Mayor of San Diego
|Mayor of the City of San Diego|
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Joshua Bean|
|Website||Office of the Mayor|
The mayor of the City of San Diego is the official head and chief executive officer of the U.S. city of San Diego, California. The mayor has the duty to enforce and execute the laws enacted by the San Diego City Council, the legislative branch. The mayor serves a four-year term and is limited to two successive terms.
There have been 35 individuals who have served as mayor. Joshua Bean, elected in 1850, was the first mayor of the city. Edwin M. Capps, who served as mayor in the late 1800s and early 1900s, is the only person who served two non-consecutive terms. From 1852 to 1888, the city was run by a Board of Trustees and there was no elected mayor. However, the president of the board was called mayor as a courtesy.
In 2013, mayor Bob Filner resigned under pressure amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. In so doing, Filner joined several other recent San Diego mayors who resigned due to scandal, including Roger Hedgecock, Dick Murphy and acting mayor Michael Zucchet. City council president Todd Gloria served as interim mayor until a special election could be held. Kevin Faulconer was elected to serve the remainder of Filner's term and assumed the office on March 3, 2014. Faulconer was re-elected for a second term on June 7, 2016.
The position of mayor was created when San Diego was first incorporated on March 27, 1850. However, the city went bankrupt in 1852, only two years after incorporation. As a result of the bankruptcy, the State of California dissolved the government and replaced the mayor and city council with a board of trustees. The mayoral position was later re-established with a new charter in 1887. This charter was replaced with a permanent City Charter on May 6, 1889, using the strong mayor form of government.
In 1931, a new charter was adopted using a council–manager government with a citywide mayor as leader of the city council. In November 2004, voters approved Proposition F, returning San Diego to the strong mayor form of government on a five-year trial basis. This was made permanent in June 2010 with the passage of Proposition D.
Duties and powers
The mayor serves as the official head of the City of San Diego for all ceremonial and civil purposes. The mayor has the authority to approve or veto council actions, subject to a two-thirds vote veto overrule. Under the strong mayor system, the mayor has sole authority to appoint and dismiss the city manager and to direct and control the city manager as permitted by the city charter. The mayor also has the authority to dismiss the chief of police or the chief of the fire department subject to a council overrule. The mayor may recommend measures and ordinance to the city council, but may not vote on these items.
On or before January 15, the mayor is obligated to communicate a State of the City address to the city council. The mayor must also propose a budget to the city council and for public review no later than April 15.
The salary of the mayor was set at $100,464 in 2003. In March 2012, the city's Salary Setting Commission proposed that the mayor be paid $235,000, but the city council unanimously rejected the recommendation, instead keeping the salary at the 2003 level. In March 2014, the Salary Setting Commission recommended no pay increase for the mayor or city council. Instead, they recommended exploring future pay increases with additional condition that council members voting for pay increases not be allowed to benefit from the increase. This recommendation was approved by the city council in a 5–3 vote in favor of the changes. In November 2018, voters passed Measure L which ties future mayoral salaries to those of Superior Court judges. In 2020, pay will increase to about $200,000 per year at current rates.
Election and succession
The mayor is elected in citywide election. Elections follow a two-round system. The first round of the election is called the primary election. The top-two candidates from the primary election advance to a runoff election, called the general election. Write-in candidates are only allowed to contest the primary election and are not allowed in the general election. The mayor is elected to a four-year term, with a limit of two consecutive terms. The mayor is officially non-partisan by state law, although most mayoral candidates identify a party preference.
If the office of the mayor becomes vacant with one year or less remaining in the term, the city council appoints a person to fill the vacancy. If the vacancy occurs with more than one year remaining, the city council is obligated to call a special election. The candidate with the majority of the votes in the special election is declared mayor. If no candidate receives a majority, a special run-off must be held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes. While the mayor's office is vacant pending a special election, the president of the city council serves as the interim mayor, with limited powers, until a new mayor is elected. If for any reason a Mayor serves a partial term of two years or more, it will count as one full term.
The most recent general election was held in June 2016, and incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer was re-elected for a second term. Faulconer was originally elected in a 2014 special election to fill the vacancy left as a result of the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner.
As of October 2020, 35 individuals have served as mayor. There have been 36 mayoralties because Edwin M. Capps served two non-consecutive terms; he is counted chronologically as both the ninth and sixteenth mayor. The longest term was that of Pete Wilson, who served for eleven years over three terms prior to the establishment of successive term limits. The shortest term, not counting interim or acting mayors, was that of George P. Tebbetts, who served for less than two months before the position of mayor was abolished due to the bankruptcy of the city. Percy J. Benbough is the only mayor to have died in office. Two women have been elected mayor: Maureen O'Connor and Susan Golding consecutively. John F. Forward Sr. and John F. Forward Jr. are the only father and son to have both served as mayor.
This list includes people who served as acting mayor or interim mayor due to a vacancy in the office of the mayor, but who were not officially elected or appointed as mayor. The acting and interim mayors are not included in the count of mayors.
|No.||Mayor||Term in office
|June 17, 1850||January 14, 1851||Independent|
|2||David B. Kurtz
|January 14, 1851||January 10, 1852||Whig|
|3||George P. Tebbetts
|January 10, 1852||February 28, 1852||Independent|
|Office abolished (1852–1888)[b]|
|4||William Jefferson Hunsaker
|January 3, 1888||November 13, 1888||Workingmen's|
|—||Martin D. Hamilton||November 13, 1888||May 6, 1889||Republican[d]|
|May 6, 1889||May 4, 1891||Republican[d]|
|May 4, 1891||May 1, 1893||Republican|
|7||William H. Carlson
|May 1, 1893||May 3, 1897||Independent|
|8||Daniel C. Reed
|May 3, 1897||May 1, 1899||Republican|
|9||Edwin M. Capps
|May 1, 1899||May 6, 1901||Democratic|
|10||Frank P. Frary
|May 6, 1901||May 1, 1905||Republican|
|11||John L. Sehon
|May 1, 1905||May 6, 1907||Democratic|
|12||John F. Forward Sr.
|May 6, 1907||May 3, 1909||Republican|
|May 3, 1909||May 1, 1911||Republican|
|14||James E. Wadham
|May 1, 1911||May 5, 1913||Democratic|
|15||Charles F. O'Neall
|May 5, 1913||May 3, 1915||Democratic|
|16||Edwin M. Capps
|May 3, 1915||May 7, 1917||Democratic|
|17||Louis J. Wilde
|May 7, 1917||May 2, 1921||Republican|
|18||John L. Bacon
|May 2, 1921||May 2, 1927||Republican|
|1921, 1923, 1925|
|19||Harry C. Clark
|May 2, 1927||May 4, 1931||Republican|
|20||Walter W. Austin
|May 4, 1931||May 2, 1932||Republican|
|21||John F. Forward Jr.
|May 2, 1932||August 2, 1934||Republican|
|22||Rutherford B. Irones
|August 2, 1934||February 1, 1935||Republican|
|—||Albert W. Bennett||February 1, 1935||May 6, 1935||Republican|
|23||Percy J. Benbough
|May 6, 1935||November 4, 1942||Republican|
|—||Fred W. Simpson||November 4, 1942||November 30, 1942||Republican|
|24||Howard B. Bard
|November 30, 1942||May 3, 1943||Democratic|
|25||Harley E. Knox
|May 3, 1943||May 7, 1951||Independent|
|26||John D. Butler
|May 7, 1951||May 2, 1955||Republican|
|May 2, 1955||December 2, 1963||Democratic|
|December 2, 1963||December 6, 1971||Democratic|
(87 years old)
|December 6, 1971||January 3, 1983||Republican|
|1971, 1975, 1979[g]|
|January 3, 1983||May 3, 1983||Republican|
(74 years old)
|May 3, 1983||December 5, 1985||Republican|
(73–74 years old)
|December 5, 1985||June 3, 1986||Republican|
(74 years old)
|June 3, 1986||December 7, 1992||Democratic|
(75 years old)
|December 7, 1992||December 4, 2000||Republican|
(77 years old)
|December 4, 2000||July 15, 2005||Republican|
(50 years old)
|July 15, 2005||July 18, 2005||Democratic|
(58 years old)
|July 18, 2005||December 5, 2005||Democratic|
(70 years old)
|December 5, 2005||December 3, 2012||Republican|
(78 years old)
|December 3, 2012||August 30, 2013||Democratic|
(42 years old)
|August 30, 2013||March 3, 2014||Democratic|
(53 years old)
|March 3, 2014||Incumbent||Republican|
Presidents of the Board of Trustees
After San Diego's bankruptcy in 1852, the State of California took over city government and ran the city with an appointed Board of Trustees during 1852–1888. The President of the Board was called mayor by courtesy, although there was no official office of mayor. When the office of president was vacated due to death or resignation, the board of trustees would choose a president pro tempore to preside over meetings until a permanent president could be elected by the board.
|#||President||Term start||Term end|
|1||Charles P. Noell||March 25, 1852||June 9, 1852||Democratic|
|2||James W. Robinson||July 31, 1852||September 10, 1853||Democratic|
|3||Louis Rose||September 10, 1853||April 24, 1855||Democratic|
|4||Jesse Julian Ames||April 24, 1855||March 20, 1856|
|5||Thomas Collins||March 20, 1856||July 14, 1857|
|6||Henry H. Whaley||July 14, 1857||May 4, 1858||Whig|
|7||Thomas Whaley||May 4, 1858||March 23, 1859||Whig|
|8||Jacob C. Bogart||March 23, 1859||March 18, 1860||Democratic|
|9||Rufus B. Tebbetts||March 18, 1860||June 30, 1862|
|10||David B. Kurtz||June 30, 1862||March 30, 1865||Democratic|
|11||Andrew Cassidy||March 30, 1865||April 30, 1867||Democratic|
|12||Joseph S. Manasse||April 30, 1867||April 29, 1868|
|13||Jose G. Estudillo||April 29, 1868||March 5, 1869|
|14||James McCoy||March 5, 1869||May 13, 1872||Democratic|
|15||William J. McCormick||May 13, 1872||March 31, 1873|
|16||David W. Briant||April 21, 1873||May 21, 1874|
|17||E. A. Veazie||May 21, 1874||December 18, 1874|
|18||William A. Begole||February 1, 1875||May 22, 1876|
|19||J. M. Boyd||May 22, 1876||March 7, 1877|
|20||D. O. McCarthy||April 2, 1877||June 1, 1880|
|21||S. P. Jones||June 1, 1880||October 5, 1883|
|22||John H. Snyder||May 21, 1884||May 26, 1886|
|23||William W. Stewart||May 26, 1886||June 7, 1886|
|23||Charles S. Hamilton||June 7, 1886||April 18, 1887||Democratic|
|24||Martin D. Hamilton||April 18, 1887||January 3, 1888||Republican|
Other offices held
The following is a list of congressional, gubernatorial and other offices held by mayors, before or after their term(s).
- * Denotes those offices which the mayor resigned to take
|Mayor||Mayoral term||Other offices held||References|
|David B. Kurtz||1851–1852||California State Senator (1852, 1855)
California State Assemblyman (1861–1862, 1865–1866)
|William H. Carlson||1893–1896||California State Assemblyman (1893–1894)|||
|Grant Conard||1909–1911||California State Assemblyman (1913–1916)|||
|Pete Wilson||1971–1983||California State Assemblyman (1967–1971)
U.S. Senator from California* (1983–1991)
Governor of California (1991–1999)
|Bob Filner||2012–2013||U.S. Representative from California (1993–2012)|||
Living former mayors
|Mayor||Mayoral term||Date of birth|
|Pete Wilson||1971–1983||August 23, 1933|
|Roger Hedgecock||1983–1985||May 2, 1946|
|Maureen O'Connor||1986–1992||July 14, 1946|
|Susan Golding||1992–2000||August 18, 1945|
|Dick Murphy||2000–2005||December 16, 1942|
|Jerry Sanders||2005–2012||July 14, 1950|
|Bob Filner||2012–2013||September 4, 1942|
Notes and references
- a Party affiliation is shown for each mayor, when known. However, election of mayor under the current charter is officially nonpartisan.
- b From 1852 until 1888, San Diego was governed by a board of trustees, so there was no official mayor.
- c William Jefferson Hunsaker resigned from office, likely due to frustration from losing a power struggle against rivals on the city council. Martin D. Hamilton served as acting mayor until the next election could be held.
- d Both acting mayor Martin D. Hamilton and fourth mayor Douglas Gunn ran as Republicans on the "Citizens' Non-Partisan" ticket.
- e John F. Forward Jr. resigned from office after failing in his attempt to fire the city manager. Rutherford B. Irones was appointed to finish the balance of his term. However, Irones himself would later resign after being convicted of drunk driving and a hit-and-run traffic accident. Vice mayor Albert W. Bennett then served as acting mayor until a new election could be held.
- f Percy J. Benbough died in office of natural causes. Vice mayor Fred W. Simpson then served briefly as acting mayor until Howard B. Bard was appointed to finish the balance of Benbough's term.
- g Pete Wilson resigned from office to join the United States Senate. Bill Cleator served as acting mayor until a new election could be held.
- h Roger Hedgecock resigned from office due to convictions on felony conspiracy and perjury charges that were later overturned. Ed Struiksma served as acting mayor until a new election could be held.
- i Dick Murphy resigned from office amid criticism for his role in the San Diego pension scandal and after failing to win a majority of the votes in the 2004 election. Michael Zucchet served as acting mayor for three days before he too resigned due to a corruption conviction that was later overturned. A week later, the City Council elected Toni Atkins to serve as acting mayor until a new election could be held.
- j Bob Filner resigned from office amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Todd Gloria served as interim mayor until a new mayor was elected.
- Garrick, David (June 7, 2016). "Faulconer re-elected, Bry looks headed to runoff". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- Smythe, William (1907). "Part Five: Chapter II Political Affairs and Municipal Campaigns". History of San Diego, 1542-1908: The modern city. History Co. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Larson, Thomas (October 28, 2004). "Elections San Diego Style". San Diego Reader. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "A History of San Diego Government". City of San Diego. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- "ARTICLE XV Strong Mayor Form of Governance" (PDF). City of San Diego City Charter. City of San Diego. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
- Walker, Mark (March 10, 2014). "No pay hikes for mayor, council". U-T San Diego. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- "City Council Rejects Salary Hikes For Mayor, Council". 10news.com. March 5, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
- Garrick, David (November 21, 2018). "Ballot measures hiking council pay, boosting transparency approved by wide margins in San Diego". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
- "How To Run For Office Details". City of San Diego. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Dotinga, Randy (August 22, 2013). "The Differences Between an Interim Mayor and a Strong Mayor". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- "San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Resigns From Office". Mediaite. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Kevin Faulconer Elected New Mayor in San Diego". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "City Clerk Archives". City Clerk Reports. City of San Diego. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- "Selected Chronological List of San Diego City Officials". San Diego History Center. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
- Smythe, William Ellsworth (1907). History of San Diego, 1542-1908: The modern city. San Diego, CA: History Co. p. 722.
- McGrew, Clarence Alan (1922). City of San Diego and San Diego County: The Birthplace of California, Volume 1. American Historical Society. p. 428.
- "Pete Wilson". The Governors' Gallery. California State Library. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
- "Filner, Bob, (1942– )". United States Congress. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
- "William Jefferson Hunsaker (1855-1933)". Biographies. San Diego History Center. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- "The Mayor's Resignation". The San Diego Union. November 14, 1888. p. 5. Retrieved February 26, 2014.[permanent dead link]
- Crawford, Richard (August 25, 2011). "San Diego Pioneer Moved from Newspapers to Mayor's Chair" (PDF). San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- "Forward to End Job August 1 Action Follows His Failure to Oust F. M. Lockwood as City Manager Three Councilmen and City Attorney in Line for Post as Municipal Head". Los Angeles Times. April 18, 1934. pp. A8. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- "Hit-Run Mayor Drops Out". The New York Times. February 5, 1935. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- "Bennett Acting Mayor of S.D. as Irones Fate Debated". Evening Tribune. February 2, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved February 26, 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "PERCY J. BENBOUGH; Mayor of San Diego Since 1935, Ex-Head of Fire, Police Groups". The New York Times. November 5, 1942. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- "P.J. Benbough Succumbs to Lengthy Illness". The San Diego Union. November 5, 2014. p. 1. Retrieved February 26, 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "William E. Cleator, Was San Diego City Councilman". Associated Press. February 11, 1993. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- Abrahamson, Alan (February 2, 1992). "Bailiff's Bias in Hedgecock Trial Disclosed". Los Angeles Times.
- "Election Today for S.D. Mayor". Los Angeles Times. February 25, 1986. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Dillon, Jeff (April 25, 2005). "San Diego mayor announces departure less than 5 months into second term". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013.
- Coffey, Daniel (October 14, 2010). "Justice undone: Michael Zucchet and Ralph Inzunza". San Diego Daily Transcript. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- "Toni Atkins to serve as San Diego's deputy mayor until new mayor elected". San Diego Union-Tribune. North County Times Wire Service. July 26, 2005. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Gustafson, Craig (August 30, 2013). "Q&A with Todd Gloria, interim mayor". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
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