Gloria Days


By Ron Donoho / Photos by Paul Body

City Council President Todd Gloria ( is proud of how he lip-synced Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on a YouTube video promoting 2-1-1, a local call-in program that connects citizens to city services. The 34-year-old, third-generation San Diegan went to James Madison High School in Clairemont, graduated from the University of San Diego and now represents District 3, which includes downtown, Hillcrest and North Park. He’s part Native American, part Filipino, part Dutch, part Puerto Rican and wholly devoted to America’s Finest.

PacificSD: What’s the best way to describe what the City Council president does?
Todd Gloria: I run the meetings of the city’s legislative branch. We’re a co-equal branch to the executive, the mayor. People do seem to understand it when I compare it to the federal level: I’m like house Speaker Boehner... but I don’t cry as much.

Is Mayor Bob Filner too combative for his own good?
My style is very different. We share the same philosophies, though. I don’t make a value judgment. I think you should be judged on results. We should allow him some time and space to yield results.

How many hours a week do you work?
Definitely every day. Let’s see, it was 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. yesterday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today. A solid half-day every weekend. [That adds up to 75-80 hours per week.]

If you had a weekend off to spend in San Diego, what would you do?
I love hiking Mission Trails. I love having a burger and a beer at The Station, because it’s outdoors, and
I love going to Babycakes [bakery/ bar/cafe in hillcrest] on Sunday afternoon. They have a great patio. That’s where I feel not so council president-y, and more like just Todd.

You are 34 and recently single, right? Are your friends trying to set you up on blind dates?
People talk a good game, but don’t always follow through.

What’s your fondest memory of going to school at the University of San Diego?
I found my voice as an activist on that campus. I was openly gay at a catholic university. It was a wonderful academic experience; it wasn’t a great social experience.

How is it different being an openly gay politician today versus a generation ago?
So much progress has happened. When Christine Kehoe was elected to city council, she was like our harvey Milk. She was our crusader. Back then, every news story referred to her as “lesbian Chris Kehoe.” When I became council president, there really wasn’t reference to me being gay. That’s a wonderful measurement for the 20 years since chris was first elected.

What kind of music do you listen to?
Hip-hop and R&B. I love Rick Ross, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige.

Favorite Reality TV show?
The Amazing Race.

If you and Mayor Filner were the last two players left on Survivor, who would win the tribal council?
Who’s voting?

The public is voting.
I don’t know. I don’t see our relationship as a competition. I know the media has set it up that way, and that makes it far more interesting. I’m just looking to run the city, you know?