VOSD Podcast: Todd Gloria's Exit Interview and the Homeless Shame
Todd Gloria joins hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts this week to talk about his time with the city. Also: It’s becoming impossible to avoid or ignore San Diego’s exploding homeless population.
Todd Gloria has served eight years as city councilman, but in a few short days he’ll leave for the state Assembly, where he’s replacing Toni Atkins in representing District 78.
Gloria joins hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts this week to talk about his time with the city, which included stints as City Council president and interim mayor. He shared his thoughts on City Hall battles over issues like minimum wage, the city’s aggressive new climate plan, the failed Barrio Logan community plan update, affordable housing and more.
Gloria said the reason his City Council presidency was cut short was the packed progressive agenda that he pushed during his tenure, which didn’t always go over well with his Republican cohorts.
“Some would say that was part of my undoing,” Gloria said. “That I was too aggressive in trying to push an agenda … but life is short, the job is actually quite hard and there are some downsides to these gigs, so if you’re going to do one, make the most of it.”
Gloria said despite the pushback, he’ll be taking much of the same progressive agenda and aggressive approach to Sacramento.
He said one big thing he learned as a councilman was the huge impact of money on politics in California, where anyone with a big enough bank account can take issues directly to the voters.
“What I certainly miscalculated is what unlimited money in politics can do,” he said.
In one of the more revealing moments, Gloria talked about what it was like to work with former Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment. Lewis asked if he felt like Filner was bullying him. Gloria said yes and described a few of his interactions with the former mayor.
San Diego’s Homeless Population Is Far From Hidden
Lewis and Keatts summarize Lisa Halverstadt’s recent coverage of San Diego’s booming homeless population.
In one story, Halverstadt talked to five downtown hotel managers who described tense daily confrontations between hotel staff and guests and homeless people. She also found a few tourists who said they wouldn’t want to return to downtown San Diego because of their encounters with the homeless population. The hoteliers told Halverstadt they want the city to work harder at housing the homeless; they’re even open to the idea of a hotel tax increase that funds homelessness solutions.
Halverstadt also took on the most persistent theories about why San Diego’s homeless population is exploding and explained why experts can only speculate about the reasons.
Also on this week’s podcast, Lewis pulls the ultimate bad-dad move and accidentally forces his sick kid to go to preschool, and he brings up his theory about the future of journalism being threatened by sources going direct to the public.
Hero of the Week
The Urban Collaborative Project wins the acknowledgement this week for their work toward fixing up an empty lot in Lincoln Park.
Goat of the Week
The boneheads who defaced signs at the New Americans Museum with anti-immigrant messages get the goat this week. The Liberty Station museum stages art exhibitions, talks and more centered on the contributions of immigrants.