With the resignation of Roger Hedgecock as mayor of San Diego, political leadership of California's second-largest city shifts to acting Mayor Ed Struiksma, a tall, husky Republican who was a policeman for nine years before his election to the City Council.
Struiksma, 39, a former Marine who served in Vietnam, was elected deputy mayor only last week by his City Council colleagues. The post is normally a ceremonial one, but it has now taken on political significance with Hedgecock's sentencing and resignation.
Since Hedgecock's indictment in 1984, Struiksma has made it no secret that he covets the mayor's job; he began campaigning for the post soon after the indictment was filed.
Got 74% of Vote
Struiksma won a second four-year term in November in an election in which he garnered 74% of the vote and carried every precinct in the city against token opposition. In the same election, Struiksma's political career received an unexpected boost when then-Deputy Mayor Bill Mitchell, who would have moved into Hedgecock's chair during an interregnum, lost his council seat in an upset.
As acting mayor, Struiksma will assume all mayoral duties, including running City Council meetings, but will get no increase in his $35,000-a-year salary. The biggest benefit likely will be the public exposure that the post will offer Struiksma should he decide to run for mayor.
The council has 30 days to decide whether to call a special mayoral election or to appoint someone to the post for the remainder of Hedgecock's term, which runs until December, 1988. Should the council call for an election, the vote must be held and the new mayor installed within 150 days.
First elected to the City Council in 1981 after nine years as a San Diego policeman, Struiksma created a niche for himself on law-and-order and mass-transit issues, advocacy of small businesses and support of leadership programs for Vietnam veterans. He also fought with the Police Department over the department's systematic slighting of stranded motorists on San Diego's freeways, some of whom waited hours before receiving help.
Relatively low-key, Struiksma is generally more conservative than Hedgecock, who was considered a moderate, especially on land-use issues. As a councilman, Struiksma represented the 5th District, which stretches from Mission Valley to Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch. Struiksma helped assemble a revised plan for the future development of Mission Valley, whose success commercially has brought myriad traffic and density problems.
Struiksma, is the father of three children--a daughter, Dayna, 2, and sons, Loren 14, and Garrett, 10, from his first marriage. He and his second wife, Jean, live in Mira Mesa.