Gloria Brings Change On Medical Marijuana, Lobbyists, Open Data
The city of San Diego has resumed enforcing medical marijuana zoning restrictions, will rehire lobbyists let go by former Mayor Bob Filner and will work toward increasing the public's access to city data, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said Thursday in his first weekly media briefing.
Gloria presented several changes and updates to Filner's policies and repeatedly pointed out what he said were gaps or inconsistencies in Filner's programs.
The city's homeless shelters may have to close in April because Filner did not provide enough funds to keep them running year round, Gloria said. Gloria will visit both shelters in the next few days, look for other sources of funding for them and look at administrative costs of running both shelters, but he said it may not be enough.
"It's extremely unfortunate that Mr. Filner allotted insufficient funds to keep our shelters open year-round as he had promised," he said. "The lack of adequate funding for homeless programs is another example of a mess that was left by the previous administration that I must now clean up."
Gloria took other opportunities to paint Filner's administration as incompetent, saying Filner "neglected to consider the need for fuel tanks to run the trams" in Balboa Park.
Those tanks are being finished now, so the trams will be running by mid-October, he said. Gloria added that some disabled and elderly people have complained that the removal of parking from Plaza de Panama has made visiting the park's museums difficult, so he is looking for extra parking spots in the Alcazar Parking Lot near the Museum of Man.
Filner also "fired (the city's) lobbyists for apparently no reason," Gloria said, leaving San Diego unrepresented in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Gloria will put out a request for proposals to hire new lobbyists, but in the meantime has renewed contracts with the city's previous lobbying firms, Patton Boggs and Sloat Higgins.
Gloria also introduced swift change in the city's enforcement of medical marijuana zoning restrictions. He said he directed staff last week to resume the enforcement that had been halted under Filner's administration.
"The city of San Diego will not reward bad behavior," he said.
"The previous administration didn't always follow the rules," he added. "When we know that we don't actually have zoning regulations that allow for medical marijuana dispensaries, obviously the mayor had ceased enforcement, and was not providing the cases that Code Compliance would generate to the City Attorney's Office."
Gloria said medical marijuana is an important issue to him, and that a draft medical marijuana ordinance will go before the City Council in January.
Some of Gloria's other updates included:
- The city will move forward with its managed competition program, which opens city services to competitive bidding.
- There will be a request for proposals from developers on how to use the old Central Library building.
- Gloria will work with the city's director of information technology and Councilmembers Sherri Lightner and Mark Kersey to make more of the city's data and records open to the public. He will present an update on the plans in October.
- The city is finalizing the contract with the San Diego Unified School District to give free bus passes to high school students. Gloria said this is a one-time contribution and the city will get a report on "measurable outcomes" from the pilot project.
Gloria said media briefings will continue every week during his administration, which lasts until a new mayor is elected.