SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Taxpayers paid more than $11,000 for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to travel on a national public relations tour to New York City and Washington, DC.
Faulconer conducted ten national media interviews in two days, according to the mayor's itinerary obtained by CBS News 8 under the California Public Records Act.
The media blitz was touted in a city news release as a way to promote San Diego's comeback economy.
“Look at what we're doing with our innovation economy and our life sciences economy,” said Mayor Faulconer during a television interview on Wall Street Journal Live.
The mayor's interview discussions ranged from the economy, immigration and immunizations, to just plain old politics.
“You look at the San Diego innovation economy and what we've done on polio, what we've done on measles vaccination; a lot of that has come out of the great minds at work in San Diego,” the mayor said on NBC's Squawk Box.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is not just essential for San Diego and the state of California, it's essential for the United States and I'm a big proponent of it,” said Faulconer on Bloomberg TV's Bottom Line.
“It's not about Republicans, Democrats or Independents; it's what's the right thing that we should be doing," Falconer said on during a live webcast from the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.
Mayor Faulconer appeared on the hour-long webcast with the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and later attended a reception at the British embassy, according to his itinerary.
City expense reports show the mayor's trip cost taxpayers $11,264, including expenses of $3,045 for Mayor Faulconer; $1,443 in expenses for the mayor's press secretary, Charles Chamberlayne; and $6,776 in taxpayer money to pay for two San Diego Police officers to travel as security escorts.
The city's deputy chief operating officer, David Graham, also accompanied the mayor.
When CBS News 8 requested Graham's expense reports, the mayor's spokesperson emailed us a one-line statement that read, “David Graham chose to pay for his own expense for the trip.”
The mayor's office did email us several expense reports that show former mayor Jerry Sanders also traveled to Washington, DC back in 2012.
Those reports, however, said nothing about Mayor Sanders conducting a series of national television interviews like the ones done by Mayor Faulconer.
In Faulconer's interview on Bloomberg TV, the mayor was asked about his political future.
Faulconer has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for either the U.S. Senate race 2016 or a candidate for California governor in 2018.
“There's going to be a U.S. Senate opening in California. Are you interested?” asked Bloomberg TV's Mark Crumpton.
“No, I'm interested in doing exactly what I'm doing,” responded Faulconer. “I think I have the best job in the country running America's Finest City and I love it.”
Mayor Faulconer's office issued the following statement to CBS News 8:
"Trips like these are commonplace for other major metropolitan mayors as they advocate for state and federal policies in Sacramento, D.C. and around the world that generally promote their economy and region for investment opportunities. The in-house DC Brookings forum and many of New York financial interviews required that the mayor attended in person."
"This trip was coordinated in conjunction with the San Diego EDC and Brookings Institute."
"All of the reimbursements that city staff requested were appropriately reimbursed, reported and consistent with the City's rules and laws."