Throughout his campaign for mayor, Bob Filner struggled to present a clear picture of what he’d like to accomplish.

Our Liam Dillon documented Filner’s failure to coherently explain his overarching vision for the city through the primary and general election campaigns.

But in his first speech as mayor at his Monday swearing-in, Filner finally offered a coherent vision for the city he now helms.

Filner outlined these key priorities at a ceremony at the Balboa Park Club:


Filner said he’d ask neighborhoods to prioritize their needs and come up with ways to finance upgrades.

“For the first time in a decade, we can see the possibility of restoring city services, of rebuilding our neighborhoods and of planning for our future,” he said.

Improved city services

As he campaigned for mayor, Filner said residents repeatedly expressed frustration with deteriorating city facilities and services.

Residents deserve more library hours and improved streets and sidewalks, he said.

Public safety staffing

Filner decried a police staffing shortage and the city’s failure to adequately protect neighborhoods hit hard by wildfires.

He made clear that he’d like to see the police department return to a community-policing approach to fighting crime and to find ways to improve fire services.


Filner said he’d like to bring “50,000 new, good-paying jobs” to the city.

He’d do that by cutting red tape for entrepreneurs, expanding maritime operations at the Unified Port of San Diego and finding ways to attract green energy and technology companies, he said.

He’d also like to expand the convention center, support military and defense jobs and keep the Chargers in San Diego.

Partnering with Mexico

Filner announced his desire to open a San Diego border office in Tijuana to help the two cities develop ties and a stronger regional partnership.

“We’re going to tap into the potential and the vitality of neighbors to the south,” he said.

Filner replaces a mayor who righted the city’s financial situation but largely reacted to that crisis and stakeholders’ requests rather than come up with his own vision. That meant he largely focused on downtown interests over neighborhood concerns.

Voice of San Diego contributing editor Andrew Donohue described Sanders’ governing style in a Monday column:

The clearest victims of this approach have been San Diego’s neighborhoods. They didn’t have that powerful voice to scold the mayor for not doing their assignments. They’ve taken a backseat to his downtown priorities.

Filner signaled Monday he’s not lacking passion for the neighborhoods or a vision to improve them.

“Neighborhoods are the heart and soul of the city,” he said. “They define its character.”

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 Halverstadt

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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