Costco reception cakes, a Marine Corps quintet, borrowed plants from the Parks and Recreation Department and city staffers who moonlight as servers: Welcome to Inauguration Day, San Diego-style.

We chatted with some of the folks planning the low-budget inauguration to find out what San Diegans can expect on Monday, when Bob Filner ascends to the mayorship, and other city officials are sworn in.

What happens at the inauguration ceremony anyway?

This one won’t kick off with a parade.

The 10 a.m. gathering will begin with music by a Marine Corps quintet and a welcome from City Council President Tony Young. Then the Marine Corps Recruit Depot’s San Diego Color Guard will present the flag and attendees will say the Pledge of Allegiance. After the National Anthem and an invocation, San Diego officials will be sworn into office.

They are Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, District 1 Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, District 3 Councilman Todd Gloria, soon-to-be District 5 Councilman Mark Kersey, incoming District 7 Councilman Scott Sherman and Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who will now represent newly drawn District 9.

A reception will follow.

For more details, you can check out the agenda for the event.

Where’s the inauguration?

This year’s ceremony will be at Balboa Park Club. In past years, it’s been held at Golden Hall and City Hall.

Who can attend? Can I watch it on TV?

Anyone can attend. Lots of city and local officials will be on hand, also. There’s no need to RSVP.

The swearing-in won’t play live on CityTV (that’s cable Channels 24 or 99 for most viewers) but it will air later in the afternoon. The inauguration will be posted on the City Council video archive website later.

Who plans the ceremony?

The City Clerk and council president’s offices head the effort, meaning Young, who will soon resign to take another job with the local Red Cross, is part of the welcoming crew. The candidates who will be sworn in also sign off on the plans.

City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said this week that her staff is hard at work prepping for the event.

They must organize seating for the Balboa Park Club, which holds about 500 people, and print programs. They’ve also ordered cakes and conferred with the police and fire departments, and checked on overflow seating.

On the day of the ceremony, Maland said each of the 45 staffers in her office will play a role, whether they’re handing out programs or serving food.

What about that food, and drink?

Each newly elected official gets his or her own Costco cake at the reception. The city will also serve coffee.

How much does this all cost and who’s paying?

San Diego taxpayers foot the bill but it’s not a very large one.

Maland said the 2010 swearing-in ceremony set the city back $622 and she’d like to bring the cost down further this year if it’s possible.

That doesn’t mean related costs haven’t angered San Diegans in the past.

Maland admits she was stung by a 2006 San Diego Union-Tribune article that reported a $6,717 bill for the event shortly after she became the city clerk. Several letters to the editor and calls from upset residents followed.

“It’s been my goal since then to keep this element of specialness but keep it cost-conscious,” Maland said.

Some cost-saving measures include not using the city’s print shop for programs or hiring a caterer. And of course, there are those Costco cakes.

Are there any other inauguration day festivities?

New council members won’t have much time to celebrate. They’re scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Monday, just hours after the swearing-in ceremony and reception.

San Diego’s new mayor will have more time to party.

Filner is set to travel across the city, to celebrate from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Stops include the La Jolla Playhouse, Mira Mesa High School, an LGBT community center, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the San Ysidro Multicultural Center.

Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at or 619.325.0528.

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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