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ENDORSEMENT: Geneviéve Jones-Wright for San Diego Mayor

Geneviéve Jones-Wright
Author: La Prensa
Created: 17 February, 2024
Updated: 18 February, 2024
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9 min read

[ESPAÑOL]

Voters of America’s Finest City are once again being asked to choose their elected leader to guide our region’s largest and marque City for the next four years, and we believe it’s time to elect a new leader to challenge the status quo at City Hall: Geneviéve Jones-Wright.

Local lawyer and former public defender Geneviéve Jones-Wright is competent, hard-working, and fiercely protective of our neighborhoods from Southeast where she grew up and San Ysidro to Rancho Bernardo and La Jolla. She understands that we must fix our City and prioritize spending without simply asking residents to pay more in taxes or bonds to solve the problems. 

Jones-Wright is a Democrat who ran for District Attorney four years ago and learned tough lessons from taking on the establishment. She has been called names, bashed for speaking her mind, and ostracized for not backing down to the downtown power structure.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco, her law degree from Howard University, and her Master of Laws from California Western School of Law in San Diego. 

Jones-Wright was raised by a single mother who retired after 25 years of working as a UCSD hospital custodian and taught her the importance of community service, commitment to family, faith, and helping others to succeed. 

San Diego needs a leader like Jones-Wright to shake up the status quo, work to find real solutions to our problems, and, most importantly, to be open and honest with the public even when the news isn’t good. 

After having a Mayor resign amid sexual assault complaints and another Mayor get us into the worst real estate deal in the City’s history, Todd Gloria promised four years ago to lead us to a brighter future. 

Now, over three years into his tenure as Mayor, Gloria is asking voters to give him another term to continue implementing his vision for our City so it’s only fair to review his record in office.

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After having previously served eight years on the City Council before becoming Mayor, including one year as interim Mayor after Filner resigned, Gloria has had enough influence and control over City policies in the last two decades to now hold him largely accountable for the current status of San Diego. 

First, Gloria promised in 2012 when running for re-election to the City Council that he would “end homelessness in Downtown in the next four years" but Gloria's term has seen historic levels of unsheltered individuals suffering on our streets. 

Although Gloria is not solely to blame for people not being able to find and maintain affordable housing in the region, his support for policies that virtually eliminated single-room occupancy (SRO) units in downtown, criminalizing homelessness, and giving developers carte blanche to build-baby-build expensive market-rate housing without providing enough affordable units has only worsened homelessness in downtown and housing affordability in general. 

And, by the way, forcibly moving people living in tents on sidewalks into tents within fenced parking lots to claim a reduction in homelessness shouldn’t be hailed as success; it’s not housing and still leaves people vulnerable to weather and illness. 

In fact, a United Nations rep recently toured Gloria’s tent cities and said he “would shut it down today” because tents should never be used as a homeless shelter, and that the tents offered by the City are not warm enough and are too close together in case of fire.

In 2016, Gloria enthusiastically led the effort to lease the ill-fated 101 Ash building when he was a Councilman then decided to buy the worthless building as Mayor instead of holding his greedy developer friends accountable for having fleeced the taxpayers, so now we’re about $200 million into an unusable building that may be worthless given its asbestos cleanup costs. 

As Mayor, Gloria rushed to sell Tailgate Park to the Padres at a $44 million discount instead of directly promoting the building of affordable housing units across the street from the trolley’s main station. It was prime City land and Gloria sold it to his buddies for a one-time cash hit but missed an opportunity to help build a higher amount of affordable housing where it is needed most. 

Mayor Gloria also rammed through the selection of a developer for the current Sports Arena site who just happened to have given over $100,000 to his 2020 election, then the developer pulled a bait-and-switch by eliminating 250 middle-income affordable units and a proposed 200-room hotel that would have generated millions of dollars in hotel room taxes for the City, yet Gloria stays silent.

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It seems that at every opportunity to be honest with the public, Gloria instead chooses to spin, embellish, or flat-out lie to make himself look better, even when the truth would suffice. 

But if misrepresenting political positions is par for the course in campaigns, trying to trick voters with cheap political stunts should be called out -and repudiated- by Gloria himself if he was honest about being “for all of us.”

Last week, a pro-Gloria political action committee called New San Diego sent out a “Team MAGA” mailer to Republicans promoting Donald Trump for President, former baseball player Steve Garvey for US Senate, and Jane Glasson for San Diego Mayor. 

Jane who? That’s right, Todd's friends are promoting an unknown Republican opponent to game the general election in Gloria's favor.

New San Diego, funded by Gloria backers including Sycuan, Manpower, Gafcon, and labor unions, and run by one of Gloria’s political appointees, is working to support a Republican to draw a weaker opponent for Gloria in the head-to-head runoff in November. 

So instead of working to get more votes for Gloria, his Democratic, union, and developer buddies are working to confuse voters to splinter their support in a morally corrupt ploy to save Gloria. 

Is it illegal? No. But is it ethical? Not really. 

It’s clear that Gloria’s supporters would rather spend money to promote a weak Republican opponent than to defend Gloria’s shoddy record in office -and he sits by silently letting it all happen while reaping the benefits. 

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But even if all is fair in campaigns, what about misrepresenting one’s own origin story to seem more man-of-the-people? Is that being honest?

Gloria always introduces himself as “the son of a maid and a gardener” and even uses that in his Twitter profile bio. 

But four years ago, La Prensa San Diego was the only news outlet to report that Gloria’s humble personal life story may not be authentically true. 

When we asked Gloria in August 2020 for clarification on his oft-quoted origin story, his then-campaign manager and now-Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Serrano admitted that Gloria’s “mom and dad were a maid and a gardener in the 1970s.”

It turns out, Gloria’s parents worked those menial jobs before he was even born, but his dad later enjoyed a long career in the aerospace industry while Gloria was growing up in a middle-class neighborhood. His parents achieved the American Dream of prosperity through hard work and provided greater opportunities for their children. That’s very admirable. 

But Gloria continuing to define his parents by jobs they had as young adults before he was born and not publicly acknowledging his middle-class upbringing as the son of an aerospace manager that shaped his life experience spins a misleading narrative seemingly only to make himself look more relatable, albeit at his parents’ expense. 

We all stand on the shoulders of our parents and families. We build on others’ work and sacrifices. Our successes are never ours alone, but we must account for our own failures.

So let’s take Gloria at his word and then judge him on the outcome. 

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In 2014, Gloria bragged while serving as the Council President that the City’s budget was “structurally balanced, our roads are being repaired and San Diegans have a City Hall that works together to achieve progress for its citizens.”

Ten years later, Gloria is now running for re-election as Mayor where the City’s budget annual shortfall is $188 million, its pension system is underfunded by $2.8 billion, its priority infrastructure needs exceed available revenues by $2.3 billion, we had major flooding that displaced hundreds of families due to ignored infrastructure needs, and we’re the owners of a $200 million vacant building that is so toxic that Gloria recently had to wear a hazmat suit just to enter it. 

There is now enough evidence to prove that Todd Gloria has not delivered the best results for the residents of San Diego, but instead, for special interests, developers, and campaign contributors.

In 2020, La Prensa San Diego did not endorse Gloria because we thought the hundreds of thousands of dollars he accepted from developers and special interests would make him captive to the corrosive status quo of downtown politics. 

Unfortunately for San Diegans, our worst fears have come to pass.

Todd Gloria should be judged on his words and his deeds, and even being generous, he does not deserve another term in office.

We believe Todd Gloria had his chance to lead but has come up short on results. He enjoys the support of at least seven of the nine sitting Councilmembers, and that level of groupthink can be counter-productive, if not even dangerous.

But San Diegans have a viable alternative in the upcoming election. 

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San Diego would be better served with Geneviéve Jones-Wright's honest leadership approach to creative problem-solving and collaboration.

We encourage you to cast your vote for Geneviéve Jones-Wright for San Diego Mayor. 

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