He laid out his agenda as one of his last acts as acting mayor. And for the next 12 months, Councilman Todd Gloria’s to-do list not only set the political debate, it shaped what post-Filner discourse will look like in San Diego.

It wasn’t just “neighborhoods first,” but a progressive vision for San Diego organized around a few major issues. Two major elements of Gloria’s platform — raising the minimum wage and passing an aggressive plan to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions — comprised San Diego’s biggest policy discussions.

He made the fight against income inequality the top issue for local progressives.

“The high cost of living, coupled with growing income inequality, is a threat to our ability to build a great city,” he said during his State of the City address. “San Diego must not be divided between the very wealthy and the very poor. A great city must have a vibrant and growing middle class.”

That change, and his agenda, drove the city’s policy discussions this year.

The next step is notching some permanent victories.

The Council under his leadership voted for a minimum wage hike, but the Chamber of Commerce and former Mayor Jerry Sanders led a coalition to strike it down. It’ll go before voters in June 2016 as a bellwether in the standoff between an ascendant progressive coalition and the city’s conservative establishment, and be the top issue in any race sharing the ballot.

The city’s plan to address climate change, which Gloria rescued from City Hall purgatory when he briefly took over the mayor’s office, is undergoing further analysis, but when Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his own draft, it included most of the major elements of Gloria’s bold version.

It’s worth noting, though, that a major piece of Gloria’s State of the City address continued to be a nonstarter in 2015. Gloria said it was time to prepare a $2 billion bond to repair the city’s shabby streets, sidewalks, storm drains and all the rest. To go to voters by 2016, the package needed to be put together now, he said. That didn’t happen. Despite his yeoman efforts to make streets sexy, they still aren’t a political priority.

This is part of our Voice of the Year package, profiling the people who drove the biggest conversations in San Diego this year. Check out the previous story, Jane Doe: A Voice for Victims, and the next, Lorena Gonzalez: The Voice of Workers and Woman (and Working Women).

    This article relates to: News, Share, Voice of the Year

    Written by Andrew Keatts

    I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

    John Beckwith
    John Beckwith subscriber

    To My Republican Friends: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    To All My Democrat Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

    Erik Hanson
    Erik Hanson subscriber

    Ronald Reagan send out cards that said "Happy Holidays", not "Merry Christmas", didn't attend church much, and he ran his life by astrology. If he were alive today, your faction would have shot him down as a godless Communist.