Openly Gay Interim Mayor Todd Gloria Takes Reins
Todd Gloria, the President of the 9-Member City Council, will replace the resigning groping Bob Filner until an election can be held. Gloria, age 35, will take over on August 30th. Gloria has not confirmed that he will be running for the permanent job in ninety days, but during his mayoral job, he will no longer act as chairman of the council meetings nor be allowed to veto City Council actions. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner will run City Council meetings while Gloria serves as Mayor.
Elected to the council in 2008, Gloria was re-elected last year. At the start of his second term, Gloria was unanimously elected council president. Democrat Gloria, a graduate of the University of San Diego, represents District 3 which includes the city’s popular gay neighborhood of Hillcrest where he lives.
Replay of 2005
In similar circumstances, Toni Atkins, also openly gay, in 2005, became Mayor of San Diego for four months after Mayor Dick Murphy and Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet resigned. Mayor Filner was forced to resign on August 24 as part of a mediation agreement met in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former aide, Irene McCormack Jackson. Eighteen women have made sexual harassment allegations against Filner.
Mediation Deal Made With Filner
The Council last Friday voted, 7-0 to accept a mediation deal that included a swap: Filner resigns and the city will allocate $98,000 for his private lawyers in the sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner and the city. The city would pay his share of any damages awarded in court or in a pretrial settlement. The city, in the form of City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Councilman Kevin Faulconer, and Gloria, spent three days in negotiations with Filner.
In the fall elections, Gloria endorsed Filner, but Filner, combative, criticized not only Gloria, but also Jan Goldsmith, accusing her of being unprofessional and bringing high-profile misdemeanor prosecutions from her office.
Filner, who had served in Congress for ten terms, the San Diego school board, city council, complained that the council “strong-armed” by refusing to pay for his legal defense unless he resigned.”
Said Gloria, a former member of the San Diego Housing Commission and former chairman of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, “we have lost ground over the past few months. As of today, we are done losing ground. San Diego is back.”
At a news conference, Gloria said “over the next few months, until an election can be conducted, I’ll be working together with the council and the city’s executive team to establish priorities for the concerns addressing our city.”
Gloria is having a ‘top down review’ of all city departments, ‘swift action’ on items that sat inoperative on Filner’s desk for months, and weekly media briefings to assure transparency and accountability. He said that there would be some staffing changes and that a backlog of public record requests would be administered.
“We must communicate, said the acting Mayor, “that we are making every effort possible to correct our problems and that nothing less will be acceptable. Our objective is to provide our citizens with a fully functioning city government with ethics, integrity, and transparency.”