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San Diego Mayors And Their First Big Speeches To the City

Tarryn Mento
Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks about his inaugural State of the City address, Jan. 13, 2015.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer will lay out his agenda for the year at his inaugural State of the City speech Wednesday evening. Ahead of the address, he told KPBS that his remarks will focus on creating solutions for San Diego's problems.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time on infrastructure. I’m going to talk about opportunity, about getting our economy going, getting San Diegans back to work," he said Tuesday. "And making sure we’re working together as a team here to really make sure we’re making those changes — those structural changes. It’s really about quality of life."

San Diego Mayors And Their First Big Speeches To the City
Mayor Kevin Faulconer will lay out his agenda for the year Wednesday night in his inaugural State of the City speech. But how much weight do these annual speeches carry?

As San Diegans await Faulconer's full remarks, we reviewed what other mayors said in their inaugural speeches. Here's a look at how the city's most recent mayors delivered on some of their promises.

Mayor Jerry Sanders

Angela Carone
A portrait of former mayor Jerry Sanders, now the CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 5, 2015.

When Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders took the stage in 2006, he was stepping in to replace a mayor who abruptly resigned amid a financial mess. Sanders laid out a tough road ahead.


“There will be days when I make everyone angry, but I need to say and do what I think is right. It will take drastic but thoughtful reforms to change our city," he said to a crowd that welcomed him with a prolonged standing ovation.

He delivered on that promise — slashing budgets and cutting jobs. Even at the Police Department, which he pledged he wouldn’t do. He promised to spend money wiser and got voters to approve a measure that would help do that. But he was never able to work out a deal for a new Chargers stadium.

Mayor Bob Filner

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on the set of KPBS Evening Edition, February 2013.

By 2013, Sanders handed to Democratic Mayor Bob Filner a city with a much improved financial situation.

"Thankfully, our city resisted the temptation to throw in the towel, and instead, submitted to radical surgery — tough new fiscal controls, severe cuts in municipal services, and establishment of a new form of government — the strong mayor-strong council system — which created new checks and balances and increased accountability," he said at his unconventional State of the City speech.

He opened by delivering awards to prominent San Diegans but concluded with grand ideas: enhancing relations across the border, increasing City Hall hours and negotiating union contracts with a freeze on pensionable pay. He delivered on the contracts, partly on the City Hall hours and opened an office in Tijuana, but it’s not known how much it was used. And he didn’t break ground on a Convention Center expansion nor equip every city building with solar power like he had hoped.

But Filner's time as mayor was cut short. After he stepped down that summer following allegations he sexually harassed and battered women, Council President Todd Gloria stepped in.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria

Christopher Maue
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria gives his first weekly media briefing.

Gloria, a Democrat, delivered his first and only State of the City address as interim mayor in January 2014.

“San Diegans aren’t looking for miracles. You’re looking for responsible, responsive leaders focused on providing basic public services effectively and efficiently," Gloria said. "You want us to work together — not as Republicans and Democrats or business and labor — but you want us to come together to solve real problems. We hear you, ladies and gentlemen. And we have only just begun to provide the kind of government that you deserve.”

His ambitious list included raising the city’s minimum wage, tackling climate change, and addressing the long list of needed repairs to roads, sidewalks and sewers. Gloria unveiled a climate action plan before Faulconer took office less than two months later, and he introduced a minimum wage hike in April after he had returned to his role as council president.

Now, it's Faulconer's turn at the podium. His first State of the City address begins 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Balboa Theatre.

Transcripts Of Each Mayor's First State Of The City Address

Mayor Jerry Sanders, 2006

Mayor Bob Filner, 2013

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, 2014