Mayor Kevin Faulconer with the city seal and flag in the background. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Mayor Kevin Faulconer with the city seal and flag in the background. Photo by Chris Jennewein

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer reiterated his opposition to a local increase in the minimum wage, vowed to make it easier to start a business and stressed the importance of collaboration in a wide-ranging discussion Monday with local journalists.

Faulconer met with a dozen journalists from local print and online media over lunch in a City Hall conference room. Aides said it would be the first of a series of “Pen & Pad” discussions.

On the question of the minimum wage, Faulconer noted that the state of California is already increasing it. For San Diego to raise it further would put the city at an economic disadvantage, he argued.

“We should be doing everything we can to help create jobs and not drive jobs to other locations,” he said. “The impact is opposite the impact that people are trying to achieve.

The minimum wage in California is due to rise to $9 in July and $10 in two years. A proposal by City Council President Todd Gloria would raise it in San Diego to $11.50 in three steps. The proposal would be put to a citywide ballot if the council approves.

Last week was “Startup Week” in San Diego, and Faulconer said he was working to ensure “certainty of process” in starting a business. “We need to have very clear rules of the road,” he said.

One way to do that, he said, is with online information and tools that make it easy to understand what needs to be done to launch a business or improve a property. He said he was hiring a new director of information technology to help achieve this goal. “We should be the most up-to-date, technology-savvy city in America,” he told the journalists.

He said one of his primary goals as mayor is to set a tone of collaboration, and he stressed the importance of working with people and being open to good ideas.

“I’ve tried to set a tone of collaboration. I think that’s the best way to achieve real results,” he said.

Among the other topics he discussed were:

  • He is pleased with the performance of new Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman: “I think she’s been the right person at the right time for the city.”
  • Reparing city infrastructure is a top priority because the city has “a lot of catching up to do” in the wake of the pension problems and recession.
  • Marketing San Diego to travelers is important because of hotel tax revenue: “You can’t take it for granted that people are going to come to San Diego.”
  • Recycling water so that it can be reused is important to San Diego’s future because of the drought and continuing rate increases by the Metropolitan Water District.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.