Kevin Faulconer – candidate for mayor of San Diego, and sitting councilman for Ocean Beach and District 2 – is staking out his priorities for his campaign, and they’re standard right-wing Republican fare: so-called “pension reform” and “managed competition” – code words for the privatization of public services and retirement plans.
In an interview with the editors of the U-T San Diego editorial page published today, Sept. 12th, Faulconer answers their questions – totally softball, as he is now the standard bearer of the GOP run for mayor and the U-T, of course, is the Republican house propaganda organ. Who would have guessed that he was their first mayoral candidate to be interviewed.
Mr. Faulconer – on the City Council for the past 7 years representing OB, Point Loma, the Midway District, most of PB and Mission Beach, parts of Clairemont, Hillcrest – was asked:
Question: What are those things we still need to do in terms of the financial stability of the city?
Faulconer’s immediate response: “First and foremost, we need to have a mayor who is committed to pension reform.” Period. After a long-winded further response – that was rather vague in immediate details, he was asked:
Question: Ok it’s Nov. 20, you’ve won the election without the need for a runoff. What’s your first priority?
Answer: “Several. Absolutely, from a financial standpoint, moving forward on managed competition, …” He went on to extoll the virtues of managed competition, and also added – as every politician now adds – “getting us back into the infrastructure business, …” He also wants to stabilize the police department.
As the San Diego Republican Party does its darnedest to make Kevin look like a “centrist” or even “moderate”, he continues to espouse the standard – and right-wing, we must add – agenda of the powerful cabal that holds sway over the GOP in this town.
“Pension reform” and “managed competition” are right-wing concepts and are the favorite fare of those who wish to make government so small, that it can be drowned in a bathtub – as the Republican guru Grover Norquist has famously declared as the agenda of the Right. Carl DeMaio was such a proponent – and so was former-Mayor Sanders, and his allies – which included Kevin Faulconer.
Faulconer and DeMaio both still support this hard-right agenda: privatize government and try to ban public employee unions – or at least undercut them at every turn. Force all the services that public employees now provide into the private sector, the pro-profit sector. This should not be a surprise as Faulconer has represented downtown interests in San Diego for most of those 7 years – until district boundaries were redrawn recently.
Who else would call maintaining the city’s infrastructure “the infrastructure business“? My emphasis.
Calling “pension reform” a priority is a diversionary tactic, critiques say. It’s a ginned-up attempt to funnel the low-level rage and resentment within the electorate against public employee unions. It’s also a chance for Faulconer to say “thanks for not running” to DeMaio, as the former mayoral candidate is helping to sponsor a state-wide ballot initiative to undermine pensions.
And calling for such “reform” is the right’s push for 401(k)’s – another grand give-away to the private sector. 401(d)s have been shown not to be a reliable source of retirement funds, but it sure helps those who finance them.
Kevin’s priority of “managed competition” is even more obviously a push to privatize what city government provides to its residents. By requiring city departments to have to compete with firms in the profit arena in order to get the job done, can seriously waste time and energy within those departments – preventing them from carrying out their tasks, as well as helping to destroy morale within those city departments.
Government and the governmental services it gives is not a business. Government should not be run as a business. In fact, government works to protect citizens from the abuse of business. Government stands between citizens and business.
So, Kevin Faulconer is ready to bring San Diego back – bring the city back from the brink of getting out of Republican control. Let’s get on with the business of privatizing government and everything it does, says Kevin.
And woe is San Diego if he is elected. Far from being a “moderate” or “centrist” – Faulconer is another version of Carl DeMaio – much nicer, yes, but just as nasty – towards those of us who rely on government and those who work for us.