With the District 2 seat soon to be vacated by Mayor-Elect Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Council President and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria on Thursday said he's looking for someone who can "hit the ground running" on such complex issues as increasing the minimum wage or floating a bond to raise funds for infrastructure repairs.
Both areas happen to be items where Gloria and the council's Democratic majority have been at odds with Faulconer, who will leave the council on March 3 to officially become mayor.
Faulconer opposes broad hikes to the minimum wage for fear it would be too costly for some businesses and also opposes using taxpayer dollars to support an infrastructure bond, preferring to use alternate financing methods instead.
Faulconer's departure from the council gives the Democratic majority -- which will become 5-3 after he leaves -- a chance to appoint a Democrat to take his place, which would create a six-vote majority that could potentially override any mayoral veto.
When reporters asked recently whether Gloria would accept a Democrat as a replacement, he answered "absolutely." But he refrains from saying there is any litmus test.
“I look forward to seeing who applies for consideration for appointment," he said Thursday. "My support for an appointee will be based on his or her knowledge about the issues we’re facing as a city."
But Gloria stressed that when the replacement takes office in early April, he or she will be coming into the council in the midst of the budget process, at a time when the council will be developing a ballot measure to support an infrastructure bond and when Gloria intends to introduce a proposal to increase the minimum wage.
"These are complex issues, and the people of District 2 and the city deserve a representative who can hit the ground running,” Gloria said.
Under the City Charter, if a city councilmember leaves with less than a year to serve-- as is the case with Faulconer, whose term would have expired in December -- then the City Council can appoint an replacement, choosing from among residents of the district who submit a formal application, a form outlining their personal economic interests and a statement of up to 500 words regarding why they are qualified for the job.
Each applicant will then be given three minutes to state their case in front of the council, which is required to fill the seat within 30 days of being vacated. The position is open to anyone who lives within the borders of the old District 2, which changed when Faulconer was in office.
In the meantime, Gloria said on Thursday that his next few weeks will be focused on creating a smooth transition for Faulconer, as well as hammering out new regulations for marijuana dispensaries and the food trucks that operate on city streets.
In a swipe at former Mayor Bob Filner, Gloria said that when he took office as interim mayor last August, city rules and regulations were often being "inconsistently applied," so he has embarked on a campaign to clarify and enforce them more equally.
"I am confident that by providing clear and fair rules of the road, San Diego will be far better off,” he said.
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Sept. 23, 2014 -- George Chamberlin speaks with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer about the importance of the military on San Diego's economy at a presentation of the San Diego Military Advisory Council’s sixth annual Military Economic Impact Study.