Assemblymember, and now Mayor-elect Todd Gloria makes history again by being the first person of color and first gay Mayor-elect of San Diego. Gloria’s public service career spans two decades of results oriented hard work. The San Diego Mayor-elect answered some questions for us regarding his career, his message and his plans for “Americas Finest City”.
LGBTQSD NEWS: In 2013, San Diego called upon you to be our ‘Interim Mayor.’ Now, 7 years later, you will once again be our mayor, how does that feel?
It feels great. We have campaigned for 22 months to win this election. Now that we have won this race, I’m honored to once again serve in San Diego’s mayor — the first openly LGBTQ person to have been elected to serve in this role.
LGBTQSD NEWS: What message does your election as our first mayor of color and member of the LGBTQ community send?
I hope it sends a message to the LGBTQ community and communities of color that our city is becoming more open and inclusive. It says that pathways of opportunities exist for more people. Our responsibility is to ensure more members of our community can access those pathways.
LGBTQSD NEWS: In the last few months, this mayoral campaign turned very negative and for the first time, even your parents were brought into it. How did your family deal with it?
I’ve chosen a life of public service and my family has been supportive of my choice. While I’m fair game for political attacks, my family should’ve been off limits. Those who chose to attack my parents should be ashamed of themselves.
LGBTQSD NEWS: You are also our first mayor who actually is a renter, so what are your plans for our affordable housing problems?
Our housing affordability crisis is the top challenge we must face and my personal experience with San Diego’s high housing costs motivates me to tackle this problem on behalf of the many local residents who need relief from skyrocketing rents and unattainable sale prices. I believe we must build more housing with a focus on homes priced for the working and middle class. I look forward to unveiling initiatives to accomplish this very soon.
LGBTQSD NEWS: You have a good relationship with our police chief and department. How do you see yourself improving relationships with those who want to defund them?
The passage of Measure B that will strengthen our city’s police review board will do a lot to increase oversight and accountability for our officers. I’ve committed to fully and faithfully implementing Measure B as proof of my administration’s commitment to reforming police practices. I will continue to work with the police chief, the community, and our officers to find additional improvements to increase trust between the department and the neighborhoods they serve.
LGBTQSD NEWS: The homelessness issue is one facing almost every American city; do you really think it can be solved?
Cities across the nation are successfully ending chronic homelessness and my goal is for San Diego to join those communities. We will accomplish that by following best practices like housing first, that pairs shelters with services to get people off the streets and keep them off the streets. I look forward to working with our new county supervisors to collaborate on solutions to make a meaningful reduction on the number of San Diegans living on our streets.
LGBTQSD NEWS: Your support for bike lanes was not popular with a lot of people. Are you planning to expand them?
Yes, I do. We have yet to build a complete bicycle network and many San Diegans have not seen the kind of infrastructure that will boost safety and attract more users. Doing this will reduce traffic, save lives, and help San Diego meet its Climate Action Plan goals.
LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you see the working relationship between the city and county improving when it comes to COVID-19?
The election of a new mayor, five new council members, and three new county supervisors provides an opportunity for the city and the county to reset its relationship and partner on a variety of issues to better serve our residents. We should prioritize COVID-19 and homelessness as the issues we use this reinvigorated relationship to tackle first.
LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you see yourself being a different mayor than anyone before you?
I will be San Diego’s 37th mayor. All of us bring different experiences, priorities, and visions to the job. I’m sure that mine are unique and hope that all of them will be used to benefit all San Diegans.
LGBTQSD NEWS: Is it true you have been in a serious committed relationship for a few years and will you have a ‘first gentleman’?
I am in a long-term committed relationship. My partner Adam is very supportive of my public service — as is our dog, Diego. I’m sure they’ll be involved as appropriate.
LGBTQSD NEWS: How do you see your inauguration ceremony in view of COVID-19?
The inauguration is scheduled for Dec. 10, 2020. It will be done in compliance with state and county health protocols, meaning most will have to experience it virtually.
LGBTQSD NEWS: Do you support the continuation of outdoor dining for 2021?
Absolutely. In addition to being a meaningful way for local restaurants to survive COVID-19’s necessary restrictions, outdoor dining has proven popular with San Diegans and helpful in increasing the vibrancy of our neighborhoods. I will work with stakeholders to make this a permanent part of our communities.