Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

San Diego's new mayor Bob Filner is a Capitol Hill veteran

San Diego’s new mayor takes the oath of office this morning in Balboa Park. He’s only the second Democrat in four decades to hold that job. The city’s new chief executive is a familiar face on Capitol Hill.

Bob Filner spent 20 years on Capitol Hill, leaving as the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He says he retired because it’s difficult to get things done in Congress, particularly when you’re in the minority party. Filner says the chief executive of the nation’s 8th largest city has a better shot at accomplishing something.

He places job creation at the top of his “to do” list. And he wants the city to focus on its neighborhoods. He says the city's attention for the last two decades has been on downtown redevelopment, "and all the infrastructure of our neighborhoods has been neglected and people feel left out."

Filner says he wants to boost business with Tijuana - starting with the crossing thousands of people make every day. He says those three or four hour waits cost the city six billion dollars a year. "People don’t go shop, they don’t go have a meal, they don’t visit their family," he says. "So I can change the economy just with an efficient border."

Filner’s already announced he’ll open an office for his city across the border in Mexico. Tijuana has maintained an office in San Diego for years.