Party held at The LGBT Center for Mayor Bob Filner & Council President Todd Gloria
By Anthony King | SDUN Editor
Neighborhoods from across San Diego were well represented at a celebration of Mayor Bob Filner on inauguration day, Monday, Dec. 3. The toast, which included several Uptown restaurants, was held at The LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest. Both Filner and new Council President Todd Gloria were honored in an evening that lasted several hours.
Earlier in the day, Filner and District Three representative Gloria were sworn in, with Gloria beginning his second term on the council.
“I wanted to make sure that you knew how much we appreciated how much you did in this election,” Filner said, appearing at the Hillcrest event with his fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram. After speaking, the pair walked through the crowd, stopping to shake hands and get photographs taken with eager attendees.
Also that day, Gloria was unanimously elected as city council president. The former president, Tony Young of District Four, will be leaving the council at the end of the year, and Gloria became the first openly LGBT councilmember to hold the position.
Thankful for the accolades, Gloria said the evening was in part a toast to the community.
“This is your celebration tonight,” Gloria said. “The heart of San Diego is and always will be council district three.”
The event was organized in part by Linda Perine and San Diego Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee, who both appeared on stage with Filner. Also in attendance was Ingrid Croce, whom Filner gave special recognition to as a leader in the Downtown business district, calling her a “pioneer” in revitalizing the area. Croce opened Croce’s restaurant, now Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar, in 1985.
“She [opened] the first restaurant in the Gaslamp, before anybody had any guts to go in there,” Filner said of Croce. “She was a pioneer. She led the way.”
With a focus during the election on getting out of Downtown, a majority of Filner’s platform was to focus on neighborhoods. He purposely held his first press conference as mayor-elect on Nov. 7 in University Heights as well as the Dec. 3 inauguration ceremony in Balboa Park, the “jewel” of the city, he said.
“It’s a new day in city hall,” Filner said at The Center. “In fact, we moved city hall to the neighborhoods. We had our swearing in, not at the bubble of city hall, but in Balboa Park, to get out of that environment.”
Gloria said he supported the mayor on the community focus. The new city council district boundaries took effect Dec. 3, with Gloria’s district now extending west through Old Town and south through Downtown. Areas of City Heights that were in the previous third district are now in the newly created ninth district, which is represented by Councilmember Marti Emerald.
“Bob Filner made it very clear when he was running for office that he was going to put the neighborhoods first,” Gloria said. “I think it’s a great idea, and I’m looking forward to being his champion in helping him do that.”
The Center was one stop on Filner’s evening schedule, after visiting several city schools. He announced his intention of creating a youth advisory committee as a way to invite students to take part in the administration.
“We went to the schools, and now we’re celebrating in communities,” Filner said. “We are going to be an administration that works with neighborhoods. [One] that says that your quality of life – the livability of neighborhoods, the art, the culture, the biking infrastructure – is important. That’s what we’re going to talk about, and that’s what we are going to do.”
City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez helped organize the event, and handed out awards to Gloria, Ingram and Filner, giving Filner a commemorative plaque with each San Diego neighborhood listed. Sen. Christine Kehoe and City Commissioner Stampp Corbin also appeared on stage with the group.
Local restaurants providing free food for the 300-plus attendees included Urban Mo’s, Empire House, Snooze – An AM Eatery, The Deli Llama, Caffé Calabria, D-Bar, Fig Tree Café, Hillcrest Brewing Company, Local Habit, Sea Rocket Bistro, The Abbey Catering, Toronado, Crest Cafe, City Deli, Lotus Thai, Casa Guadalajara, The Wine Lover and Huapangos.
Cassandra Ramhap of the Hillcrest Business Association, who helped organize the toast, said all businesses were eager to participate.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to get the community together,” she said. “It’s really important to partner with the other community groups and organizations to come together and support the new mayor.”