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Text: Mayor Bob Filner's Inauguration Speech

The prepared text of Filner's speech shows a focus on improving public safety and street conditions during his term.

Below is the prepared text of Mayor Bob Filner's inauguration speech Monday, as provided by the Filner campaign.

Highlights:

  • "It’s unacceptable that neighborhoods devastated by wildfires in 2003 and 2007 still lack adequate fire facilities and equipment, and that we cannot meet federal standards for emergency response times."
  • "We are going to make sure the Chargers stay in San Diego."
  • That means we’re going to complete the update of neighborhood Community Plans, and as part of that process we are going to ask neighborhoods to prioritize their public facilities needs and help us develop a program for financing those improvements. Along the way, we will protect urban open spaces, reduce storm water pollution and make our neighborhoods more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly.

[See a full story about the inauguration ceremony here.]

The prepared remarks:

Thank you. 

It’s an awesome responsibility to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the nation’s eighth largest city.

I’m humbled by the honor voters have given me to serve this city I love.

I want to give special thanks to the thousands of residents who dedicated themselves to our campaign, knowing that their only reward would be to move our city forward.

Today marks a new beginning for our city.

After nearly a decade of crises and cutbacks, we finally have a chance to look ahead and begin planning for a brighter future.

We thank City Council members and my predecessor, Mayor Jerry Sanders, for reforming city finances and for getting us on the track to financial stability.

Please join me in saluting them for the tough decisions they have made and for the service they have given to our city.

There are still plenty of big financial challenges ahead: the loss of redevelopment revenues, the potential loss of state support for construction projects because of Prop. A, and the cost of the voter-mandated 401(k) retirement plans.

So we must continue a regimen of fiscal discipline and the process of making city operations more efficient, transparent and accountable.  And that includes my commitment to implement Prop. B when it’s upheld by the courts.

But we’re going to do it in an environment that respects and honors the hard work of our city employees who are on the front lines, keeping us safe, picking up our trash, maintaining our parks, responding to 911 calls and staffing our libraries.

For the first time in a decade, we can see the possibility of restoring city services, of rebuilding our neighborhoods and of planning for our future.

Because the real heart and soul of our city are its neighborhoods. 

They define our city’s character and our residents’ quality of life.

As I traveled throughout our city during the long mayoral campaign, residents expressed near-unanimous frustration with the city’s neglect of the facilities and services they depend on.

To me, it’s unacceptable in what we call America’s Finest City that some neighborhoods still lack paved streets and streets [sic] lights.  

It’s unacceptable that neighborhoods devastated by wildfires in 2003 and 2007 still lack adequate fire facilities and equipment, and that we cannot meet federal standards for emergency response times.

It’s unacceptable that a police department that already has one of the state’s lowest ratio of officers-to-residents is still over 200 officers short of its budgeted staffing level, and that we lack the resources to restore community-oriented policing—an innovation that was pioneered right here in this city.

It’s unacceptable that neighborhood libraries aren’t open on weekends and evenings, that lifeguard towers and public restrooms aren’t maintained, that streets and sidewalks are falling apart, and that our first responders don’t have the communications equipment and vehicles they need to protect us.

So a major focus of my administration will be—as we said in the campaign—to put our neighborhoods first.

That means we’re going to complete the update of neighborhood Community Plans, and as part of that process we are going to ask neighborhoods to prioritize their public facilities needs and help us develop a program for financing those improvements.

Along the way, we will protect urban open spaces, reduce storm water pollution and make our neighborhoods more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly.

But quality of life is about more than clean, safe, well-maintained neighborhoods to live in.

It’s also about having a good-paying job that enables you to support your family.

We are going to work with local businesses to streamline the city’s regulatory process so entrepreneurs who want to create good-paying jobs can count on a timely and predictable response and fixed costs from the city.

We’re going to encourage partnerships between our businesses and our public schools to prepare young people for good jobs and a bright future.

We’re going to build on the success of innovators like Qualcomm and help grow the emerging green and blue technology sectors—including a major solar initiative for public buildings. 

And we’re going to support expansion of maritime operations at the Port, with the overall goal of creating 50,000 new, good-paying jobs in our city.

We are going to tap into the vitality and potential of our neighbors to the south—in part through a new Border Affairs Office in Tijuana—to strengthen our cross-border ties.

And in that regard, let me take a moment to recognize the delegation of leaders from Baja California and Baja California Sur who honor us with their presence, led by the Consul General of Mexico Remedios Gomez Arnau.

I am looking forward to working closely with the mayor of our Sister City, Mayor Carlos Bustamante Anchondo, and the other Mexican officials here today.

And special congratulations to you, and to all their fans in this bi-national region, as we celebrate the victory of the Xolos soccer club in yesterday’s championship.

As I said, a healthy economy is an important part of our quality of life. So, we are going to seize every opportunity to grow our regional economy.

We are going to expand our Convention Center to strengthen our visitor industry…

We are going to support our military bases and defense industries in the face of threatened federal cutbacks…

We are going to make sure the Chargers stay in San Diego.

And we are going to have a wonderful celebration of our crown jewel—Balboa Park’s 100th anniversary.

But at the end of the day, I want my tenure as mayor judged not just on what we accomplish, but also on how the decisions are made.

You can’t build trust and support for city government if just a few people are making decisions for all the rest of us.

I want a city government where everyone has a seat at the decision-making table;

Where the concerns of a Filipino family in Mira Mesa or a single-mom in San Ysidro carry just as much weight at City Hall as traditional insiders.

I want a City Hall where the only prerequisites to participation are a love for our city and a desire to improve it.

I understand the difference between my former role as a legislator—as an advocate for my constituents—and my new job as mayor—the chief executive of a multibillion-dollar municipal corporation.

That doesn’t mean I will stop being a passionate advocate for the things I believe in. 

But it does mean I will use my power as mayor to bring people with differing views together; to help them find common ground; and to turn dreams and aspirations into a reality that moves our city and our people forward.

As your mayor, I will continue to be inspired by the words of the late-Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who said:

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Why not get serious about eliminating homelessness in our community? 

Why not make the San Diego-Tijuana region the incubator for a new, innovation-based economy that provides good-paying jobs for all our residents? 

Why not secure our natural gifts—our beaches, bays, canyons and lagoons—so future generations can enjoy them as much as we do? 

And why not ensure that every neighborhood in San Diego is a safe, healthy, attractive place to live, work and play.

Together, we can turn these dreams into reality.

Thank you.

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