Bruce Coons - The People's Candidate
for San Diego Mayor
Bruce Coons moved to San Diego from Pomona with his family at age four. He became fascinated with San Diego history and at age ten became the youngest-ever member of the San Diego Historical Society. Bruce graduated from Point Loma High School and later studied theater at Cal Western and anthropology at USD. He and wife Alana have been married since 1985; together they have had a historic restoration business for over 25 years. Bruce is one of the foremost experts in Spanish and Mexican cultural heritage of California.
Successful Business Leader
Bruce comes from an entrepreneurial family. His grandmother, Ruby Coons, founded Dreamer Campers, creators of the innovative cabover camper. Like many teens, Bruce delivered pizzas. He also became a union box factory worker and later worked as a contract archaeologist.
After teaming up with some high school friends in a startup high-tech company, Bruce became a key management team member in four successful startups. The largest of these was Systech Corporation. As its third employee during six years with Systech Bruce was instrumental in building the company to a shipping rate of 30 million dollars. In 1986, Systech was featured on the cover of INC. magazine as the 23rd fastest-growing company in the U.S. Bruce managed the manufacturing department and then led the purchasing and materials department. His negotiating skills were crucial to maintaining Systech's competitive advantage.
After more than a decade in high tech, Bruce spent six years in public purchasing with Sweetwater Water Authority. He remains a Lifetime Certified Purchasing Manager in both public and private purchasing.
Effective Community Activism
Bruce accepted his first major position in the non-profit world in 1998 when he was elected President of the nonprofit, now 44-year-old Save Our Heritage Organisation. He has been serving as Executive Director from 2000 to the present. Under Bruce's management and leadership, SOHO is now known as one of the most influential and effective cultural and historic preservation organizations in the nation.
For the last 15 years, Bruce has successfully negotiated on behalf of SOHO to promote adaptive reuse of San Diego's historic and cultural resources. He has worked to forge lasting win-win solutions with public agencies, private corporations, and community groups. Bruce is known as a superb listener. In emotionally-charged negotiations, he is able to consolidate points of view and evaluate and communicate practical solutions. When disputes arise, Bruce is proactive and communicates with stakeholders throughout the city while projects and decisions are still malleable. He has become an effective and persuasive advocate, well-known around City Hall and neighborhoods citywide for integrity, honesty, and a truly comprehensive knowledge of San Diego's past and present.
Bruce took SOHO from its lowest period of no assets and a budget of less than $30,000 and transformed it into a prosperous organization with assets and an annual budget, both exceeding $1 million. With 22 employees, SOHO manages 12 historic buildings. These include four museums, an 1880's General Store (owned by SOHO), two museum stores, and a café, all running smoothly and profitably.
As SOHO's chief negotiator with the Hotel del Coronado and the Padres, Bruce was able to bring parties together for productive discussions that resulted in precedent-setting agreements. The Padres' ballpark/historic warehouse agreement saved 10 of 11 historic resources in the downtown Ballpark Redevelopment District. The agreement also created a Preservation Advisory Group that continues to oversee the nine city block project area in an evolving commercial environment.
SOHO recently worked, during a three-year period, with 19 other community organizations, including Citizens Coordinate for Century Three (C-3), The Committee of One Hundred, San Diego Council of Design Professionals, Urban Design Council of the American Institute of Architects' San Diego chapter, Neighborhood Historic Preservation Coalition, Mission Hills Heritage, and North Park Planning Committee to build a strong and successful coalition to protect the City's crown jewel, Balboa Park.
Bruce's management skills and his win-win philosophy have been critical to SOHO's successes both in protecting San Diego's historic resources and heightening public awareness of its heritage.
Dedication to Community Service
Bruce was elected to the city's Old Town Planning Group six times and served for 10 years. He is currently serving his second term on the Peninsula Community Planning Board. Bruce successfully spearheaded the hard won campaign to add the former Caltrans Headquarters site to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This accomplishment significantly expands one of our most popular regional parks and stands as the largest addition to the park since its creation in the 1960s. To do so, Bruce gained the support of elected local and state leaders and worked closely with them.
Bruce Coons has a solid record of fighting for issues and causes important to the residents of our communities. He recognizes that the city is at a crossroads. He has a unique perspective about what works and does not work in San Diego, with an insider's understanding of problems and solutions. Bruce is now ready to turn his tireless energies and experience to the role of mayor for all San Diegans.