Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Visit the Midday Edition homepage

Assemblyman Todd Gloria Announces 2020 Mayoral Run

January 10, 2019 2:29 p.m.

GUEST: Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego

Subscribe to the Midday Edition podcast on iTunes, Google Play or your favorite podcatcher.

Related Story: Assemblyman Todd Gloria Announces 2020 Mayoral Run


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

The 2020 election for San Diego mayor may seem like a lifetime away. San Diego Assemblyman Todd Gloria is the second candidate to throw his hat in the ring to replace Mayor Kevin Faulconer after he's termed out. Gloria served two terms on San Diego City Council and then became the interim there after the traumatic events surrounding Bob Filner s resignation and back in 2013. He then chose not to run for the office of mayor but rather ran for statewide office won an Assembly seat and he's been in Sacramento ever since.

Todd Lorio joins us now. Thanks so much for coming in. Thank you for having me Alisyn. So first of all why would you want to come back to city government in San Diego.

Well I think my passion is local government. I like intimacy with the public. I like the ability to see tangible results to the work that we do. I love my time in Sacramento. I actually think that time is going to make me a better mayor. Having seen the ability of what the State Government can you can actually help local governments but ultimately you know I come home every single weekend in part because helps me do my job. Now as an assembly member but also because I just really love the ability to interact with city kids every day hear their stories and figure out ways to make their lives better.

I think I can best do that as the mayor of San Diego.

Now there are some other fairly prominent Democrats who might also join you in the race including possibly Congressman Scott PETAs babri city council member has already thrown her hat in the ring. How would you differentiate yourself from these other Democrats.

Well I mean I think the voters will do that. But you know my lived experience as a third generation San Diego and as the son of a hotel maid and a gardener as someone who's grown up in this community seeing where it's been and has a vision for where it needs to go I think may make me unique. You know San Diego is actually a unique choice in this election. Often when you're selecting a candidate you're hoping that they'll do well. People actually have seen me in this role they've seen me do this job under the toughest circumstances and I hope they thought I did it well.

I'd love an opportunity to do it full time. And lastly also I think again based on my lived experience I think standing as someone who's like them in this office you know I'm a runner. I understand how difficult it is to make ends meet in this town. I've tried to limit out by championing the minimum wage increase in the city of San Diego. And I think people want someone with that experience and that those priorities in the mayor's office.

OK you mentioned that you were a renter and one of the issues about housing and the cost of housing the high cost of living here is rents we had a proposition on the ballot which would have had rent control Proposition 10 and I believe you did not take a position on that. Some people say that you were ducking the issue politically. Why didn't you take a position on that.

Well because you know I historically have opposed rent control but I also thought it was interesting to have the conversation with someone who was considering local office. You know ultimately that measure was about giving more power to local governments to make decisions. So while we may have a philosophical opinion about rent control I do think as someone who's running for mayor that you do want more tools at your disposal ultimately I'm hopeful that in Sacramento this year that we'll be able to advance some legislation that is supportive of tenants. That isn't exactly rent control but maybe more close to Naret caps.

Obviously the rent is too high too many people are struggling to make ends meet and too many folks can't see a way to ever own a home in this city. I understand that and it's going to be my top priority as mayor top priority.

So one of the reasons that house prices are so high is because we don't have enough new homes and all the neighborhoods are resisting denser development. You have said you know each city neighborhood should take its fair share but you can't strong arm communities. How would you do that.

Well it is true that you cannot strong on them but you have to make it a priority and you have to be in constant communication you know in my time on the city council we did it numerous community plans in my city council district that has created a new consensus if you will to facilitate new development development that the communities inviting and the developers are willing to participate in because of the certainty of process that has to be replicated citywide and frankly has to be done statewide. That's part of what I've tried to do at the state level creating new tools for cities to actually implement denser developments closer to transit where it's needed.

And you know ultimately I believe passionately in the ability to have a roof over the head of every San Diego at a price that they can afford. I think that's a reasonable goal and it's going to take I'm changing some communities and I'm going to have that conversation with with neighborhoods. This isn't just about folks who are currently living here. This is about their children and their grandchildren who cannot afford to live here. And I suspect that if we can put forward more proposals Sandy Eggins are reasonable people we can get this done.

You're quoted as saying that a modern form of development will work. What do you mean by that.

I think a modern form of redevelopment can work you know up in Sacramento I'm participating in legislation to try and resurrect that tool much like we were discussing a moment ago. Sacramento has given tools to local governments and taking them away. This is one tool they took away a few years ago. That was our primary funding source from the state of California for the construction of affordable housing. In terms of subsidized housing I don't think it's any accident that our explosion in the number of homeless in this community across the state has increased rapidly.

Without these dollars and we have to figure out some way to do it. What I mean by a modern form of it is that clearly there were excesses with the old form of redevelopment misuses of funds projects that people really didn't see as a community priority. What we want to do is create a funding mechanism again but limited to really addressing real blight of building aggressively new affordable housing and dealing with the infrastructure necessary to facilitate more development. I think if we can focus it on that we can get the support in the legislature and the governor to actually implement this and create a multibillion dollar funding source for cities like San Diego to build the housing they need.

OK now you also quoted as saying that you think that as mayor you would be able to end homelessness. Yes. I don't think you're the first person to make that claim is an ambitious claim. How on earth would you go about it.

Well you know of course it's it's an objective right. And so you know sometimes people have criticized me for blame that goal out which is a curious thing to say because there shouldn't be anyone who accepts any level of homelessness in our community. Our goal should be to have no homelessness. That said is it easy. No. This is the most complex social policy that we have that people crave simple solutions for which there are not simple solutions. How do we do this. Well Alisyn we know that cities across the United States have done this successfully multiple cities and some states have been certified by the federal government as having ended chronic homelessness or chronic homelessness amongst veterans in their communities.

But San Diego is not one of them. And I personally think that San Diego is absolutely as capable as Houston or as Salt Lake City or as Times Square communities that have done this if they can do it we can do it. I think the difference is the privatization the passion for the issue. And your listeners know that throughout my entire professional career this is what I focused on housing and homelessness has been what I've worked on as a housing commissioner as the chair of the city's housing committee as a member of the housing committee in Sacramento today.

This will be a top priority if for no other reason that it's more expensive to leave people out on the streets as we currently do to house them appropriately. We must do this because it's the morally correct thing to do and it's the taxpayer appropriate thing to do.

Climate change is perhaps the most challenging issue for all of us. Is there something that the mayor of San Diego should be doing more than what is already being done to come to delay climate change.

So Alison you may remember that when I served as mayor previously I helped author the city's landmark climate action plan. And I give Mayor Faulkner credit he has a he has adhered to the plan he helped to actually pass it during his time as mayor. But I feel as though we're not seeing the urgency that is necessary. The size and scale of this problem presents I think it's exacerbated by the just the recent decision to move forward SCCA for San Diego. I think that was a decision that could have been made sooner.

And that's the kind of privatization that I'd like to give to this plan. As someone who was critical in its development I want to be equally critical in its implementation. We have not a lot of time to spare as you know and I'm trying to leave that fight in Sacramento. But I again believe that the impact is better at the local level where we can actually make real changes to communities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to preserve our climate.

Well Gloria thanks so much for joining us. Thank you Alison. That's Todd Gloria who is running for mayor of San Diego in 2020 after Kevin Faulkner is termed out.