A few protesters gathered outside the Balboa Theatre prior to the inauguration ceremony. Photo by Chris Jennewein

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called for bi-partisan collaboration as he, City Attorney Mara Elliott and five members of the city council began new four-year terms on Monday.

“San Diegans throughout the city are experiencing the tremendous progress that we have made collaboratively,” Faulconer said after taking the oath of office.

He said the city’s budget is balanced, roads are being repaired, new fire stations are under construction and a major renovation of Balboa Park will begin next year.

“Our nation needs a little San Diego-style bi-partisanship more than ever,” he added, to applause from the audience in the historic Balboa Theatre downtown.

City Attoney Jan Goldsmith, who is leaving office after eight years, praised his successor Elliott, calling her “tough, tested and ready to lead.”

The swearing in ceremony included re-elected Councilmen Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman from Districts 5 and 7 and three newly elected council memers.

Both Kersey and Sherman said in brief remarks that a key problem facing the city is the high cost of housing, and vowed to streamline government regulations that they said are a significant component of the cost.

The three new members taking the oath of office include District 1 Councilwoman Barbara Bry, District 3 Councilman Chris Ward and District 9 Councilwoman Georgette Gomez.

Several elected officials specifically mentioned President-elect Donald Trump in calling for renewed efforts to work together locally. “It’s up to all of us at the local level to defend the values San Diego holds dear,” said Ward.

Gomez, a community and environmental activist, was cheered in Spanish and English during her inauguration. “If the queer daughter of Mexican immigrants can be elected to City Council…then the American dream is still alive,” she told the crowd.

The city council will get right to work Monday afternoon when it convenes to elect a council president. Councilman David Alvarez and Councilwoman Myrtle Cole have both expressed an interest in the position.

Todd Gloria, who is leaving the City Council after eight years, expressed regret and said he looked forward to his new role representing San Diego in the state Assembly.

“I’m a bit sad to be leaving City Hall. I have loved this job,” Gloria said.

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