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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


February 2014

February 13, 2014

Congratulations to Kevin Faulconer on being elected the new mayor of the City of San Diego. Throughout the nation and the world, the role of an urban mayor has become an important and influential component in the resurgence and success of metropolitan economies.

EDC took a look at Faulconer’s jobs plan from the standpoint of EDC’s priorities:  

EDC Priority: Talent

Talented workers are the lifeblood of San Diego’s innovation economy. Attracting skilled workers and developing San Diegans for the careers of the future is important for our region’s business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. It is our opinion that a mayor can and should play a critical role in both the attraction and development of a talented workforce.

Kevin’s policies and statements regarding workers and talent focus on our universities, business incubators, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Kevin also sets a goal for youth employment, with a particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math programs (STEM): “…providing summer jobs for 2,500 students to prepare them for bright futures.” To accomplish this goal Kevin cites working with the Workforce Partnership (and its existing Connect 2 Careers program) and programs like Job Corps to; “…expand access to technology, engineering and job training programs.”

Kevin speaks of working with local universities and property owners and managers to help turn at least four sites in the city into new high-tech incubators. He has also described working with local university leaders to create business mentoring programs for students.

EDC Priority: International Opportunities

Maximizing San Diego’s global competitiveness is a central focus of EDC’s mission and important to driving San Diego’s tourism and innovation economies. Increasing the region’s exports through the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative, expanding our international profile, attracting more foreign direct investment, and further engaging our neighbors in Mexico are all specific strategies we will work on throughout 2014.

Kevin talks about the importance of our binational economy and the unique strengths and opportunities we have when partnering with Mexico.  Kevin cites specific goals for increasing trade with Mexico and the Pacific Rim: “…increase trade with Mexico and the Pacific Rim by 100 percent within 5 years.” Kevin also speaks about working with the Port and Airport Authorities, as well as EDC, to increase our region’s exports and create better access to international markets.

Kevin talks extensively about the role a mayor can play in securing the funding and support to complete our border crossing and expand our border infrastructure.

Kevin also calls out the importance of international tourism to the local economy. He talks of supporting the Tourism Authority’s efforts to promote San Diego throughout the world and for securing San Diego’s spot as a top tourism destination.

EDC Priority: Business Growth and Expansion

Kevin’s plan is quite specific.   He calls out particular programs he would work to grow and expand: “The City’s business expansion, attraction and retention (BEAR) program will grow to help attract businesses by working with companies to provide permit assistance and fee reductions.”

He goes on to state specific milestones and deliverables:

 •“Within his first year as mayor, Faulconer will overhaul the City’s website to make it user-friendly so San Diegans and businesses can interact with the City quickly and easily.”

• “Within his first year as mayor, Faulconer will direct the City toward a modern permit-tracking program that expedites the permitting process.”

• “During his first term as Mayor, Faulconer will partner with commercial property owners and managers as well as local university leaders to create mentorship programs and at least four additional high-tech incubators strategically positioned throughout San Diego that will attract talented entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capital and good paying jobs.”

EDC Priority: Capital

An adequate flow of capital to companies at all stages of development is important to San Diego’s regional economy. Without the proper funds to grow or expand, San Diego companies will not be able to achieve their maximum job growth potential. EDC is focused on ensuring that companies have access to local, national and international capital resources and that growth opportunities are visible to potential funders.

In the dedicated investment portion of his plan, Kevin shares some specific goals and deliverables in this area. His website reads:  “In his first year as mayor, Faulconer will work with local universities and the innovation sector to develop a strategy to increase by 50 percent the federal grants the San Diego region receives by 2020 to fund technological breakthroughs and create good paying jobs.”  He frequently mentions his plans that involve: “…partnering with commercial property owners and managers as well as local university leaders to create…additional high-tech incubators strategically positioned throughout San Diego that will attract talented entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capital and good paying jobs.”

Kevin received the endorsement of BIOCOM, the biotechnology/life sciences association that works with public and private sector partners to promote the growth and competitiveness of the region’s biotechnology economy. BIOCOM is one of the few local trade associations within the innovation economy that endorses candidates.  Capital development is certainly one of BIOCOM’s top priorities and concerns.

EDC Priority: Land Use

Strong and informed urban planning efforts and protecting San Diego’s industrial land are important to our efforts to maintain a diverse and attractive economy for future investment and expansion.

Kevin’s policies and language regarding land use focus heavily on the protection of land for industrial use and economic purposes. His website states: “Faulconer will propose land-use policies that protect the thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs that rely on the vitality of the maritime industry.” He goes on to make the following commitment: “Faulconer will have the City conduct a comprehensive analysis and complete an economic development strategy that identifies – citywide – which industrial land needs to be preserved for jobs, and which areas can be used for residential and retail needs.”

Kevin also speaks about protecting the interests of neighborhoods and the environment as well. He commits to the following: “Faulconer will streamline regulations by strategically funding community plan updates that include Master EIRs (environmental impact reports)…Faulconer will prioritize San Diego’s low-to-moderate income communities to stimulate investment and revitalization efforts.”

Kevin has been outspoken about the challenges that the Barrio Logan Community Plan presents to industry and he has worked actively with the maritime industries to reverse the City Council’s action in approving the plan.

EDC Priority: Infrastructure

When EDC speaks of infrastructure needs, we focus more specifically on the larger, regional infrastructure projects that can move and grow an economy. Our members and investors see the airport, the Port of San Diego, our international border crossings, and our highways and public transportation systems as either strengths or impediments to economic growth. Increasing our international flights at the airport, improving wait times at the border and protecting our maritime economy will remain essential for job creation and economic prosperity. 

Kevin has specific sections of his website dedicated to the city’s neighborhoods, roads and deferred maintenance plans. When it comes to our region’s large infrastructure projects, Kevin’s plan also focuses heavily on our border, our relationships with Mexico and upgrading and modernizing our ports of entry. Kevin’s website states: “As mayor, Faulconer will work with leaders in Tijuana and Washington to modernize the border crossing and decrease wait times, transforming the San Diego-Tijuana border from lost economic opportunity into a competitive advantage that is the envy of the world.”

Kevin talks in detail about the need to increase our exports, create a regional export plan and ensure that our port-related infrastructure is aligned with these plans.

EDC Priority: Defense

San Diego’s military and defense economy impacts approximately 302,000 jobs—or one out of every five jobs in the region. The defense industry in San Diego generates approximately $32 billion for the region. Protecting our military assets and positioning our region to retain or grow its defense presence remains among EDC’s top priorities.

Kevin’s entire plan reflects a very strong understanding of – and commitment to – the local military and defense economy. Kevin’s website states: “Faulconer will initiate a comprehensive study of industrial land to protect middle-class jobs and provide greater certainty for the U.S. Navy and job creators to invest in confidence. Faulconer will use this analysis to create land-use policies that protect thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs that rely on the vitality of the maritime industry.”

Kevin outlines potential job training partnerships and employment programs for our region’s veterans. This includes: “…a plan to hire at least 130 additional police officers … and believes combat veterans have many of the skills necessary to succeed as San Diego Police Officers. Faulconer will collaborate with local veteran support programs, such as Reboot, to assist veterans returning to civilian life in finding good employment opportunities.”

Ultimately, Kevin’s plan speaks often about the need to protect and grow military and defense jobs within the region and showcases an understanding of the important role the military plays in San Diego’s economic landscape.

EDC looks forward to the opportunity to partner with Kevin and support his plans as we all strive to maximize the economic prosperity and global competitiveness of San Diego.

 

 

February 10, 2014

Ten years from now, San Diego could be the home of the Summer Olympics.

As the world watched the opening ceremony for the SOCHI Olympic Games on Friday, San Diegans gathered aboard the Midway for a celebration of their own. Guests were treated to a preview of what the Olympics could mean for San Diego and our nation. This video highlights our region’s attributes and venues demonstrating our capacity to fully comply with USOC and IOC guidelines as a host city. 

"We're already such an amazing destination city.  We've hosted multiple bowl games. We've hosted a Super Bowl. We invented sports like the Triathlon and the Iron Man, and all these other things we actually already have venues that the public has already built," said Vincent Mudd. In addition to serving as EDC's incoming chair, Mudd also heads up the San Diego Exploratory Committee. Learn more...