Mayor Todd Gloria
Mayor Todd Gloria speaks at the Civic Theater. Image from livestream

Mayor Todd Gloria vowed Wednesday to double down on infrastructure in his third year as mayor, promising to fix sidewalks, repave streets and open parks, while getting housing construction “cranes in the air throughout San Diego.”

“I’m impatient to deliver results for the people of this city,” he said in his annual State of the City address. “I’ve empowered city staff to find more ways to get things done faster.”

Speaking at the Civic Theater in the first in-person address since the pandemic, Gloria also acknowledged the continuing problem of homelessness.

“It’s not OK for children to have to walk in the middle of the street past encampments to get to school,” he said.

Gloria cited a number of short-and long-term solutions, including opening more shelters, cleaning up encampments, limiting evictions, opening new mental health CARE courts and reforming California’s conservatorship laws.

But he said the solution that will have the most impact is to simply build more affordable housing across San Diego.

“Housing ends homelessness,” he said, promising to do everything possible to get “cranes in the air throughout San Diego.” That includes expediting building permits, and opening parts of Hillcrest, the College area and University City to new housing development.

“We all know where our failure to build more homes has gotten us: sky-high rents, homelessness, families moving out-of-state, bright people leaving us for lower-cost cities,” he said.

Gloria said the much-discussed redevelopment of the six-block city core could be part of the solution, with “thousands of new affordable homes for working class San Diegans located directly on a trolley line” as well as a new City Hall.

He said all San Diego residents should know that “there is and will be a place for you here.”

But he began with infrastructure, noting that is what most residents deal with in their daily lives. He promised 283 miles of repaired and repaved roads and nine new parks this fiscal year, as well as improved sidewalks throughout the city.

To make those improvements, he said the city is investing in its workforce, raising pay to attract better qualified employees.

That includes the police force, with a recent 10% across-the-board raise and and stepped up efforts to recruit new officers.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lawlessness will not rule the day in our city,” he said.

Gloria said that the state of the city in 2021 at the time of his first address was “fragile” in the wake of the pandemic. In 2022, it was “ready.” Now, he said, the state of the city is “rising.”

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.