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Filner Kicks Off 'Pen And Paper' Sessions With Press

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner meets with members of the media during a "Pen and Paper" session on Jan. 30, 2013.
Katie Orr
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner meets with members of the media during a "Pen and Paper" session on Jan. 30, 2013.

Mayor Bob Filner held the first of what he’s calling “Pen and Paper” sessions Wednesday. Every month, the mayor plans to sit down with members of the media and answer questions.

Filner Kicks Off 'Pen And Paper' Sessions With Press
From the smell in La Jolla to the fight over Balboa Park, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner covered it all Wednesday in a meeting with the press.

During the wide-ranging session, Filner addressed the horrible smell lingering over La Jolla Cove. He said people have had to stop him from going to the Cove and scrubbing bird poop off the rocks.

He also talked about renewed efforts to address medical marijuana in the city. Filner supports creating a new ordinance that will allow dispensaries to re-open under state and local laws, but will respect neighborhood concerns as well.

"We'll try to find a balance," he said, "between compassionate use on the one hand and the unhealthy aspects on the other hand."

The mayor said his biggest challenge so far has been trying to change policies, while also continuing to run San Diego. He cited awarding city contracts as an example.

"I have no assurance from seeing that process that we are really accomplishing the goals that we had for equal opportunity, in terms of small business, in terms of woman- and minority-owned businesses," he said. " And yet, the pencils have to be bought, the toilet paper has to be bought."

If he has been something of a micromanager, Filner said it's just because he's trying understand how things work. One issue he hopes others come together on is Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park. A judge has tentatively blocked the project and a final ruling could come Friday. Filner said it’s his understanding project sponsor Irwin Jacobs and the Save Our Heritage Organisation, which sued to stop the project, were in mediation talks a while ago.

"I don’t know where everybody will be after the hearing," he said. "I would like to see the mediation."

Filner is opposed to the plan, but said he’ll see it through if it holds up in court.

The mayor also talked abut the importance of building a stronger relations between San Diego and Tijuana. In his State of the City address last month, Filner said he'd have an office in Tijuana up and running by this Friday. He now says it'll open some time next week and will have minimal staffing at first.

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