Mayor Todd Gloria delivers 2023 State of the City address at the Civic Theatre on Jan. 10, 2023.
Mayor Todd Gloria delivers 2023 State of the City address at the Civic Theatre on Jan. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

As previewed in last week’s episode, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria had his opportunity this week to lay out his plan for the city — to explain where we stand and where we’re going in his annual State of the City address.

After attending the live event on Wednesday night, VOSD Podcast hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña shared their takes on Gloria’s speech and his administration’s approach to our city’s most pressing needs. (See our Morning Report write-up of the speech here.)

Gloria discussed the importance of law enforcement, the deadly rise of fentanyl, our urgent need for affordable housing, homelessness(!), parks and infrastructure.

In this episode, our hosts scrutinize each major topic.

How to Make a ‘San Diego Special’

Among the ambitions outlined in the SOTC was the redevelopment of City Hall.

Built in the 1960s, it’s as outdated as “Bewitched” but with less visual appeal. Gloria alluded to the mega-project that would transform several downtown city blocks and the city’s most valued properties.

But our hosts smell a San Diego Special brewing.

“San Diego Special” — a term coined by Gloria before he was mayor — is roughly defined as a prolonged civic problem San Diego leaders can’t fix but other cities can. Think vacation rentals, the Convention Center expansion, a trolley to the airport, Sports Arena, things like that. Last year, Gloria joined the pod to discuss Specials with us.

In the final segment of the show, Lewis, Keatts and Lopez-Villafaña draft a checklist to determine whether the City Hall redevelopment is on its way to becoming a San Diego Special. (Spoiler: Yes it is.)

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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  1. Enjoyed it, Thanks! Ending homelessness DEF a “San Diego Special”, since there have been innumerable official groupings to do so, Plans to do so, successful pilot projects not continued, since at least 1996. I recognize this is also a thing in other large cities, BUT there ARE large cities that have made real progress in doing this, like Houston, and other large cities are making real progress in so doing.

  2. Todd Gloria the new Kevin Faulkner. Just words. They’re more potholes and homeless and more cute little agendas…. Nada has gotten better. Todd Gloria allows homeless to LIVE on our Balboa Park right next to the museum and space theater…

    86 Gloria!!!

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