August 4, 2020

Todd Gloria Says He’s ‘the Son of a Maid and a Gardener’, But Critics Question Accuracy

By La Prensa San Diego

(Pictured above, Todd Gloria with his parents, Phil and Linda Gloria, and his partner, Adam Smith, on March 3, 2020, at Registrar of Voters. Photo credit John Gibbins / The San Diego Union-Tribune) 

By Eduardo Rueda         [EN ESPAÑOL]
Investigative Reporter

State Assemblyman and candidate for Mayor of San Diego Todd Gloria has consistently told voters that he’s become a successful community leader having been raised as “the son of a maid and a gardener” as a way to demonstrate that he’s not part of the elite political establishment, but that narrative is now being challenged after he admitted his “mom and dad were a maid and a gardener in the 1970s” before he was born and his dad has been an aerospace industry executive for most of Todd’s lifetime.

Gloria’s ballot statement for the November election, his Twitter bio, and his campaign website bio all include the same claim that he’s “the son of a maid and a gardener”.

His campaign website, toddgloria.com, starts it’s “About” page with the line, “As the son of a maid and a gardener, Todd Gloria doesn’t come from wealth or privilege.”

But critics are pointing out that Gloria’s father has been in aerospace management for more than 20 years but Gloria never discusses that on the campaign trail, leaving the public with the impression that his parents continued working menial jobs throughout Todd’s lifetime.

Official financial reports for Gloria’s campaign committees have disclosed contributions from Phil Gloria, his father, with his occupation as “Production Control, General Atomics”.

According to his own Linkedin account, Phil Gloria, 64, has been in the aerospace industry for many years, including as a Production Controller at General Atomics for the last four years. General Atomics is a San Diego-based technology company that develops and manufactures aerospace and unmanned aircraft systems for commercial and government sectors and had global revenues of over $2.1 billion last year.

Prior to working at General Atomics, Phil Gloria worked 14 years as a Supervisor at United Technologies, another aerospace and technology company. Phil Gloria also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificate as an aircraft repairman licensed to work on aircraft systems. The LinkedIn profile makes no mention of his prior work as a gardener.

“Todd represents himself as the son of two very blue-collar workers instead of saying his dad is an aerospace industry veteran,” Mat Wahlstrom, a local community activist, said in an interview with La Prensa San Diego. “A lot of us come from parents from humble beginnings that ended up succeeding through their hard work and determination but we don’t continue to refer to them by their former jobs in order to make ourselves look better,” Wahlstrom added.

None of Gloria’s campaign literature or websites describe his father’s eventual career in the aerospace industry or detail his apparent rise from blue-collar gardening to white-collar technology companies.

When asked last week by La Prensa San Diego for clarification on his parents’ careers, Gloria’s campaign manager, Nick Serrano, provided the following response from Todd Gloria.

“My mom and dad were a maid and a gardener in the 1970s. My mom worked at a hotel and an apartment complex. My mom talks about cleaning an apartment the day after my older brother was born because they needed the money.” Todd Gloria was born in 1978; his older brother, Tye, was born in 1976.

Phil Gloria was between 14 and 24 years old during the 1970s when he worked as a gardener.

Gloria’s current official State Assembly website biography states “his lifelong career in public service was inspired by a lesson his parents – a hotel maid and a gardener – taught him at a young age.”

A December 2019 article in Advocate magazine, described as the world’s leading source of LGBT news and information, said Gloria is “a third-generation San Diegan” that “grew up in a working-class family as the son of a maid and a gardener.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board described Gloria in February as “running so the San Diego story that allowed his mother, a hotel maid, and his father, a gardener, to work hard and afford a home doesn’t end with their generation.”

On January 15, 2014, during the State of the City address Gloria delivered while serving as Interim Mayor, he introduced his parents in the audience and referred to himself as “a Native American, Filipino, Puerto Rican, Dutch, gay guy, and the son of a hotel maid and a gardener”.

Todd Gloria was born and raised in San Diego and graduated from The University of San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. Gloria formerly worked for Congresswoman Susan Davis before being elected to the San Diego City Council in 2008 and 2012, then being elected to the California State Assembly in 2016 and 2018. He chose not to seek re-election when he launched his campaign for Mayor, but he has been criticized for continuing to raise money for both his mayoral campaign and a Todd Gloria for Assembly 2020 campaign at the same time.

Gloria’s recent campaign disclosures show he raised $289,189.63 for the Mayor campaign committee since February 1st.

Gloria was fined by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to file a candidate intention form for his Assembly campaign committee. That form, filed on August, 13, 2019, and signed under penalty of perjury by Gloria, states his intention to run for re-election for his Assembly seat. The same day, Gloria released a statement that he was only running for Mayor of San Diego, but his attorney argued in court that Gloria is a candidate for both positions at the same time.

Wahlstrom is pursuing a lawsuit against Gloria that alleges Gloria is misusing his Assembly campaign committee while also running for Mayor.

A message sent to Phil Gloria seeking clarification on his work experience was not returned.

UPDATE: Todd Gloria emailed supporters after this story was published, claiming that “a reporter asked me for proof that my parents were a maid and a gardener”. No demands were made. Below is the exact message sent to Gloria’s campaign manager, Nick Serrano, asking for clarification on dates of employment for his parents:

“Hi Nick.
I never received any response from you or Todd on my previous requests. It’s difficult to write stories when there is no response.
We are preparing several articles on the mayor’s race and have some background questions for both candidates.
We are trying to confirm some details of Todd’s parents since he refers to them often, including on his ballot statement and website.
Please let me know if the campaign or Todd have any comments to the following:
(1) Todd’s dad, Phillip, is listed on campaign disclosures as “Production Control, General Atomics” and his own LinkedIn account lists that position for the past 4 yrs, and a previous position as “Supervisor” at United Technologies for 14 years back to 2006. He is also listed as an FAA certified aircraft repairman. When was Mr Gloria last a gardener?
(2) Todd’s mom is listed on campaign disclosures as “Retired”. When was she last a maid?
(3) Both Mr. and Mrs. Gloria are listed as the owners of their residence on Fireside Dr. When did Todd last live with them?
(4) Do the parents own other properties either in their own names or in any family trust(s)?
Thanks.”