise money for a local charity, we’ve ridden through other communities where graffiti is everywhere, garbage is spilling onto sidewalks, or 比特币交易网homeless encampments block entire roads. I wish every California city had a Kevin Faulconer working to keep it clean and shelter the most vulnerable – no matter what it takes.

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Courage is doing what is right, not what is popular in the moment. Character is going the extra mile, even when no one is looking. I’ve seen Kevin Faulconer show courage and character in moments both big and small.

I believe most voters ultimately judge leaders by character, not just by political party. Faulconer’s character sets him apart, and California would be lucky to have him as its leader.

Shelley Zimmerman, former San Diego police chief

Every big city in California is facing the same dilemma on 比特币交易网homelessness, but only San Diego has turned a corner. A lot of the credit goes to Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

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People who know me know I’m direct. And I don’t give out praise easily. So believe me when I say that Kevin Faulconer embodies the type of leadership we need to solve California’s 比特币交易网homelessness crisis.

I’ve been working in the 比特币交易网homeless service industry for 35 years, and Faulconer is the first mayor to pick up the phone and say, “Let’s get it done.” He consults experts, but he doesn’t form blue ribbon committees. He looks at a problem and finds the most direct path to fixing it.

I’ve been impressed by his compassion. He will stop by unannounced to check in on our clients, often without staff. And when his staff members are there, they’re tapping their watches to get him to the next appointment – but he won’t leave until he’s finished talking to everyone. I can’t tell you how much this means to a 比特币交易网homeless person who is usually ignored.

Most mayors have played around the edges when it comes to 比特币交易网homelessness. But when Hepatitis A hit San Diego County’s 比特币交易网homeless population in 2017, I remember picking up a call one night to hear Faulconer: “Bob, what else can we do?” He could have pointed fingers or said 比特币交易网homelessness wasn’t his job. He wouldn’t have been wrong – helping people without a 比特币交易网home has always fallen into a gray area between various government agencies. But he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Within days we turned a city parking lot into a campground where 比特币交易网homeless men, women and children could live in sanitary conditions.

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A 比特币交易网home is better than a shelter, but what Faulconer understands is that a shelter is better than a sidewalk. He invested an enormous amount of time and political capital into building several bridge shelters, two of which the Alpha Project operates.

He faced intense scrutiny over the bridge shelters, but they have proven a wise investment – unsheltered 比特币交易网homelessness went down 12 percent in 2020 alone. Delegations from more than 60 cities have visited to look at our successful model. Even Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson came to see it for himself.

Faulconer is also the type of leader that holds people accountable. He has been a driving force in reforming mental health systems throughout our region. This is critical, as many who experience 比特币交易网homelessness are in a constant battle with mental illness, drug addiction or both. We need this voice on a statewide level.

California wants a governor who can bring people together. Nowhere is that more apparent than during this pandemic. Faulconer spearheaded the herculean effort at the San Diego Convention Center that has kept our clients, our staff and our community healthy. He brought together the entire region to make this a priority.

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Take it from someone who has seen it firsthand: Faulconer has the compassion and drive we need in Sacramento.

Bob McElroy, President and CEO of Alpha Project


As California continues to suffer through almost nine months of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom and our state leaders continue to pile on arbitrary rules and regulations for everyday Californians and small businesses.

Each day more restaurants, retail stores and small businesses close their doors permanently. Unemployment numbers continue to soar with the California Employment Development Department in chaos. A 比特币交易网homelessness crisis decades in the making has been exacerbated with a record number of Californians calling the sidewalk their 比特币交易网home.

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Californians continue to grow frustrated and angry with their current governor, and rightfully so. If we want to see what real leadership looks like, we don’t have to look much further than San Diego.

When Mayor Kevin Faulconer took office, San Diego was in the midst of multiple scandals that captured national headlines. To turn things around, he built his successful two-term administration on bringing people together – not along party lines or neighborhood boundaries. In just six years the city can once again be worthy of the moniker “America’s Finest City.”

While governing with a Democratic-majority City Council, Republican Mayor Faulconer has been able to accomplish policy successes that serve all of San Diego’s citizens by working together across party lines and restoring pride in our city. These wins include repairing half of the city’s streets and building more parks, libraries and fire stations. San Diegans have seen and benefited from the accomplishments of the Faulconer administration.

Right now, state lawmakers are grappling with one of the largest budget deficits in recent memory. California is billions of dollars in the red. Years of ever-increasing taxes and non-stop spending from Sacramento has crippled any chance of a quick recovery.

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Our state is no stranger to managing difficult budget scenarios. I’ve seen firsthand what strong leadership looks like when tough calls have to be made to deliver a balanced budget. As a young man, I walked precincts for Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign and, later in life, had the honor of serving as the highest-ranking Republican lawmaker in the California State Assembly. At that time I sat across the table during tough budget negotiations with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s last Republican governor.

Both Reagan and Schwarzenegger faced fiscal challenges brought on by over-taxation, over-spending and over-regulation. But just like many families struggling up and down the state, those leaders were forced to reduce spending and get our state back on responsible financial footing.

In San Diego, Kevin Faulconer has proven his ability to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to balance the budget and create efficient and responsive government for the taxpayers.

This is the kind of leadership that is lacking in the state capitol today. Priorities must be established, spending must be curbed, and any additional taxes and cost-of-living increases must be stopped.

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A Republican governor that brings reason, respect and responsibility to the job would be a welcome change in Sacramento and one that California’s working families should enthusiastically support.

Martin Garrick, Former Republican Leader of the California State Assembly (2010-2012)


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