SAN DIEGO — Mayor-elect Bob Filner said Wednesday he will do what he promised voters — shift political power from what he called “downtown special interests” to the neighborhoods — and added that he looked forward to working with those who opposed him during the election season.
Filner, who stressed his mandate by holding a late afternoon news conference at a park in University Heights, said residents did not choose a “status quo” administration. He said he will spend the next 30 days assembling his administration, reaching across party lines to find the most talented, creative and diverse group from every neighborhood.
“There’s going to be new people at the table where decisions are made, and I think people want to see those changes,” he said. “Whether it’s people of color, whether it’s neighborhoods that have been neglected in terms of their infrastructure, whether it’s women, whether it’s those who care about education, whether it’s those who care about the arts, whether it’s those who care about affordable housing and public transportation, they have not been asked to participate in the political and economic decisions of this city. We’re going to ask them.”
Filner, who will be the second Democrat to hold the mayor’s office in 40 years, led the mayoral election with 51.5 percent of the vote to Republican candidate Carl DeMaio’s 48.5 percent. During DeMaio’s concession speech Wednesday morning, he said he plans to stay the course with the city’s fiscal reforms.
“This may be the end of the campaign, but this is not the end of my involvement of serving the great city that I love,” DeMaio said.
DeMaio’s concession cames after a 17-month-long race and a record $13 million spent on attack ads and campaigning. DeMaio said he wouldn’t do anything differently.
“Everyone worked hard. We spoke from the gut. We took positions of principal and we took heat for doing so, but we laid out a positive vision,” he said.
DeMaio told reporters it was possible, but not probable, he could overcome Filner’s 9,800-vote lead.
“I know that ballots are still being counted, and I will absolutely ensure every vote counts and that process will happen in respect above my decision today to concede this race,” DeMaio said. “So every ballot will count, but I want to give our next mayor the most time possible to put together a solid administration and I want to begin the process of healing our city and bringing all sides together.”
He said he would help Filner make a successful transition and move San Diego forward. He said he was optimistic to hand Filner a city government that was on the right path to financial recovery.
Filner said he wants San Diegan’s to start dreaming of a new future.
“Why not a pension plan that works for everyone? Why not a transit system that makes it more livable and walkable,” he said.
Speaking of futures, Filner introduced his fiancé Bronwyn Ingram to the San Diego media Wednesday.
Filner, who will be San Diego’s 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.