Acting San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has denounced his disgraced predecessor Bob Filner for leaving the city in a "mess" following his sexual harassment scandal.
The 35-year-old Democrat took over the office in August and immediately went to work to fix the damage he believes that Filner did to America's eighth biggest city, according to the Los Angeles Times
The first order of business was to overturn an order from the former mayor blocking the opening of a renovated Jack in the Box restaurant. Gloria, whose short tenure ends in February, said that Filner had delayed the project to the point where the city could have faced a lawsuit.
Gloria also dumped a Filner directive preventing the city's attorney from shutting down two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries, which did not have zoning rights. He also slashed or got rid of pay raises that Filner had dished out in his final weeks in office while also sacking some of the ex-mayor's staffers.
According to the Times, top city jobs were left vacant, and city projects were put on the backburner as the ex-mayor clashed with the City Council, the city attorney, business leaders, as well as the local press and others.
"We were in crisis," Gloria said. "We were a mess. Bob Filner is over. Out in the community, they know we've moved on."
Filner, the first Democratic mayor of San Diego in 20 years, resigned
after some 20 women, including his chief communications officer, accused him of groping and other unwanted sexual advances.
The former congressman, who had blamed his actions on the fact he'd stopped taking mood-stabilizing medication, was found guilty of one felony charge and two misdemeanor counts, and was sentenced to three months house arrest and three years of probation, under condition that he never seek public office again.
"I found out it matters who is mayor," said Gloria about what he has learned since taking over the job and putting a sign on his desk that says, "The buck stops here."
Gloria is not standing in the election due in February, but he does not intend just to keep the seat warm for whoever is the city's next mayor.
Next month he plans to order a $120 million bond issue to pay to fix the city's pot-holed streets, and he aims to approve a zoning ordinance that will prevent marijuana dispensaries opening near homes or schools. He'll also be giving the mayor's State of the City address.
"I don't agree with Gloria on every issue," said Mark Larson, the conservative host of a radio talk show on KCBQ-AM. "But let's face it, the city needed some grown-up balancing at City Hall, fast, and San Diegans, regardless of party, should be thankful he decided to focus on cleaning up the messes and moving ahead."
Gloria, who is also president of the City Council which has five Democrats and four Republicans, is expected to endorse Councilman David Alvarez, a Democrat, over Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, in the race for the mayor's office.
As for Gloria's own future, he will be off the council in 2016 due to term limits. The Times predicted he may run for Congress if his former boss, seven-term Democrat Rep. Susan Davis were to step down.
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