San Diego History : The “Strong Mayor” form of Governance


Do you know your San Diego history? On March 27, 1850, San Diego was incorporated as a city government consisting of a Common Council, Mayor, City Marshall, City Attorney, City Clerk, City Assessor, and City Treasurer, all elected to their positions. In 1931, San Diego adopted a New Charter (Manager-Council Form of Governance).

The 1931 Charter, with modifications, is still in effect today. Under the original 1931 Charter, a Manager-Council form of governance was created. A seven-member Council was created. The Council was comprised of six Councilmembers and a Mayor. The Council was nominated by district but elected citywide. The Mayor was elected citywide.

In November 2004, San Diego voters approved Proposition F, which added Article XV to the City Charter, changing the City’s Council-Manager form of governance to a Mayor-Council (“Strong Mayor”) form of governance on a five-year trial basis. The trial period began Jan. 1, 2006 and ended Dec. 31, 2010.

This new form of governance removed the Mayor from the legislative body, and installed the Mayor as the de facto executive director of the departments and employees overseeing the City’s day-to-day operations. It also introduced the concept of a Council President, chosen annually by a majority vote of the Council, to chair and set the agenda of the City Council meetings.

On June 8, 2010, San Diego voters made permanent the New Strong Mayor Form of Governance by approving Proposition D on June 8, 2010. By passing Proposition D, voters also approved the addition of a ninth Council district, to be established by redistricting following the 2010 Census. Effective when the ninth Councilmember is seated (Dec. 3, 2012), the number of Council votes required to override a Mayoral veto on any matter will be six (two-thirds).

Throughout the transition to a Strong Mayor Form of Governance, the City Council sought to expand the number of Council Committees and redefine their role and purpose, choosing to funnel more legislative items to Council Committees to allow for increased public input and a fuller vetting process before items were sent to the full Council for consideration. By 2012 the number of Council Committees had expanded to seven.

The source for this material was the website; for more San Diego history, visit the City’s website at The source for the Bird’s Eye View of San Diego was the Library of Congress; for more, visit


University City You Know

➡️Please note: Information and advertising items included for publication in our print newsletter or on our websites or shared at our community meetings do not constitute an endorsement by the University City Community Association (UCCA) organization or its board members.⬅️

Join UCCA Today! Your membership dues help to support many of the events and programs that make University City more than just a neighborhood.

We value your feedback and input. Please ‘Contact Us’ at

News Break App: Follow us on News Break at

Google News App: Read UCCA’s University City News posts by following Google News San Diego at

Like us on Facebook at

Follow us on Twitter at

Meet University City neighbors on Nextdoor at

Visit our News Feed home page UCCA at

Read the current print newsletter and review article guidelines at

UCCA urges all to follow current guidance from SD County Health and Human services related to coronavirus and COVID-19.