(Editor’s note: This story, first published on Aug. 22, has been updated to reflect the City Hall news of Aug. 23.)
SAN DIEGO – City Council President Todd Gloria is poised to become San Diego’s Acting Mayor now that scandal-ridden Mayor Bob Filner resigned Friday as part of a deal reached this week during three days of mediation.
The city charter mandates that the City Council President becomes Acting Mayor should the Mayor leave office.
The City Council met in closed session Friday afternoon to discuss the proposed deal, which members passed 7-0 with two absences. Filner’s resignation is effective at 5 pm Friday, Aug. 30, and Gloria will take over at 5:01 pm Friday.
Gloria will become the second LGBT leader to serve as Acting Mayor following a major city crisis.
Toni Atkins, currently Majority Leader of the California Assembly, served as Acting Mayor from July 18 to Dec. 5, 2005 at the height of the last major city crisis. Atkins took over following the resignations of embattled Mayor Dick Murphy during the city’s pension crisis and then Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet, who quit three days into his leadership after being convicted in a corruption scandal involving strip clubs. Zucchet would eventually be cleared off all charges.
As City Council President, Gloria felt the wrath of the temperamental and confrontational Mayor during council meetings. Many hailed Gloria for his calm demeanor and professionalism while dealing with the Mayor, whose abrasive, in-your-face approach quickly wore thin at City Hall.
Gloria has been coy about whether he would run for Mayor if a special election has to be called to replace Filner, should he resign or be recalled. But Friday, after Filner announced his resignation, Gloria told local media that he would decide over the weekend whether he would run to finish out Filner’s term.
Filner foes were gathering signatures in an attempt to trigger a recall election amid Filner scandals involving sexual harassment allegations, “pay for pay” charges and other ethics issues. However, since just before San Diego Pride festivities in mid-July, Gloria supporters have been circulating a poster that reads: “Todd Gloria For Mayor 2013: Let’s Make San Diego Fabulous!”
Other prominent names being mentioned as possible mayoral candidates include two men who ran for Mayor last year: Carl DeMaio, a Republican who is currently running for Congress against freshman Rep. Scott Peters; and Nathan Fletcher, the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat who is now working as senior director of corporate development for Qualcomm. City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, head of the city’s Ethics Committee, also appears to harbor mayoral aspirations. Some people in the community want to draft Toni Atkins or Christine Kehoe, who termed out last year as state senator and is now out of politics.
Born May 10, 1978 in San Diego, Gloria is the third generation of his family to live here. According to Wikipedia, all four of Gloria’s grandparents ended up in America’s Finest City because of military connections. He describes his heritage as “half Native American (Tlingit-Haida, an Alaskan tribe), a quarter Filipino and then a little bit of Dutch and Puerto Rican,” Wikipedia says.
Gloria is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of San Diego, where he majored in history and political science. One of his accomplishments at USD was to add “sexual orientation” phrase to the university’s nondiscrimination policy, Wikipedia says.
He considers U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) as his political mentor, and was her district director from 2002 to 2008 when he was elected to the City Council after a runoff victory over fellow Democrat Stephen Whitburn. Gloria has represented the North Park-Hillcrest-South Park area since then, and he was chosen as City Council President in December 2012.
Gloria has always been active in the LGBT community, and is a past chairman of The Center’s board of directors.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at [email protected], @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.
As a matter of full disclosure, SDGLN Publisher Johnathan Hale has a personal relationship with Carl DeMaio.