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San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who back in May quietly left town to burnish his image at a Memphis gathering of the Republican National Committee, has been sighted on the road again.

This time Faulconer showed up on the September 7 edition of CNN's State of the Union, boasting of what he said were San Diego's arrangements to protect the local populace from terrorists.

Asked show host Candy Crowley during an in-studio interview: “Do you reasonably feel that you are safer now?”

"The threat is constantly evolving, and you have to be ahead of it," the GOP mayor responded. “One of the things that I think is key…is getting that down to the neighborhood level, particularly in the cities….

"One of the things that we have in San Diego, is we have what we call terrorism liaison officers, these are police officers that have been cross-trained in terrorism prevention," Faulconer continued.

"There’s over a hundred of ‘em. They’re out there every single day, every night, on every shift.

'We’re really encouraging all our neighbors and our citizens, you know, as part of the homeland security’s effort, if you see something, say something."

What Faulconer didn’t say during his interview with Crowley was that the effectiveness of San Diego's multimillion-dollar taxpayer-funded homeland security program was recently questioned by city auditor Eduardo Luna.

Luna's July performance audit of the city's office of Homeland Security called out what it said was an inadequate level of security for a major American city.

"The City has one of the busiest international border crossings in the world, military installations, an international port, multiple large airports, over 150 high-rise buildings, tourist attractions, and large public venues such as Petco Ballpark, Qualcomm Stadium, and the San Diego Convention Center," the audit noted.

"These and other structural risks put the City at risk of different manmade disasters such as terrorist attacks."

But, Luna's report says, "The City does not have any formal procedures to ensure that departments comply" with the city's so-called “Continuity of Operations Plan” that is supposed to bring order to anti-terrorist and disaster recovery efforts.

"City departments have varying levels of emergency readiness," according to the audit, which adds, "the San Diego Office of Homeland Security’s authority to administer the City’s emergency management program is not formalized in the City’s municipal code or administrative regulations."

In addition, the report says, critical records important for anti-terror responses aren't being adequately tracked.

"Without well-maintained vital records, the City is ill-equipped to execute mission essential functions in the aftermath of a major emergency or disaster."

Backup locations for city operations in case of attack also fall short, according to the report. "Departments have not identified alternate locations, or have identified locations that are being used by other departments, or are otherwise unsuitable as a relocation site."

In a July 7 response on behalf of the Faulconer administration, fire chief Javier Mainar agreed with all of the audit's findings and agreed to rectify the situation by the end of fiscal year 2015, next June 30.

We have a call in to Faulconer spokesman Matt Awbrey regarding the mayor's interview with Crowley and other details of his latest trip.

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Comments

monaghan Sept. 8, 2014 @ 1:44 p.m.

I've had the impression that many agencies have become dumping grounds for Homeland Security largesse because that organization has more money than it knows where to spend it. Homeland Security provided unnecessary "securitizing" of the San Diego Unified School District Education Center building where administrators work and has given high-performance weaponry to the already-armed SDUSD police force. Probably the rationale is you can't be too safe, but how about that amazingly exposed take-off runway at Lindbergh Field?

Ironically, for years our January Martin Luther King Day Parade has bristled with displays of heavy military equipment by the Sheriff, Probation, Border Patrol and San Diego Police Department. I'll bet Homeland Security funded that stuff too.

Whether the City has developed an effective working plan for a terrorist emergency is another matter, but it sounds like one more example of what's become the security tail wagging the dog of civic life. With our many domestic troubles, San Diego hasn't kept pace with all the terrorism bells and whistles that are available -- paid by American tax dollars through Congress' post-9/11 hyper-vigilance -- to pour money down the Homeland Security drain.

Doubtless after this audit Mayor Faulconer will get on the stick.

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Visduh Sept. 9, 2014 @ 9 a.m.

It sure would be a good thing if the "Mare" acted on the results of the audit. But as far as him getting on a stick, I fear the most likely stick he will get on is a pogo stick, and hop around city hall plaza.

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AlexClarke Sept. 9, 2014 @ 6:23 a.m.

Anyone who thinks San Diego and surrounding cities are safe or safer is delusional. The next terrorist attack will happen and it will be from the very communities that abound in the San Diego area. The border is wide open and the waterfront is easy to get to. We have huge populations of the very people who share the same belief system as the ISIS folks. It should not surprise anyone when a terrorist, organized or self radicalized rises up and strikes right here in San Diego.

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dwbat Sept. 9, 2014 @ 8:39 a.m.

We have to remember that Faulconer's previous career was public relations, specifically with NCG Porter Novelli. PR people (like those ad guys in "Mad Men") are basically paid liars. They specialize in appearances, bells and whistles, and know how to put lipstick on a pig.

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paulwosullivan Sept. 9, 2014 @ 9:51 a.m.

Fact #1: The city documenting and announcing it's strengths and weaknesses ("Luna's July performance audit of the city's office of Homeland Security") is a testimony to good governance by demonstrating both accountability and transparency. Fact #2: A more accurate title for the article: "What CNN's Crowley Didn't Ask San Diego's Mayor." It's up to the journalists - especially at the national level - to do the research and ask the right questions for the viewers, not for the city's Mayor to voluntarily offer negative messages about our city much less our state of emergency readiness. Fact #3: The fundamental goal of any professional publicist (person managing the news media) is to get the truth out. We are not "paid liars" any more than an attorney, a politician or a journalist who all earn their living by communicating facts accurately to the public. Fact #4: From where I sit as a third-generation native, San Diego remains America's Finest City for a wide variety of reasons not least of which is very low friction between law enforcement and citizenry. San Diego instituted "community policing" way back in the 1990's and it's paid off. In this case, no news is very good news. SDPD Asks Citizens for Feedback

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dwbat Sept. 9, 2014 @ 11:01 a.m.

Professional publicists can say they only want to "get the truth out." But they are beholden to their paying clients, who want their company, organization or themselves shown in the best possible light. That's not "truth"; it's puffery, exaggeration and covering up flaws. Publicists ARE indeed some of the biggest liars around, just like politicians.

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