Skip to main content

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

Former Mayors Sanders, Hedgecock, Wilson Reflect On Years In Office

"Leading San Diego: Former Mayors Reflect" brought three former mayors together to look back at their time in office, share their successes, their regrets and their answers to questions from San Diegans.

Former mayors Jerry Sanders, Roger Hedgecock and Pete Wilson sat down together Wednesday night for KPBS' "Leading San Diego: Former Mayors Reflect."

The program allowed all three former mayors to look back at their time in office, share their successes, their regrets and their answers to questions from San Diegans.

Pete Wilson was elected Mayor of San Diego in 1971.

Wilson's plan for managing growth encouraged density in the city's urban core and he established San Diego's redevelopment agencies.

Under Mayor Wilson's leadership, the city used public bonds and private investments to revitalize features of Downtown, including the Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza and the San Diego Trolley.

Wilson was involved early on in pension reform and while he served as mayor, city employees withdrew from social security in exchange for lifetime health benefits.

Wilson resigned as San Diego's Mayor in 1982 after being elected to the U.S. Senate

He later served two terms as California's Governor.

Roger Hedgecock was elected to serve out Wilson's term 1983.

Hedgecock is credited for his role in getting the voter-supported downtown convention center built. As mayor, he carried out projects begun by Wilson including, extension of the San Diego Trolley.

Hedgecock suspended new construction permits north of downtown in an effort to make developers cover the costs of roads, parks and fire stations.

By 1985, San Diego's older neighborhoods needed $1 billion dollars in infrastructure repairs.

Hedgecock was elected to a second term but he was forced from office in 1985 after he was found guilty of conspiracy and perjury relating to campaign contributions.

The state Supreme Court overturned his all convictions except for one misdemeanor.

Hedgecock may be best known for his nearly 30-year career as a conservative talk radio host.

Former San Diego police chief Jerry Sanders was elected mayor in 2005, when San Diego's pension fund liability was nearly $1.5 billion dollars and growing.

With his sights set on balancing the budget, the city's first strong mayor led the effort to cut future pension debt with voter-approved Proposition B.

Following a lawsuit over sewage spills, the city covered the cost of repairs by raising water and sewer rates.

And, the city began borrowing hundreds of millions in bonds to pay for long overdue storm drain and street repairs.

Under Sanders' leadership, the city used redevelopment funds, grants and private investments to break ground on San Diego's new Central Library.

Sanders became president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce this year.

Former mayors Susan Golding, Dick Murphy and Maureen O'Connor declined to appear on the program.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.