Councilmember Gloria re-elected, weighs in on mayor race and council’s political future
By Anthony King | SDUN Editor
After his re-election win in the primary on Tuesday, June 5, District Three Councilmember Todd Gloria announced his support of Congressmember Bob Filner for San Diego mayor. Before the primary, in which Filner and Councilmember Carl DeMaio received enough votes to quality them for a runoff election in November, Gloria had declined to endorse.
Saying he did not previously make an endorsement “largely out of respect for the fact that there were three candidates that I’m personal friends with,” Gloria announced he would support Filner from here on out.
“I will be fully in favor of Bob Filner, and will do what I can to make sure that he’s our next mayor,” Gloria said, adding that he had already reached out to Filner to show his support. The morning after the election, Gloria stood with his staff members at the corner of 6th and University avenues in Hillcrest holding signs of thanks to his supporters.
Filner, a Democrat, will run against DeMaio, a Republican, in the November 6 general election after taking 30 percent of votes cast in the primary verses DeMaio’s 32 percent. Of the other two major candidates, Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher received 24 percent of the vote and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis received 13 percent.
Also after the primary, the political makeup of the council remains unknown and will likely not be decided until the November election, as well. Incumbent Councilmember Sherri Lightner, who did not receive a plurality of votes in Tuesday’s election for District One, will face a runoff election against opponent Ray Ellis. Lightner is a Democrat, while Ellis is Republican.
With the council adding a ninth district, which Marti Emerald won with 71 percent of the vote over Mateo Camarillo’s 21 percent, Gloria said the political leanings of each councilmember becomes even more important.
“Sherri Lightner is a phenomenal City Councilmember,” Gloria said. “I believe she will be elected, in which case there’ll still be a Democratic majority [in the council].”
Gloria, who ran unopposed in his district, celebrated the early election returns Downtown on the evening of June 5 along with Lightner and Emerald. Saying there was “a lot of excitement” in their group due to his and Emerald’s win, Gloria added that he would continue to help Lightner in her re-election campaign.
“She deserves re-election and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens,” he said.
In other council races, Mark Kersey will replace DeMaio in district five after running unopposed, and Scott Sherman, who won outright over three other candidates, will represent district seven. Emerald, who opted to run for the newly created district nine seat after redistricting was finalized last fall, currently holds the district seven seat.
Proposition B, the hotly contested pension reform initiative spearheaded by DeMaio and supported by all Republican mayoral candidates, easily passed with 66 percent of the vote. Gloria, who has previously spoken out in opposition to the proposition, said the success of Proposition B was in part due to the conservative voter turnout.
“I think every election is the most important, but this one is significant,” he said. “Obviously with three conservative [mayoral] candidates running, you have more energy and more interest on that side than perhaps on the more progressive end.”
Gloria said his campaign was anticipating an “extremely low” voter turnout overall, with a majority of voters being more conservative-minded.
Of roughly 1.5 million registered voters in San Diego, initial numbers released by the County show 27 percent, or approximately 400,000 voters, participated in the June 5 primary. While all results are currently unofficial, with absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted, the results are expected to hold.
“Ultimately what we’ll have is a complicated legal mess that will play out over the next number of years at great expense to taxpayers,” Gloria said of Proposition B’s passage. “That, plus the added cost of the transition from a pension plan to a 401(k) plan means that I, as the budget chair … am going to have to work hard to … find resources to pay for the [changes].”
Currently, Gloria said the city has already received the pension bill for the next fiscal year, and anticipates applying the increase in cost from Proposition B to the following year. However, he said, the litigation costs would come “fairly soon,” and may have adverse affects on city services.
“We’re actually to the point of restoring services,” he said, “[but] we will have to accommodate [Proposition B costs] through budget adjustments, which often means service cuts.”