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.