Mayor Filner Speaks About Social Justice and San Diego Plans

     

    San Diego Mayor Bob Filner visited UCSD’s Thurgood Marshall College last night to speak about social activism, education and future plans for San Diego.

    Approximately 20 people — including students, faculty and alumni — attended the event in the Oceanview Lounge, organized by Marshall College Operations Specialist Sarah Ruth Turner. Local documentary filmmaker and activist Frank Capri, also in attendance, approached Turner to put together the event as part of his ongoing documentary project about nonviolence, “I Refuse to Kill.”

    The event began with an introduction by Capri, who spoke about Filner’s experience as a civil rights Freedom Rider in the 1960s. As an engineering student at Cornell University, Filner was arrested in Mississippi for participating in the Freedom Rides and was incarcerated for 60 days until the Supreme Court of the United States overturned his case and those of other activists.

    “You have demonstrated through your life and through your actions that an individual that is committed to change can do miracles and touch people’s lives,” Capri told Filner.

    Following the introduction, Filner continued to speak about his experience working for desegregation as well as his transition into politics.

    “I thought, here, at age 18, we changed American history,” Filner said. “We didn’t make it perfect — there’s racism and injustice and stuff when you look around, but we changed history, and I came out with tremendous optimism about change in America — that if you get together with great leadership, you could change America.”

    He then spoke about his experiences in politics as a city councilman, congressman, school board president, and finally as mayor, explaining that although there is always tension in separation of powers, he sees himself as a strong, activist mayor.

    “What I brought to the mayor [position] is this activism and sense of change,” Filner said. “This time, we have what’s called a strong mayor. As a strong mayor, I can make those kinds of decision and help people.”

    During the question-and-answer session, as well as at the conclusion of his speech, Filner spoke about his future plans for San Diego, including his recent policy to use solar power in every public building in San Diego and his ongoing binational Olympic bid with Tijuana.

    “We live in a binational area, except we see the border of San Diego as a cul-de-sac, not as a center of things,” Filner said. “People fear it. [So] I said, we’re going to do it with Tijuana. We’re going to do a bi-national Olympic bid.

    Filner ended his one-hour discussion by identifying the economy as San Diego’s greatest obstacle and saying that he will reform the economy by simultaneously achieving goals such as introducing solar power and creating a food hub.

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