|Donna Frye at a city council meeting in 2008|
|Member of San Diego City Council representing the Sixth District|
June 2001 – December 6, 2010
|Preceded by||Valerie Stallings|
|Succeeded by||Lorie Zapf|
January 20, 1952 |
|Residence||Clairemont, San Diego, California|
|Alma mater||National University|
After a failed first marriage and problems with alcohol abuse, Frye met her current husband Skip Frye at a Mexican restaurant in 1980. After they married, he persuaded her to give up alcohol, and together they opened a custom-made surfboard shop in Pacific Beach in 1988.
Frye first became concerned with coastal water pollution problems when her husband repeatedly became sick after surfing. She soon became an environmental and community leader. In 2001 she was elected to the San Diego City Council in a special election. She was later elected to full term on the council in the regular 2002 city council elections.
Frye ran for mayor of San Diego in the November 2004 run-off election between Dick Murphy and Ron Roberts as a write-in candidate. A plurality of voters wrote in her name, but a controversy arose when she lost the election because a number of voters did not fill in the bubble next to her written name or misspelled her name (usually spelling her last name "Fry"). If those votes had counted, Frye would have had more votes than either of the moderate republican candidates officially in the runoff, but still far below a majority vote. Whether Frye would have been allowed to serve as mayor in any case is uncertain, as her write-in candidacy was at odds with the San Diego City Charter.
Dick Murphy was re-elected as mayor after a series of legal challenges to the election results, but resigned on July 15, 2005, as the city's fiscal crisis and legal woes with regulatory and law enforcement agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation worsened and became a matter of increasing public awareness. Frye ran for mayor in the special election that took place on July 26, 2005, with a platform advocating open and honest government and restoring order to the city's financial situation, points found in nearly all of the candidates' platforms. Frye was endorsed by Mike Aguirre, the city attorney who has confronted the city council over releasing documents.
Frye placed ahead of ten opponents, including former police chief and runner-up Jerry Sanders (27%), by receiving 43% of the vote. However, a majority was needed to win outright, and so a run-off election was held between Frye and Sanders on November 8, 2005. Frye was defeated in this election, receiving 46.1% of the vote to Sanders' 53.9%. She did, however, win reelection to her council seat in the 2006 city council elections, retiring in 2010 due to term limits.
In December 2012, Frye joined the administration of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner in a new position he created called Director of Open Government. She resigned in April 2013 to become president of Californians Aware, a nonprofit that advocates for open government statewide.
In July 2013 she and two other former supporters of Filner publicly called on Filner to resign as mayor, alleging that he has sexually harassed numerous unnamed women by forcibly kissing them, fondling them and making sexually suggestive remarks. Filner issued a statement apologizing for "failing to fully respect the women who work for me and with me," but refused to resign.
Frye was nominated and inducted into the San Diego County's Women's Hall of Fame in 2011 for the 'Spirit 2011' title. The Hall of Fame's aim is to "acknowledge and honor women who have significantly contributed to the quality of life and who have made outstanding volunteer contributions in San Diego County." The annual Women's Hall of Fame induction is co-hosted by Women's Museum of California (Located in San Diego), Commission on the Status of Women, UC San Diego Women's Center, and San Diego State Women's Studies.
- Gustafson, Craig (2006-02-12). "Little rest for Frye as re-election run begins". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- "San Diego's mayoral candidates ... up close.(VOTE)". San Diego Business Journal. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-11-09.[dead link]
- Hall, Matthew T. (July 7, 2005). "Storefront activist rises: Frye caught political fever at surf shop, surged in November race". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Rainey, James (25 December 2004). "Media's role clouds San Diego recount: Push to examine ballots stirs debate on impartiality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- "Challenge to San Diego Election Brought Too Late, C.A. Rules". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. 2004-12-08. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- Gustafson, Craig (April 5, 2013). "Frye out as Filner aide, taking effort statewide". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- Dirks, Sandhya (July 16, 2013). "Filner Defiant As Details Of Alleged Sexual Harassment Emerge". KPBS-FM. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame". Ashley Gardner. Retrieved 04/27/2012.